October 2011 Anime Season – Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Episode 4

I think all around the world, heads exploded over this episode. In a good way.

Maria the 10-year old appears, apparently coerced by Yozora to give her control of the room. Yukimura, the stalker of Kodaka seen in Episode 2, is a reverse trap that wishes to be just like Kodaka – an opportunity too good for Yozora to ignore. Rika is a scientific genius permanently in heat that is smitten with Kodaka. Needless to say, a ‘harem’ of sorts is forming. Yozora and Sena don’t like it one bit, but both girls end up joining the club. And all the while, Kodaka’s relationship with other students is going downhill.

After reflecting for a bit – this is actually one clever episode. Sure, you have three new girls introduced into the mix, now making six girls all up when you include Kobato during Kodaka’s time at home. But despite the fact this episode spends a fair amount of time introducing and developing those new girls, this episode actually belongs to Yozora. Let’s examine what happens:

1. Maria is sleeping in the classroom. Yozora details – with a weird pleasure in her tone – how she was able to coerce Maria into giving her the room. After Maria tries to go back on the deal, Yozora engages in clever reverse-psychology to talk Maria back into to deal. Yozora steals the moment.

2. Yukimura is revealed as Kodaka’s stalker but has good intentions overall since she idolises Kodaka – in a rather twisted way…Yozora can’t pass up the opportunity to ‘educate’ Yukimura on how to fulfill her role of becoming like Kodaka and ends up making fun of the situation at Kodaka’s expense. Again, another character introduction ends up demonstrating more qualities of Yozora.

3. Kobato is barely in the episode for 30 seconds. Kodaka ignores her. Kobato fans get their moment for the week but she matters little in the overall mix – almost as if to prove it’s steering itself away from Ore no Imouto. Yozora is still the feature thus far this episode.

4. Rika’s introduction and display of her overly sexual nature ends up turning into a moment where Yozora reveals her jealousy and indirectly shows she cares about Kodaka because of the nature of the flashback material in Episode 3. Again, several minutes of another character’s introduction is used to fuel a Yozora moment to steal the show.

Thus this is an episode we learn more about Yozora – and her true nature. Yozora is a bully – something she denies but it’s there for everyone to see. Yozora coerces Maria, pokes fun at Sena, jokes continually at Kodaka, uses Yukimura for her own amusement at Kodaka’s expense yet again. Yozora loves to dictate how people behave around her and getting a kick out of the results. Yozora is definitely a bully. So it begs the question – why has Yozora set up this club to make friends when she’s really trying to control everyone? Does Yozora have a twisted concept of friendship due to past events? She clearly had a good heart when she was young. What has caused Yozora to go sour and be anything but the friend she was to Kodaka in their youth? Yozora clearly cares about Kodaka, but if she’s got any delusions of being with him or being proper friends with the others in the club, she’s got to stop hiding behind her shell and be real. Ironic that the person who created the club is the one person who is failing to achieve the overall objective of the club – to make friends. Episode 3 set the foundations for friendship between Sena and Kodaka. You could argue some form of a basis of friendship also exists towards Kodaka for Yukimura and Rika, since they’re at least trying. Yozora is way behind everyone in this regard and her jealousy is blatantly obvious. So it really begs the question – what caused Yozora to become so mean and kill her heart?

The concern for a lot of people was the introduction of these new characters in Episode 4 would detract from the main trio too much. Amazingly…that didn’t happen! Maria’s presence was brief, served as material for the relevant fan group and drifted out after serving her purpose. Yuki Igucha voices Maria with a childish, upstart nature but not an irritating one – which is somewhat admirable. Nozomi Yamamoto’s sedate voicing of Yukimura is a complete opposite of her voicing of Rie from UN-GO and shows some depth for a newcomer. Yukimura reminds me of Hideyoshi from Baka to Test considerably, but Yukimura is more amusing in my opinion. Misato Fukuen utterly revels in voicing Rika, portraying her hot-blooded nature and the maniacal narration of the ‘dirty manga’ damn well. Honestly, ‘mecha porn’ – that is gold! They all get their moments and then some – they were worth remembering. Yet the episode goes to Yozora and some well-executed development. And you just wonder how it is one of the most outrageous, simple shows of the season is slaying most of the competition when it comes to character development? Good writing and pacing I guess. It’s easy for secondary characters to steal the show sometimes. AIC had it happen in Ore no Imouto and they seem to have learnt their lesson. Let’s hope they don’t let it happen again and can give the three main characters continual development as they have done thus far. What is clear is that despite Yozora’s mean exterior, she does value friendship deep down – but never shows it. Hopefully we find out why.

Yet again, Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai avoids going down the spiral and stays on track. Thumbs up yet again for this week. One wonders what it will pull off next. Either way, I can’t wait!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. myst1138
    Oct 30, 2011 @ 03:54:47

    I’m getting the feeling that the newly introduced characters aren’t much more than amusing props brought in to keep the comedy fresh. They will get some time in the center, but the story is really still about Yozora, Sena, and Kodaka. This is great, I really have high hopes for this show now.

    Reply

  2. kiddtic
    Oct 30, 2011 @ 09:17:12

    Not gonna lie im loving the fanservice, You know im a sucke for Otaku Culture references and seeing an Eva go against a Gundam was just amazing. Not to mention Kobato being designed to look as cute as ever and being voiced by KanaHana herself.

    The main plotline is what I’m really interested in though, I wonder how Yozora will reveal to kodaka that she was his childhood friend.

    Reply

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