Haganai begins

February 17th, 2012 by Author

I came to Haganai with a load of misconceptions to be shattered in the space of a couple of episodes. Some of them were minute, for instance the name “Haganai” and nickname “Meat” were not 2ch/4chan inventions, but were canonical. Some were bigger. In fact my idea of this show was completely upended.

It happened because J.P.Meyer built the biggest misconception with his quote: “it was like [Haganai] was filled with hateable sex objects rather than awkward cute girls”. And he meant it, too, since he claimed it was the reason to drop the series. Now, I know better than believe these things when they are posted by some feminist hater of all things good in anime. But J.P. usually cuts through the spin and dogma.

He was, in my humble opinion, wrong about the fanservice, too. In the post where he expounds on SDS, he choses to argue the “opportunity costs [of] the fanservice”. When I read him, the narrative seemed extremely convincing. But when I watched the anime for myself, the impression was completely different. The character development was all there, nothing missing. Sena’s chest was well within the parameters and made complete sense. They even managed to include her gorgeous bottom in a convincing manner. Perhaps the moment when they did the same thing with Yozora’s bottom previously[2] tripped J.P. and left him disappointed, but even for that completely useless shot, the opportunity cost was very much negligible.

I should note that sexualization is extremely overt in the OP animation and perhaps it offended J.P.’s sensibilities. Clearly it was an attempt to sell the show to men who think with their penises, hard. But is it a part of the story?

On a completely unrelated topic — or possibly a very related one — it looked like the ‘sphere went hard for Sena, mostly on the account of Yozora’s character ostensibly being nasty. That would be understandable, but for me they look very evenly balanced in rudeness, at least for the first 3 episodes. I cannot understand why the disbalance. The two are given polar stereotypes of anime beauty. Sena is West: blond, buxom, sluttish. Yozora is East: dark, slim, bookish. Perhaps it may suggest something that Hikago summed up his impression thus: “it was mostly me thinking how terrible it [anime] is while drooling over meat [Sena].” I cannot deny that she was ridiculously cute when she started unwind a little. For me, however, the story of friendship thus far was handled as well as in, for example, Railgun or Dai-Guard. Of course, I am only 3 episodes in. Maybe Sena does something to win the hearts of watchers, or they bungle the story and turn the whole anime into a mess from which only Sena’s natural advantages help escape. We shall see.

UPDATE: Sabas twittered that it may not just Sena’s cup size, but that she’s a gamer which sways the audience. Possible! On the other hand, Ryan says he’d go for Yozora. Well, he’s not seen it yet. Maybe I am deceiving him now like J.P. did before.

Omo comments:

I am sympathetic [for the post above] because I didn’t agree with the general discourse on the topic from the blogs I’ve read either. Like, the whole thing comparing the anime to the manga. I thought the anime was slightly more authentic in that the girls are genuinely unlikeable, versus some kind of semi-tsundere moe that gets you in the manga.

Unfortunately he liked Ichizon. I don’t think that either Yozora or Sena were as bad as those characters.

[2] When Yozora and Sena were in perfect agreement, suddenly.