Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 1 (Manga)

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
僕は友達が少ない

Haganai! Vol. 01 (manga)

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SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends Volume 1Highlights from this first manga volume start with the Neighbor’s Club going for a blind nabe event to get them closer. Then, the manga goes to the beginning, where St. Chronica Academy 2nd year, half-Japanese high school student with blond HASEGAWA Kodaka discovers female classmate MIKAZUKI Yozora conversing with an imaginary friend named Tomo-chan. Her secret discovered, the two chat about their lack of finding friends and a desire to have friends, leading the scheming Yozora to found the Neighbor’s Club in order to find friens, sponsored by Sister Maria-sensei, and even securing a room for the club.

The first recruit is the headmaster’s daughter, KASHIWAZAKI Sena, a very popular blond haired girl whom Yozora despises. Despite her popularity with guys, she can’t make female friends, but though Yozora isn’t someone she wants to befriend due to their instant rivalry with each other, she joins anyway. Their first club activity is to use PSP’s to play the Monster Slayer RPG, but it quickly degenerates into Sena and Yozora killing each other. Sena brings the bishoujo dating-sim game Heart Pounding Memories 7, but as she and Yozora assume the role of the male lead, their female perspective quickly has them losing the game and not picking up tips on making friends.

Finally, Kodaka thinks he has a stalker, which amuses Yozora and Sena to no end. However, Kodaka’s thoughts are correct as the feminine-looking 1st-year student KUSUNOKI Yukimura has been following him, wanting to emulate the thug-looking Kodaka for manliness so as to put off bullies. Yozora takes advantage of the situation to get “him” to join the Neighbor’s Club, where Yukimura begins addressing Kodaka as “Aniki,” a term for an older brother, but also one used to address male gang leaders. In addition, Yukimura adopts the role of underling, taking Kodaka’s words as orders.

Thoughts/Review:

Because I had started watching Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, a series about people with few real friends and a delusional state of mind where fantasy is “reality,” the manga recommendation for Haganai I received while placing a recent manga order caught my eye.  So, I thought I would check into this manga adaptation of the original light novel series, just to see what it was all about.

Story-wise, things aren’t too remarkable just yet. The instant rivalry between Sena and Yozora is amusing to me, but ultimately, it doesn’t have the elements to make it really funny so far. (As an aside, I do plan to check out the anime to see if this is due to presentation elements or not.)  It has more of a “been there, done that” feel, whereas the rivalry between Nibutani and Sanae in Chuu-2 has elements that take it beyond the standard, “I just don’t like you” realms that Sena and Yozora are currently at.

The funniest part of the whole manga did come from Sena and Yozora though, when they worked together while playing that bishoujo game, revealing that they had more in common than might be apparent on the surface. Plus, there was something very funny about a girl playing a bishoujo game and bringing their own prejudices into it (such as their rude behavior to the sweet girl in the game), whereas a guy wouldn’t do that since he’d be going for his female preferences, even if said preferences have to be kept hidden well below the surface of his personality.

Beyond that, while I was entertained for the most part, I find that the manga didn’t stick in my mind that long, but yet I felt compelled to write about it as soon as I finished it, despite the massive stack of manga volumes sitting in front of me, still waiting for me to blog about them.  So obviously, something registered, even if I’m not consciously aware of it. (Maybe I’m working too many hours.)

It wasn’t until I started doing a bit of looking around that I discovered that the blond female character Sena was known to me by sight only.  During my now rare surfing of Japanese boards for interesting things, I had seen a flood of images for her, whom I recognized only because of the butterfly in her hair.

This brings me to the point of the artwork from Itachi-san (yeah, everyone has the names backwards for their cover image, probably because of a mistake on Seven Sea’s part). Frankly, it looks like the artist was instructed to not bother with a polished, clean, and attractive artwork, but was told to just do something as fast as possible, taking as many shortcuts as possible, with the final result being something serviceable, but nothing more. I’m guessing most won’t care about that, but I prefer the more polished art styles and character designs.

As to the Seven Seas side of things, Japanese honorifics are retained, including brother/sister ones. I was especially glad to see “Aniki” survive, since that one gets force-translated more often than not (as opposed to “oniichan” and the like). The occasional translation note will show up between panels, if needed. There are four color pages at the start, which is nice. The book’s end is dedicated to a preview of the Mayo Chiki manga adaptation.

So, an OK manga with poor artwork.

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6 Responses to “Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 1 (Manga)”

  1. Ultimaniac says:

    Be prepared for tons of ecchi and some loli when start the anime ^_^;

  2. Ultimaniac says:

    Also, there is a reason Yozora doesn’t like Sena. That’s for later though 😉

  3. Anonymous says:

    mmmm…actually i’m looking for blog to find friend can be chat.really influenced by koko ni iruyo manga hahaha about find friend and express the emotion through blog…seem interesting=)

  4. […] On the Seven Seas side of things, the usual Japanese honorifics are here, including “oneesama” (’cause lets face it, Kuroko wouldn’t be nearly as humorous if she were saying anything other than “oneesama” when addressing or referring to Mikoto).  There isn’t as much omake content this time around, though the manga is still fairly thick. The preview this time is for the Haganai! manga, which I’ve started blogging. […]

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