Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 2 (Manga)

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 2
Haganai! Vol. 02 (manga)

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SPOILER!!!*** Summary/Synopsis:

Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends Volume 2Highlights from this volume begin with the introduction of Kobato, the junior high little sister of male lead character Kodaka, who has a brother complex and has a chuunibyou element, whereby she considers herself to be an ancient vampire named Reisys V. Felicity Sumeragi. Kodaka and Yozora catch Sena playing a hentai, bishoujo, visual novel game in the clubroom, whereby Sena tries unsuccessfully to justify the porn elements as art.  Yozora gets Yukimura to dress as a maid to become more manly, after which Yozora decides the Neighbors Club should act out the children’s tail Momotaro.

Sena is playing another of her games in the clubroom, which has a swimming element. Since she can’t swim, she convinces Kodaka to teach her in secret. Sena picks up swimming quickly, but forces a situation when some guys try to pick her up, forcing Kodaka to send them running, after which he harshly scolds Sena for escalating the troubled situation. Finally, Kodaka takes a nap in the club room and dreams of his old childhood friend. His speaking aloud in his sleep causes Yozora to react when he wakes up, as if he has remembered something important.

Because Itachi-san’s artwork in Haganai is so sketchy in nature rather than the typical clean artwork in most manga titles, I have found it hard to want to read this manga. Seriously, it is as if Itachi-san is just phoning in the artwork. I really don’t like how it looks as I prefer clean artwork styles.

What makes this worse is that in this chapter, it would appear that Itachi-san can produce clean artwork if he wants. The hentai bishoujo game parody in the manga (Black Star: The Holy Sword, which is a parody of The Sacred Blacksmith) is drawn with very clean, crisp art, right down to the female character’s naked breasts. So, if the artwork for the parody can be done right, why not do all of the art in the same fashion?  Makes no sense to me.

Artwork aside, I found the story of Haganai volume 2 a bit more interesting than in volume 1. As I mentioned in my review of the first volume, I decided to give this manga series a try based on a recommendation due to my having watched Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai! Volume 2 reveals why Haganai was recommended to me as the character Kobato clearly is one of these middle school kids who live in a chuunibyou fantasy realm. In Kobato’s case, she’s some shinso vampire (I’m presuming “shinso” is used here), though from time to time, she slips out of character.  Her inclusion makes me wonder if chuunibyou is some sort of real thing in Japan.  I look forward to seeing how she’s worked into the story.

I’m glad that Kodaka, who looks like a thug, can actually fight. In Toradora!, the thug looking character there (Ryuuji) can’t fight. Regardless, it was nice seeing Kodaka casually take care of three punks hitting on Sena, who was bothered by it.

Sena’s character became a bit more interesting when Kodaka scolded her for provoking the guys into a fighting mood. She’s used to being treated like royalty by the guys, so Kodaka’s actions were alien to her, but it appears she respected him for it. (I’d say she has no respect for any other male she encounters outside her family.)  I figure this is the means by which Sena falls for Kodaka since something similar happens in Toradora! (and no doubt other titles as well).

With Kodaka’s childhood being explored via those magical memory-dreams becomes somewhat interesting based on Yozora’s reaction to Kodaka’s words. This seems like such an obvious flag, I’m actually loath to spout it, but it seems that Yozora was Kodaka’s childhood friend.  If I’m right, then why she hasn’t said anything before now is more of a mystery.  However, her actions and words after Kodaka wakes up does strongly suggest she’s the one. We’ll see when I get around to reading volume 3.

On the Seven Seas side of things, Japanese honorifics are retained, including a new brother one (“An-chan”, spoken by Kobato to address Kodaka whenever she slips out of her chuunibyou vampire character). I glad to see “Aniki” still survive in this adaptation since it gives Yukimura’s character a bit more color.

The occasional translation note will show up between panels, if needed. I prefer a translator note section, where a note could have been made remarking on The Sacred Blacksmith parody. I like those kinds of notes, but apparently, I’m in a minority as I’m told that most readers ignore translator note sections, apparently preferring to remain in ignorance about things. There are four color pages at the start, which is nice. The book’s end has a small, bonus chapter for Haganai, as well as a note from Hirasaka-sensei.

In the end, Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 2 improves in terms of story over volume 1, but still has poor artwork except for the Black Star: The Holy Sword parody of The Sacred Blacksmith.  My interest level in the story having improved, I’m going to proceed with volume 3.

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2 Responses to “Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Volume 2 (Manga)”

  1. ghostbeetle says:

    “…I’m in a minority as I’m told that most readers ignore translator note sections, apparently preferring to remain in ignorance about things”

    I’m 100% behind you on that ANB. I seriously do not understand where such an attitude comes from! Anybody who knows the least little thing about the wacky business of translation understands that even the best translation remains a makeshift kind of edifice – making translator notes a completely legitimate (and often necessary) addition to the text. Especially with such idiosyncratic texts as manga provide.
    Of course you can ignore those notes but why would you want to remain ignorant to the peculiarities of a text when those peculiarities are one of the major reasons to have chosen that specific text (presumably, anyway)? The rules governing Japanese that are relevant for understanding the nuances of even the translated text are not arbitrarily subjective and up to the individual reader, like, for example the pronunciation of some fictional language ala Quenya. Japanese is a real language and if you want to deal with some Japanese text you can and should be expected to deal with that fact.

    “…preferring to remain in ignorance…”
    By all means – be that way! But don’t force your ignorance on me, too!

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      It is baffling to me as well. From time to time, a manga editor does swing through here so maybe one (or more) of them have answers as to the why.

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