The perfect anime before bedtime.

Tanaka-kun is one of those blogging regrets. I had heard positive things about the manga, but my expectations were mild and I was having a busy life outside of anime, so I was only able to commit to two anime rather than my usual three last season. But if I had the time, Tanaka-kun would have been my third pick. Comedies and slice of life shows are both difficult and easy to blog, but I think there was enough charm and amusement with Tanaka-kun that I would never have been lost for what to say. The best word I can think of to describe how I feel about this little gem is enamoured. The gags are good here, but its the characters that elevate it to the next level. It’s not quite Nozaki-kun (which I’d consider the best pure-comedy high school anime in the past 5 years), but it’s certainly not far behind.

At the centre of it all is Tanaka and Ohta. If the first episode was anything to go by, I would have been content if these two were the only recurring characters. Their friendship is sweet and consistently funny – and often drops hints of romantic tendencies. They’re like husband and wife, except Ohta is both the husband and the wife depending on the level of Tanaka’s listlessness and whether he requires to be carried or fed some cute sweets. They make for a great pair, but it only gets better once we’re introduced to the rest of the cast. There are so many likeable, endearing characters to get behind that none feel like bad additions.

If I were to have one nitpick, however, it would be that once we got into the habit of introducing the rest of the cast, it felt like each new “girl” got their own episodes. Some stuck around and got plenty of screentime (Miyano), but others got their time in the spotlight before fading away and only returning when necessary (Shiraishi). None of them are especially original, but originality isn’t the key to a good comedy. What Tanaka-kun has going for it is endearment and likeability. I could imagine being friends with all these characters and being part of their group. Each provides their own gags that come with their expected archetype, and never once did it feel tired or overdone. Miraculously, Tanaka-kun played with a bunch of tropes that could have been annoying, yet it never crossed that line. For that it deserves credit.

Not only were the characters impressive and the jokes funny, but the direction, tone, and pace felt perfect for what sort of show we were getting. I’ve still not touched the manga, but I expect this is as close to a perfect adaptation as it could be. The light, airy atmosphere, the pale colour palette, the slow beats, the lack of backgrounds when the focus was on Tanaka’s listlessness, and the timing of the gags – all on point. Of course, some episodes were better than others (the Miyano and McDonalds episodes were my favourites), but that’s what you’d expect from a comedy. It’s all subjective, so it’s unlikely every person is going to agree on what joke was the funniest or which character was the best (I’d argue Miyano is hard to beat, but Tanaka is also great).

In the end, I wish I could have talked about Tanaka-kun for the past twelve weeks, but there’s always the one that got away. I probably would have just gushed over how adorable and hilarious everyone is, but at least we’d all gush in unison. I can’t imagine how someone wouldn’t love at least some part of Tanaka, as there’s plenty on offer in terms of its aesthetic, its characters, and its slow pace that you don’t see too often in anime. Thankfully, I happened to appreciate all of those things, so I’ll be sad to see this go. Perhaps now would be a good time to pick up the manga!


  1. No. No. No. Shiraishi is the best girl in the show. Haha. Kidding.

    I am confused as heck as to why no one picked this comedic gem this Spring or why didn’t Enzo choose to blog this too in RC?

    Nonetheless, Tanaka-kun is pure bliss from start to finish. I am so gonna miss these characters.

    PS: Tanaka x Ohta, couple of the year! I cannot contain my laughter that even Tanaka pairs himself with the poor dude for his own convenience. Lol

    1. It’s extra work to port one of Enzo’s posts over here, and he doesn’t always have the bandwidth to do it. As for why we didn’t blog it, it’s as Samucchi said; sometimes, the right people don’t have the time to blog a good show, and that’s just how it works. As long as we only miss one or two of those a season, I’m happy enough.

  2. That was definitely one of the most enjoyable series this season for me, along with Shounen Maid. Tanaka-kun’s atmosphere is just so great. It’s so laid back and probably one of the most relaxing show I’ve seen, but it still manages to get me to laugh every episode. Only complaint is we didn`t get enough screentime for the two sisters in the show 🙁

    Trap Master
  3. This season was really good to SoL series: Tanaka-kun, Flying Witch, Shounen Maid, Anne Happy, and Sansha Sanyou. Hard to pick which one was the best, they’re all so good.

  4. This was my favorite show of the season! My favorite character was Tanaka’s sister. Best sister of the season IMO 🙂

    Too bad about not being able to blog it but don’t beat yourself up over it 🙂

  5. “A girl can cover up her looks, but she can’t hide her chest size.”
    – Tanaka

    Best quote of the season, considering it came from the most unexpected character. When I read the synopsis in RC’s Winter 2016 guide, I was wondering how they were going to make a story about a lazy guy watchable, and I’m glad I stuck long enough to find out. For me part of the fun is seeing how the people around him deal with Tanaka’s listlessness, like how Ohta just goes along with it or how Tanaka’s sleepy face made him an effective ghost for their haunted house. And then there are those unexpected Tanaka moments like that quote above and then what’s probably one of the only times he was energetic was rushing to switch seats with Miyano. And it’s not just about Tanaka because I enjoyed seeing the characters around him going about their lives too. Ohta is definitely one of my favorite characters, because his actions in the show really how good a friend he is to Tanaka. Not everyone will be willing to carry you around. Not to mention those animations of Ohta carrying Tanaka made good scene transitions. You also can’t count Miyano out as she’s one of the cutest things in this show, plus her scenes with Echizen are fun too. The only exception has got to be Shimura and Katou, who weren’t as fun compared to the others. Even that part-timer that was freaked out by Ohta and Tanaka was fun to watch (I believed she’s named Saionji). And on pairings, my favorite is definitely the Echizen x Ohta moments. Those two look so good together. If there’s a minor gripe I got with the anime, it’s got to be a lack of Saya screentime. And definitely Shiraishi with glasses is the best Shiraishi. I liked how she started wearing them in the opening animation after her secret was found out.

  6. Glad to be back, I took 6 shows this season but Tanaka-kun was my most anticipated every week. The seiyu’s work was perfect, as well as the sountrack. I did tried the manga but I didn’t want to be spoiled, same with Flying Witch.

    Any chance for a post like this for Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou?

  7. The anime was pretty faithful to the manga, so any faults with the anime are pretty much faults with the manga.

    The female characters are interesting and funny in their own right, but the main line gag comedy is more about how lazy Tanaka is, and his comedy duo with Ohta, so that’s going to get the main attention. (And that’s what dominates the manga, too. There’s just not a whole lot of material with the female characters in it.)

    Nevertheless, I’m rooting for Shiraishi. I hope she can pierce that lazy shield. Maybe she just needs to try harder. (lol)

    This was a great SoL season. It’s going to be hard to beat this Spring for SoL… oh wait, Amanchu????? NVM.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *