OP Sequence

OP: Nadamesukashi Negotiation 「なだめスかし Negotiation」 by Kano and Oozora Naomi

「宇崎ちゃんは遊びたい!」 (Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!)
“Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!”

Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! has the distinction of being the first of the beloved “new-school” comedy manga pantheon to get an anime adaptation. Much like contemporaries within said pantheon like Nagatoro-san, Komi-san, and Tomo-chan, Uzaki-chan takes a simple concept for a relationship between a guy and a girl and flips in upside down in a new, refreshing, and adventurous sort of way.

On the surface, the story of Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! is almost as old as time in anime-years; take a killjoy boy and have him tear his hair out trying to deal with a cumbersome girl. Seems easy enough right? Well, Uzaki-chan might be within that same church, but in a different pew that gives the series its own sense of personality.

The series’ greatest strength is in utilizing Uzaki Hana (Oozora Naomi) to her fullest extent. While Sakurai Shinichi (Akabane Kenji) is a pretty miserable leading man, Uzaki has more than enough personality to carry the entire show by acting as the thorn in his side. She has a talent for finding what really annoys Sakurai and aims to button-mash his pressure points with ease. Some of the funnier segments in the first episode are how enthusiastic she is at eagerly reminding Sakurai how sad he looks by going to the movie theater or batting cage by himself.

Uzaki’s main talent of being obnoxious might sound like it’d get grating quickly, but the series and the first episode solidifies the chemistry that she has with Sakurai as the perfect match for some good comedy. Uzaki as a whole taps into that inner desire to see just how far she’s able to push Sakurai without him losing his cool and leaving her behind. It’s hilarious how unashamed Uzaki is in her determination to push Sakurai’s buttons. At the same time, she also helps Sakurai have humorous scenes of his own such as his reaction to Uzaki eating all of his karaage, how he ended up interacting with the wildlife during a VR ocean simulator, or the schadenfreude from Uzaki throwing her back out in the batting cage.

But one of the biggest game-changers of Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! is that its main characters are in the mythical isekai world of college. In a medium where it feels like pulling teeth to get a narrative that explores life after high school, it’s always a fresh breath of air to dive into the untapped well that is college life.

Because it’s at an age of self-discovery, it makes it interesting when a comedy or slice-of-life in college handles themes like isolation and companionship. Topics that might otherwise feel trite if they were from the perspective of high-schoolers feel far more compelling when you’re dealing with characters who are at an age where people make friends for the express purpose of networking.

As a result, Uzaki’s goal to force Sakurai out of his shell comes off less like she’s being an annoying classmate trying to interrupt a boy’s ordinary school life and more like she’s attempting to reconnect with an old friend who has gone his own way since he made it to college. Knowing that Sakurai is familiar with Uzaki in the past and noticed how she changed also provides a launching point for the anime to potentially explore the facets of their past that provide more context as to why she tries to provoke Sakurai and hang out with him as often as she can.

It’s easy to see why Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! is such an appealing series based on how well the first episode executes its main premise of Uzaki acting as the thorn in Sakurai’s side. Hopefully, they’ll be able to use the college setting to its fullest extent, but so far, it’s off to a great start as one of the funniest new shows to come out of the summer season.

ED Sequence

ED: Kokoronokku 「ココロノック」

10 Comments

  1. Never read any base material for this but this is the rare anime I really can’t stand. The main chick looks bland AF and she is so damn annoying. If I was the MC I would have filed a harassment suit against her already. What a pain in the ass. Dropped

    Afro Neightar
  2. Kiiiiinda not exactly the premise I would use for a whole half-h0ur-long format, but whatever works for them I guess.

    THis is basically wish fulfillment for introverts. But I DO enjoy the gratuitous shots of Uzaki’s two most prominent positives.

    starss
  3. You all DID catch the beginning of the episode, right? Where she came to college, clearly hoping to reconnect and spend time with him, only to see him literally spend an entire year by himself, not interacting with anyone? Not only is that disappointing to her on a personal level, in Japanese culture it’s incredibly bad, and is viewed as becoming a worthless person. So she DELIBERATELY changed her personality to become outoging and aggressive, because it’s the only way she could connect with him.

    Wanderer
    1. Yeah, what makes the show interesting for me is how they map out Uzaki’s turning point very quicky when approaching him the normal way ended up leading her to see Sakurai spend his first year of college doing nothing with his time. No clubs or networking. Pretty sure studying wasn’t in the cards. Her current behavior felt like it was a court of last resort for her to go on the extreme to get him more involved with things around him.

      Choya
      1. I get where her character is coming from, but the massive change in personality does appear to be very jarring. I think if they had shown a few scenes of her trying to get him to turn his life around, realizing it is not going to work, and then deciding to hell with it and going to the extra length to get him to do something, it might be easier for viewers to get behind. It’s almost as if she jumped straight to the last resort without an in-between.

        I think another problem is that, so far, there isn’t as much depth to her character after she had changed personalities. Her tirade at the cinema about people watching movies alone and then eating all the food without thinking at the end almost makes it seem as if she is just purely annoying with no redeeming qualities. We know she has good intentions for her persona based on the intro, but the fact that there is yet to be a kink in said persona makes it seem as if it is her real personality.

        All that being said, I’ll wait to see how future episodes play out before making a judgement on whether to continue the series.

        Taiakun
    1. I personally am on the fence so far. I get what they are trying to do with her character but not quite feeling it yet. She just feels annoying without any other depth to her character. It may change in future episodes or may have a differemt dynamic in the manga, but based solely on this episode, I can see why many people were turned off.

      I’ve never read the manga for Uzaki, but I am up-tp-date with Nagatoro. The latter’s first few chapters was also a tad heavy on the teasing, but from chapter 3 onwards, you can already start to see her having regular concern for her senpai which balances out the teasing. Uzaki so far has none of that apart from a short intro sequence. Again, it may change in future episodes.

      I still plan on following this series regardless, maybe for another 3-4 episodes at least.

      Taiakun

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