「なんだかんだ言って 有名なゲームは大体おもしろい」 (Nandakanda Itte Yuumei na Geemu wa Daitai Omoshiroi)
“Say What You Want; Famous Games are Usually Fun”
Winter’s true romance in Horimiya may still be a day away, but never think we cannot get a bit of preparation beforehand courtesy of Jaku-Chara. School-life, romance, and the always ugly (if perpetually informative) phase of growing up, this series has it all, and I dare say it’s going to be a fun ride.
As per preview enlightenment, Jaku-Chara can largely be thought of as an Oregairu–ReLIFE mix with some NetoYome gamer flavour. Main man Fumiya (Satou Gen) is the typical introverted shut-in, hating anything and everything to do with actual life while getting his kicks in via the online game
Super Smash Bros Attack Families. Of which he just happens to be Japan’s top player under the handle nanashi. It’s the usual setup many similar series utilize right down to dismissive classmates, and more so once main girl Aoi (Kanemoto Hisako) enters the picture. Yes, she’s the ubiquitous popular girl perfect at everything from sports to academics and social involvement, but she’s also Attack Families’ second-best Japanese player NO NAME. After finding out who nanashi actually is quelle surprise at her distaste which in turn quickly leads to a desire to help turn his fortunes around. And from there, well, you can guess where things are headed plot-wise. After all, getting a girlfriend as a medium-term goal for Fumiya certainly sets the stakes high.
What will inevitably make or break Jaku-Chara, however, will be the characters, their chemistry, and development, and right now at least the quality remains unclear. Fumiya may bear similarity to Oregairu’s Hikigaya (albeit in now building up a public image versus tearing them down), but it remains to be seen how well he can grow and whether that growth sticks. Challenges and setbacks are to be expected for example, but will Fumiya fall into the trap of repeating them in order to drag out an arc or the story? Likewise, will Aoi remain her quirky and somewhat duplicitous self, or can we anticipate some tangible backstory explanation and personal development on her end as well? And what about the romance angle set to quickly become front and centre? While I don’t expect Jaku-Chara to fall on its face (have enough knowledge of the light novels for that belief), the adaptation hatchet is not always precise, especially when ongoing source material is a thing.
In the end a few more episodes will definitely be needed to get a proper handle on what Jaku-Chara will be about, but considering what’s on tap thus far, I dare say this introspective romcom will be a fun winter watch.
It might be a legitimate part of the story, but Aoi just popping out the mask and getting Fumiya to wear it all the time for smiling practice is ironically on point given current Corona-chan shenanigans.
ED: 「あやふわアスタリスク」 (Ayafuwa Asterisk) by DIALOGUE+
I for one welcome Jaku-chara’s premise as being the anthesis to the typical isekai power fantasy, and in particular, the antidote to isekai power fantasies with a degenerate main character. I’ve watched the first two episodes of Mushoku Tensei, and I have a feeling Rudeus Grayrat, the main character of that series, will stay a degenerate for the rest of his life. It is absolutely an unapologetic power fantasy. In Jaku-chara, Fumiya has to actually learn social skills and how to function like a normal person instead of staying as a guy who doesn’t have to change himself and instantly has OP powers when he gets transported to another world, getting all the girls in the process.
Jaku-Chara isn’t too surprising on that front IMO, there’s plenty of series (usually school-life or romance based) which delve into similar concepts, of which Oregairu is the most well-known. It’s just the opposite side of the coin, in place of vicariously experiencing veritable invulnerability, we get nostalgic catharsis.
I liked this one. The medium goal came a little unexpected for me, but it’s a romcom we’re watching after all. So, makes sense.
And they’ve already introduced Fumiya’s imouto, which makes allusions to Oregairu even stronger.
It’s going to be heavily compared to Oregairu no matter what, although I think it’ll be different enough to stand on its own. The romance angle in particular will likely surprise a few people.
I have to admit that the idea that a person is a failure or a loser if they don’t dress the way so many do, and are sociable, and that they need to be “fixed” kinda rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t think it was the show’s intention to come off that way, but it still kinda made me uncomfortable. My enjoyment of this show will probably come down to how heavy handed they are in their opinions that happiness is based on being a social butterfly and having a girlfriend, but the way she acted/judged him when they first met, very much came off to me that SHE was the awful person not him, and she of all people is going to fix him?
I’m not opposed to him changing if that’s what he wants, but if it’s her being self superior and making him conform to what she thinks he should be, then I don’t think that I can sit through multiple episodes of the main character being talked down to for not being an outgoing person.
I’ll give this some time to see if they back off some on the social arrogance and shaming angle, but otherwise this may not be for me.
The manga handled it way worse, the paneling, perspectives and drawings were much judgemental. I had a really hard time to follow it because of how disrespectful and classist that first chapter was and sometimes I still want the MC to shut her.
At least here she looks like a sassy girl who hasn’t tact but has good intentions, in the manga she is more like a spoiled bratty princess which graces the MC with her knowledge about customs and manners because how could she leave this brutish otaku alone.
It’s a good story and certainly brings fresh air to romcoms with nerds or introverted people and challenges them instead of cuddling them in the comfort zone, but god she can be annoying sometimes.
And of course, is all to reconvert the otaku into a proper and productive member of the japanese society, which that is another huge bone to chew but that’s another discussion.
To the series’ credit Aoi has a reason for acting like she does, but yeah, her personality and beliefs are going to be divisive throughout. The one positive is this adaptation is of the light novels and not the manga.
Both Hinami and Misuzawa are extremely bland and boring in the LN, both get worse with each volume released and are unanimously considered the two worst characters by LN fanbase. It is therefore not surprising that Hinami beside Mizusawa are the two most hated characters by LN fanbase.
I don’t know why but I feel cringe when watching this
Likely because teenage years are always cringe 😛
Wow this episode was a lot better than what the story setting led me to believe.
To me the hook was the list of small/medium goals at the end: totally on-point from a gamer’s perspective yet pretty decent! As an old hardcore gamer I totally would have liked to watch this series when I was a teen.
My “Not too bad, let’s continue” list this season is way longer than expected.
Welcome to my life haha, there’s a lot I want to watch this season and potentially cover, but time and real life stuff is interfering tremendously XD
In real life, the girl would be like: “Hey, man, why don’t you hang out with me and my friends next weekend?” – And then the guy would start being more sociable.
In anime life: “Okay, I have a master plan, I’m gonna write all the details on this board and, at the end of it, you’re gonna have a girlfriend! Life is a game and you’re gonna beat it!”