Haganai is a high school harem romance anime. The story’s main protagonist is Kodaka Hasegawa who is a tall, thin high school student with an abnormally mix of blonde and brown hair colors. Kodaka is misconstrued as a thug and degenerate from misunderstandings and his ususual hair color. One day he sees a girl who appears to be talking to herself. When he asks her about it she claims to have an imginary friend and the two argue. Kodaka learns the girl is Yozora Mikazuki, another social outcast. After the two talk Yozora gets inspired to create a club to meet other classmates called The Neighbors Club. Yozora quickly convinces the hapless Kodaka to join.
Before long, the first member joins. His name is Sena Kashiwazaki. Sena is a rich, energetic, blonde genius who is only lusted after by the boys and envied by the girls. Yozora immediately tries to have Sena out of the club. The two become quick rivals due to their controlling personalities. When Kodaka and Sena both go the water park Sena is menaced by a group of boys and Kodaka stops them. The two’s closeness adds to the natural friction between Yozora and Sena.
The bickering between Yozora and Sena is a frequent element. Yozora insulting Sena’s intelligence and calling her meat. One of the worst examples of Yozora’s cruelty comes from the Beach episode. Sena asks Yozora to put sunscreen on her back and Yozora instead puts her foot on her back to hurt her.
Throughout the first season Kodaka has flashbacks of a childhood friend of his. Kodaka remembers that the two used to play every day. The day before Kodaka’s family moves he tells his friend to show up where they always did but he was already gone. Feeling guilty since that day Kodaka doesn’t realize that his childhood friend is closer than he thinks.
Two other members join the club. One of them is an androgeous admirer of Kodaka’s named Yukimura Kusunoki. Yukimura wants to become Kodaka’s servant and Yozora quickly convices Yukimura to join the club. Yozora encourages Yukimura to dress up as a maid and attend to her every wish to be a member of the club.
The other member of the club is a girl genius named Rika Shiguma. Kodaka saves her from a fire she causes in her lab. After saving her she meets the members of the club and decides o join. High on intelligence but low on social skills, Rika has inherited a perverted nature that would give most male perverted characters a run for their money.
Another member to join is Kodaka’s younger sister Kobato. Kobato a huge fan of a fictionalized Japanese anime dresses up and acts as a vampire. Sena also wishes for Kobato to become her little sister and the odd obession Sena has with her is played for laughs. Kobato frequently argues with another club member Maria who sees herself as Kodaka’s younger sister.
The show is a high school harem comedy filled with mostly slice of life episodes. The show covers the school festival and the beach but changes it up with a karaoke and virtual reality episode. The second season also has the club shoot a movie. (Thankfully it’s not an actual arc like the second season of The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya)
The second season continues with the slice of life episodes but a unexpected reveal is given. It turns out that Sena also knew Kodaka when the two were kids. Apparently they signed a marriage contract as children in a deal from their parents who used to be business partners. Both try and play off the contract as no big deal but the other members quickly grow suspicious in their change of behavior.
Haganai is a series that doesn’t shy away from fan service. Most of the time not bothering to tie it into the narrative but rather, instead having it serve as a distraction. The show does cut down on the fan service as it goes along, though. Haganai has completed both its first and second seasons with the manga currently ongoing. As the series stands now, the first and second seasons get a solid recommendation.
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