What’s it about ?
Harem comedy, although the accent’s clearly more on the “comedy” side of the scale. Adaptation of a series of light novels (which are also known under the bizarre acronym of “Haganai“).
The premise : a group of loners decide to form a high school club together, because it’s the only way for them to get friends. Basically, think Haruhi Suzumiya without the paranormal aspect.
Kodaka, our male lead, and a transfer student since one month. Made the worst first impression EVER by arriving so late on his first day that it looked liked he was assaulting the teacher when he rushed into the classroom. It doesn’t help that he has natural halfbreed blonde hair ; everyone thinks he’s a delinquent. As a consequence, he has no friends.
Yozora, a taciturn girl with no friends. Kodaka surprises her alone in a classroom talking with her “air friend”, which is works about the same way as an air guitar (yes, it’s as pathetic as it sounds, although Kodaka doesn’t have much ground for criticism given that I’m pretty sure he did the same thing in one of his flashbacks). When she and Kodaka discuss their situation, and note that joining a club this late in the schoolyear won’t work to make friends. So she decides to create her own (with a coded message in the poster that explains exactly what the club is about), and forcefully enrolls Kodaka in it.
Sena, the first applicant, who also has no friends. This might seem surprising, considering she’s beautiful, has great grades, is super-awesomely athletic, and the daughter of the school’s owner ; the problem is that all the boys become complete sycophants around her, and all the girls hate her for exactly the reasons stated above. This includes Yozora, who does her best to try and deny her entrance into the clubroom.
Presumably, more characters are going to join shortly, if the credits sequences and the OVA are any indication.
Wait, does this share a character designer with Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko ? *Checks* Indeed it does ; I knew I’d recognized this way of depicting girls’ arousal/sexyness/blushing/whatever-it-is. Anyway, this looks perfectly okay, but visuals aren’t really the point.
What did I think of it ?
I didn’t came into this expecting much (especially after the ultra-confusing, in-media-res OVA with inexplicable Index cameo), but this surprised me by how genuinely funny it was. The characters display actual wit, and have great chemistry together. The comedic timing is impeccable. It’s also surprisingly light on romance so far ; the focus is clearly on the characters’ psychology and their interplay. This pleases me.
A very pleasant surprise.