After really enjoying some of the opening episodes of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, my enjoyement of the show waned rapidly the further it went on - yet, despite this, I still can't quite tear myself away from the franchise enough to avoid its second season.
Certainly, this first episode of NEXT quickly reminds me of what I grew to loathe most about the series, as a discussion about making friends via the power of comedy (and some ill-judged attempts to look funny from both Yozora and Sena) quickly turn into a discussion about trendy hairstyles and, more specifically, an opportunity to pick on the hapless Sena by Yozora and Rika as they turn her hair into a "masterpiece" - a masterpiece featuring yakisoba, amongst other things.
Following a telling off from her father, Sena at least realises that she's been made fun of, and the other girls actually apologise as a result - it's Sena who enjoys the focus of the rest of the episode too, as our protagonist Kodaka ends up visiting her for a studying session with exams coming up. The trouble is, studying isn't easy between Sena's lust for vengeance (or is it just plain lust) towards Yozora or her propensity to drift off into playing video games. With Kodaka also promising Sena's father that he'll protect her in the wake of his worries than she might be being bullied (protip to Sena's father: she is), it seems that he's just launched himself down a rather deep rabbit hole.
As sequels go, this opening episode of Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT seems to tick all of the boxes that will please existing fans - for myself, it just left me wanting a little more from the whole endeavour, with a lack of real comedy give or take one or two moments which got a smile from me. Somehow, this still feels like a series that lost its charm some time ago, and is trading on being ever-more suggestive about its characters in the wake of losing that charm to make up for it; perhaps it can go in some more interesting directions now that it's reintroduced us to its cast (which is certainly something I can't fault it for), but I fear we may continue to see ever-diminishing returns from the series as it continues.