Thursday, 7 February 2013

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT - Episode 5

It's time for another uneventful session in the Neighbours Club, albeit initially at least, in this week's Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT, providing a sense of normality that is almost a relief as Yukimura's brush with the truth about her own gender seems to have left her drive to become a "real man" unaffected.

Somehow or other, the discussion turns to gaming, and with Rika having plenty of games laying around before we know it Yozora is playing an otome game.  After dodging a vengeful bullet after Sena tries to give the main character a crazy name (Charlie Tunoku or somesuch), Yozora predictably makes a hash at wooing any of the guys within the game as she spends all of her time worrying about her characters stats.  But has she found love in the form of the game's resident delinquent?  Of course, even this ends in tears, leaving us with a glimmer of hope that Yozora might actually have learned her lesson for once.

From here, our attention turns to Rika - not just her ever-changing hairstyles, but also her proclivity to make impressive but rather dull inventions.  At Kodaka's probing, Rika sets out to make a time machine - at least so she claims.  Using Hasegawa himself as a test for the system, he finds himself propelled back into his past and finding himself with an opportunity to set right his youthful mistake in moving away without saying goodbye to his childhood friend... a friend who was, of course, really Yozora.  While all of this proves to be nothing more but a dream once it all goes rather awry, the outburst made by Kodaka during his sleep has opened up a substantial can of worms which is going to take some explaining.

Not for the first time in this series, there was a lack of any particularly sharp humour on show in this week's Haganai - its visual novel focus feels like yet another rehash of something done before, and better, by the series, and the interactions between the main cast remain similarly predictable.  Thankfully, the second half of the episode offers a little more meat upon those otherwise bare bones, giving us the prospect of returning to one of the core tenets of the show's wider concepts; something which could give the series a much-needed boost, with any luck.

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