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"Recruiting Friends."
Agenda of the Neighbor's Club

Kodaka Hasegawa is a second-year transferee to a Catholic school, St. Chronica Academy, and as always, he finds it nigh-impossible to make friends due to his natural blonde hair (inherited from his late English mother) which makes him pass for a Delinquent. One day, he runs into the equally solitary and very abrasive Yozora Mikazuki while she speaks to her Imaginary Friend, "Tomo-chan". They decide that the best way to improve their social situation is to found a club -- Neighbors Club -- to help them make friends and learn social skills.

Joining them are five others -- arrogant school idol Sena Kashiwazaki, daughter of the school chairman, whose popularity with boys naturally earn other girls' ire; Yukimura Kusunoki, an extremely effeminate freshman who joins in the hopes that Kodaka teaches him how to be more manly; Rika Shiguma, a genius (and perverted) freshman; Kobato Hasegawa, Kodaka's younger sister and a second year middle-schooler with an obsession for goth culture and vampires; and Maria Takayama, a 10-year-old nun and teacher, who also serves as club advisor.

One can only hope that these seven social losers can get their act together before the club implodes from their nigh-irreconcilable eccentricities.

Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai ("I Don't Have Many Friends") -- also known by its canonical portmanteau name "Haganai" -- is an ongoing 2009 light novel series written by Yomi Hirasaka and illustrated by Buriki (of Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko fame), with a 2010 manga adaptation illustrated by Itachi and an anime adaption by AIC which aired as part of the Fall 2011 Anime lineup. Said anime has been picked up for North American home video release by FUNimation.

The series also inspired three spinoff mangas: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Plus, a retelling of the story where Sena is the first girl Kodaka runs into and is a co-founder of the Club with Kate; Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Anthology, a series of one-shot stories revolving around the club; and Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Shobon!, a series of one-shots revolving around each club member and his/her relation to the Club.


This series does have many examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: From the Drama CD, Kobato once utters "Guard Skill: Hand Sonic", and Maria once quoted Touma's Catch Phrase word for word, culminating in a headbite akin to that often done by Index (who shares the same voice actress as her). The Shinryaku! Ika Musume Shout Outs are a combination of this and Ascended Meme, due to the Ika Musume parody in To Aru Majutsu no Index-tan Episode 3.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Not that he realizes it, but Kodaka at the very least has this going for him. Yukimura goes without saying, putting his gender aside. Surprisingly, Yozora is also quite susceptible; while playing an otome game, she gets bored to tears by all the nice pretty boys until she ran across a delinquent character -- who looks like Kodaka, no less.
    • Further reinforced in that chapter by the rest of the girls also agreeing with Yozora that the 'delinquent' in the otome game was more to their tastes, promptly shooting down Kodaka's reservations about dating that character.
  • All Just a Dream: Chapter 1 of the Light Novel, Chapter 1 of the manga, and Episode 0 of the anime -- which is absolutely hilarious in light of the series' premise. Then Kodaka wakes up and it all goes downhill from there.
  • Alternate Continuity: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Plus centers on the idea of "what if Kodaka ran into Sena first instead of Yozora".
  • An Adventurer Is You: Sena believes in this trope, to the point of naming galge protagonists (usually male) after herself.
  • Animal Theme Naming: The Hasegawa siblings' names translate to "Little Hawk" (Kodaka) and "Little Dove" (Kobato).
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Kobato, or at least that's how Kodaka sees her.
    • In a surrogate way, Maria is also this to Yozora.
  • Anti-Hero: In almost any other series, Yozora and Sena would be this, no questions asked, for obvious reasons.
  • Anything That Moves: Rika's as close to this as one can get sans the sex -- finding mecha, arthropods, and Kodaka all sexually attractive, and having attempted to kiss jellyfish and planarians in the past.
  • Art Shift: Lots of it in the manga.
  • Balanced Harem: Yozora is the first girl Kodaka interacted with and is his fellow co-founder of the Neighbors Club, as well as his Forgotten Childhood Friend with whom he's reconnecting; Sena displays the most romantic interest in him and later becomes his fiancee; Kodaka displays the most attraction to Yukimura, much to his confusion and horror. Any affection from Rika is ambiguous, owing to her overly sexual antics and Kodaka's disdain for them. On the non-romantic side Kobato and Maria engage in childish squabbles over Kodaka's brotherly attention.
  • Beach Episode: Episode 10.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For/Brick Joke: In Episode 8, Yozora expresses distaste for popular people. She also extends her rant to a pool scene from "St. Joe's Academy Tale", a galge Sena was playing at that moment, claiming had she made the game, she'd make it "godly" by adding a Downer Ending where a shark appears and kills all characters. A few seconds and one bad choice by Sena later, her galge dives straight into a nightmarish Sudden Downer Ending featuring that very scenario. Even Yozora was genuinely horrified at that instant before regaining her composure and claiming it is "godly". Rika remembers that the game was notorious for bad endings where the hero and all his romantic interests die in the most horrific ways should the player mess up with even a single flag, even as Sena angrily breaks the disc.
  • Betty and Veronica: Yozora and Sena
  • Big Brother Attraction: Kobato adores her brother (not that she says it out loud) and gets jealous when he starts spending a lot of time at the club (although she ultimately joins).
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Kodaka rescued Sena from a group of thugs... then chews her out for provoking them after he saves her.
  • Big Eater: Maria.
  • Big Sister Bully: Yozora towards Maria, in a surrogate way.
  • Bishonen: Unusually for a harem protagonist, Kodaka definitely fits, what with his good looks and blonde hair. The series also gives a realistic take on his hair, giving him a natural dirty blond/brown hair pattern rather than the straight-up bleached look that delinquents go for. Not that most of his schoolmates can tell the difference.
  • Bland-Name Product: Tokimeite Memory Days
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: With a chapter about the members of the Neighbor's Club studying and practicing traditional comedy techniques so that they can be funny people to hang around, it was inevitable this would appear.
  • Boobs of Steel: Every single time Sena plays an RPG, she is the melee attacker.
  • Breakfast Club: A band of seven attractive social-idiots, outcasts and sociopaths bound in an attempt to gain friendship.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "Did you forget what happened last chapter?"
    • A separate example by Rika in Chapter 16 of the manga, which also features some Breaking the Fourth Wall via the narration:

 Narration Frame: "...Kodaka suddenly jumps onto Rika, roughly embracing her and stealing her lips..."

Kodaka: "No I didn't! Also, stop making up the narration!"

  • Broken Ace: Sena. She is wealthy, comes from a powerful, respected family, beautiful, fawned over by all the boys and makes all the girls jealous, extremely gifted in both athletics and other areas (Rika at one point wonders how Sena is able to run so fast without her breasts slowing her down), ridiculously intelligent (she is able to memorize exam questions and their answers in seconds), and has a loving, if quirky, family. However, despite all this, she finds herself unable to make friends, and is constantly shallow, arrogant, and cruel even when she attempts to make some by joining the Neighbors Club.
  • Broken Bird: Yozora. As the series progresses, it becomes more and more clear that her cold, self-centered personality is nothing more than a facade to hide her true self- that of a lonely, depressed and deeply insecure girl who just want to have friends but doesn't know how to make them,
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Sena is a subversion- she may beautiful, smart, a fast learner, athletic and very dedicated, but her ego as big as her breasts gets on the nerves of a lot of the members, especially Yozora.. Rika plays it straighter -- she gets away with her eccentricities for being a genius and doesn't mind being alone (the only reason she's even in the Club is to get close to her "savior" Kodaka).
  • But Not Too Foreign: Kodaka (and his younger sister Kobato) is half-English, giving him a Japanese face and blonde hair, which makes everyone else assume he dyed it and is thus some Delinquent.
  • Buxom Is Better: Inverted, at least within the confines of the Neighbor Club -- Yozora constantly makes fun of Sena's big breasts and even gives her the nickname "Meat" because of it.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Yozora cannot muster the courage to tell Kodaka that she is "Sora", his long-lost childhood friend, because she's frustrated that he doesn't recognize her (which is justifiable, because she has already grown her hair long during those ten years they never met), at least until he finally does after seeing her on the first day of classes after summer break with her hair cut short. Later, she reveals to him that she failed to meet up with him on his last day at Tooya City ten years ago because she was too scared to appear to him dressed as a girl.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Sena's father, Tenma.w
  • Cargo Ship: In-Universe, Rika is a fangirl for mecha-on-mecha pairings.
  • Casting Gag: The casting department for the drama CDs and the anime must have clearly thought of Kuroneko and Index when they drafted Kana Hanazawa and Yuka Iguchi to voice Kobato and Maria, respectively.
    • Also, getting Kanae Ito to voice Sena the Kobato-chaser, which brings to mind Sanae the Ika Musume-chaser.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Yozora's horror story about a girl who was killed by a ghost for betraying her friend (and driving her to suicide) over a boy they like. Later that night, Kodaka can't fall asleep over the whole "betrayal of friends" thing, wondering if "Sora", his only childhood friend, felt the same way about him when they fail to meet on the day Kodaka has to move as promised.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Six out of seven members of the Neighbors Club show signs of this in varying degrees of intensity and frequency. This makes the seventh -- Kodaka -- stick out like a sore thumb in his normalcy, his Delinquent image notwithstanding.
    • Taking the cake, however, is Maria, who's clueless even for a ten-year-old kid, such as believing Yozora's "Bible verses" that coerce her into lending her favorite naptime room to the Club (and not learning the truth until it was too late) and swimming naked in the pool upon Yozora's suggestion as "cure" for "vampirism" after Kobato bit her hand (cue punishment from her superior later that day).
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Most of the time.
  • Cringe Comedy: To prove that Eroge are "art" and not porn, Yozora makes Sena read out loud the dialogue of an H-Scene Yozora and Kodaka walked in on Sena playing through. It turns out to be somewhat different than the beautiful, lovely consummation of the protagonists' love for each other Sena claimed.

 Sena: "Like I can do this crap, dammit!" (Runs off crying)

  Mecha: "Ahh! It's going to break! My DT-field is going to break!"

 Kodaka: "How about you, Maria? Think you can pull it off?"

Maria: "Ya! Despite my appearance, I'm a longtime actor."

Kodaka: "Oh, that's a surprise."

Maria: "At one of the schools I used to go to, I was once told 'It's creepy how a kid like you always wears a fake, shallow smile' by one of my classmates!"

Kodaka: "O-Oh, is that right?"

Maria: "Ya!"

 Sena: "Well, when I tell the guys in my class I'll step on them, or let them lick my shoe, they'll do everything I say."

 00: Black Hotpot Gives Girls a Bad Smell -- 闇鍋は美少女が残念な臭い[1] (;´∀`)

01: We Can't Make Any Friends -- 僕達は友達が出来ない[2] (´・ω・`)

02: There's No God in the Electric World -- 電脳世界は神様が居ない[3] ( ゚Д゚)

03: There Are No Flags in the Swimming Pool -- 市民プールはフラグがない[4] (;´Д`)

04: Underclassmen Don't How How to Hold Back -- 後輩達は遠慮がない[5] Σ(゜ロ゜;

05: Now the SAGA is Locked On in Full Battle -- 今度はSAGAがガチな戦い[6] ヽ(`Д´)ノ

06: The Karaoke Box Doesn't Have Many Customers -- カラオケボックスは客が少ない[7] (つд⊂)

07: My Cell Phone Has Few Calls -- 携帯電話は着信が少ない[8] _
— ̄, 

08: No School Swimsuits This Time -- スクール水着は出番がない[9] \(^o^)/

09: The Board Chairman's Memories are Painful -- 理事長は追想が切ない[10] (-_-)

10: No One Sleeps at Training Camp -- 合宿は皆が寝ない[11] ヽ(゚∀゚)ノ

11: You See, Girls Wearing Yukata are Extremely Cute -- 女子は浴衣姿がな、超かわいい[12] (゚∀゚)

12: We Don't Have Many Friends -- 僕達は友達が少ない[13] (`・ω・´)
  • Imaginary Friend: Kodaka first meets Yozora when he comes across her talking to her "air friend" (she explains it as the friend version of an air guitar), "Tomo-chan".
  • Important Haircut: After accidentally burning her hair at a festival at the end of summer break, Yozora cuts her hair short upon returning to school. At this point Kodaka finally recognizes her as "Sora", his Forgotten Childhood Friend.
  • Improbable Age: Maria is a teacher, nun, and ten years old.
  • Innocent Fanservice Girl: Thirteen-year-old Kobato has no qualms being seen by Kodaka naked (if you consider that Fanservice).
  • In-Series Nickname: Sena's "Meat", given by Yozora, on account of her Gag Boobs. She's actually happy with the nickname, because nobody has given her one before.
    • For that matter, the series itself has a canonical portmanteau name: "Haganai" (はがない), derived from "Boku wa Tomodachi ga sukunai" ("wa" is written as "ha" in Japanese). It appears on some Eye Catches tattooed on the girls, and its characters are used in episode titles for the anime.
    • Kodaka and Yozora called each other Taka and Sora respectively.
  • Insistent Terminology: Kobato would rather be called "Reisys V. Felicity Sumeragi".
  • Intelligence Equals Isolation: Rika. The only reason she's even in St. Chronica is because Tenma, Sena's father and chairman of the school board, specifically drafted her to enroll in order to raise the school's prestige.
  • It's What I Do: Don't bother calling down Rika for being a pervert. She's proud of it.
  • Japanese School Club
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Yozora and Sena, especially in later volumes.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise
  • Lightning Glare: Yozora and Sena do this in the Opening Sequence of the anime.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Rika is rarely seen without her lab coat, Kobato is almost always on her vampire cosplay and Yukimura goes everywhere on his maid outfit. And of course, Maria is a nun.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Sena. Whether her horrible attitude is caused by this or the cause of this has yet to be shown.
  • Lonely Together: The Neighbor's Club's raison d'etre.
  • Loveable Sex Maniac: Rika.

  Rika: "Yes, Rika is a pervert. Rika thinks about naughty things day and night. So what about it?"

  • Male Gaze: The anime has one too many, including the opening.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Yozora slapped Maria twice, then gave her passages from The Bible that doesn't even exist to coerce her into lending her sleeping room to the Neighbors Club.
    • As revealed in Episode 12, however, Maria thrice turned down her polite offers to lend the room for the Club's use, calling her a "poop" in the process, prompting her to take matters to her own hands.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Poor Kobato, having her face smushed in Sena's ample assets inside a crowded bus. She doesn't enjoy it in the least bit, but many others out there would have loved to be in her position.
  • Meaningful Name: Yozora means night sky, Sena means starlet. Coincidence?
  • Mismatched Eyes: Kobato... er, Reisys V. Felicity Sumeragi, has a red eye and a blue eye. Though it is just her using contacts as part of the costume she wears due to her persistent delusion that she's a vampire.
  • Mook Horror Show: During the RPG Episode.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sena -- cranked Up to Eleven in the anime.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Transferring cell phone addresses. Kodaka and Yozora were so thrilled at having their first contacts outside home (though the manual way, both being not so tech-savvy) Rika, who easily shared hers with Yukimura through infrared, admits she feels as though she's "behind the times". This does not sit well with Sena who, for such a rich kid, does not have a cell phone.
  • New Transfer Student: Kodaka is a second-year high school transferee. So does Kobato, who's in second-year junior high.
  • No Social Skills: Many chapters revolve around the members of the Neighbors Club consciously attempting to learn some social skill/s, usually at Yozora's suggestion.
  • The Ojou: Sena, of the arrogant kind. And a Fallen Princess of sorts because of overdoing it.
  • Older Than She Looks: Kobato looks like a ten-year-old; she's actually thirteen.
  • One of the Boys: Yozora was one as a kid.
  • Only Sane Man: Kodaka stands as the Neighbor Club's sole voice of reason. All his clubmates don't have friends due to their unusual and/or unpleasant personalities -- he just has his appearance to blame.
  • Or So I Heard: Sena about doujinshi.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Reisys V. Felicity Sumeragi (mistakenly known to some as Kobato Hasegawa, Kodaka's younger sister of three years) drinks tomato juice (and resorts only to Pepsi whenever it's unavailable), claims to be thousands of years old (though that doesn't stop her from carrying around a patchwork stuffed rabbit), and believes vampires already had an advanced magical culture while humans were still cavemen. She also claims to have a weakness to cold water -- not that it stops her from doing well in swimming class (which presumably involves a lot of cold water), though, claiming she "uses a lot of magic" to adapt. And then there's those moments where her facade completely breaks and she devolves into cute little Kobato, speaking in Kyuushuu dialect and calling Kodaka "An-chan" instead of her usual "my kindred".
  • Parental Abandonment: Kodaka and Kobato's English mother Airi is dead, and their father Hayato works in America, leaving Kodaka to take care of Kobato all by himself.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Yozora. Lampshaded by Kodaka.
  • Perspective Flip: The first half of Episode 12 shows the events from Kodaka's transfer until the formation of the Neighbors Club from Yozora's perspective, where it is revealed that she instantly recognized him as "Taka", but she Cannot Spit It Out because Kodaka can't recognize her in return as "Sora".
  • Player Killing: Sena and Yozora can't really play nice.
  • Potty Emergency: The end of Episode 10 has Sena coming to Kodaka and Yukimura's room and asking the former to escort her to the bathroom. He'd eventually do the same for Kobato and Maria, then kicks Rika out when it turns out she just wants to sleep with him. And when he goes out for the bathroom himself, he encounters Yozora at the doorstep.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Bitch" gets said a lot in Episode 2, while Yozora and Sena prejudge a video game character as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Product Placement: Whenever they don't use a Bland-Name Product it's fairly obvious as this (or maybe the author just hoping to be sent one for free for his service). While many of the games like "Tokimeite Memorial Days" and so on are blanded, they explicitly play Monster Hunter and use PSPs, and one game they're talking about even gets a little out-of-panel "Out now!" Shout-Out.
  • Black Comedy Rape: The "relay novel" (see Round Robin).
  • Rapunzel Hair: Yozora until she cut it
  • Real Men Wear Pink: The reason Yozora used to convince Yukimura to dress like a maid.
  • Reality Ensues: The last episode of NEXT shows that giving someone a "Reason You Suck" Speech is not a good idea when you have similar flaws yourself.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sena is the red, Yozora is the blue. In between is Kodaka, who stands as the blue to their red.
  • "Ride of the Valkyries": Yozora hums this to herself shortly before blowing Sena up in a game.
  • Round Robin: The club members try their hands at a "relay novel". It's a train wreck.
  • RPG Episode: TV episodes 2 and 5 and chapter 17 of the manga, as well as a volume in the light novel.
  • Running Gag: Yozora says or does something cruel to Sena. Sena yells childish insults back at her and runs away crying. Usually happens once an episode.
  • Second Year Protagonist: The main trio -- Kodaka, Yozora and Sena -- complete with two underclassmen (Yukimura and Rika), a junior-high kid (Kobato), a ten-year-old advisor (Maria), and no need to worry about graduation, though no third-years of note.
  • Serious Business: Sena and her games.
    • Exchanging cell phone numbers for Kodaka and Yozora.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Kodaka's "I'm Scared of Manjuus".
  • Shout-Out: The members of the Neighbors Club may not have many friends, but the show does have many Shout-Outs.
  • Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Yozora and Sena all the way.
    • To a lesser extent, Kobato and Maria, playing on their Dark vs. Light (i.e., vampire vs. nun) dichotomy.
  • Slasher Smile: Kodaka's smile appears to be this to other people.
  • So Bad It's Good: Invoked In-Universe in the third Light Novel with Rika describing "St. Joe's Academy Tale" as this word for word, being a lighthearted galge notorious for plunging straight into outright nightmarish Downer Endings where both the hero and ALL his potential love interests die in the most horrifying ways should the player mess up with even a single flag.
  • Sophisticated As Hell: Rika in the fourth novel.

 Rika: "Oh, yeah, now Rika is supposed to behave in a more refined way. Would you care for a fuck, sempai?"

 Sena: "...There are two types of women. Ones that I can get along with, and all the other bitches."

Notes

  1. Yaminabe wa Bishōjo ga Zannen na Nioi
  2. Bokutachi wa Tomodachi ga Dekinai
  3. Dennō Sekai wa Kamisama ga Inai
  4. Shimin Pūru wa Furagu ga Nai
  5. Kōhai-tachi wa Enryo ga Nai
  6. Kondo wa SAGA ga Gachi na Tatakai
  7. Karaoke Bokkusu wa Kyaku ga Sukunai
  8. Keitai Denwa wa Chakushin ga Sukunai
  9. Sukūru Mizugi wa Deban ga Nai
  10. Rijichō wa Tsuisō ga Setsunai
  11. Gasshuku wa Minna ga Nenai
  12. Joshi wa Yukatasugata ga na, Chō Kawaii
  13. Bokutachi wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai
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