Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! - season 1
Shinichi Sakurai seems to appreciate the loner lifestyle, or so he says. Unfortunately for him, he's caught the attention of Uzaki Hana, and she seems dead set on hanging out with him every opportunity he gets. Is Sakurai going to end up regaining his soliteray life, or will he end up enjoying the interaction with this little social gremlin?
Hoo boy, did I go into this show with mixed feelings. A manga review at ANN gave it a rather positive impression as long as you could stomach a few obnoxious starter chapters, but their season rundown had almost all of the reviewers hating the anime. But before any of you go "Well... manga and anime, two different things"; I asked, and was reassured that the anime was very close to the manga.
Whatever you as an audience will feel about this show is most likely going to hinge on how you feel about one of the main lead, the titular (no pervy pun intended) Uzaki Hana. She's a short, ridiculously busty college freshman who, upon attending said college, immediately latches on to Shinichi Sakurai with the intent of ending his "loner lifestyle". She's an odd mix of rude and considerate, and if I have to give her one thing, she is the main instigator of a lot of the best moments in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! as well as some of the not so good ones.
The main problem of the show, however, is that most of the comedic moments just don't work. While I do appreciate that Uzaki has a sarcastic bone in her body -- honestly, some of her lines are downright hilarious -- she still kind of come across as a bit of a jerk and a stalker at times. It's particularly interesting that she more or less constantly makes fun of Sakurai for having no friends when we never really get to meet any of Uzaki's friends, if she even has any. Yes, she makes friends with Sakurai's coworker Ami Asai, but that hardly counts at this juncture. Yes, she is shown to have at least one in the flashback from when they were in high school, but my point is that she spends so much of her time trying to socialize with Sakurai that I kind of doubt she has any other friends at all.
I do appreciate that Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! doesn't present Uzaki as some kind of braindead dingbat, at least, even if she's hardly a genius either. While a sweet and gentle personality can be nice with the right kind of character, romantic comedies generally don't have the best track record with those. (The sole exception that comes to mind being Ai Yori Aoshi.) Uzaki could stand to be a lot less rude, certainly, but her level of teasing isn't entirely outside the scope of realism. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! even had the decency to show when either she or Sakurai went too far with their verbal digs or thoughtless comments, and for what it's worth, they do have each other's backs when the chips are down. Again, this show is what it is, but I'll give them some credit for generally doing a good job of portraying Uzaki as a gremlin with a heart of gold on a somewhat human level. If I were to commend the show on one thing, then that would be how it actually makes us sympathize and even like someone who seems dead set on finding any excuse to laugh at the expense of her bestie for the restie.
Which is more than can be said about Sakurai. The guy is more of a collection of kneejerk reactions and excuses, and he lives in the most depressingly empty apartment I've ever seen in any anime. (And please... if there are any worse examples than this, I don't need examples.) While I fully understand and sympathize with his desire for some alone time, it's kind of hard for me to take the character seriously when his dialogue on the subject sounds more than a bit tsundere. While their bickering doesn't reach Two Car levels of aggravation for me, it can be a bit tiring having to endure it throughout most of the show. Yes, the dialogue being a bit more snappy than the average romcom anime does help, but it can also only do so much in the long haul. Basically, if Laid-Back Camp's Rin is an example of how to do an introverted character right, then this is definitely how not to do it.
Also, Uzaki-chan has large boobs. That's the joke in itself. Yes, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! does do the "accidental breast grab" joke twice, but in a weird twist, Sakurai never really realized that's what he was doing either time, and Uzaki never slugged or yelled at him over it. (Mostly because of course she knew it was by accident, and it only happened because she just had to get in front of him and try to mess with him somehow, and that backfired. But by and large, most of the gags centered around Uzaki's boobs is that she has them, and that they are indeed very, very large. Even if you've never seen the show or read the manga; if you've seen any art of the main character in question, it's highly likely that it would be a piece where she's wearing her sweater/long-sleeved T-shirt with the words "sugoi dekai" emblazoned across the chest. I've always thought "sugoi" was more of an exclamation that translates more closely to something like "wow", but the most common translation of "sugoi dekai" I've seen in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! is "super huge". And in a world where Ami -- an almost supremely busty woman herself -- can get envious of someone's bust size, then it would have to be Uzaki's.
Granted, the joke of pointing out Uzaki's cup size isn't the only one that gets repeated way beyond the threshold of exhaustion. Ami and her father, Akihiko, consider themselves "professional people observators" -- which is part of the reason why Akihiko started his café in the first place -- and they take great delight in seeing anything playing out between Sakurai and Uzaki. They have this thing where they mime eating rice, which, even when described, makes no sense. Later, when Sakurai meets Uzaki's mom, that leads into a long string of misunderstandings where she thinks Sakurai might be coming on to her. The whole thing starts when a cat jumps into her lap, right underneath her substantial chestage. This prompts Sakurai to stare at the cat with a goofy smile on his face, but mom things he's staring at her chest instead. To her defense, it's not like Uzaki Tsuki -- which is her name -- even thinks he's a huge pervert over it or anything; most likely, her personal taste in daytime television entertainment is probably coloring her thoughts on the subject.
Lastly, on our roster of kinda-regulars, we have Sakaki Itsuhito. He's Sakurai's friend, at least on the surface, and his role in all of this seems to be very actively trying to get Sakurai and Uzaki to hook up. The relationship he pushes for is definitely physical, but it doesn't seem like he's against a romantic connection as well, if his target couple wasn't comprised of a socially inept loner and a troll gremlin, that is. What puts him above many best friends in other romcom/harems is that he's not an unsettling pervert with no social boundaries, but don't let that fool you into thinking his characterisation is complex or even good. It's a problem he shares with Ami; they're there to facilitate Sakurai and Uzaki's blooming relationship, and very little else about them really matter.
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! also has the audacity to come out of the gate looking like absolute ass. It has one of the least impressive opening sequences I've seen for quite a while, not helped by the mildly obnoxious opening song, and the animation is all over the place in the show itself. Even if you look past how almost every single woman in this anime are suspiciously busty, Uzaki herself looks a bit odd and out of place from an art style standpoint. Granted, her character design is easily recognizable, and to the show's credit; despite her hilariously unsubtle.... size, punctuated by her top, her personal dress style is surprisingly normal. Sugoi Dekai or not, her wardrobe consists of various normal-looking sweaters, T-shirts, skirts and pants, which brings to mind something I commented on in another show with an almost equally built lead. Basically, variety seems to trump art quality, which is a tradeoff, I guess?
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! basically has a few annoyances and a few good things going for it, with the rest of the show being kinda average. I know I kept harping about the boobs, but I have a sneaky suspicion that is part of the reason why the show became popular enough to warrant a second season in the first place. And I also know I probably sounded a bit more negative than the star rating would indicate, but despite its questionable animation and lacklustre characterisation of supporting cast, this series is also never really terrible enough to warrant for less. It's more that it kinda makes a bad first impression, but improves somewhat as it trundles along. I guess you could say that the main problem troubling Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! is that it has a much better version in Teasing Master Takagi-san. If you don't have time for both, this one is going to lose out.
I did consider giving it two stars, but with a second season on the way, let's take both of them in and then I'll let the rating speak for itself. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: Uzaki-chan is basically much to do about boobs. I do remember one shower scene that may or may not be censored in the Crunchy stream, but most of the time, it's just general romcom fanservice; chest pressed against body parts -- mostly arms or back -- or chest wobble. And two accidental breast grabs wherein the male lead didn't even know what was going on, given that he was wearing a VR headset in one case and a blindfold in the other.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Wakanime (Europe)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! - season 1 © 2020 ENGI.
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