Aharen-san wa Hakarenai Series Review – Episode 2

Have you noticed that I have a certain theme when it comes to picking cover images? I just like when Aharen and Raidou are close. In this case, it’s funnier.

Aharen-san‘s second episode was slightly within the realm of what I expected as a follow-up to the debut. While they did introduce a new character into the mix, she did not take up a majority of the episode’s runtime (thankfully). Nevertheless, the somewhat lackluster aura that transfixed itself to the prior episode is back here in full force.

Episode 2 Synopsis

Raidou and Aharen continue to subtly progress their relationship through basic kindness. Unfortunately for Aharen, there are certain things she cannot seem to get across. And when a stalker-like character enters the fray, Raidou ends up at the mercy of her innocuously threatening gaze.

Not this gaze.

Actual Review

This post, without the added wordcount of my personal history with the anime’s parent manga, will be much shorter. There just isn’t too much to say given the formula of the genre it falls under.

The episode immediately begins with a very amateurishly animated head turn of Raidou towards Aharen’s empty desk, which gave rise to a fear that such quality would continue. Thankfully, this was not the case, though this is not an endorsement of quality as much as a “Could’ve been worse” admission. T’was about on par with the first episode, with some goofiness abound to shortcut around some otherwise reasonably bland movement.

I do believe there was more opportunity for absurdist hijinks in this episode, only not by much. Some rapid movement, more comical hypothetical visions, and squishy faces. Liveliness is better than obvious muddiness, I suppose. There’s simply too much of a crutch here for the studio to lean back on the blank expressions of characters.

Friendship at work.

One alternative arrives, however: Ooshiro, the episode’s newcomer. Tall, strangely busty, and very cowardly. Her expressions and mannerisms are likely a workout for the animation team, what with her scattered movement and wildly timid reaction faces. She, at the very least, added some flexing to the anime’s otherwise somewhat sterile animation style. Alas, at a cost…

Ooshiro is very annoying. Some may find her cowardice charming and her contrast to the two leads endearing. I, however, have become very averse to loud, whiny characters who seem to be so because reasons. Her behavior, while explored to some degree later on in the manga, is more of a spectacle here. The spectacle does not work for me, and therefore makes roughly half of this episode somewhat tedious.

As for the major characters, they have a little more comedic chemistry this time around, which is nice. Not quite as funny as the debut episode, though more rambunctious in a way closer friends are. Still fairly awkward and occasionally doki-doki-inducing, but mostly harmless misunderstandings and some dips into the pool of chaos.

Boo-hoo! I’m scared because I wanna be!

By this point, would I recommend the series? Only to a specific demographic of people. Those that like a little bit of everything; its current state is that of a rom-com with slice-of-life elements and a somewhat bizarre cast. Almost like Denki-gai no Honya-san (same mangaka), only more reserved and in a school setting. This next episode should be the “final straw” in navigating whether this series is worth continuing. While I will likely continue it (as it is not egregiously bad), it won’t be for everyone.

Conclusion

A fairly standard continuation of the debut episode that goes further in some ways and regresses in others. The new character in Ooshiro is fairly grating (to me) and the comedy still feels too condensed to amuse more than for a few moments. At the very least, the continual growth of the lead characters’ relationship remains entertaining enough and the animation is getting more lively. Once again, it’s fine.

Thank you for your time. Have a great timezone.

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