Hell is other people. The source is My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, a misanthropic corrupted romantic comedy. Don’t let the silly name fool you, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is far from the usual drivel that has become commonplace to the genre. In fact it is actually a deadset deconstruction of the entire genre itself thrown through a wood chipper and seen through a cynic’s critical gaze. It’s a tough pill to swallow but My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU tackles the less than lighthearted dark side of high school life with a sense of vitriol glazed in hopefulness.
The series follows Hachiman Hikigaya a self confessed misanthrope who hates just about everything for no good reason other than his belief that everything hates him back just as much. He has no friends and doesn’t care to make any. His past attempts at love and friendship have all crashed and burned leaving him humiliated and more and more reclusive each and every time. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Yukino Yukinoshita, the prettiest girl in school, who also happens to be the smartest too. However despite her positive qualities, Yukino has been isolated from others and much like Hachiman, has no friends.
These two opposites who have more in common than they would ever admit are brought together when they are forced by their teacher to coexist in the Services Club, a helpers club that must take on odd jobs for students of the school. Over the course of the series new members find their way in the club and the two hapless teens wind up makings some friends along the way.
Where My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU succeeds is its brilliant characterization, giving true soul to these characters, bringing them to life in a big way. Their personal journeys are well explored and developed giving the cast a sense of history to support their current situations. I personally found the character of Hachiman to be quite a standout. While the main protagonist in these series is usually forgettable and cliched, Hachiman is truly unique and makes an impression with his loathsome personality which hides a sensitive self beneath it.
At just about every turn the series flips tropes on their head and exploring familiar topics from a different angle. Interesting to note was the lack of fan-service throughout the series. The lack of fan-service allows these characters to stand on their own two feet as more than sex objects and rather as actual people. I found it to be truly refreshing and an interesting take on a genre that has been well trodden.
The visual aspect of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU has been well handled by Brains Base who just keep hitting home runs aesthetically in recent times. The animation is gorgeous to say the least and the character designs are all quite distinctive and particularly the design of Hachiman leaves a lasting impression, specifically his ‘dead fish’ stare.
As for the soundtrack, My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU has an appropriate score, if anything it is a little too traditional for a series that sets out to break down the walls that define the genre, but at the very least they do a good job backing up the action on screen and giving the right tone and atmosphere. The opening and ending themes are both solid songs despite being predictable J-Pop ballads for a slice of life series.
Madman Entertainment’s release of the series is pretty good across the board but unfortunately lacks an English dub which could be a deal breaker for some. As far as special features go, there is the standard trailers and clean opening and ending themes, but that is all for bonus content, making for a pretty bare bones release of the series.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is an exploration of the social dynamics that make up high school life. While it takes a pessimistic outlook at times there is always an underlying sense of hope that despite how messed up things can be there is always that light at the end of tunnel. Through its inspection of the psychology behind the social interactions of high school students, SNAFU illuminates humanity at its very core and our inherent sense of loneliness and desire to belong. Thoughtful anime to say the least, SNAFU is high grade slice of life that simply must be experienced.
You pick up a copy of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU at Madman’s online store.