Blu-ray Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU – Season 1
17/03/2016 Leave a comment
Animatsu Entertainment’s latest release is non-other than the slice of life styled comedy My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU – Season 1 but does it offer another romantic disaster with colourful characters or present a fun-filled story from start to finish? Well let’s find out in our latest Blu-ray review.
Opposites may attract, but putting them together can result in chemical burns, electric shocks, and explosions. Enter Hachiman Hikigaya, a pessimistic high school student with no friends, no interest in making any, and the firm belief that everyone else’s cherished high school experiences are either delusions or outright lies.
Hachiman finds himself coerced by his well-meaning student advisor into joining the one-member Service Club. There he encounters club founder Yukino Yukinoshita, a smart, attractive, walking superiority complex who looks down on the entire student body. These two negative personalities are quick to attract Yui Yuigahama, who’s cute, bright, cheerful, and needs the Service Club’s help to… bake cookies? Is this a recipe for romance or the precursor for a nuclear meltdown? Will there be cookies, nookie, or a reason for everyone to play hooky?
Those expecting a romantic teen comedy with bubbling personalities and a fan-service filled harem better look elsewhere; as My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is a more realistic view on romance from someone that has secluded himself from the real world in favour of being alone. It’s a charming series and one that evolves as time goes on; but better than that it kept my attention until the very end…and despite this I still want more (roll on Season 2!).
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, otherwise known as Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabu Kome wa Machigatteiru, follows the exploits of high-school student Hachiman Hikigaya who is forcibly recruited by his language teacher, Shizuka Hiratsuka, into the services club led by idealist Yukino Yukinoshita. It’s an unnatural start to a series; one that sees a teacher force her student into an unknown club just so that his ‘bubbling’ personality can become rectified; a task which, regrettably enough, Yukino decides to accept. The concept here is that Hachiman, later nicknamed Hikki by fellow classmate Yui Yuigahama, is considered unsociable and so Shizuka forces him to join the club so that Yukino can fix his personality and views of life.
The result is a comical series of events which see Yukino and Hachiman accept requests from various students in order to fix their problems; with most issues ranging from small tasks, such as learning how to cook, or fixing a person perception on what it truly means to be a friend. Most episodes tend to follow a ‘singular’ storyline with some elements, such as the unseen ‘love interest’ between Yui and Hachiman, spread out over several episodes. This pattern of ‘singular’ stories continues until the latter half of the series at which point the pace is changed to cover a much broader topic over a selection of episodes; for instance these events see Yukino, Yui and Hachiman, along with other students from their school, help out at a grade school training camp while at the same time help a young girl come to terms with her personality in order to make friends. These particular episodes may offer a slowly narrative to those previously seen but it delivers a more forfilling storyline; especially the final storyline which brings the series to a rather satisfying end.
While the daily tasks of the Services Club may fill the on-screen running time of the series its actually the untold story of Hachiman, Yukino and Yui that brings out the most amount of entertainment for the viewer. At the start of the series all three characters barely speak a word to each other; but by the fourth episode – whereby Yui’s request to be a more outspoken person is solved – the characters start to open up and trust each other more; that is until events from the past which led Hachiman to be unsociable and isolated re-appear and cause more disruption in his daily lifestyle. As you can probably surmise i’m trying to be vague in order to not spoil any potential plot developments; but the reality is that all three characters may seem like complete strangers but at its core they know each other extremely well – they just don’t know it or want to admit it.
So what am i trying to say? What is My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU all about? Truth be told it’s about Hachiman, Yukino and Yui coming out of their shells and becoming independent social able human beings through a series of events made by other students. As the series progresses our characters evolve and adapt; sure enough theres hard times – and fun times – but all in all its a nicely paced show with a different type of ‘love’ on other.
This aint no love story; but deep down it may as well be one.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU continues the trend laid out by Sentai Filmworks; with only a handful of bonus content being included on the disc – namely Textless Songs and a selection of trailers.
Of course you could suggest the bonus OVA episode, which is included as part of the episode line-up, is a bonus feature; but in general viewers can expect textless opening and closing animations as well as trailers for Haikyu, Order a Rabbit, Love Live Season 2 and Combat Butler.
Media: BD50 x1, BD25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time: 3:43:57 (Disc 1), 1:39:01 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps
Before watching My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU I had my doubts of what to expect; my personal assumption would that it be some ‘isolated’ student struggling to find ground in a harem. Instead it’s quite the opposite; as our main protagonist, Hachiman, avoids confrontations from both genders on purpose and opts to spend time alone while criticising those around him. It’s this isolated nature which sees language teacher (and potential friend) Shizuka Hiratsuka force him to join the Services Club so that they can work together in order to help their personal skills develop and those in need.
It’s a unique combination; and it’s a story which sees Hachiman come out of his shell and engage with others, albeit in his usual ‘cynical’ way. As mentioned previously each episode revolves around the Services Club, which later sees Hachiman’s classmate Yui become a member, aiding others in need around school but there is lots more on offer. For starters Hachiman’s sister, Komachi, seems to have a small brother complex and causes disruptions around the household; meanwhile Tennis Club member Saika Totsuka offers a female appearence but is actually male – it’s also this confusion that brings out some of the best one liners from Hachiman. All in all theres a nice balance of characters, story and progressive plot that makes each episode worth your time and despite its title there isn’t ‘exactly’ a love story to be told; not in the traditional sense at least.
So all’s good with the story and its pacing – personally its one of the best romantic slice of life comedy shows ive seen in a while – but unfortunately this Blu-ray release is nothing to shout home about. Sure enough the visual quality is far superior than that of the DVD (and we are greatful for that); but the main presentation and the lack of bonus features means it’s pretty much a barebones release. The series is only presented in Japanese with English subtitles as well so, other than having it in physical format and being better than an online stream, theres nothing really to brag about. As you would expect however the subtitles are Sentai’s traditional yellow subs, although when multiple people are talking (or if a background song is being played) the unimportant dialogue gets presented in white with translated text appearing in colours that relate to the text themselves. Personally i think the subtitles do a great job of presenting the translated dialogue to the viewer and tend to stand-out-more than other distributors; but everyone has their own tastes.
Overall My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is an exceptional story that gets better the more you progress; and its one that i throughly enjoyed watching from start to finish. My only gripe would be this Blu-ray release by Animatsu Entertainment (which are using disc masters provided by Sentai Filmworks); sure enough everything you could want (i.e episode content and readable subtitles) are available but the static nature of the disc menu and the lack of bonus content really does mean that you don’t get much for your money; which is a shame as everything else is great!
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU – Season 1 will be available on DVD and Blu-ray from the 21st March 2016.