Sometimes, the idea for what to review can come out of the blue. I was just browsing the Internet like everyone does when I came to see something that caught my attention. It was something about an anime character that was being described as “gross” or something along those lines. All of this was pointing a finger to the main character of Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! and how this college student looks like a child yet has, well, big boobs.
Now, if that isn’t an endorsement for me to see what all the fuss is about, I don’t know what is! So I went and hunkered down and watched all twelve episodes of the first season of Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! And here I am to talk about what I thought of them… I mean, the anime.
Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! (or Uzaki-Chan wa Asobitai for you people who understand Japanese) follows Shinichi Sakurai, a rather introverted junior university student who would like nothing else but to be by his lonesome watching movies and playing video games. But when the energetic and outgoing sophomore Hana Uzaki notices her senpai just wasting the time away, she takes it upon herself to show Sakurai a good time by spending as much time with him as possible.
The first thing I’d like to address in my review of Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out is the giant elephants in the room: Uzaki’s overall design. I only was inspired to watch the anime to check out if the controversy and the hate was warranted, after all. After watching the entire season, I will say that all the hullabaloo is very overblown. I, myself, don’t really like Uzaki-Chan’s design but not because of the large balloons she has stuck on her chest nor do I have an issue with her being short. No, my issues with her design are the boyish gray hair she sports and the *shudder* fleshy snaggletooth she sports.
But what totally redeems Uzaki-Chan is her bubbly and rather smug personality. It can come off as annoying if you’re personally the target of all the attention, especially if you’re an introvert loner like Shinichi Sakurai. But, for the purposes of the show, it works to stellar levels. The things Uzaki-Chan does actually comes off as generally friendly, even though she does a lot of mean-spirited things. It’s basically feels like a friend who love horsing around and teasing her other friends. I’d even go as far as saying that it’s even realistic!
This is why Uzaki-Chan is the perfect foil to her hapless senpai, Shinichi Sakurai. He does feel like Uzaki-Chan is a pest, horning in on his me time but he does tolerate her and her company. She may do rather annoying things but he puts up with her and watching the two interact can be really funny. The way Sakurai and Uzaki quickly bounce off each other and all the exasperated yelling is really the highlight of each episode. It’s also rather amazing that, despite it being an ecchi rom-com, most of the humor is totally innocent. There’s going to be the out-of-nowhere boob grab here and there. But the jokes that really got me were the more wholesome gags, like when the two went out to eat in the first episode.
Honestly, he kind of reminds me of what I was like in college. I did have a group of friends I hung out with. But there were a lot of times when I would enjoy being all by my lonesome and just do stuff on my own. So I can totally get behind Sakurai and his need to be alone at times. Heck, I even know some people were afraid to go up and talk to me then because, like Sakurai, I had this weird intense expression on my face that intimidated others.
I do think the controversy regarding Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! is undeserved. I mean, it’s not like we’ve had anime characters not have Uzaki’s short but busty design. Even when I was in college, I actually had a cute classmate who had her build and, like Sakurai, I never really saw her as someone to lust over. I only saw her as a friend, which is why I can’t really understand why people are this upset with her design. While it isn’t typical, there are definitely people who are shaped that way.
Unfortunately, while Uzaki-Chan and Shinichi are the biggest reasons to watch the anime, I can’t say the same for the supporting cast. We have Master, the proprietor of the coffee shop Sakurai works in, and his daughter Ami who are super intrigued with the duo’s relationship and are just loves watching them together, eating up the drama wholeheartedly. We also have Sakaki, Sakurai’s rich and popular friend, who is super eager to get Sakurai and Uzaki to finally hook up. They do come off as unnecessary as they don’t really add anything deep to the relationship. That wouldn’t be a problem if they were actually amusing. The only real funny character would be Uzaki’s mother as the misunderstandings she has with Sakurai’s motives can be hilarious due to her inner monologue that allows the viewers to see and hear her real thoughts. It’s a shame she’s introduced so late into the season.
Despite the supporting cast being rather boring, I do have compliment the magnificent voice acting job given by everyone. Even if I do find the other characters dull, the voice acting does suit the characters. Still, the best performances come from the main stars. Now, I can only speak for the Japanese version as that’s the one I watched. But, boy! The English dubbers do have a tough time trying to capture the energy of Uzaki and Sakurai’s dynamic performances!
I do also have to give special mention to the opening song of Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! as it does immediately convey the type of chaotic energy Uzaki-Chan brings. It’s the kind of song that fits perfectly with the tone of the show and is something I can’t imagine skipping. It just works!
The overall look of the anime is, well, rather unimpressive. The animation is good but, as this is a slice of life anime, you can never get the flourishes of hard-hitting action. I can’t even remember when they would go the chibi route to emphasize a humorous moment. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out is very grounded that way.
Despite me saying the anime is grounded and innocent, there are still going to be more than a few ecchi moments. But even these moments are tame compared to hundreds of ecchi animes that have circulated since time immemorial. They do come off as remarkably unbelievable but still deliver the laughs, if you’re not the prudish sort, anyway. Even so, these moments are actually few and far between. Most of the time, the humor is more innocent and maybe risque but never overblown full ecchi as well.
Overall, Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out! (AKA Uzaki-Chan wa Asobitai) is definitely worth a watch. The energy whenever Uzaki and Sakurai interact with each other is just precious and can be rip-roaringly hilarious at times. I do wish the supporting cast were mixed in better as they can be ignored and can even be annoying since you want to see the two main characters on the screen all the time. Hanging out with Uzaki-Chan is always a good way to pass the time.
Have you seen Uzaki-Chan Wants to Hang Out!? What do you think of this ecchi rom-com anime? Let me know in the comments section below!