Hachiman sees what others in his high school don’t see, the ‘sham’ that is social behavior and customs. However, one thing he can’t predict is his sudden forced entry into the Service Club, which contains only two other members: Yukino Yukinoshita, a perfectionist who considers herself above everyone else, and Yui Yuigahama, a girl who seems to just follow the crowd but has an affinity for others. Though the three have vastly different personalities, they must learn to get along with each other as they participate in club activities. Have the gods of romantic comedy granted Hachiman the perfect scenario?
Easily the strongest area for SNAFU would be the interactions that take place not just between the members of the Service Club, but all of the characters in general. There is a great feeling of both humanity and comedy floating around throughout the show, as the situations characters are placed in with each other not only are amusing but also showcase the depth of each one. The main cast is extremely detailed, and the show reveals more and more as it progresses, despite being part of a genre that frequently fails to do such. Additionally, the interactions themselves are incredibly clever because of the characters’ almost self-aware humor present in the dialogue. For example:
All three members of the Service Club, despite being strange people (to put it in the kindest terms), are incredibly relatable. This is for a couple of reasons: first off, each member is detailed and developed, and their traits are revealed and enhanced throughout the course of SNAFU. Secondly, each member is flawed in different ways that I’m certain almost anyone can relate to on some level.
Hachiman’s social failings have caused him to look excessively cynically on society in general, Yukino’s slight narcissism (which is not entirely unwarranted) has caused her to view others frequently as inferior, and Yui is so focused on pleasing others that she sometimes doesn’t realize that she is being swept up by the social current and merely parroting the opinions of others. Even though I wouldn’t classify myself in any of these three categories, it is safe to say that I can at least understand where each person is coming from and connect with them on a deeper level as a result.
SNAFU is one of the few anime I have seen more than once. I usually only will watch a show once, even in the case of my favorite anime.
However, SNAFU is not just fun to watch, it also has a great level of rewatchability. This has one key reason: it’s funny. Honestly, calling SNAFU merely amusing is far too simple to fully capture the element of hilarity that the show carries. I rarely go for more than a couple minutes watching without at the very least having the desire to laugh out loud, and this is something very few programs can pull off. The source material and writing for the show are fantastic, simply put. I feel as though the amusing moments are a natural and integral part of the narrative, and not just forced in to be amusing.
One of the primary running jokes throughout SNAFU is the complete destruction of what a ‘proper’ romantic comedy should be. This is done on the very basic level. By uprooting many of the common tropes that make up a rom-com, the writing effectively destroys the roots and creates something entirely new. Hachiman will frequently make remarks about how stereotypical rom-coms handle situations, and then the show will proceed to do something completely different, engaging in its own game of meta-ness. While relationships between the Service Club members are emphasized, in truth there is little romantic about them, and any attempt to change that is always met by quick and amusing destruction.
Rom-com tropes are not the only things subverted, however, as many classic elements are handled with ironic hilarity. A common element present when the main character is a loner is for there to be a bunch of mean popular kids. However, the most popular guy in school, Hayato Hayama, is actually one of the nicest as well, and it is really just Hachiman’s cynicism preventing them from becoming friends. That is just one example of the numerous ways SNAFU enjoys toying with expectations, and this underlying criticism is definitely an aid to the show’s overall hilarity.
For all of its strong characters, SNAFU has a decently large batch of underused ones. At times, the show will fall into the ‘character of the week’ trap where a new and intriguing member of the cast will be revealed... Only to be underutilized and minimally explored (if used at all, really) in future episodes.
While this is not inherently bad, it would be nice to see more of some of the supporting characters have their time to shine more than once or twice. For example, Saki Kawasaki, a quiet girl who mysteriously arrives home late at night, is the prime focus of one episode, but then fades almost to non-existence for the remainder of the series.
Ultimately, SNAFU both advances the story and characters and keeps them at a continual standstill. While Hachiman’s time in the service club has clearly changed him in many ways, it still felt like he really had made little progress by the end of the show, and this frankly applies to the rest of the cast as well.
There is a sense that everyone has progressed throughout the course of the story, which is nice, but they all basically are still in the original positions that the viewers found them in. Although I do not think this is inherently bad, I do wish that there was a little bit more growth by the end.
There are virtually limitless amusing photos to be had from SNAFU, but here’s one extra one that I found especially amusing but didn’t have quite the place for:
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is perhaps the perfect name for describing this show: an amusing comedy that toys with itself. Every time I’ve watched this show, I’ve always enjoyed the frequent humorous scenes and dialogue, and love watching Hachiman screw things up. Although there are slight flaws, SNAFU is probably one of my favorite anime of all time and is one of the shows most easy for me to recommend to just about any anime fan.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is available for free and legal streaming on Crunchyroll.
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