“Just so you know, this is Kane’s place. You’re welcome to stay as long as it takes to kill you, which, by the way, will not be long!” –Kane, Titanfall 2
Shinichi Sakurai is a university student who is content to spend his leisure time on his own, but when Hana Uzaki discovers this, she sets about trying to coerce Shinichi into spending more time with her in an attempt to show him the merits of doing things together. Despite Shinichi’s objections, Hana manages to force herself into every aspect of his life. While he typically winds up annoyed at Hana, there have been a few moments where he appreciates what Hana does for him, whether it be looking after him when he falls ill, or when she spends an afternoon with him playing Minecraft. On paper, Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out appears to be an unremarkable series, treading on well-worn territory of an energetic girl attempting to get a stoic and seemingly-cold guy to open up. However, in practise, Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is proving to be unexpectedly entertaining, capitalising on the stark contrast between Shinichi and Hana to drive the humour. From exaggerated facial expressions, to Hana’s extensive rants about the joys of mint chocolate ice cream, or the lengths that Ami and Itshuhito attempt to meddle in Shinichi and Hana’s interactions for their own ends, this anime distinguishes itself from similar series with its honest, biting portrayal on two opposite personalities and how for better or worse, such contrasting attitudes can prove surprisingly compatible and heartwarming. At the very least, this is where Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out stands amongst the reasonable viewer, whose intent is to enter the series and watch it for amusement: Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is hilarious, but owing to its premise, does not particularly offer much to write about under ordinary circumstances.
While I would be content to leave the discussion here, Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out has found itself at the centre of a controversy of late. It turns out that a subset of the population, individuals I refer to as virtue signallers, finds Hana’s physical appearance to be offensive. Virtue signallign entails the espousing perspectives that ostensibly have a basis in moral value, but with an intention that usually is more selfishly motivated: to elevate their status in the eyes of others. In the case of Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out, these individuals argue that Hana is too well-endowed than is realistic petite frame, which has resulted in her being misidentified as a grade-school student. In their eyes, Hana should not be accepted because in conjunction with the manga and anime’s events, her existence promotes child abuse, which is illegal. Virtue signallers insist on dismissing the idea that Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is a comedy and argue that anyone who is enjoying the series is engaged in what is tantamount to a criminal offense. However, this is a flimsy argument: Hana was designed as a university student, and Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out was written as a comedy about the lengths Hana go to haul Shinicihi out of his solitude, as well as the antics that result from Hana’s meddling. While Shinichi does find himself in the occasional dubious moment with Hana, the series is not intended to promote anything illicit, and Shinichi is shown to be very conscious about not doing anything to Hana. As it stands, it is to be disingenuous to ignore the creator’s intentions when interpreting a series – the core message of what a work of fiction intends to convey is dependent on what the author’s intents were at the time of writing, and in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out, the anime has insofar been devoted to drawing laughs from its viewers at how irritating Hana is, as well as how this is offset by the fact that she genuinely cares about Shinichi.
Screenshots and Commentary
- I’ll open with the admission that Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is, while a fun anime at its core, is a very tricky series to write for on the grounds that the theme is already out in the open from the first episode: Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is about the merits of open-mindedness and specifically, how a preference for solitude and doing group activities are not mutually exclusive.
- I particularly relate to Shinichi and his love of doing things alone. Rather than counting him as a longer, I consider Shinichi to represent a more extreme example of someone who enjoys solitude. Individuals tending towards an introverted personality typically prefer alone time as a means of regrouping and recharging themselves from a mental capacity. In quiet environments, introverts have better focus and concentration, allowing them to clear their minds.
- While Shinichi’s scowl is said to be intimidating, he’s not unkind, and he does have his moments where he does laugh, as well. After meeting with Hana on campus for the first time, Shinichi decides to take up Hana’s invite to go check out a movie, and the two visit an electronics store later, where the two test out a new virtual reality headset. I’m the proud owner of an Oculus Quest VR headset, and while I don’t have Beats Sabre or Vader Immortal, the flagship apps for the headset, I do have Superhot VR and Wander (a Google Maps viewer modified to run on the Quest). The Oculus Quest uses a pair of wireless controllers to track hand motions, as opposed to the headset Shinichi and Hana try out.
- Because of the fact that this fictional headset is wireless and uses a controller, I’m going to hazard a guess that it is roughly similar to the Oculus Quest in hardware specifications and therefore, performance. On this assumption, I am confident that the Oculus Quest cannot simulate touch, so Shinichi’s “accident” comes across as doubly amusing. Hana is remarkably tolerant about this sort of thing and typically will do her best not to embarrass Shinichi further.
- Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out shares commonalities with Dagashi Kashi and Magical Senpai, two anime shorts that feature a similarly energetic (and irritating) female lead who is quite shameless, as well as a stoic male lead who would much rather live his life in tranquility. While each of Hotaru, Senpai and Hana might be annoying, they’re not detestable by any terms: despite making fun of the protagonists or putting them in a tough spot at every turn, the respective female leads of Dagashi Kashi, Magical Senpai and Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out have good intentions and never cause any long term harm.
- When Hana gets stuck in some bushes while chasing a cat, Shinichi extricates her, but to two women passing by, Shinichi’s actions look like he’s doing anything but rescuing Hana. Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out employs these sorts of jokes frequently as a core part of its comedy, and while they can be a bit over-the-top, the series never means any harm from them. This is what the virtue signallers miss – comedy can exist in all forms, and moreover, that fiction is a realm for exploring ludicrous situations that have a near-zero probability of occurring in reality. I’ve long noticed that virtue signallers are some of the most conceited, self-absorbed people around: under the guise of being offended by something, their beliefs imply that they know better than others and that for other people, taking in “problematic” media eventually results in a desire to emulate fiction.
- Such a belief stems from the delusion of superiority, and a desire to control others. However, in the case of anime, those who enjoy a series are simply content to take it all in as observers: there’s a clear delineation between reality and fiction, and virtue signallers believe that everyone not in their social clique are susceptible losing sight of this, hence their “duty” to prevent others from straying; this is frankly, an insulting assumption to make. Once Ami and her father are introduced, viewers get the sense that we are, in essence, Ami and her father: as we do, Ami and her father find Hana and Shinichi’s dynamics amusing, and are content to simply watch as things go down.
- While Hana can be as annoying as an uninvited swarm of sandflies at a picnic, she genuinely cares for Shinichi and his well-being. After he falls ill from being caught in the rain with her, she decides to help him out while he fights off a cold. Her cooking is unexpectedly good, and Shinichi does appreciate her actions. This creating a heartwarming moment that is a payoff for the viewers, showing another side to Hana’s character beyond her usual desire to push Shinichi outside of his comfort zone.
- The mature, healthy human mind would focus on these aspects of Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out; these are the core components of the series, after all. However, I’m told that the reason why virtue signallers have exhibited such an adverse reaction to the series is because Hana’s appearance makes them uncomfortable, ashamed of themselves. To this end, these individuals would see Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out altered or banned to spare themselves of any discomfort. However, because “I didn’t like it” isn’t something that’s likely to draw attention, the virtue signallers fall back on the old standby of appealing to morality in an attempt to have their voices heard. This is a moralistic fallacy, an invalid form of reasoning which assumes that some moral necessarily holds true.
- These people are the most vocal on Twitter, although an old nemesis, Anime News Network, has also taken to criticising Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out. Their current reviewer writes sarcasm-filled reviews about the anime’s events, declaring it to be “mediocre” (the sign of an unversed writer), and their team appears intent on finding all of the shortcomings in the anime for their own gratification. In a passage that sounds like it was torn straight from elitist anime blogs of the late 2000s, Nick Creamer claims that “there’s basically nothing to recommend about this first episode at all”, and “[Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is] also completely lacking in ambition or excellence, and frankly a pretty dull experience”. Well, reading Creamer’s pseudo-academic tone was a dull experience for me.
- Similarly, James Beckett believes that he “[has] no idea who this show is for”, Nicolas Dupree swiftly declares that “[Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is] is definitely a wash”, and Rebecca Silverman cannot take her mind off Hana’s mammaries, shoehorning her displeasure of them into every sentence. It is evident that Creamer, Beckett, Dupree and Silverman are inferior writers: they fixate on a few negatives in the series and otherwise, resort to making generic, cookie-cutter complaints about the series, as well as actively telling viewers what to do in skipping this series. This is, incidentally, the mark of a poor reviewer: a good reviewer only makes recommendations and never tries to make the reader feel bad for having opinions contrary to the review. Had Anime News Network not presumed to tell people what to do or guilt readers into agreeing with them, I would’ve simply walked away with a “they didn’t like it, and that’s fine”.
- With due respect, Anime News Network’s writers are unlearned in their craft, their content is nowhere near the “emotionally intelligent media analysis” they claim to have, and as such, their opinions should not be given more weight simply because they were published to a larger anime site. Altogether, Anime News Network and Twitter’s vitriol-filled rants about Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out ends up being little more than noise that can be ignored. Having said this, I appreciate that Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is not for everyone, and this is perfectly okay. However, demeaning and guilt-tripping those who do enjoy the series is an unacceptable practise, and it perhaps shows just how out of touch Anime News Network is with anime in general: their poor writing speaks volumes to the fact that their staff would be rather writing about politics and imposing their own world-views on others at a more reputable media outlet.
- When Hana echoes my sentiments, that it’s okay to dislike something, but not okay to dislike others for liking or disliking something, the Twitter community exploded into chaos. I turn a blind eye to these individuals and pay no heed to their constant posturing – to constantly be on the back foot in attempting to set these people straight is an exercise in futility, since the people who engage in unproductive actions also happen to be those with the free time to do so. As it stands, giving them no attention and no exposure is the best approach towards handling these individuals.
- I’ve heard that the reason why folks are so vociferous about Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out and any anime dealing with verboten topics like false victimisation syndrome is because they intend to control what Japanese creators and studios produce to suit their own world-views. To this end, aggressive negative publicity, they reason, is one way to compel the Japanese studios and creators to fall into line, by suggesting that they can be deprived of Western profits if they should fail to comply. Historically, anime has always been written with the Japanese market in mind, and Western reception does not typically impact anime to as significant of an extent as one might imagine.
- If I had to guess, I would say that the individuals that make the most noise about anime like Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out would also be those who have the least control in their lives. Thus, people resort to attempting to control what they feel like they can as a coping mechanism. There’s a complex bit of cause-and-effect here, and observation has found that speaking with these individuals is about as useful as trying to douse an oil fire with a turkey baster. Again, the best solution is to ignore these people and make one’s own decisions, as well as accepting the fact that different forms of entertainment appeal to different people.
- The page quote, sourced from Titanfall 2, is a joke on the idea that, since this is my blog, I call the shots here. Because this post deals with an active and somewhat contentious topic, I feel it necessary to remind folks intending to comment that there are guidelines to follow: ad hominem attacks, use of slurs and insult-slinging will not be tolerated. I’m quite willing to hear out all sides of the argument, but there is a minimum level of civility that commenters are expected to observe.
- I concede that from a technical perspective, Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is unremarkable, but this isn’t to say that the aural and visual aspects of the anime are poor by any stretch. The anime is serviceable, sufficiently well put-together that one can focus on the dynamics between Shinichi and Hana. The dynamics between the two are the main draw, and Amu and Itsuhiro’s intents for the pair are equally as amusing.
- Whereas I’ve focused on the Western angle of the so-called “controversy” Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out has faced, the series actually saw a minor controversy in Japan when Hana’s image appeared on a Red Cross promotion for blood donation back in October 2019: Unseen Japan’s Jay Allen ended up kicking off a flame war by sending an image of the poster to Japanese lawyer Ota Keiko, who ended up taking a leaf from cancel culture’s playbook and attempted to get the Red Cross to stand down. In retrospect, this shouldn’t be too surprising: Unseen Japan has a history of virtue signalling, as well – one of their goals is to impose Western progressive values onto those who watch anime, and they’ve recently been rattling the sabre by attempting to get a Love Live poster removed, as well. Given Unseen Japan’s checkered reputation, I will remark that one reaps what they sow, and starting controversies for retweets (or backing the wrong side of history) means that they are unworthy of consideration.
- Back in Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out, the test of courage was my favourite moment in the series thus far. While Hana is typically irritating and forces Shinichi out of his comfort zone, she’s aware enough to know when she’s crossed the line. After said test of courage goes bad, Hana coaxes Shinichi back to the cabin, where he falls asleep in exhaustion. The next morning, Shinichi feels that he’s had the best sleep in a while, and Hana decides not to tell Shinichi’s what’s happened. Beyond their frequent, noisy quarrels, Shinichi and Hana complement the other nicely: I would liken their dynamics as being similar to that of Haruhi and Kyon’s, where a taciturn guy and an energetic girl manage to have adventures and experiences that would not have otherwise been possible in the other’s absence.
- Overall, Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out scores a B- grade (2.7 of 4.0, or 7.0) for its comedy in my books: it’s not great, but not terrible, either. Having said this, the rudimentary themes and evens of Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out means there isn’t really much to talk about, making it difficult to write for the series. This post was additionally tough to write, since I don’t particularly enjoy dealing in controversies and talk about a subset of the population I’d rather ignore. With this being said, I do feel that it is important to remind people that they should always make their own decisions, and never allow the voices of a vocal minority to sway one’s perspectives.
Virtue signalling is nothing new, and those who engage in it typically seek validation from others: to them, all publicity is good publicity, as long as their message is spread. Consequently, as tempting as it may be to dust off Munson and Black’s The Elements of Reasoning and take these virtue signallers to school, I have a counterproposal: pay them no mind. Virtue signallers spend an unreasonable amount of time on social media sites, soapboxing their views, and inevitably find agreement in other individuals. The average person simply doesn’t have this kind of time available, so wisdom would suggest that ignoring the virtue signallers would be sufficient – denying these individuals of an audience diminishes the reach of their messages. Fortunately, there is a simple truth: angrily pulling incomplete theory and definitions from a junior level sociology textbook in a bid to tell others how to conduct themselves does one no favours, and if anything, reveals the inadequacies and insecurity of those whose entire existence is devoted to farming retweets and upvotes. Such individuals can be ignored. In the case of Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out, then, my recommendation is that for individuals who are enjoying the series, they can and should be free to do so without coming under scrutiny from others. The so-called “moral” arguments the virtue signallers push can be dismissed without further consideration. Similarly, those who find Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out disagreeable can elect to skip the anime: there is no obligation to continue watching something one does not like, and it’s not exactly healthy to devote one’s life to hatred and anger. Finally, I will note that unless there is a good reason for changing things up, I do not have any plans to continue writing about Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out: as entertaining as the series might be, there generally isn’t a whole lot to think or write about in Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out, meaning posts like these take an inordinate amount of time to complete.
I really don’t get the arguments against the series. Just reading the premise disproves the child angle of it. Regardless I suspect I’d find some fun in it if I had time to watch.
If you have the time to check out Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out, the series does have its charms. With this being said, if you skip this one, you’re probably not missing too much. The haters out there are, not worth listening to, no matter how vocal they get.
She is short but she is also well endowed. I don’t see physical stature as a measure of age. I’ve known short well-endowed adult women who were every bit my equal. Someone is looking for an excuse to throw their little public tizzy.
What I find really interesting is how someone would get heated up about this show when there are so many where a genuine canonical “loli” is heavily sexualized that never get a hit.
A large number of people have also come forward and demonstrate that Hana’s figure is very much possible. It reminds me of how to disprove a universal statement: providing one concrete counterexample will suffice!
It strikes me that Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out is probably being hit because it’s an easy target: it’s a seasonal anime that Anime News Network has already taken a dump on, so hoping on the ol’ bandwagon is easier than spinning up one’s own arguments and outrage.
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I would point out that this is really a case of shortness shaming. The person is really infantilizing a woman just because she isn’t tall like most anime females.
If it’s any consolation, I’m short (not Hana short, but -0.7 SD from the average in Canada), and I get by well enough: the shamers ain’t got jack on me. If the pettiness on social is really just a matter of people being uncomfortable with being in their own skin and refusing to do what it takes to improve how they feel about themselves, there’s not much more that can (or should) be said for them.