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Tag Archives: Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!

Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω – Whole-Series Review and Reflection

“It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly and don’t take yourself too seriously, pretty soon, you can find the humor in our everyday lives, and sometimes it can be a lifesaver.” –Betty White

After summer draws to a close, Hana and Shinichi’s friendship slowly begins moving forward after Hana realises that Shinichi has never called her by her given name before. Although she manages to convince Shinichi to address her by her given name, Shinichi ends up revealing that Hana’s special to him, and the embarrassment of this leads him to seek out a means of stress relief. He ends up starting a membership at the local gym and meets Fujio, a trainer who’s impressed with Shinichi’s drive and physical prowess. Unbeknownst to Fujio, Shinichi is also Hana’s senior. Over the course of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, both Hana and Shinichi end up walking a tightrope: it seems that every last person believes that the pair are a good match for one another, and as a result, the pair end up struggling with these conflicting feelings. By Christmas, Hana decides to invite Shinichi over, and Fujio is shocked that he’s the senior Hana had been talking about. After Shinichi gets hammered, he expresses a more candid view of things, indicating beneath his tough exterior, he’s appreciative of everything Hana does for him, and during the New Year’s shrine visit, Shinichi agrees to hang out with Hana more in the new year. This is Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω (I believe the ω is pronounced “double” and is meant to represent a mischievous smile rather than a lowercased “omega”), the second season to the 2020 anime. The first season had been an amusing, if unremarkable tale of an extrovert forcibly adding some life into an introvert’s life; as Hana hauls Shinichi everywhere with her, he comes to begin enjoying the adventures even if he would never outwardly admit it. However, as Shinichi spends more time with Hana, who had admired him since their secondary school days, Shinichi himself begins to develop feelings for his annoying and persistent junior, in spite of himself. It is here in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω that things become more engaging to watch, as the pair struggle with their growing feelings for one another.

While the relationship development is a central part of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, what makes this second season especially notable is its use of dramatic irony to create an impressive build-up. Throughout Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, audiences are given a full view of what’s happening, whereas Shinichi, Hana, and the people around them, have a more limited picture of things. The matter of when everyone discovers the truth is never a question, but instead, the build-up and an anticipation for how everyone reacts once the truth is in the open drives much of the humour. This is most apparent with Fujio: after Shinichi signs up for a full membership and trains to take his mind of Hana, he occasionally shares his concerns with Fujio. Fujio is unaware that Shinichi happens to be the same person that’s been on Hana’s mind, and Hana’s conversations at home suggest that despite her protests otherwise, she does have feelings for Shinichi, too. Fujio is torn between supporting Hana and wanting to fight this unknown senior. There are a few moments in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω where Shinichi and Fujio come close to discovering the truth, but the series masterfully saves this for the end. Eventually, this comes to pass when Hana invites Shinichi over for Christmas, and although Fujio struggles to master his thoughts, he ultimately decides that after seeing everything, Shinichi is someone worth respecting. Despite the outrageously funny events that occur as a result of this misunderstanding, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω is a show where the anticipation can be equally as enjoyable as the moment itself: because the characters have their own distinct traits, imagining how they’d react to the truth drives the user’s engagement in a given moment on top of providing an immensely satisfying payoff once the beans are out. This aspect makes Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω stronger than its predecessor, and once the tension is released, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω is able to walk viewers to a more cathartic ending. Both Hana and Shinichi agree to continue hanging out and doing things at their own pace, wrapping up this second season in a satisfactory manner.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The last time I wrote about Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!, it was late August 2020, and I’d concluded that the series had been strictly average, neither excelling nor disappointing, and certainly not doing anywhere nearly enough with its premise to warrant a weeks-long rage-fuelled smear campaign against the Japanese Red Cross Society. The reason why the first season had been unremarkable had been because the episodes didn’t seem to be bound by a common goal, consisting of misunderstandings that drove humour on a per-episode basis.

  • When the first season ended, I learnt that a second season was in the works, allowing the story to continue. In retrospect, the slower first season was meant to establish the dynamic between Shinichi and Hana, and while it did take a little longer to convey something that was apparent right from the start, ensuring the exposition was complete meant that by the time of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, the story is able to hit the ground running and explore the progression of things between Shinichi and Hana.

  • At the same time, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω also manages to utilise both existing and new characters alike to create a story that spans several episodes, in turn giving each individual episode a more substantial role in the context of the season. For instance, after a post-secondary culture festival sees Hana and Shinichi participate in a variety of events as a couple might, the pair end up checking out a fortune-telling stall at the behest of their friends.

  • In the previous season, things would’ve quickly returned to the status quo after a reading suggests that Shinichi and Hana are compatible with one another. However, here in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, the outcome of this session leaves Shinichi a little shaken, and Hana herself is similarly ruffled even as she tries to play it cool with Shinichi. The lingering feelings of uncertainty and awkwardness actually persist throughout Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, and this gives the series a chance to develop the relationship between Shinichi and Hana far more than the first season had.

  • The end result of this is that, as misunderstandings mount, the build-up becomes larger, and this creates anticipation for what’s coming. At the same time, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω also maintains comedy throughout individual episodes to ensure that, even as things inch towards something more substantial, every individual episode still manages to create humour in shorter moments. By covering off both bases, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω is able to capitalise on the fact that viewers are already familiar enough with things so that new developments can now be explored.

  • I imagine that Ami’s character stands in for the viewers, who would wish that Shinichi and Hana would be a little more forward about how they feel. Her perversions notwithstanding, Ami is an interesting character, and her interactions with Itsuhiro initially come about as a result of the pair’s shared interest in seeing Hana become closer with Shinichi. One potential side effect here is that Ami and Itsuhiro might end up becoming closer themselves, although with Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!‘s focus on Shinichi and Hana, this may not occur. As an aside, Ami is voiced by Ayana Taketatsu, whom I know best as K-On!‘s Azu-nyan and The Quintessential Quintuplets‘ Nino Nakano.

  • As Shinichi realises he needs to up his cooking game, he seeks out help from both Hana and Tsuki. They’re happy to teach him, and his focus eventually allows him to produce udon of a high standard, as well as getting a handle on how to make karaage. The experience also sees Shinichi becoming comfortable with addressing Hana’s mother as Tsuki – this bit ends up frustrating Hana, who wonders why Shinichi’s still calling her by her family name. On the topic of voice actresses, Saori Hayami plays Tsuki; I’d thought that Tsuki sounded a little similar to Spy × Family‘s Yor.

  • Eventually, Shinichi explains that there’s something special about Hana that makes it difficult to call her by first name. Outwardly, Hana is ecstatic and acts smug about things, but at the same time, she’s also a little rattled. Later that evening, Shinichi wonders why he was so blunt about things, and stress ends up building in him. When he receives a gym membership trial, Shinichi immediately takes it up, feeling that hitting the gym and lifting weights might be a good way to take his mind off things.

  • At the gym, Shinichi meets trainer Fujio, a well-built fellow who encourages him during the bench press. Eyeballing things, Shinichi is lifting the equivalent of two plates here (45+25+10+10 pounds), for a total of 225 pounds. This is an impressive number, especially considering Shinichi’s just walked in to the gym, although I note that back when I was a university, I was lifting in the presence of athletes who did two plates for warmup. At the time, I lifted weights simply as a means of taking my mind off organic chemistry and data structures, but over the years, lifting weights has become a bit of a casual hobby for me, and I still continue to lift, although my goal is to maintain general fitness rather than push my weights further.

  • Fujio ends up being a welcome addition to Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω – his over-the-top reactions to everything, coupled with a generally affable personality, makes him a fun character to have on-screen, and I was particularly fond of how Fujio’s shown to be taking things too seriously. Portraying this side of Fujio sets the expectations for what would happen when he discovers Hana’s been referring to Shinichi; at the gym, Shinichi sometimes voices his concern to Fujio, who does his best to help him out, and dramatic irony comes from the anticipation of seeing all hell break loose once the truth does come out.

  • Fujio’s muscular physique and Shinichi’s athletic build are an integral part of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω‘s humour, and things become especially amusing once Kiri hits the gym, thinking he’ll be the fittest person there, only to be utterly decimated by some of the older members, and Shinichi himself. The first season had drawn humour from Hana’s figure, creating some questionable moments, but by Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, the series makes it clear that no one is immune to some degree of light-hearted humiliation. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!‘s most vocal critics have gone on to other pastures, of course, and I am glad that this season, controversy has been absent from the proceedings.

  • Prior to Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!‘s first season, a blogger had posted a tweet decrying a harmless poster Red Cross Japan Society had used to promote their blood drives. Said tweet immediately resulted in a backlash against the individual who made it, but to them, the response had become positive proof that there was merit in their moral absolutism – Japanese values, they argued, largely remain unknown to foreigners because of a language barrier, and that progressive identity politics are universal. The resulting controversy was heated, with proponents and opponents spending an inordinate time on trying to show the other side that they were wrong.

  • In the end, by committing any time to the controversy at all, both sides ended up being the losers. On the other hand, the blogger who started the controversy wound up as the sole winner because the resulting attention was able to put them on the map. In appealing to individuals who are quick to react to any perceived slight, the tactic of taking advantage of a controversy to drive views to one’s blog or publication is an effective one. However, this is one blogging approach I do not condone or endorse – building one’s brand by capitalising on controversy and acting as though one cares about a given issue is dishonest approach towards building an online presence.

  • For me, controversies have no bearing on what I make of something: Modern Warfare 2‘s infamous “No Russian” level is one such instance, and while it left the media with a field day, when the time had come for me to actually step into Joseph Allen’s shoes and observe Vladimir Makarov’s terror attack on an Russian airport, I simply chose to walk around and not fire my weapons. That one mission hadn’t particularly stood out of me in a game where the message had been about how a small group of individuals with the right mindset could still overcome seemingly-impossible odds.

  • In the case of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!, the anime itself ended up being an unremarkable story of how an extrovert inserts herself into an introvert’s life and, slowly but surely, allows him to experience more in his world while at the same time, also showing her why boundaries exist. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, on the other hand, introduces new elements into the story and drives it down the path of a romance comedy: the first season had been quite basic because it sought to fully introduce the lead characters and their traits, but once everyone’s personalities have been established, the story can really begin exploring everyone’s circumstances.

  • Similarly to any system, whether it be in engineering, natural sciences or society, any time additional variables are added, complexity increases dramatically. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω brings Hana’s siblings to the table, and of everyone, Yanagi is the most interest in taking a shot at Hana and her love live. Because it’s not her reputation on the line, Yanagi is very forward about things, and she’s able to push Hana’s buttons in a way that Shinichi cannot. This does lead to moments where Hana becomes embarrassed, especially when Yanagi also becomes a patron at the Asai’s café.

  • There is, in short, a method to the madness within Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, and it is for this reason that I’m glad that for this second season, I was afforded a chance to watch things in relative peace. With a given series, I’ve found that if I become too involved in discussions where participants do not have any intention of listening or learning, I would be left with an unpleasant experience of that anime even if the series had been excellent. This occurred with Girls und Panzer a decade earlier, when a handful of individuals believed that the Nishizumi Style purportedly embodied the spirit of “true” martial arts by being ruthless, when in reality, the Nishizumi Style and its practitioners simply value the idea of “忍” (strength through resilience and perseverance).

  • The resulting arguments at AnimeSuki was quite wearing and permanently left me with an unpleasant reminder of the flame war whenever I watched Girls und Panzer, even though the anime itself is technically excellent and thematically solid. Since then, I’ve chosen to sit out discussions and watch anime at my own pace, which has resulted in a superior experience. In the case of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, I found a rather amusing series that I enjoyed watching each week, and at the end of the day, this is the approach I prefer to take in watching my shows.

  • While Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω is hardly the first anime to portray the idea of two friends who are practically a couple in all but name (and lack the grit or interest in taking things up a notch), the series does do a good enough job with the characters and their situations so that one develops a curiosity to see what happens next. It is perhaps a little unfair to laugh at the situations Shinichi and Hana find themselves in, but at the same time, it is the case that, like most stories, if the pair had been a little more communicative, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! would’ve ended in one volume.

  • It’s always easy to prescribe actions for characters because as a third party, viewers are privy to information the characters don’t have, and moreover, because it’s not the viewer’s asses on the line, one can think about a variety of choices one might make in the characters’ shoes and not worry about the consequences. If one were to take a step back and see things from the characters’ standpoint, one might end up being a little more cautious. Here, Shinichi returns home for the holidays to visit his family and is surprised he’s now got a younger sister.

  • While Shinichi had implied his relationship with his parents weren’t the best in the world, as a family, it feels like everyone’s getting along well enough, and that Shinichi’s reluctance to come home had actually resulted from poor communications. The later episodes give viewers a chance to see Shinichi’s parents, and it turns out his father runs a judo dōjō. Despite Shinichi’s physical prowess, his father still schools him during sparring, and it turns out Shinichi’s father is in excellent shape, similar to Fujio. Ironically, Shinichi’s mother is to be even stronger than his father, and she uses this to force the pair to come to dinner at one point.

  • Eventually, Shinichi’s father does suggest to him that if he’s as close to Hana as he imagines, then the time has come to be forward about things, rather than potentially misleading her. Shinichi reluctantly agrees, but he also believes that bring forward might not be as easy as it looks. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω might be a romance comedy, but the series does have its moments where the realities of relationships are portrayed in a thoughtful manner. Of course, any time Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω begins to show this side of things, the tension in a moment winds up breaking owing to Hana’s tactlessness.

  • This does work in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω‘s favour, since it shows that perhaps, Hana and Shinichi aren’t quite ready to take things to the next level yet: Shinichi is still unsure of his feelings, while Hana’s a bit immature and enjoys teasing Shinichi a little too much, interrupting any progress they might make. This still here is probably the best example of Hana’s smug :3 smile, which is what I believe to be the reason why Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!‘s second season uses the omega symbol: unlike “w”, the round lines of “ω” more closely resemble Hana’s favourite facial expression.

  • After a series of misunderstandings, Hana is finally able to invite Shinichi to meet her family during the Christmas break, and it is here that Fujio finally learns the truth. This moment had been something Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω had been building up to since Shinichi took up the gym membership and met Fujio, and Fujio himself is shocked beyond words. Tensions do ease off as the evening wears on, and while Fujio is generally overprotective of his children, he also spots that Shinichi is quite respectable, having lifted with him for a nontrivial amount of time.

  • Fujio’s reaction thus ends up being precisely what viewers would anticipate: although an outburst would be most conducive for a few laughs, the reality is that Fujio’s come to know Shinichi quite well, and the comedy here thus comes from him doing his utmost to remain composed. In the end, he is mostly successful, but decides he needs some air and sets off for the convenience store to pick some stuff up. Meanwhile, as Shinichi becomes increasingly hammered, Hana is able to get some truthful answers out of him about their friendship, before a series of misunderstandings lead the Uzakis to try and remove his clothes.

  • For Shinichi, being inebriated also means he forgets what happens, so when Ami ends up showing him photos of what had happened, Shinichi is mortified. Hana herself wonders why Ami is so insistent on paying for the photos, and it hits me that throughout Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, Ami and her father’s seen a reduced presence as other characters are introduced. I do remember finding it funny that the pair would break out rice and slowly eat it whenever things between Hana and Shinichi heated up. This visual gag returns briefly in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω for kicks.

  • However, when the chips are down, like Fujio and Shinichi’s father, Ami’s father also has some valuable insight to offer. During the New Year’s shrine visit, he nudges Shinichi forward with his words. Ultimately, for Shinichi, whether he chooses to do anything is now squarely on his shoulders, and I imagine that for him, he does wish to return Hana’s kindness. Were it not for her tendency to break the moment with her irreverence, things might’ve been easier, but at the same time, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω makes it clear that, despite his words suggesting otherwise, Shinichi does value Hana. This leaves Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω in an excellent spot with its ending, but not everyone will agree with this.

  • I do wish people would be a bit more mature in how they present their disapproval of things. One AnimeSuki member claimed that “there’s nowhere else for this series to go” and since “[the story] kind of fails if they don’t do anything with it”, the “ending alone tanked the season”. I disagree strongly with these sentiments: the ending sets the stage for Shinichi and Hana to ease into things at their own pace. Moreover, I’ve always had a dislike for arguments that are namby-pamby: “‘kind of’ failing” shows a complete lack of conviction in one’s opinions and creates a passive-aggressive “you should agree with me” tone. Similarly, allowing a single moment to taint one’s experience is to dismiss everything else the series had done up until the ending.

  • While I am left with wondering if this individual has any personal experiences with relationships that drive their opinion (they were the same person who decried the Yuru Camp△ Movie for leaving Rin and the others single), I will not be responding to them: I am one or two rebuttals away from a permanent ban, and the users there clearly show no interest in perspectives that aren’t in alignment with the forum’s more well-heeded members. Of course, if said individual wishes to challenge my claims, I welcome them to do so here: unlike relentlessflame, who considers counterarguments against popular AnimeSuki users to be a “personal attack”, I typically listen to people so long as they don’t fall back upon insults.

  • I’d consider Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω a B+ (3.3 of 4.0, or 8 of 10 points); the second season is more focused than its predecessor and capitalises on the fact that the lead characters’ eccentricities and traits are already known to make things a little more wild. The end result is that each episode brought a smile to my face, and this was reason enough for me to have a good time with things. While Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω isn’t going to have the best artwork, most immersive story or top aural engineering, sometimes, it is sufficient for an anime to bring me a few laughs in a world where people take everything too seriously. With this, the only post I’ve got left is a talk on The Witch From Mercury: I’m two episodes behind and plan on writing about the first half come February. I imagine that, even more so than Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω, I’ll be stepping on a few toes.

Although Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω is an enjoyable experience, the Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! series continues to exist in the shadow of a controversy dating back two years, when a second-rate blog took advantage of a dispute surrounding an advertisement the Japanese Red Cross Society had produced in order to promote a blood drive initiative. The resulting debates online resulted in a decrease in blood donations for the Japanese Red Cross Society, but it also created intrigue in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! as people became curious to know what this series had been about. When the first season aired, however, viewers found a the story to be unremarkable, the art to be strictly average, and where the overall experience was quite dull. This sharply contrasted to expectations of a series that dared to challenge the viewers’ beliefs or world-views: this blog had made it appear that Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! was a series that promoted harmful thinking, and viewers coming in found this wasn’t the case at all. Expectations created by the controversy thus diminished interest Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! despite being the very same thing that generated interest in an otherwise run-of-the-mill series. The lesson here is that when things become overblown on the internet, it becomes difficult to gain a good measure of whether or not an anime is worth watching, and folks who end up checking a series out as a result of controversy will likely end up disappointed, especially if the work in question is outside of their area of interest and was originally intended as little more than a comedy. Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! is an unexceptional series overall, albeit one with sincerity and heart: the series certainly doesn’t touch on any sensitive topics enough to warrant a full-scale campaign of hate, but it does succeeds in eliciting a few laughs, and when everything is said and done, it’s sufficient that Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! manages to utilise its characters and their circumstances to drive comedy, with Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ω surpassing its predecessor in this area to create an experience that I found worth watching on a weekly basis.

Controversed: Moyatori’s November Workshop, The Kokoro Connect Incident, Unseen Japan versus the Red Cross and Remarks on Anime Controversies

“When a thing ceases to be a subject of controversy, it ceases to be a subject of interest.” –William Hazlitt

Before delving into the core of this post, I will briefly introduce Controversed, a special workshop fellow blogger Moyatori is hosting for this month. The objective of this programme is simple enough: to consider the matter of controversy, its matters and implications on the anime community, in such a way as to understand controversy. It goes without saying that this programme is not intended for courting flame wars or espousing particularly touchy perspectives, but rather, to understand different perspectives around topics that are polarising. The topic for this first week deals in controversies in our chosen field of interest. Per the prompts Moyatori has defined, I will address two aspects of controversy, specifically my thoughts on controversies surrounding anime, and also explain my preference for steering clear of these topics. In the realm of anime, it should be unsurprising that controversies exist: as a form of entertainment with a large viewer base, it is inevitable that occurrences, either in the industry producing these titles, or within the work themselves, can result in discussion that produces different conclusions. Where these conclusions differ wildly and clash with the individual’s values, disagreements can result. While conflicting values and conclusions are a natural part of human interactions, so is the journey towards understanding another side. The latter is often forgotten, and exacerbated by a persistent, deep-seated belief that one must stick to their guns and defend their position unto death. The end result is inevitable: a flame war lasting weeks, or even months at a time. These are exhausting events to deal with, and rarely yield any meaningful conversations. The fact that emotion, rather than reason, drives controversy means that as a blogger, my initial inclination is to steer clear of active controversies, and only make passing references to them if they are relevant to a topic that a given post discusses.

Of course, I didn’t always have this mindset, and back when my blog was still relatively new, I wrote about the venerable Kokoro Connect Incident, where voice actor Mitsuhiro Ichiki was deceived into auditioning for a non-existent voice role for the anime Kokoro Connect and was humiliated when the recorders were taken into a different context at his expense. While the event disappeared from public eye shortly after, it was referenced during a talk show, and netizens, outraged at how the industry handled things, organised a massive Twitter campaign with the intent of punishing Kokoro Connect‘s producers, going to lengths such as online harassment, issuing threats to the studio and the like. While I found the Kokoro Connect Incident unfortunate, I also felt that the choice of actions netizens took to be more deplorable than the original incident itself. This stance evidently put me at odds with the online community; as I was not espousing extreme actions despite disagreeing with the studio, I was not “on their side” enough. Redditors soon found my thoughts on the Kokoro Connect Incident and began vilifying my blog far and wide; their intention was not to understand or have a conversation, but rather, to bolster their own credibility and reputation online by means of upvotes. To this day, my post on the Kokoro Connect Incident remains the only time where I’ve scrubbed comments from: none of them were conducive to good discussion. The Kokoro Connect Incident was a reminder of the depravity some sections of the online community would go to stand above others, and furthermore, gave me a first-hand demonstration of what wading into a controversial topic is like. While I may be able to coherently, and clearly argue my points about a controversial topic, the same cannot always be said about those who had more time to expend than I did: after the Kokoro Connect Incident, I concluded that discussion of controversial anime topics would, at best, be a challenge, and opted to avoid controversies in order to stave off the necessity of fending off folks disinterested in discussion.

That approach has served me well enough until this year, when Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! began airing during the summer anime season. While the anime itself is quite unremarkable, a bit of background reading done to gain a measure of the series uncovered one of the most petty, ill-conceived controversies of all time. As it turns out, the Red Cross had used Uzaki’s image during a blood drive event a year earlier, and one Jay Allan of Unseen Japan took personal offense to the advertisement, feeling it to be exploiting “sex appeal” to drive up interest in the blood drive. Allan subsequently wrote a Tweet decrying the practise and sent it to prominent social media activists with the aim of utilising their outrage to increase Unseen Japan’s visibility. This was successful: within a day, the original post had received two thousand likes and a thousand retweets, along with an outpouring of support. However, not all of the reception was rosy, and Allan took advantage of the more adverse responses to “prove” his point that anime fans were immature people lacking any sort of understanding of social issues in Japan. This much is fact, and anything pertaining to Allan’s motivations and objectives reside in the realm of speculation, which I will not delve into. However, I did find it petty to instruct others not to watch a series based purely on controversy, and consequently, I wrote about Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! with the aim of making it clear that whether or not the anime adaptation was worth watching was to be determined purely based on the series’ merits (or lack thereof), rather than the opinions of someone whose credibility in anime and manga was dubious at best. By writing this post, I ventured again into the realm of a controversial topic, but by focusing purely on the outcomes for the reader, I was able to have a more productive conversation about the issue that mattered to readers: whether or not Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! is worthwhile, rather than whether Jay Allan’s personal opinions hold any weight.

Additional Remarks

  • The short version of this post is simple: my least favourite anime controversies are the Kokoro Connect incident and the trouble the Red Cross had with Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out, primarily because I saw for myself how the anime community handles controversial topics. Honourable mentions include whether or not Miho’s decisions in Girls und Panzer were justified (she’d abandoned her tank to save classmates, costing her the champion ship match). While the community would likely count The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya‘s Endless Eight, Legend of the Shield Hero‘s portrayal of victim-playing and Isshuzoku Reviewers‘ upvote brigading at MyAnimeList as being larger controversies, I never wrote about those as they happened, and so, I never experienced the exhaustion of having to endlessly discuss them.

  • As to my own stance on writing about controversial topic, the rule I follow is that I won’t write about it unless I can do the topic justice, and it is relevant to my readers. I certainly don’t like writing about things just to pull a few extra readers in, and find that this approach is typically counterproductive for a blogger; if I were to rush blindly into a topic, as I did with the Kokoro Connect Incident, the results can be troublesome to deal with in the aftermath. The practise of starting a controversy for views, retweets and upvotes is even more dishonest: while no doubt effective, it brings the sort of attention that typically isn’t wanted, and even where that is avoided, comes across as being a means of begging for attention.

  • The key to dealing with polarising topics is simply to listen, and in this day and age, not pay any respect or attention to those who would respond to controversy with memes. One of the reasons why controversies become viral is because when context is lost, things can become more black and white, and as such, are capable of evoking stronger emotional responses. If one were to then throw a few memes into things because they thought it amusing, they run the risk of giving all of that anger and hatred either a symbol, which conveys a sense of legitimacy, or target. The reason this happens is because memes are inherently context-free, and as such, can miscommunicate intentions.

  • The state of politics and journalism in the world in recent years, then, can be thought of as a consequence of taking memes too seriously and giving them an undue, inordinate amount of attention, giving the incorrect impression that memes are not just a form of reaction, but an acceptable method of responding to someone. The most damaging memes are created by bad faith actors who are aware of the ramifications of their actions, although the amusement-seeking individual can also find there materials misappropriated for memes. Webcomic author Matt Furie found this out the hard way, when his creation became used as a symbol of hatred, intolerance and racism. Today, the symbol is further used to indicate disdain and sarcasm; that people have accepted such symbols as a valid form of communication means that it is impossible to hold a conversation with them.

  • Altogether, I find that while controversial topics can be safely discussed, it demands that all sides of an issue be willing to listen, first and foremost, and that individuals communicating must make an active effort to make themselves clear. I’ve had healthy disagreements with people, and they certainly didn’t see it as a “us or them” deal; we left the conversation with a better appreciation of the issue at hand. Listening and being clear are essential for good communications, and this bit of common sense is how prickly topics can be approached. However, until the world rejects memes as a valid form of response to others, I imagine that polarising issues will be tricky to discuss, simply because individuals holding various perspectives are unwilling to listen to one another.

Both the Kokoro Connect Incident and Unseen Japan’s battle with the Red Cross represent two controversies I am not fond of, and also represent two different approaches I took towards handling things. By the events of the latter, I framed my discussions around the merits of the show itself and reiterated that I was not here to talk about identity politics. Through the post on Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out!, I found that there was a means of smartly addressing controversial topics without opening oneself to endless harassment. The key here is to clearly define the impact of a given controversy on one specific area and my specific stance on things. I cared whether or not a work was worth consuming on its own merits, as well as what extent the controversy had on my decisions. Even though I’ve established an approach for discussing controversies, it is not my preference to write posts surrounding polarising topics: there is a sense of being disingenuous and dishonest when one exploits a controversy for views, retweets and upvotes, and similarly, because controversial topics move very quickly, one could find themselves on the receiving end of considerable trouble if they accidentally (or intentionally) offend the wrong people (especially those with the dangerous combination of rudimentary technical knowledge and unlimited leisure time). Building up a readership around polarising topics is always a gamble, and while it can yield a large reader base at best when done properly, it’s also a delicate balancing act where the price of making mistakes can become heavy. I certainly do not like to participate in controversies, and in general, prefer keeping opinions to myself: I am of the mind that, unless one were qualified to fairly, and critically consider a controversy, they should not act as though their opinions hold any more opinion than those of the next individual.

Remarks on Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out or: How I Learnt To Ignore Virtue-Signalling and Enjoy Comedy

“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 KashiMagical 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.