“Put that ass away!”

I just about jumped off the couch and bounced off the ceiling and rolled around on the floor, holding my sides for dear life as I coughed and spewed and laughed my head off through moments like that in Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! This show is hilarious, no two ways about it.

Speaking of two…never mind. 

This show has a ton of fun scenes and great voice acting. I don’t get the thing with Uzaki’s—you know—but aside from that this show is uninterrupted humor and happy feelings from beginning to end. I really enjoyed this show, and as I write this review (May 2022) a second season of Uzaki-chan is currently in production. I look forward to it as eagerly as Uzaki looks forward to hanging out with her favorite senpai!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Characters

Rating: 9

First of all, I love that these people are in college and aren’t high schoolers for once. And it’s a comedy! Most of the shows about college students are slice-of-life or romance, and though those shows are usually really nice, it’s great to see a comedy thrown into this category for once. Now that I’ve got that out of the way…

I want to hang out with Hana Uzaki!

She’s crazy, and in the best way possible. She pushes herself onto her favorite senpai, Shinichi Sakurai, in a crazy attempt to get him to not be a listless loner. The premise is ridiculous, and her choice to follow him around every is even more ridiculous, but this crazy character makes it work. Uzaki is full of energy and life and spunk. I usually find the “adult that’s often mistaken for an elementary schooler” thing kind of silly, but it works here. It’s even more ridiculous here, given her physique, so it has that little bit of extra hilarity to go with it. And that little girl voice sells the image entirely. Naomi Ouzora has made a name for herself with this kind of voice, notably for Uzaki and subsequently for Jahy in The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! I like her better as Uzaki—Jahy’s kind of annoying, but another review for another day—but regardless, it’s a memorable, hilarious voice. I can’t remember associating a female VA with such a hilarious comedic sound. I know male VAs like this, notably Tomokazu Subito (Gintama—I’m sure you can guess which character if you don’t know), but this is the first female VA I remember just for her comedic voice. It’s great.

Uzaki is so much fun. I think everyone would want a friend like her, someone who in the purest goodness shoves her way into our lives. Whether it’s pushing Shinichi into situations he’s not comfortable with, or randomly showing up at his refuge of an apartment to impinge on his time and privacy, or the crazy situations they get into together, she’s all energy and speak-before-you-think—and speaking very loudly at that—and unfiltered friendliness. She’s a perfect friend…and hopefully a little more!

Sugoi

Shinichi Sakurai: enabler character. But an enabler like this, whose design is to be a reserved introvert (to a degree), is going to fade into the background a little. Not that he’s in the background—he’s everywhere Uzaki is, obviously—but he’s just the foil for Uzaki. That’s fine. This show wouldn’t be what it is without that element. But that being said, he’s not neglected by the writers. He’s really funny in this role. That line that opens this review is his. He’s got a ton of zingers like that. He jabs back at Uzaki all the time, even if he is ultimately kind about it. Kenji Akabane has mostly done supporting roles in his time, but he should get more starring roles after this in my opinion, as he does a great job with this voice. He goes back and forward between monotone, scary introvert and overwhelmed, screaming crazyman going bonkers over the situations Shinichi and Uzaki get into. It’s hilarious. So while there isn’t much to his character, Shinichi the character is really funny and contributes heavily to this show. This cast of characters and this show wouldn’t be the same without him. And he has the thing with the cats, which is great and which creates a lot of the funniest moments in this show.

He and Uzaki together make this show. Of course it’s about them so you’d expect them to be at the center of everything, but this show handles that kind of dynamic perfectly. They chatter away at each other like they’re the only two people in whatever location they happen to be in at the moment, be that cafe, college, airport, or hedgerow. The characters themselves are supposed to complement each other, being more together than apart, and they really are. Even the VAs do a great job being greater as a pair than individually. Through S1 we’ve had hints of romantic feelings a few times, but so far not much as come of it. S2 might bring some surprises to hopeful audiences! 

Then comes the supporting cast. It’s not extensive, which I always like, and they do a great job supporting. Primarily this consists of the trio of Ami Asai, her father, and Itsuhito Sakaki. Shinichi works part-time at the Asai cafe, where Ami also works. Itsuhito is Shinichi’s college buddy. The three of them together puts the hilarity in this show over the edge. Itsuhito and Ami are always trying to get Uzaki and Shinichi together romantically, and Ami and her father like to sit and watch Uzaki and Shinichi go at it with each other in their cafe, adding hilarious commentary all the while for the viewer. They’re great.

dekai.

Uzaki’s family makes up the remainder of supporting cast (through S1), but I will only highlight Uzaki’s mother, Tsuki Uzaki. For one thing, she’s voiced by the always recognizable Saori Hayami (Yumeko, Kakegurui; Yor Forger, Spy x Family), who I always love to hear voice acting. Uzaki imitates her mother at one point during the show, and hearing Ouzora-san imitate Saori Hayami is side splitting hilarious. Second, Tsuki Uzaki’s schtick is that she’s convinced Shinichi is in love with her. Every time these two are together some circumstance ensues that creates this misunderstanding in her head, usually involving a cat. It’s hilarious. Oh, and we rarely see her eyes; another of those characters.

Speaking of cats, while not technically a character, that cat the appears at random following the action between Uzaki and Shinichi is the cherry on the top. That thing has the best reactions! And the artists work it in at the best moments, maximizing the hilarity of a particular scene.

It’s little touches like that cat that make this show so much fun. The characters are no exception in this regard. They all have their quirks and funny features, and they all do a great job in their roles. You might think these characters being in-character, doing the same things over and over again each episode, might getting boring, and maybe it does a little, but they do such a great job with it in this case that you don’t notice it. It sounds kind of silly to say, but comedy should be funny. Sometimes it isn’t; sometimes writers miss on their characters. These guys don’t miss. They are exactly what they should be, and are 100% entertaining. 

Artwork

Rating: 7

Two words: sugoi dekai.

Uzaki’s infamous shirt that only anime could produce is instantly recognizable to almost any anime fan. Whether you know what that phrase means or not—and most longtime anime fans do—it’s immediately associated with Uzaki and this anime. It’s a simple thing, but an effective character point in the artwork.

This anime is strangely—sexy. The “sugoi dekai” situation is the most prominent, but several of the situations Shinichi and Uzaki get into are at least vaguely sexual. Not always in a very lewd way even, nor is it always very obvious, but certainly so. As far as artwork is concerned, of course Uzaki has her feature, but the “fan service” aspect is pretty limited beyond that. Only a few of the comedic situations involve compromising postures, weird camera angles, or sights of embarrassing clothing. So the show has moments where it feels sexy, and partly because of the artwork, but it’s not very that way.

Mostly the artwork is simple and consistent. Uzaki has super big, glassy eyes that are full of energy and expression—usually of excitement or smugness when teasing Shinichi—a mouth that’s usually wide open or in a semi dumb smile, and gray hair that’s oddly transparent even for anime. Gray hair? Yep, Uzaki’s hair is gray. Yes like an old person gray. It’s very shiny and youthful looking, but it is gray. It’s a curious choice, but it works perfectly. You don’t see a lot of young anime characters with gray hair, but it works very well for Uzaki.

We don’t see Uzaki’s mom’s eyes very much. We see this on matronly characters every now and then in anime. You guys may recall that for a long while we hardly knew the color of Lucoa’s eyes in Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid for a long time until that was spectacularly revealed. So this feature occurs here and there, and I for one really like it. It adds a lot of personality to these “older” characters, as well as some beauty when their eyes are revealed eventually. It’s fun.

Tears of laughter…and one peculiar facial feature that’s unique to anime.

Skin fang tooth. Sometimes called “lip fang” or “lip tooth,” you choose your favorite phrase, most avid anime fans know exactly what this means. What the heck? Generally this feature is found on lively female characters with curious voices like Uzaki. Very often we associate it with the “teasing” characters like Uzaki or Nagatoro, but it’s not completely limited to those types. You may recall that Jahy from The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated has such a fang feature as well, but it’s not the skin covered single fang like Uzaki has. So it might be associated with voice as much as anything, or the character type that such a voice is applied to (Jahy and Uzaki have the same VA, aforementioned). Either way, this is an amazing touch on these kinds of characters. It enhances certain expressions in ways you wouldn’t expect. Snarky, smug expressions become much more intense merely through the presence of this item. And you hardly notice it’s there until you notice it. It’s another one of those things that makes anime so unique.

The reaction shots from the cat are exquisite. Facial expressions are everything in anime, and for whatever reason we have a cat following around Uzaki and Shinichi, and occasionally the scene will flash to this cat’s face as it reacts wildly to the situation it watches. It’s really funny and a nice creative touch.

There’s nothing super exceptional about the artwork in this series, but it does its job well. It’s lively, pretty, full of energy and life, just the way anime artwork should be regardless of the genre. Uzaki’s artwork pushes all the right buttons. It enlivens this show and makes the laughing come even easier. You may not notice it, but the artwork definitely affects the viewer’s experience. Subtle effect is always laudable in artwork, and this show does it well.

Story

Rating: 6

Uzaki-chan wants to hang out. That’s about it actually.

This show is all just Uzaki inserting herself into Shinichi’s life, him getting annoyed about it, her playing and having fun with it all, occasionally getting annoyed herself—but always the two growing closer to each other. That’s the extent of the story.

It’s simple, it’s fun, it’s sweet. It’s a lot of laughs and a few heartwarming moments. It doesn’t have to be more than that, and it certainly isn’t.

But that works here. Anime without stories, just with little threads that run through the whole that are very predictable (as in, them slowly falling in love—oops, who said love?), still often work very well. They lend themselves very well to this episodic and/or vignette format. The simple main threads are always there and always played upon by the vignettes, but aren’t super important overall. It’s probably harder to write like this than we’d think. The interaction between characters and the overall story is one of the most difficult parts of creative writing for an author. Just because there’s no main story doesn’t mean it gets any easier to write. Someone has to come up with all these situations and make the characters shine within them. So I’ll never fuss about a show not having a story as long as they make good use of the vignette format in place of it, or other format that can suitably replace a proper storyline.

Among episodic or vignette anime, this one is great, but doesn’t quite reach the heights some such shows reach. Part of that is simply because the focus is so tremendously on the characters—particularly Uzaki, who dominates this show—that any story aspect gets heavily overshadowed. That’s okay: the characters are so good we don’t even think about the story! But the other reason is simply that there are shows that really exemplify this format. Nichijou and Kaguya-sama are the most prominent modern examples, but lots of show in the past do a really good job with this, and I could name a few just off the top of my head if I were so inclined. I don’t think anyone would put Uzaki-chan in Nichijou’s category simply because of how well a show like that utilizes this format. But that says more about the quality of Nichijou than any deficiency in Uzaki-chan. Perhaps that I should even mention them together speaks to the quality of Uzaki-chan more than anything.

Overall: 8

Very few shows consistently make me laugh from start to finish nearly continuously. While I wasn’t holding my sides laughing constantly during this show, my “average” laugh level was consistently high. When you find yourself watching a show with a smile on your face and a laugh ready to burst out any moment, you know it’s good. Uzaki-chan makes a pretty small list of shows that did that for me. Along with some side splitting moments that well just about land you in the ER. 

I really, really enjoyed this show, and entirely for the comedy and the voice acting. It’s quirky, fun, full of personality, never a dull moment. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Unfortunately, I was forced to accept that there wasn’t any more. This show only had one season, and only 12 episodes of that. Cue the stereotypical groaning of anime fans who deplore single season, 12-episode anime that never get a second season. But fortunately, all is well with the world (of anime) as far as Uzaki-chan is concerned—because this anime is getting a second season! Sometime during this year (2022) in either the upcoming Summer, Fall, or Winter season, Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai! will get a much needed second season. It probably won’t be Summer, as that’s upon as at this very moment (June 2022), but it will be 2022 sometime. I will definitely be looking forward to that.

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