It was during the last transition period between the anime spring and summer seasons. Through the announcements of the weeks before, I was already aware of the big names I had to look out for in the coming season. For example, there was the new season of Sword Art Online, the third season of Oregairu, the second season of Fire Force and many more. Some had been postponed due to the corona crisis. Instead, they aired in the summer.
Enough big names already filled the season. Nevertheless, I noticed another show in between that already had caused quite a stir. Its name was “Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out!” or in japanese “Uzaki-chan wa Asobitai!”. But what was it that made this show so controversial and still does?
The anime is about Uzaki Hana, a young university freshman with an extremely large chest. At the university she meets her former senpai Sakurai Shinichi. To her dismay, Hana discovers in her first year that the athletic Shinichi spends his entire student life seemingly alone and uneventful. He sleeps in the park, goes to movies by himself and has relatively little interaction with other students. When it all gets too much for her, Hana takes care of him and hangs out with him as a result. The two get closer and a lovely romantic comedy begins.
Now that sounds like a relatively normal anime comedy. Nevertheless, Hana’s chest size apparently struck a nerve in the anime world. Because she has a cup size of J, people voiced their fears about sexualization. In addition, due to her size, the main character appears relatively childlike and less like an adult woman. As a connoisseur of the Moe genre, it did not put me off. In my opinion the borders were relatively clear. Although I’ve encountered borderline sexualization before, in this case I saw less evidence. So I first ventured into the manga before the new season began.
From the beginning, I felt comfortable with the story. The episodic style is extremely comfortable and quite funny. The scenes from the trailer can be found again quite quickly, but the outside also looks well thought out and loving. In addition, the supporting characters do not fall flat. On the contrary, every character has its own charm and complements the story with it. There are no storylines that seem unnatural. And although there are of course clichés, they are well integrated into the action. That convinced me so much that I started to watch the anime. And how I watched it. Already after the first few weeks Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out! had become my favorite of the season.
But why was that so? I already knew the first chapters of the manga. So how did I see the anime in contrast to that? To be completely honest, the jokes in Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out! are quite entertaining. They have a high rewatch value, so you might want to watch an episode again. Even if the two main characters get closer over time, the comedy remains in the foreground. The show impresses with its charm, its comfy setting and its wit.
First and foremost is the main character Hana. Her smug and energetic nature make her a very amusing character without whom it never gets boring. Over time, you might think all fans would like to have a Hana around them. Her chest size is sometimes used for jokes. Yet overall, it is not overrated. Hana remains interesting because of her character. A characteristic that clearly sets the anime apart from other, more sexualized anime in this season.
Then we have the quiet Shinichi occuring. Due to his rather sleepy and sometimes unusual features, he is a lovable and honest character. He harmonizes perfectly with Hana when it comes to romantic scenes. However, the relationship comedy becomes really interesting when Tatsuhito and Ami come into play. Both pretty much embody the desire of the viewer and try everything to experience the relationship as closely as possible. They even try to heat it up with crazy plans.
Lovingly selected locations in beautiful animation support the whole anime. For example, there is the university as a daily meeting point, the café in which Shinichi and later Hana works. But also others when it comes to excursions. Of course it also includes a beach episode. Then there is the pleasant and well-composed soundtrack. I think it suits the anime very well. It underscores the comedy very well in fast scenes as well as in quiet or romantic ones.
As an episodic-style anime, I never got bored of Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out!. The weekly episodes really cheered me up over the last weeks. The anticipation for a relaxing and fun episode was always there. I loved the details, references to other anime. Most notably the very realistic animated locations such as the airport in Ayoama.
It was twelve weeks that really surprised me. You should never judge a book by its cover. Uzaki-chan Wants To Hang Out! has clearly shown that it can set itself apart with good parody about the fear of sexualization. I will miss this anime very much for the coming seasons. Still, there is good news, because the show is getting a second season. So there remains the anticipation of hanging out with Hana and Shinichi again!
Also read my review of the movie Goblin Slayer: Goblin’s Crown.