As the title suggests, I’ve been away from something so simple a concept that I’m actually enjoying these regular highschool romantic comedies. Recall that I actually enjoyed Gamers! for a brief instance of its misunderstandings upon misunderstandings but I know for sure that I can say I’d watch Bokuben again over Gamers any freaking day.
So is it just some forgotten sense of longing that keeps me watching this or does it have some merit on its own?
Yuiga Nariyuki is an average level 3rd year student who is given the task to tutor two particular students in his grade. In exchange, his family’s poor financial stability will be alleviated by giving him a recommendation to a decent college. His problem however are the two students that he has to tutor who are classified as geniuses in their respective fields but incredibly inept in their weakest fields. So bad in fact that many other tutors and teachers have basically given up on them. Furuhashi Fumino, a literature genius who cannot comprehend mathematics while the opposite applies to Ogata Rizu, a mathematics supercomputer who cannot deal with anything unquantifiable in words and “feelings”. Yuiga’s acquaintance from middle school, Takemoto Uruka also throws herself into the mix since her athleticism is the only thing carrying her poor academics.
A relatively standard set-up that thankfully doesn’t over-utilize some tired trope of “the only guy in a all-girls school” but to be fair, Yuiga is literally the only male character that matters. Actually, it is shown that he has some male friends but they’re so minor that I completely forgot their names. The stakes of passing exams as well as the abandonment issues Fumino and Rizu have with their previous tutors also gets settled quite quickly so it just becomes your constant romcom antics, which isn’t all too bad.
Yuiga’s characterization as some poverty-stricken student is more or less the driving force of his dense attitude but there are some times he does acknowledge the feelings, particularly Uruka, to an extent while he doesn’t dare to make an advance on some of other girls since he doesn’t see himself in that high regard. Given Rizu and Fumino’s introductions, I wasn’t all too keen on the former but I ended up like Rizu a whole lot more than I ever imagined. Her expressions are incredibly cute and she’s like a little chipmunk when she pouts. Fumino was cute but I don’t think she was as cute as Rizu or Uruka, there’s not much to really say about her other than some word about her becoming a bit more violent in future chapters. Uruka aside from being really cute is the one trying her hardest to win, which automatically means she’ll never win if anyone remembers how Ichigo 100% ended up. Plus she wears competition swimsuits and has a tan to boot, you really can’t beat that.
In this love square we have two more girls added to the mix. The first being Kirisu Mafuyu, a teacher at the study group’s school and the first tutor who tried to help Rizu and Fumino. Her hidden depths as a character comes from her youth spent as an aspiring figure skater that ate up a lot of her time growing up and decided to pursue a job in teaching to help others manage their own time and skills well. At first I didn’t think I’d like her but then she turned out to be a way more cute with how much of a klutz she is outside of her profession. Last is Kominami Asumi, an alumna of the cast’s school who is studying in cram school to get into medical school to follow in her father’s footsteps. Once again, didn’t think I’d like the smug older girl who’s shorter than everyone else but she’s a lot less abrasive than I’d thought she’d be. All in all, it was one of those series where I didn’t hate any character, in fact, I quite liked a good amount of them and I can only say that Kominami got the least amount of screentime and despite liking her, I probably care for her the least among everyone.
One things for sure, I ended up listening to the opening and ending a lot more than I usually do for series like this, it’s nice hearing the seiyuus sing the opening and I always like Rizu and Ogata’s portions of the song, especially near the end of the opening. Visually, there wasn’t all that much for me to point out especially with school-based series, fanservice wasn’t the most singular thing aside from the comedy and there wasn’t anything too terrible or all that beautiful to be disappointed or amazed with, and I guess that should be the standard for your romcom.
Character designs were all fairly attention-grabbing, with their myriad of colorful hair and styles that some characters switch between. Apparently there was some criticisms of shoddy quality but as an anime-only viewer as of this writing, I hardly found any shots that were any bad, but I’d imagine any avid fan of the manga would have something to say about what I said. Given my lack of things to read and apparently things to watch in the summer, I might just start reading this because I definitely did have some fun with it.
Even right now, I can’t tell if my enjoyment of the series was due to its own characters and presentation or simply because I haven’t consumed something of this genre in quite a while. I’m pretty averse to the whole isekai shtick of things with video-game RPG elements thrown in to substitute any sort of world-building and the blatant “loser MC getting a second lease at life in another reality”. I’m so tired of hearing about it that I find your regular school life shows a bit more enjoyable. Knowing my general roots though, I wonder if my disdain for battle harems is independent of regular school harems now but I used to have the same hate for those too. At the very least, I don’t think the series is all that shamelessly ecchi so I guess the cuteness factor is what I’m in the mood for these days.
Should somehow you’re as jaded as me about recent trends, then Bokuben might be an enjoyable and comfortable watch on a Saturday afternoon for you to relax with. It’s a mostly harmless romantic comedy that does show some minimal depth toward a highschooler’s future after they graduate, which is something incredibly life-changing to think about. Sure the topic mostly becomes wooing Yuiga but it was a lighthearted, enjoyable, and maybe sad on Uruka’s part, romcom that I wouldn’t mind watching a season two.