The Summer 2019 Anime Preview Guide
Wasteful Days of High School Girls
How would you rate episode 1 of
Wasteful Days of High School Girl ?
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How was the first episode?
You didn't really think we were going to go through a whole season without at least one show about nothing, did you? The aptly-named Wasteful Days of High School Girls carries on the time-honored (or worn-out, depending on your perspective) tradition of having anime characters lounge around classrooms and shoot the breeze for half an hour a week. This is one of those cases where the best and worst thing I can say about a series is that it's exactly what you'd expect it to be. There's not much in the way of innovation here, but it follows the old formula well enough to offer some entertainment if you're in the right mood.
Beyond the inevitable sense of “been there, done that,” the biggest issue working against this episode is the questionable decision to focus nearly all of the screen time on a single member of the ensemble cast. As the group's designated instigator, it makes sense for “Baka” to be at the center of these early scenes, but the series asks her to carry too much comedic weight here. No matter how far-fetched her dumb ideas may be, a character like this can only be funny for so long before the audience grows as tired of her as her childhood friends already appear to be. With so many other oddballs waiting on the sidelines, this episode might have been better off rotating Baka out of a few scenes and letting the rest of the cast make more of an impression.
Still, there are some amusing moments to be found here, with the increasing absurdity of Baka's romantic fantasies being the definite highlight. On the other hand, an earlier scene in which the girls' new teacher makes a suspiciously enthusiastic proclamation of his preference for college students yields comparatively mixed results. While I appreciate the show's willingness to dump cold water all over the trope of student-teacher romance, the joke lands in an uncanny valley where it's neither subtle nor absurd enough to completely avoid the creep factor. Most of the other characters barely have time to introduce their key personality quirks, so the jury's still out on them.
At this point, I expect this series to live or die based on how quickly it can get the supporting cast up and running. Making better use of the full ensemble should offer some more variety and scale Baka's presence down to a more tolerable level, both of which would go a long way towards making Wasteful Days of High School Girls worthwhile. It's not much to look at and it doesn't really do anything new, but it has the makings of a decent school comedy. Genre fans might want to give it a few weeks to find its footing, while everyone else can safely give it the “wait and see” treatment.
Watching the first episode of this new series was a bit of a roller-coaster ride for me. The lowest point came relatively early on, when the teacher introduced himself to the classroom of girls, some of whom, like “Baka” Nozomu, had undoubtedly been at least entertaining the notion of hooking up with a young male teacher. I'm sure his long-winded way of saying that he's not interested in high school girls but might be if the laws were different was supposed to be funny, but that fell far flatter than any other joke the episode tried to put off. The writing seems to not understand that such a joke and character only work if they go much too far, a la Kimura in Azumanga Daioh. In fact, the whole time I was watching the first episode I couldn't escape the impression that the series badly wants to be an updated, less artistically-distinct version of that classic early 2000s sketch comedy. Even based on the brief introductions so far, you can match most characters from this series one-to-one with characters from that one.
Fortunately the teacher's introduction is not typical of the rest of the content, which I found funny enough that I actually laughed at the episode a few times. At its peaks the episode works best as a sketch comedy, with the most entertaining bits mostly dependent on the antics of Baka. She spends part of the episode cycling through other ridiculous nickname choices, but the one she ends up with is well-deserved for the way that she has an utterly oblivious one-track mind about being popular with boys, especially the running gag in the latter part of the episode where she cycles through all of these clichéd fantasy scenarios about her ending up being labeled an “interesting woman,” including some really ridiculous ones. The added joke here is the sense that she may be clueless about what, exactly, it means to be “popular with the boys” as high school students understand it. So far the other two main girls haven't shown much beyond the obsession of “Robo” with presenting biological samples as food items, though there definitely seems to be some potential to mine with the implied obsession of “Wota” with bishonen.
Though introductions in the first episode are limited mainly to the main three girls, one nicknamed Loli for her small size, and a clear chunibiyou girl, both the opener and closer (both of which have clever visuals) suggest a diverse and colorful cast is going to be available for future episodes. That's good because I'm not sure how long Baka can carry the weight on her own. Regardless, the funnier parts more than outweighed the failures for me, hence the positive score.
This was quite the shock after watching the first episode of O Maidens in Your Savage Season. It's almost exactly the opposite of that show – an unrelentingly silly comedy about a group of high school girl stereotypes that would probably work better as a short. This isn't because it doesn't have enough material for a longer episode, but rather because Nozomu (who eventually earns the nickname “Baka”) is so amazingly annoying. In small bursts, she's funny, but as the stories drag on, Nozomu gets increasingly irritating. Since she's apparently the main character, largely because Akane's the straight man of the group and Shiori's weirdness is more low-key than Nozomu's aggressive stupidity, this could become a major problem.
Not that there aren't some good moments with her. The extended scene where she plans how she's going to land a hot guy is pretty great, especially as it keeps going through a variety of shoujo manga tropes only to end on her eating breadcrumbs with the pigeons off the ground in the park. Her fixation on the guy telling her that she's “an interesting woman” is entertaining as well, even if it rings a little false that otaku Akane doesn't seem to recognize most of the scenarios. The other stand out scene is the teacher's speech at the beginning of class, when he tries to warn his students off trying to seduce him but it turns into a major rant about the fantasy of dating a high school girl and all of the reasons it wouldn't work in real life. If you're sick of the student/teacher romance, this is especially enjoyable.
Beyond that, however, this is pretty boilerplate. Wacky characters, a few stock tropes as side players (the chuuni, the tiny short girl, the boyish girl, etc.), and jokes that mainly rely on the fact that Nozomu has very little idea of reality make this the kind of show that really only works if you're specifically into the genre. It's passable, but not much more than that.
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