Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!
by James Beckett,
How would you rate episode 4 of
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! ?
Don't let the title of this week's Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! fool you: “I Want to Hang Out Over Holiday!” is not going to drastically change up the Uzaki-chan formula this early on by throwing in some specifically holiday-themed shenanigans. It's Golden Week, which often serves as an excuse for characters to enjoy their time off by going on some interesting new adventures, though for Shinichi, it's merely an excuse to shut himself inside for three-days straight playing video games. That is, until hears that familiar knock-knock-knocking at his door, and the doorbell beings ring. Once, and then again, over and over until that haunting, Muppet-esque cackle echoes through the air…and she arrives.In other words, this episode gives us exactly what it says on the tin, which is the very same thing every other episode has given us: Shinichi wants to be left alone, Uzaki bothers her way into his life anyway, and the two end up hanging out enough that it is impossible to pretend that Shinichi isn't starting to enjoy Uzaki's company just a little bit. As far as the shenanigans they get up to go, we start off with Uzaki entreating Shinichi's partnership in what feels like a very dated and simplistic riff on Pokémon Go, where the goal is to catch “doramons”, which are (intentionally?) bland and awkward looking animal characters that I won't even bother describing because the game barely factors into the episode. It's weird for the game to be presented like the main gimmick of the scene, only to be barely a footnote in the episode. It's probably for the best – Pokémon Go jokes are only funny these days when you put some kind of intentionally bizarre spin on the game, kind of like Asobi Asobase did (and to great effect, I might add).
Instead, the main crux of Shinichi and Uzaki's Totally-Not-A-Date is going glasses shopping, followed by an altogether awkward train ride home. Both of these sequences suffer from the same fatal flaw that Uzaki-chan stumbles on whenever it actively tries to be funny: It isn't. More specifically, these jokes are so cliché, and presented with such little enthusiasm or effort, that there's nothing to do but watch them pass by in completely unaffected silence. Uzaki and Ami tease Shinichi by making him wear increasingly lame specs; Uzaki and Shinichi get into a bickering meltdown that caps off the shopping trip; Shinichi gets pressed up against Uzaki's boobs on the train, and wouldn't you know it, all of the advertisements in the train car are weirdly specific and remind him of how horny he is! I hate still be harping on how rarely this show ever manages to eek even a single laugh out of me, but it is trying to be comedic at least some of the time, so I'll have to keep bringing it up, at least until Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! gets some better material.
It isn't all doom-and-gloom this week, though. For one, there were two moments that I found to be amusing — again, they weren't solid enough to be truly funny, but I recognized that they amounted to something. The first was when Shinichi's boss comments on how strange it is that Shinichi could just shut off his consciousness when overwhelmed by the “boobies go squish” of it all back on the train. That there is a detail that could even become a running joke if Uzaki-chan remembers to use it in the future, so points for potential, I guess. The second good moment was when Uzaki visited Shinichi at his apartment again, and got soaked in the rain. I can relate all to well to that image of Uzaki being totally overwhelmed by a sudden rainstorm that just so happened to arrive right when she left the grocery store.
The only other meaningful story beat of the episode comes when Shinichi encounters a despondent Uzaki, who simply can't bear the thought of how few holiday breaks there are in in the coming weeks of summer. Instead of dunking on her for being such a strange and irritating troll person (which is what I might do, given his circumstances), Shinichi actually takes the chance to invite Uzaki over. It's a real moment of, well, I'm not sure I'd exactly call it growth for Shinichi to give into Uzaki's decidedly annoying approach to forcing herself into his life, but it's some kind of development. This is probably a positive development for the show itself, especially for folks who are actively rooting for these two to get together. It's a bit of a shame for my snarky old self, though, since Shinichi ignored the advice of every vampire story ever written and openly invited Uzaki into his home as a semi-frequent guest. Not only has he has granted her a dark power over his domain, but I will probably have to cool it on all of the jokes about how much he hates her and wants her to go away now.
Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out! is currently streaming on Funimation.
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