Shelf Life
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Series

by Paul Jensen, James Beckett,

As I write this introduction, it's late at night and the people in the apartment next door are blasting music loud enough to rival a karaoke bar. I'll probably end up dealing with the problem in a civilized manner, but part of me really wants to respond by playing my entire catalog of Love Live! songs starting at around 5:00 AM tomorrow morning. That's the adult thing to do, right? Welcome to Shelf Life.

Jump to this week's review:
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

On Shelves This Week

ClassicaLoid - Season 1 BD
Sentai - 625 min - Sub - MSRP $79.98
Currently cheapest at: $51.99 Right Stuf

Synopsis: High school student Kanae's life is turned upside-down when super-powered individuals claiming to be Mozart and Beethoven appear and begin using the power of "mujik" to transform the town.

Extra: We have episode reviews for this music-themed comedy series, and you'll find it streaming on Crunchyroll, HIDIVE, and Hulu (looks like only HIDIVE has the second season).



Digimon Adventure Tri: Loss BD+DVD, DVD
Shout! Factory - 82 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $24.97|$14.98
Currently cheapest at: $16.99 Amazon|$9.91 Amazon

Synopsis: In the aftermath of the reboot of the Digital World, the Digidestined must reforge their bonds with their old allies.

Extra: We have a review of the episodic TV version of this movie, and the full episodic series is available on Crunchyroll.




KADO: The Right Answer - Complete Collection BD+DVD
Funimation - 325 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $64.98
Currently cheapest at: $48.74 Right Stuf

Synopsis: When a powerful being from another world appears in Japan, professional negotiator Kojiro Shindo is tasked with representing the interests of all mankind.

Extra: I wrote our episode reviews for this series, along with a feature article. The story is hit or miss and you'll need to take a lot of notes along the way, but it's nothing if not interesting. You can watch it on Crunchyroll and Funimation.




Koro Sensei Quest! - BD+DVD
Funimation - 120 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $39.98
Currently cheapest at: $29.99 Right Stuf

Synopsis: The cast of Assassination Classroom returns for a magical, comedic quest to defeat the Demon King Koro Sensei.

Extra: We don't have any full reviews for this comedy spinoff, but several of our writers covered it in the Shorts section of the Winter 2017 Preview Guide. It's available streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation.




Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid - Complete Collection BD+DVD
Funimation - 325 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $64.98
Currently cheapest at: $48.74 Right Stuf

Synopsis: After a drunken encounter with a dragon from another world, white-collar worker Kobayashi suddenly finds herself surrounded by shape-shifting dragons.

Extra: We have both episode reviews and a full series review for this one, along with a feature article. You can stream it on Crunchroll and Funimation.




Sailor Moon Super S - Complete Collection BD+DVD, DVD, Limited Edition
Viz - 456 min - Sub+Dub - MSRP $69.99|$39.99|$79.99
Currently cheapest at: $52.29 Amazon|$26.89 Amazon|$61.69 Amazon

Synopsis: When the villainous Dead Moon Circus begins wreaking havoc, it's up to Sailor Moon and the other Guardians to stop them.

Extra: We have some old DVD reviews for this season from back in 2002, but nothing more current. The series is available streaming on Hulu and Viz.com.




Shelf Life Reviews

We reviewed the first season of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU in this column a couple years ago, but we never got around to covering its sequel—until now. Here's James' take on the recently released two-season collection.

Hachiman Hikigaya is a social outcast who's perfectly content to sit in judgment of his peers from afar, until his teacher sentences him to serve time as a member of the Soubu High School Service Club, an organization dedicated to serving Soubu students in whatever way they can, despite having only one member before Hachiman arrives. Yukino Yukinoshita is an outsider of a different stripe; where Hachiman is surly and off-putting, Yukino has been socially exiled for being such an intimidating figure of wealth and beauty. The mismatched duo is eventually joined by the kind and optimistic Yui Yuigahama, and soon the three band together to fulfill their duties as the school's Service Club. Along the way, they will have to navigate their own personal hang-ups and growing pains, as their feelings for one another become just as complicated as the lives of the students they've set out to help.

This series has been on my radar for quite some time; I'd watched the first half of the first season a year or two ago and really loved it, but I was only able to get around to actually finishing up through My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! when Sentai Filmworks' Blu-Ray set for both seasons landed in my lap for review. Upon revisiting the first season, SNAFU remained a funny and charming teen dramedy that balanced out its wackier bits with a truly sensitive eye for its characters' feelings and growth. As Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui all navigate the emotionally fraught minefield of high school life, they form a bond that holds up as one of the better depictions of teen friendship I've seen in some time; there's certainly romance brewing between Hachiman and his female costars, but it takes a back seat to the comedic highs and dramatic lows that follow the three of them trying to figure themselves out as they approach the threshold of adulthood.

The first season of SNAFU has plenty of funny moments, but my favorite aspects always involved the gang learning to let their walls down little-by-little and come together as a trio of lovable dorks. The supporting cast works really well too; Hachiman's spunky sister Komachi steals most any scene she's in, and Yukino's own sister Haruno provides an interesting tension to the group that evolves into something even more impactful in the next season. Outside of the core Service Club (who are all fantastic), my favorite character is likely the club's eccentric faculty sponsor, Shizuka Hiratsuka; she's the kind of overly quirky and aggressively friendly mentor that I can't help but find charming.

This strong set of leads and supporting characters is what gives the series' episodic stories their strength. Most of the Service Club's jobs are believably mundane. They help students sort out part-time jobs, chaperone an elementary school's camping trip (my personal favorite of the arcs), and put in work for their own school's culture festival. While not every episode or arc of season one is a winner, I can't say there was a single one that didn't have something worthwhile going on – every episode gives Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui the opportunity to play off one another and interact with their classmates, and the character development and storytelling is effective enough that the simple charm of seeing the Service Club's dynamic grow and evolve is enough to make even the more pedestrian episodes worthwhile.

Things take a step up for My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO!, however. While original studio Brains Base did an excellent job of depicting the sometimes-funny, sometimes-cruel world of a skewed romantic comedy with its bright colors and genre-friendly character designs, Studio feel.'s work on SNAFU Too! gives the whole show a stellar visual upgrade. Character designs seem more naturalistically expressive, and the animation and direction are all more dynamic; while the comedy ends up feeling a bit more subdued as a result, the heartfelt emotion that fuels SNAFU's storytelling feels more poignant than ever. Even if the aesthetic shakeup may take some getting used to, I think the tradeoff is totally worth it. Plus, screenwriter Shōtarō Suga and series composer monaca stick around for both seasons, which helps smooth out the transition. The music that monaca provides for both seasons was a particular highlight for me, managing to hit the familiar, airy melodies of the genre while carving out its own affecting identity.

Sentai Filmworks' Blu-Ray set collects all 26 episodes of the combined SNAFU series, but aside from a quality audio-visual transfer, there isn't much else to report concerning this set. The only included extras are the prerequisite trailers and OP/ED collections; we don't get a dub or even the first season's OVA episode, unfortunately. Given that the series can be found new online for under $50, it still ends up being a decent deal, but it's a shame that such a stellar show couldn't get a slightly beefier Blu-Ray release.

I liked Season 1 of SNAFU a whole lot, but I loved SNAFU Too more. When you combine both seasons, SNAFU becomes the kind of piercing and poignant coming-of-age story that I find to be stupendously satisfying. By the end of it, Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui had all become incredibly endearing and achingly relatable young adults, so I was sad to see their story come to an end. I believe it speaks to the quality of the series as a whole that I was ready to watch another 26 episodes of their adventures when the final credits began to roll. If you have any kind of interest in coming-of-age stories and high school romance, then My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU is a must-own.
-James[TOP]

That wraps things up for this week. Thanks for reading, and remember to send your anime collection photos to [email protected] if you'd like to see them featured in our Shelf Obsessed section!


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