Haganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends, Vol. 1

By Yomi Hirasaka and Itachi. Released in Japan as “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai” by Media Factory, serialization ongoing in the magazine Comic Alive. Released in North America by Seven Seas.

It can sometimes be very difficult to practice what I preach. It’s all very well and good for me to offer advice to others, but sometimes a situation comes up where I have to take it. And so it goes with this first volume of Haganai, where I can’t help but hear the voice in the back of my head reminding me of Teru Teru x Shonen, where I urged bloggers who read Vol. 1 and then stopped to not judge an ongoing character arc by its first volume. And so it goes with Haganai, where I feel obliged to note that the plot is likely meant to be ‘this characters grow better and learn to be nice as the series goes on’. Or at least I hope so, as Haganai has some of the most irritating leads you’ll ever meet.

As if you had not been able to guess by the title and cover, Haganai is based on a series of light novels. The basic premise seems like some odd fusion of Haruhi Suzumiya and Toradora: a young man who has trouble making friends due to his natural blond hair and his squinty eyes meets an antisocial young woman who has trouble making friends with anyone. After a brief discussion, she gets the idea to form a club, supposedly devoted to learning how to make friends but in reality most likely just an excuse to hang out. Of course, she doesn’t count on the club actually gaining new members, all of whom are just as socially maladjusted as she is.

One thing the manga does that I enjoyed was have a ‘Chapter 0’ which takes place several months after the events of the rest of the book, a flash-forward of sorts showing us what the club will eventually be like. It helps to introduce the major players (including several who then don’t show up again for the rest of the volume) and shows off the basic plot and how it leads to cringe-inducing humor. Seeing it, I felt a bit more prepared for the rest of the volume.

Unfortunately, Haganai is also part of a brand of ‘moe’ that I’ve never really come to love. The old ‘harem genre’ of shonen manga used to have the nebbish hero choosing between nice girls, tsundere girls and the occasional bottle fairy, but there was never any indication that the girls weren’t able to function in society as a whole. But manga lately, mostly due to the related boom in light novels, has seen a huge increase in socially maladjusted high schoolers who simply can’t interact properly with anyone (except of course our hero… and even then). And you’re left exhausted as you see them blackmailing people gleefully as it would be fun to abuse them (as Yozora does here) or getting offended that the male lead refuses to act as her slave/footstool (as Sena does). It’s a love triangle of two girls who re all tsun and no dere. And what that leaves is basically a somewhat nondescript hero listening to two loud and obnoxious women yell for 200 pages.

That said, as I noted, clearly the premise will be (besides which girl gets the guy) about seeing the nice and sweet side of these girls. But it’s getting harder to justify digging for it. Even Haruhi Suzumiya eventually mellows out. Can I expect the same for Yozora and Sena?

Did you enjoy this article? Consider supporting us.


  1. I watched the Anime and honestly if the MAnga follows that plotline it’s not going to get much better oh well Rika’s good for a lugh but be forwarned there is a quasi siscon/brocon sub story between Kodaka his sister and Maria (the club’s advisor). In short I dont hold much hope for it although I could be wrong the Is This a Zombie manga was better than I expected so here’s hopeing I’m wrong

Speak Your Mind