There is something oddly freeing about now having the pressure of having to do the links for Anime Secret Santa. It was always a stressful task of hunting down people’s reviews on the already hectic day of Christmas. Thankfully All Geeks Considered is doing it this year I can just be a lazy participant which is a welcome change of pace. Also because my main PC died this would have been a ROUGH year to be in change of Anime Secret Santa. So maybe everything has worked out in the end. Or more like my miserable luck is more just terrible instead of disastrous. (He says as writes the post the day before Christmas on a tiny notebook in an apartment where the sewage is currently mixing with the hot water.)
So as per tradition, I break down why I picked the show I did from the three choices I got. My picks were Wasteful Days of High School Girls, Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor, and Two Car. Two Car mostly just seemed like a series about the asses of racing girls with some story to explain why you were watching them all the time. Theoretically, there might be some Keijo!!!!!!!! level brilliance hidden underneath I did not really feel like rolling those dice unless it was absolutely necessary. A Country Doctor was my “I ran out of time but still want to review something worth talking about” fall back. I thankfully finished my final choice early but I was still glad to have a fail-safe just in case. I went with Wasteful Days of High School Girls mostly as it felt the most in the spirit of the project. It was a show I had completely missed when it was first on the air and it felt like a show I could go either way on.
Especially considering some of the dire selections I have got in the past this was a pretty nice mix of shows.
At the Sainotama Girls’ High School there is a particular class of eccentric misfits that stand out even among the rest of the weirdos. The core trio is made up of three girls with seemingly nothing in common who have nicknamed everyone in the class to the point where they all just use their nicknames rather than their real names. So the girls waste their time with activities both mundane and bizarre.
I was really hoping this would be the female version of Daily Lives of High School Boys. It was and it wasn’t. Overall the formula is quite similar. You have a trio of friends who the rest of the cast orbits. The plot mainly involves very mundane school situations taken to their logical comedic extremes without any real overarching narrative. The main problem is really the hit to miss ratio. While Daily Lives of High School Boys had like a 70 percent hit rate where the jokes were mainly hysterical with the occasional dud or headscratcher I feel the ratio with Wasteful Days of High School Girls is sadly closer to 45%. There was always one good scene per episode but the ratio past that point was VERY variable depending on which character they were focusing on.
The actual best comparison is Azumanga Daioh. The problem is that comparing stuff arbitrarily to Azumanga Daioh is just plain mean. If you are asking any school-based comedy to jump over that bar your mainly going to end up disappointed. But this is a case where the comparison is fairly justified. For one thing, Baka is borderline copyright infringement when it comes to Tomo. I just assume that Baka wants to grow up to be Fujiko Mine even if it is never said in the show. Wota is similar but different than Yomi but when you add in her somewhat toxic friendship with Baka the differences seem a bit more minute. Robo does not have a direct analogy but you could see some Sakaki in her but overall that comparison is far weaker. I could easily find cast equivalents for most people in Wasteful Days of High School Girls but at this point, you get a general idea. They are very similar shows with Azumanga Daioh clearly being the superior show.
Beyond that, the main strength or weakness of any scene in the show is which cast members they use. The main trio is rather neutral. They are rarely terrible but they also are mainly sort of bland unless they are playing off of some of the stronger cast members. The super Chunibyo Yamai is probably the strongest character in the cast and she makes any scene she is in 100% better. The show has equal parts sympathy and disdain for her that makes her richer than most of the cast. Also, she is just plain funny. Majime and Majo are a bit more one-note but they are generally a positive force in any scene. Loli can be funny but only when teamed up with the right characters but otherwise she is just terrible. Lily is undoubtedly the worst and just exemplifies all the horrible sort of predatory lesbian style jokes. Since most of the episodes focus on one or two of the characters the episodes that focus on Yamai are super fun but an episode that is Lily centric is just filled with cringe. It makes the show very variable indeed.
I will give the show credit for Wota being an unusually realistic portrayal of a fujoshi in anime. She is neither a mega nerd who is always letting her freak flag fly nor is she mega-hot double D girl with glasses who also happens to like anime. She is clearly a nerd who can pass her self off as normal if she tries really hard but easily gives away the game in the right (wrong?) situation. She also has a rather good story about her idolization for a certain Vocaloid producer she admires. It is an unexpected touching part of the show and shows off some intresting parts of certain members of the cast. If anyone in the show is actually based on a real person and not just an archetype it is probably her.
I cannot forget the fact that the opening of the show is pretty amazing. The song is catchy if absurd and the animation is super neat and clever. It probably represents the show at its best. It is worth watching even if you have no interest in the show itself.
Overall Wasteful Days of High School Girls is not a bad show it just falls short of greatness when compared to some of the top shows in the genre that do the same thing but better. If your looking for a wacky school comedy Azumanga Daioh, Daily Lives of High School Boys, and School Rumble are just better choices if you have never seen any of them. That said I had a decent time watching the show. I totally get why I totally missed this show when it came out but also get why someone would recommend it to me. It is a good show that is a few points off from getting the A it could have gotten had it not wasted its potential.