Title: Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out!
Anime Studio: ENGI
Genre: Romantic Comedy / Slice Of Life
akurai Shinichi’s one wish is for a little peace and quiet. But Uzaki Hana – his boisterous, well-endowed underclassman – has other plans. All she wants is to hang out and poke fun at him. With the help of her chipper charm and peppy persistence, this might just be the start of a beautiful relationship!
Coming into this show, all I really knew about it was that it was a little controversial when it aired. I remember looking into the controversy, and after finding out that it stemmed from the titular Uzaki’s design. More specifically that she was deemed to look like a child, but with a large chest. At the time, I thought it was overblown, especially as it seemed like her height was what caused this. Now that I’ve seen the series, my feelings haven’t changed. I don’t think she looks like a child. In fact, I’ve known people who were built similarly. So, the controversy will not figure any further in this review.
This all being said, I do think that Uzaki is perhaps unnecessarily large. I know that’s part of the joke with her, but it just felt very off early on in the series. I much the same way, I love snaggle-toothed characters, but I’m not really sold on Uzaki’s being flesh coloured. It kinda feels like the animators forgot to colour it. By the time I reached the halfway point, however, I must admit, I kinda forgot about both worries.
A big part of that is that I actually thought Uzaki was quite delightful as a lead. Her jokes can come across as a little harsh, but somehow, she doesn’t feel particularly mean-spirited. If anything, she felt realistically playful in that way. When it comes down to it, she really does care for Shinichi, that much is obvious. That combination of japes and actually caring about her friends makes her a joy to watch.
Our male lead, Shinichi, is a little more mixed, I found. He isn’t bad, but there was less to him in terms of things to latch on to. He was likeable, and there were little hints at there being more under the surface – like his briefly touching on his introverted nature, or his fear of horror game – but these were never really explored fully. The supporting cast suffered much the same fate. Whether it be The Master and his daughter Ami, or Shinichi’s friend Itsuhito, they’re easy to understand, but do seem to exist solely to push the ‘Uzaki and Shinichi should totally get together’ part of the humour.
Oddly, Uzaki’s mum does a little better here. Though she essentially recycles the same gag each time she appears – that being that, through a series of misunderstandings, she thinks Shinichi is hitting on her – she doesn’t have enough screen time for the joke to wear thin.
When it comes to the actual story, I thought the series did a decent job of getting what it wanted to across. The humour is a good mix of ecchi-related misunderstandings and some generally light-hearted moments. Whether it be people walking in while Shinichi tries to help Uzaki out from a bush or the pair dealing with the concept of sharing food, the humour lands most of the time. I think if it had relied entirely on Uzaki’s bust and the more sexual humour it wouldn’t have worked so well. As t stands, the mix allows for a change of pace at appropriate times.
The biggest flaw the series has when it comes to the humour is that the gags can be a little repetitive when boiled down to their core. It’s not without problematic jokes either, giving us a couple of accidental breast grabs. Thankfully, the good outweighs the bad.
Meanwhile, the romantic side of things was, in my opinion, enjoyable enough. Shinichi and Uzaki’s interactions are the brightest points of the show, and they do have some great chemistry. I would have preferred if they’d gotten together by the end of the series, but that doesn’t really make the series unsatisfying.
Moving on to aesthetics, the show is fine. The animation is neither terrible nor fantastic, rather it sits comfortably in the serviceable category. The soundtrack is the same in that it doesn’t stand out, but in doing so, doesn’t interject itself unnecessarily either. I will give some praise to the dubbed voice cast. They all clearly had fun with the script and injected just the right amount of energy into their performances.
So, overall, how do I rate this. Uzaki-Chan Wants To Hang Out! is far from a perfect series, but it isn’t without merit. It’s technically so-so, and the majority of the cast feel more like tools to hammer out similar jokes over and over than fully-fledged characters. Uzaki herself is an enjoyable lead, though, and the series does have some decent gags to help push it along. I give this a solid 3 out of 5.