My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Season 1+2, as the name suggests, brings together the first 2 seasons of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, also known by it’s more palatable translation (at least to me) My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected. On the surface it reads like it has all the makings of yet another high school comedy anime with potential harem overtones and fan service to spare. Or does it?
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Season 1+2 focuses on a trio of characters all involved with the Service Club, a newly-formed and otherwise fairly generic description for a club whose purpose is to help people out in a variety of capacities. The founding members of the group, introverted loner Hachiman Hikigaya and the outwardly cold Yukino Yukinoshita, are pulled together by their school counsellor as a way to encourage them develop their interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence.
Across the two seasons in this collection, the two of them are joined by fellow second-year student Yui Yuigahama as a semi-official club member, while the broader cast extends to Hikigaya’s sister Komachi and the popular first year student, Iroha Isshiki. Through the open and varied nature of the Service Club, the main cast manage to weave their way through an odd assortment of scenarios and, hopefully, learn a little bit about being a bit less judgemental and isolated from their peers.
The greatest strength with My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Season 1+2 is that it unexpectedly plays with expectations. The harem/fan service angle is only really given a little bit of airplay in the second episode during a somewhat obligatory change room scene, but that’s about it. There’s a little bit of fan service around Hikigaya’s sister which probably didn’t need to be there, but otherwise the story is focused purely on Hikigaya’s social awkwardness and detached cynicism.
What’s also interesting is how it doesn’t necessarily indulge in said teenage pseudo-intellectual aloofness. Hikigaya’s character is shown how he uses the vantage point to distance himself from others in a lone wolf kind of way, but this also keeps him from forming meaningful relationships with others. His social sacrificial tendencies start carrying more weight, especially as we get into the second series.
Speaking of which, the second series of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU made a few slight tweaks but builds off the formula established in the first. Aside from changing animation studios reasonably seamlessly and improving the animation quality, it expands the cast with the inclusion of Iroha while at the same time allowing for the growth of the main trio of characters with a greater sense of levity to the story arcs. It was a genuine surprise to see how the relationships and secondary characters played a meaningful part in developing the story, focused as the episode count is.
The end result was a really solid teen rom com that knows its boundaries but has the gumption to navigate the awkwardness in teenage (or any?) relationships and challenge the usual horny tropes in this anime space. Thankfully Madman’s also released the third series (review coming soon!) which made it easy to binge the final series to enjoy this one to conclusion.
The local release of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Season 1+2 pops the series across 4 discs. It’s bilingual, the translation’s solid, encoding looks great and extras are minimal but complements things nicely. The only bit missing are the OVA episodes that were included with the video game releases. The content there was reasonably inconsequential so it’s not a deal breaker but would have been nice to have.
My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU Complete Season 1+2 isn’t going to rewrite the rules and expectations of the anime high school drama, but it maintains a good pace, has characters that demonstrate growth and the production values tie things together nicely.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.