OK, Season Two is upon us for “The Neighbor’s Club” (or, the new title “Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT), where we build on the good will and storytelling of the first season to expand up our little entourage and see them grow and mature into the adults of the future. Sorta.
Part of the problem with a second season is if you do not have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish, you are just retreading, or following the same path or sticking with that which worked, rather than expanding outwards. And this is exactly what happens. It is as if they got to a point they feel good with and left it at that. The only one who is trying to move forward (of sorts), is Rika, the mad scientist, who goes through a transformation to be something else, so she looks really different.
We still have the verbal fisticuffs between Yozora and Sena, as well as the battles between Kobato and Maria, but Kodaka is still just as clueless on things, even when aspects of his past are brought forth. The injection of conflict into this show seems kind of artificial. I am also amazed as to what people remember from their youth. I have foggy notions and nothing truly concrete, but these folks recall it like it was earlier in the day.
They spend a lot of time together, trying to be friends or neighbors or whatnot, but it really appears to have come to a halt and no progress is being made. The series does not really take off until Episode Eight, when the Club decides to do a movie for the Culture Festival. This opens up a huge can of worms and puts into motion forces and effects that could spell the end of everyone.
I do like this series, especially with the interactions, but there were times it came off more like the Argument Clinic from Monty Python, where we argue merely for the sake of arguing. There are huge hints dropped that there may be a third season, but I would hope that the writers could get it together and come up with something more interesting than a trip to the bath house or to the beach or the amusement park to show these characters being more social than pretending to be more social.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (A good art design)
Plot 6 (Kind of stagnates)
Pacing 8 (Keeps a balance well)
Effectiveness 6 (The lack of real headway can frustrate)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler’, but doesn’t really end)
Fan Service 3 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 8 (A lot of that ‘sameness’ feel)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Meat!