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Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun / 弱キャラ友崎くん (2021)

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Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun / 弱キャラ友崎くん (2021)
Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun / 弱キャラ友崎くん (2021)

Tomozaki Fumiya is the top player of the online game Attack Families, also known as Tackfam. Although he uncompromisingly maintains his ranking, his lack of social skills makes him struggle with everyday high school life. He rationalizes this by blaming the complex mechanics and unfair rules of the game of life.

One day, he arranges a meeting with another top Tackfam player. The discovery of the real identity shocks him. It turns out to be Hinami Aoi, one of the most popular, intelligent, and sociable girls in his school (and coincidentally, his classmate). Surprised by how inept Fumiya is at everything except Tackfam, Aoi decides to help him succeed in what she calls the greatest game of all. She sets clear goals for him, which quickly help him level up in everyday life.

Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun – Audiovisual Design

Visuals

In recent years, Studio Project No.9 has earned a reputation for good light novel adaptations. The visual presentation by this studio’s animators is usually characterized by richly detailed character designs and quite dynamic animation of the characters’ emotions. This was exactly the case with the first season of Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun. The overall aesthetics were impressive, with all the characters being truly charming. Special attention was paid to the characters’ eyes. The backgrounds were pleasing to the eye, and the play of light skillfully emphasized the atmosphere of individual scenes.

There is absolutely nothing I can complain about. The visual presentation of this anime fully satisfied me. It certainly contributed to an even more positive perception of the whole.

Audio

The cast was not filled with very well-known names. They were not entirely new or unknown actors, but only three very popular (even legendary) ones appeared. Kanemoto Hisako played the main heroine Aoi. Kayano Ai played a quiet girl named Fuuka, and Satou Gen was the main protagonist. Did this lead to a weaker delivery of emotions, and did the acting skills lower the overall impressions and experiences of watching? Absolutely not. Every role was played perfectly. Hasegawa Ikumi as Minami deserves special mention.

The soundtrack made the viewing experience more pleasant, with several themes staying firmly in my memory. However, I would like to highlight the tracks used in the opening (人生イージー? / Jinsei Easy?) and ending (あやふわアスタリスク / Ayafuwa Asterisk). Both were performed by one of my favorite idol units – DIALOGUE+, often featured in Project No.9 series. Both are characterized (as usual for DIALOGUE+) by insanely good composition and harmony. In this case, the composer was Tabuchi Tomoya, bassist of UNISON SQUARE GARDEN.

Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun – Plot and Characters

Introduction

I have no idea why I overlooked this title in the winter of 2021. Especially since Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun is essentially the quintessential series I’d want to watch. Perhaps the description and portrayal of the main character discouraged me. Or maybe it was due to the sheer number of anime I was watching that season. Now, I realize that was a significant mistake.

A quick look at the Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun’s Plot

Tomozaki Fumiya is the best player of the online game Attack Families, also known as Tackfam. Despite his unwavering position in the rankings, his lack of social skills hinders his high school life. He justifies this by blaming the complex mechanics and unfair rules of the game called life.

One day, he agrees to meet another top Tackfam player and is shocked to discover the true identity. It turns out to be Hinami Aoi, one of the most popular, intelligent, and sociable girls in his school (and, coincidentally, his classmate). Surprised by Fumiya’s ineptitude in everything but Tackfam, Aoi decides to help him succeed in what she calls the greatest game of all.

What is the series about

Seeing his peer genuinely offering help using her personal experiences, Fumiya decides to take on the challenge. Aoi sets clear goals for him, which help him quickly gain levels in daily life. This requires considerable determination from Fumiya. As a serious gamer, he commits to mastering the game of life without making any compromises or excuses.

Aoi’s daily challenges aim to help him better understand the world around him and develop people skills. She doesn’t throw Fumiya in at the deep end without offering lifebuoys and boosters in the form of notes or advice. He receives ample material about the people involved in each task. Thanks to his developed skills of perception and analysis (partly from playing Tackfam) and Aoi’s help, Fumiya copes surprisingly well. He discovers new tactics for interacting with a diverse range of characters, quickly becoming comfortable among his female peers. However, interactions with the guys, especially those higher in the social hierarchy of his school, prove to be a real challenge.

Characters

The main strength of the series Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun lies in its characters and the analysis of their behaviors. Initially, Fumiya is portrayed as somewhat resigned and aimless. What sets him apart is the tangible progress in character development seen in every episode and his significant motivation to act. He sees the real benefits of Aoi’s lessons, which boost his confidence. Hinami Aoi appears as the complete opposite of the protagonist. She excels in every social aspect. From academic results to perfect social skills, to the extent that how others perceive her has become almost an obsession. Only the protagonist knows the immense effort and sacrifices she has made (and continues to make) to achieve such status. Therefore, he is the only person with whom Aoi can be herself, without any masks.

To others, Aoi appears as a sincere, innocent-looking, happy, carefree student. The perfect Yamato Nadeshiko. Fumiya sees her as very serious, helpful, supportive, honest, persistent, and somewhat devoted.

The first few episodes introduce a wide range of characters. Including the energetic and hardworking Nanami Minami, the sociable and empathetic Izumi Yuzu. The quiet and modest Kikuchi Fuuka, and the sincere and shy Natsubayashi Hanami, among several male characters. Almost all of them are from Hinami Aoi’s circles, enabling her to prepare tasks appropriately, as she knows their personalities, weaknesses, and behaviors well.

Direction and style of plot delivery

At first glance, it seems like a standard rom-com about an unpopular guy who somehow meets the class queen and her friends, who take an interest in him. Something I’ve seen many times (and don’t necessarily see as a negative aspect, to be clear). But this premise is misleading for Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun. If I had to compare this anime to something, the first thing that comes to mind is Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. These series are completely different, with different premises, and the protagonists are quite distinct from each other. However, in terms of directing style, character portrayal, and the deeply analytical aspect, they are similar. In fact, I would go a step further and say that Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun is exactly what most people think the aforementioned Oregairu is.

The diverse character personalities significantly enhance the viewing experience. Each character has their own problems, individual character, and ways of dealing (or not) with their issues. Very few characters are portrayed as unequivocally negative. The author focuses more on understanding others’ behaviors rather than antagonizing them. If a decidedly negative character appears (if I remember correctly, there was only one), they serve as a plot device, and we learn nothing detailed about their history.

The characters are simply well-written. Some have limited screen time, which is expected in an anime adaptation where it’s impossible to devote more time to exploring all the thoughts and readings of characters from the light novel, especially the secondary ones.

1st season ending

Everything written in this subsection will be a strong spoiler. I do not, under any circumstances, recommend expanding it before watching the whole thing. However, I do recommend that you come back to this post after you have seen the anime. I believe that the following hidden text, which will allow me to turn off the fear of spoiling something and add a lot of color to the whole review. By the way, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Spoiler

The Ending

I had serious concerns about the ending. The eleventh episode worried me that Tomozaki Fumiya would blindly continue to strive to please others at all costs and obsessively and unconditionally execute Aoi’s tasks. I can’t describe how great and euphoric my surprise was when I watched the final episode. It’s rare to feel such satisfaction from character development and plot progression. The main character, after all, not only masterfully defended his thesis that personal desires are as important as achieving set goals, but he also vividly showed that the past months of learning to cope in society were not in vain. He used all the techniques he learned from Aoi, enriching them with his experiences and personality.

He also managed to expose Aoi’s issues, for whom maintaining the appearance of perfection through the right choice of masks is absolutely paramount.

Ships Sailing and Sinking

My favorite character was Nanami Minami. I have a soft spot for cheerful, feminine, genki heroines. Nevertheless, I think the Fumiya x Aoi ship is the most logical and natural scenario. That Aoi is interested in the protagonist seems quite obvious. Fumiya also (at least to me) quite clearly, though perhaps only subconsciously, feels something for Aoi. They both can perfectly complement each other. The fact that Aoi still can’t dethrone Fumiya in Tackfam, or even win against him, is not just a plot gimmick. It also serves a symbolic role. The perfect, best-in-everything, beautiful girl can’t win against an average boy. In a game, she also devoted her heart to mastering. In my opinion, this symbolizes that she’s missing a key piece in finding her path in life – the piece that involves accepting her inner desires.

I feel that Fuuka serves as someone who pushes the protagonist in the right direction and facilitates difficult decisions. Why? Because one such decision was to defy the insincere task of confessing love to this character. Fumiya awakened empathy within himself and chose to be fair to others’ feelings over completing another task in the game of life. I don’t think any other character stands a chance of being Tomozaki’s partner other than Aoi.

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Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun – Evaluation and Summary

When I decided to watch Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun, I was expecting a rather usual series with pleasant characters and a light dose of comedy. I absolutely did not anticipate such an emotional rollercoaster, unusual character development, and strong plot twists at the most unexpected moments. I also did not expect such a thoroughly satisfying ending. I’m eagerly awaiting the second season, which is premiering in just a few days. For me, Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun is an absolutely essential watch. I sincerely hope that the sequel will live up to the high standard set by its predecessor.

Finalny werdykt

Final evaluation

Which translation do I recommend to watch Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun?

  • Haniel – a significantly improved, closer to the original, and devoid of the most nonsensical localization efforts version of the official subtitles, with decent typesetting.
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