Review: My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU

Release Date
Blu-ray / DVD
Studio / Publisher
Brain’s Base / Animatsu Entertainment
Language / Subtitles
Japanese / English
Run Time
325 Minutes

I do like a good romantic comedy every now and then, even if they do tend to tread the same ground, but with some less than stellar rom-coms over the years, how does My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU fare?

I was sceptical of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU initially as it screamed out generic romantic comedy to me, albeit with an interesting art style. That initial scepticism was blown away with the first episode and from then on I knew that I was in for a treat. SNAFU has an interesting story and one that puts the romantic side of things on the back burner to focus more on the people and their different behaviours and social integration. Adapted by Brain’s Base from the light novel written by Wataru Watari, Animatsu Entertainment brings us the brilliant My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU on Blu-ray and DVD.

The story revolves around Hachiman Hikigaya, a loner and proud of it, who believes that even alone you can still achieve what you set out to. Shizuka Hiratsuka, one of Hikigaya’s teachers, forces him to join the Service Club because she’s worried about his ability to integrate into society after graduation. Yukino Yukinoshita, the sole member and leader of the Service Club until Hikigaya joins, suffers from a similar case of being alone due to her icy demeanour and poor social skills. To say they don’t hit it off through much of the series is an understatement but it feels like they do share some camaraderie as loners. They are both soon joined by Yui Yuigahama, Hikigaya’s classmate; joining the Service Club of her own accord Yui is easily the odd one out but her upbeat and optimistic personality brings the group together. Thanks to Yui’s influence the two loners experience, against their will, what a normal high school life feels like, albeit while helping out with other people’s problems for their club.

While the romance does take a back seat in this series there are some well-written characters to be found. Thankfully the group dynamic is kept small and doesn’t stray into harem territory which allows for some great character development and maturity. The whole concept behind being alone through choice is quite interesting and the series also explores some social habits of high school students. SNAFU really does a great job of standing out from the crowd and bringing something totally different and unique to the table. I’ve really enjoyed my time with SNAFU and can’t wait for the release of season two.

Adapted from the original light novels by Brain’s Base, with previous titles such as Durarara!! and Baccano! under their belts, I was never concerned about their ability. I especially cannot fault the animation. Visually, the series looks a lot better than a romantic comedy probably should, not in a negative way, but rom-coms don’t generally focus on visuals compared to the characters and story. Character designs are great too with Hikigaya and Yukino looking rather more sharp and unapproachable than the rest of the cast. Characters like Yui and Hayato Hayama appear bright and colourful which really gives a great juxtaposition to their social standing.

No English dub is available for this release but with a Japanese dub this good there’s no real need. I feel that the subtitles provide a good experience of the series and while an English dub is always welcome I don’t know if they could have captured the characters as well. The opening song for the series, “Yukitoki” by Nagi Yanagi, is a real joy to listen to, as are the three ending themes used throughout the series. The soundtrack as a whole was very enjoyable and really lends itself well to the series.

As far as extras go, SNAFU features a very standard selection in Clean Opening and Closing Animations and of course a collection of Sentai Filmworks trailers. Unfortunately, the OVA that was bundled with the PlayStation Vita game in Japan is not included, but this is understandable as OVAs are tricky when it comes to licensing.

Not the comic sans edition we were promised but it does include yellow subtitles so that’s something. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU has been a real eye-opener for me and goes to show how easily preconceptions can make you miss out on great series. Thankfully I took a chance, was pleasantly surprised and now I eagerly await season two. SNAFU is an easy recommendation from me, even if you're not a romantic comedy fan you’ll find something to like within this series.