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Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu.

Score: 6.28/10

Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu.

Eng Title : Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu.

Alt Title : A Destructive God Sits Next to Me, Bokuhaka

JP Title : ぼくのとなりに暗黒破壊神がいます。

Year : 2020

Genre : Comedy, Josei, School, Slice of Life

Season : Winter 2020

Status : Complete

Rating : PG-13 - Teens 13 or older

Episodes : 12/12

Duration : 23 min. per ep.

Studios : EMT Squared

Synopsis

Seri Koyuki is just trying to have a normal school life, but instead he ends up acting as the straight man to his odd classmate, Kabuto Hanadori. Kabuto is is a delusional high school student, whose fantasies range from believing he is a knight on a journey, to claiming that removing his eyepatch will release a darker alter-ego who he refers to as Michael Offenbarung Dunkelheit. Seri is determined not to let himself get pushed around by Kabuto, but it seems that this will be easier said than done! (Source: MU)

In this Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu/ A Destructive God Sits Next to Me, Bokuhaka Chuunibyou characters and chuunibyou-focused comedies have become a semi-regular feature in anime over the past few years . Along with Kyoto Animation’s Chuunibyou, there’s been When Supernatural Battles Become Common Place, Love Live! Sunshine!!’s Yohane, and even last season’s Outburst Dreamer Boys. A Destructive God Sits Next to Me clocks in as the latest example of the trend, but it unfortunately does little to change up or even energetically execute on the chuunibyou formula.

The problem with chuunibyou-focused comedies, at least as I see it, is how easily they allow writers to embrace their laziest comedic instincts. “A character does something unusual, and others extravagantly react” is generally understood to be a fairly simplistic form of humor, and yet chuunibyou-focused shows return to that gag structure again and again. Additionally, the exact popular tropes of chuunibyou are at this point established enough that even beyond their structural similarities, many of these shows feature literally the exact same jokes – the joke about containing their power, the joke about their eyepatch, the joke about their “dark familiar” (both KyoAni’s production and this one feature a dog named Cerberus), etc.

To be a chuunibyou-focused show and also a genuinely good comedy, then, requires going beyond simply pointing out the abnormality of some character’s behavior. You can’t just have the joke be “their behavior is unusual,” you have to set up actual gags and punchlines that go beyond merely reacting to their actions. A Destructive God is thus at its best when it embraces the contrasting personalities of its three leads, or illustrates the unique strangeness of its non-chuunibyou characters. The reveal of Tsukimiya’s “study methods,” wherein he learned about the amino acids by framing their reactions as a skeevy doujinshi, was a particularly inspired gag – and the episode’s ending, where all three characters were able to energetically bounce off each other, demonstrated their friendship might have some emotional pull as well.

On the whole, though, Destructive God suffers from an unfortunately low strike ratio on its jokes. When you couple that with its middling aesthetics and strong resemblance to other chuunibyou- focused shows, you end up with a production that I’d recommend for fans of this particular trend, but qualify as a pass for anyone else.

To have a show like this mirror last season's surprisingly good Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy in all aspects (plot and character) and with 100% inspired accuracy, needless to say I'm always quite skeptical of the chuunibyou gag formula at the start, and come out feeling satisfied at the end. Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy did it to me last season, and this show is largely more of the same. The extents of Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy and this show play down the same game: a non-existent plot about the MC wanting to get some quietness out of life, and in comes the eccentric "otherworldly" boys playing around in their own world and messing the world's balance around with their antics, and finally the MC ropes in together with these boys in an unshakable bond of friendship. Again, the characters are what makes shows like this so endearing, apart from all the ridiculous antics and comedy: Koyuki Seri, nicknamed Gestober, the main attraction of the group, a plain-looking boy wanting to have some calmness in school, and always gets arrowed for insane reason he always "dies" in spirit at the end. Plus, his desire to have classmate Kotoko Sumiso notice his crush for her are always thwarted by (mostly) Hanadori. "RIP Koyuki" has been the recurring gag that never fails to make me laugh that hard. Props to VA Jun Fukuyama for doing such a wonderful job. Kabuto Hanadori, the over-excessive chuunibyou, nicknamed Miguel, the dark God of Destruction. He's always performing alter-ego acts of chuuni so much that it irks Koyuki, but in truthness, wants to be Koyuki's friend and cares deeply for him...that is, unless he's asked to do in consideration. Utsugi Tsukimiya the teaser and joker of both Koyuki and Hanadori. Always never-ceasing in spreading his "knowledge" to both of them and the constant low-ley teasing that ends both in hilarious states, he's the straight man to their inherent relationship. As for Hibiki and Mogami, they're just as chuuni in their own ways, the former being a shy one and the latter trying his best to be noticeable at best and helping Koyuki out. The best has got to be the bond between Tsukimiya, Hanadori and Koyuki and their endless antics that drive the comedy and the bond between Hanadori and Koyuki so well, and Tsukimiya being the "threat" to them both. With great character comes great animation...in the comedic sense whilst keeping it low budget, and any studio would've been fine in this treatment. What's enough is more than enough, and with all those cartoony, slice-of-life caricatures, the enjoyment shines through. In the sound aspect, it's decent at best. The OP is as average as wack, but I love its bop and hoppity feel, say whatever you want but this is my hidden gem of a great song. AOP's ED...well, just sounds the typical idol group kind. This show (like Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy) are shows that you can enjoy regardless of the score/rating, and if you need a time to flex your laughing stock and funny bones, it's worth the watch (plus a re-watch too).

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