Tanaka-kun is Always Listless – Review
Tanaka-kun is Always Listless:
Original Air Dates: Apr 9, 2016 to Jun 25, 2016
Reviewed by: Linny
Synopsis: Tanaka-kun is a high-schooler who prioritizes being lazy and relaxing over everything else. No matter the situation or location, he would rather be resting or putting in the least effort possible. His lazy ways are enabled and supported by his best friend and complete opposite, Ohta. How will our listless protagonist react and survive as life throws all sorts of hinderances at him such as an eager apprentice, a hotheaded rival, a secret admirer and misunderstandings galore.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tanaka is a rather unique protagonist in that he is truly and completely lazy. He doesn’t ever put in any physical effort into anything. It’s a simple premise, and one that can get old quickly but that’s why the story then introduces a bevy of characters who seem to be some of the most spirited and energetic characters around, as if to make up for Tanaka’s lack of it. It does bring out the comedy in the contrast of their natures and the show relies on it heavily for a major part of the series.
My gripe with the show has to do with the fact that all the new and major characters are all female, and save for Miyano, all three female develop romantic feelings for Tanaka at one point or the other. From Echizen, the tomboy to Rino, Tanaka’s sister. Some of them arise from misunderstanding as is the case of Echizen and it is never a serious crush, but it made the show feel even more one note than before. It felt like the show was going for a harem vibe but then decided it was too much work in true listless Tanaka style. On a positive note, the girls in the story each seemed to be designed to appeal to different kinds of viewers so there’s a high chance that you as a viewer will find atleast one character you take a shining to. But if you were looking for highly original and intelligent girls/ female characters, this show sticks to the more popular moe stereotypes and will disappoint you. It even has one of my least favourite anime trope: The younger sister harbouring a steady and possessive crush on her older brother.
There is an underlying theme of the importance of friends and friendship throughout the show all the way to the very end. Every character has or makes a good friend that they can rely on, with stories centered around doing each other favours, hanging out together or falling out then making up. The best part of this show is that it makes for a lovely stress relieving watch. There’s never any sense of urgency and watching Tanaka being all loose and relaxed makes you start to unwind as well. It’s a show I would highly recommend to someone if they needed a light watch because it’s great for setting a relaxing and amusing vibe. Each episode is packed with adorable characters and while the humour isn’t exactly the kind that has you in stitches constantly, there’s enough cuteness to make you smile throughout the episode.
Even the animation used in adequately reflects and reinforces the soft nature of the show with its washed out shades and colours. Often, the animation level is basic but because this is a slice of life, it’s easier to ignore and even enjoy given the simple nature of the show itself.
For those who felt that this show would have been better off as a short form after watching the first episode, I would like to note that episode 2 has a better story that makes a good case for Tanaka-kun being a full length show. If you didn’t particularly or vehemently dislike the show, Tanaka-kun has to be one of those rare shows I would suggest giving a 2 episode watch, rather than dooming it completely after a single episode. That said, if you did not take at all to either Tanaka or Ohta or the laidback and simplistic vibe after the first episode, there’s not much reason to try the second. Even with the addition of new and more vibrant characters, the show remains so soft and slow that if that repulsed you in the first episode, it’s not going to win you in the second.
Tanaka-kun is Always Listless is based off an ongoing Japanese slice of life comedy shōnen web manga series written and illustrated by Nozomi Uda. Unfortunately, the manga has not been licensed for western release yet so for those who wants more Tanaka-kun, keep your fingers crossed for a second season or/and a western manga release.