Haganai NEXT Episode 5

That dude has really fine features for a delinquent

Recap: Rika tries to get Yozora into Otome games with varying degrees of success. Later on she invents a “time machine” in an attempt to impress Kodaka.

Jel’s Thoughts: We were about due for a Yozora-centric episode and, my own personal bias aside, this was another really good episode. Generally I’m not a fan of series that are so clearly targeted toward Otaku as the inevitable references and terminology are usually just there for sake of pandering to the audience. Talking about eroge or figure collecting or whatever adds nothing of meaning and needlessly alienates anyone else who might be interested in watching. I think Haganai is one of the rare examples of using Otaku culture to enhance the story, so even if the audience is limited it’s still accomplishing something worthwhile.

Rika, you keep doin' what you're doin'

To be more specific with my rambling, Haganai has often used niche video games as a catalyst, or in this case a mirror, for the characters and their relationships to grow. Clearly if someone told Yozora directly “you have to be nicer to people or you’re going to end up alone” she would not listen, but distilling the message into game form had a much bigger impact. Whether or not it has any effect on her remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt the point was made.

As always the SERIOUS BUSINESS is only a small portion of the episode though, and good deal of the proceedings is Rika demanding both Kodaka’s and the audience’s attention. I feel like she’s become much more important in stirring up the plot this season. If you think about it, this episode was about Yozora but neither the otome game session nor the “time machine” would have happened without Rika. Her completely unfiltered ideas coupled with the fact that she’s clearly the most perceptive member of the cast make her just as important as Yozora and Sena for making this show work.

Preview of next episode

Haganai has been in good form these past two episodes and now with both main girls having an open claim on Kodaka it will be interesting to see what happens next. Sadly I’m having trouble envisioning any outcome that doesn’t end with things returning to the status quo, but for now we can all just enjoy the ride.

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