School is back in session for some of us in the States, and I am no exception! Getting back to the grind, it’s time to shake off those Summer blues and get ready to hit the books, do the research, and work out all those practice exercises!
But before you dive in head-first into your school year, take some time to
S L O W D O W N ! ! !
and read this review, because Tanaka here’s got different plans! While other school comedies with shōnen protagonists’ names in the title are all about the over-the-top funnies, plenty of coolness and hot romances, Tanaka-kun is about to mellow them out like no other protagonist would.
Why? Because unlike every other protagonist whose presence brings color to everyone’s life, Tanaka-kun will bring gloom and doom to yours if there’s too much attention drawn toward him!
Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge) because he’s the one protagonist that doesn’t want to be the protagonist; and every other episode, he will remind you of it. For him, standing out is a chore, and putting in any effort that isn’t necessary is simply working too hard. Tanaka-kun is the kind of guy who would happily take the corner seat of the classroom and not make a manga series about it; but unfortunately for him, we have this.
But in case you’re wondering, Tanaka-kun has a reason to be lazy all the time. He’s not depressed, mysterious, or delinquent. He just wants everyone else to realize that we are way too energetic. And here I made a certain yellow rabbit with a hand-to-mouth philosophy my arch nemesis!
But Tanaka isn’t alone on his listless journey. Following him are a cast of friends and little sisters that try their hardest to do their best for him, when all he really wants to do is take naps and fade into the background.
Sorry for all the times Ohta tries to cover for him, Miyano tries to learn from him, Echizen wants to fight him, Shimura is jealous of him, Rino wants him to notice her, or that sweet class rep with the glasses Shiraishi wants to marry him, probably. Tanaka thinks you’re stressing out for no reason!
Oh, except maybe Ohta. He’s fine with him.
Tanaka-kun is relaxed, perhaps too relaxed, which is why this series does feel like it runs rather slowly at times. But to me, Tanaka-kun is Always Listless is a brilliant comedy because it’s slow. Where other comedy anime are all about doing everything fast, strong, and otherwise ridiculous, Tanaka-kun’s humor comes from bringing all those tropes down to their basics, lightening the mood, and proving to the audience that relaxation is just as important to humor as exaggeration.
That, and if anyone else were to try and make this show too energetic, Tanaka-kun will find a way to make those moments as mellow as possible, yet still super cute somehow.
Although Tanaka-kun comes across as lazy and otherwise careless, he is still one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, and he appreciates effort where it counts, in people you may not recognize in your everyday life.
One of the more surprising regulars of the series is Saionji, a character who would have been just another stand-in character, had it not been for Tanaka to notice her. As a struggling young adult, Saionji works at least two part-time jobs we know of in order to make ends meet. The first time we see her is at Tanaka’s favorite WcDonald’s as an uptight cashier and waitress. Having been intimidated by his presence at first, she feels stressed just to put up with his simplistic demands for a kid’s meal with the toy. But unless you blinked for a second, he leaves Saionji with surprising words of gratitude.
Tanaka-kun may be listless, but he isn’t one to lie to a person just to make them feel good. When he sees real effort being put out there, he acknowledges it for all it’s worth. It definitely makes up for all the times he catches his friends putting in too much effort when it’s not needed! He wants them to relax a bit, not because they shouldn’t have to worry, but so that they can focus on those important things in life that need attention in the here and now.
I would say that this is a statement on how we all shouldn’t take work from those who serve us for granted (which, yeah, you really shouldn’t), but Tanaka-kun still just wants to go with the flow. Let things calm down. And perhaps, in his own, “intimidating” way, remind people like Saionji that their work is appreciated. As someone who has had to take jobs where no one cares about you, it’s rare to find a customer that actually cares about you.
And while Tanaka may be somewhat inconvenienced by the excessive amount of effort that his friends put out, he really does enjoy their company as well.
Well, it’s about that time again. Time to announce which of these amazing characters I think is the best. The cutest. The one I would hilariously attempt to go out with, only to reject or be rejected by, that spawned a very weird fan fiction recently.
And if you thought my answer was going to be Shiraishi, you would be right.
She’s smart, kind of clumsy, and shy enough to notice someone like Tanaka-kun, but unsure if she would ever want to make a move. I suppose if I were still in high school (BAAHAHAHAH!), I would be totally awkward with her!
That, and she has that glasses thing going on.
But come on. You knew that was going to be my answer. What you really want to know is who would be the best choice for Tanaka-kun!
Well, there can only be one. The one who truly understands him. The one who will always stay by his side. The one who will literally go the distance, just to keep him safe. The best waifu. The one truly worthy of Tanaka-kun’s love, so much that Tanaka himself confirms it!
That’s right. The best waifu here is hands-down, Ohta-kun!
So if you’re looking for that school comedy that reminds you to slow down your stressful busy life, watch Tanaka-kun is Always Listless! Your health will thank you for it.