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Suddenly, There's A Ton of 'Haganai' News

By May 22, 2013

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Is it something in the water? There's been a flurry of news recently about Haganai -- a/k/a Haganai: I Don't Have Many Friends, or Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai, as it's known in Japan.

Aside from the release of a second season of the show (which started back in January), there's news about a live-action adaptation already in production, and a English-language BD release of the first season is imminent as well.

First things first, for those who know nothing about the series: Haganai is adapted from a series of light novels in Japan by Yomi Harasaka. The story involves a kid named Kodaka who transfers to a new school (a Catholic one, no less!) and, as the title might tip off, has trouble making friends with anyone due to his thuggish looks and the natural blond hair he sports, courtesy of his English mother.

Kodaka ends up being part of a afterschool club -- named, with tongue firmly in cheek, the "Neighbor's Club" -- where he and a gaggle of other mostly-female misfits attempt to have something like a social life. The key word is attempt, since the running gag of the show is how the bunch of them sport one variety or another of social ineptitude ... but maybe together they can accomplish what none of them alone can pull off.

FUNimation picked up the show for simulcast when it premiered, and now have both the first and second season streaming both on their own portal, and have the first season on their official YouTube channel (see here for the show itself), albeit only in Japanese audio with English subtitles at this time. They've also announced a street date for a BD/DVD edition of the first season: August 6, 2013.

Even more interesting was news that a live-action movie version of the material was officially in the works, courtesy of Japanese anime and live-action production house Toei. Word of it broke on this side of the Pacific, along with a translation of a letter about the whole affair from Harasaka himself, as reported by SGCafe.com.

In the letter, the author states: "I've always thought that the scenarios depicted in Haganai were never really meant to translate well in a live-action medium." Apparently Tite Kubo felt the same way about the prospects of a live-action version of Bleach, a version of which was being tossed around by various Hollywood producers at one point.

Harasaka goes on to say:

"... the offer came during a period of time when I saw that the future of the light novel industry was getting dangerously bleak, and so I thought, "rather than fight over a small pie (marketshare) with other authors over and over, this is a rare chance me to break away from the industry's status quo of excellent authors forever burying one another's successes with their next excellent release. The live-action movie could bring into the light novel market a new audience (on top of what the manga, anime, and game adaptations are already doing), so shouldn't I be taking a bold step forward with this instead?" That was what I remember to be my thought process at the time, and so after a period of deliberating I went ahead and gave my stamp of approval on it."

The author also adds that he is taking a hands-off approach to the whole thing, and that he has "no idea" what kind of movie will result from this. But he also encourages people not to go out of their way to despise the finished product if it's not to their liking: "There is no need to watch something that you do not want to watch, and if it's something you really hate, I think it's okay to just continue hating it. But please do not go out of your way to destroy or crush something simply because you hate it .... "

Here's hoping the live-action adaptation makes it to our list of best movies adapted from anime, even if this is technically a re-adaptation of the same source material. But that's close enough for us.

Also check out our wish list of anime to be made into live-action productions.

[Addendum: Crunchyroll has some images of what is believed to be photos from the live-action movie's set.]

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