It’s time for some 12 Days of Anime.
My first exposure to this anime came from web previews of the first episode’s sketches. It was right there that I immediately became engrossed in the antics of Hidenori, Tadakuni, and Yoshitake. The allure, I find, comes in a strange way.
If this anime were to be forced into the same genre as the other slice-of-life high school romance comedies, the comparisons would be unfair. There’s no magic, no schoolgirl fantasies in Nichibros. Main love interests are frequently placed in the background of the story in order to carry on with what it does best: the side-splitting sketch comedy. Perhaps people like anime that isn’t Nichibros, but are presented similar to Nichibros, because, while they attempt to emulate reality, they also play upon your fantasies. No one really has a whole harem of girls lining up to go Russian Roulette on you with their homemade bentos. Male chauvinism isn’t all that great when in real life the girls are a little more than freaked out by your stalkerish behaviors. It’s kind of funny and scary how these phenomena have been perpetuated in anime culture for ages on end.
Instead, Nichibros is an ode to the scrawny male best friend in all of those trashy high school romances. I’m talking about the kind of person who is more emotionally open than you are. The one who values the friendship you share more than you do. The one who always fails at courting the womenfolk so that you end up looking better in their beady, treacherous little eyes. He loves you more than your family dog. He would probably want to live with you if you gave him the chance. None of the protagonists want this, of course, because *leans in closer to whisper* you might catch the gayyyyy~. But why not? What’s the point of liking dark and mysterious protags when we as a culture have bashed that trope to the ground? Thinking about it, where else could a high school romance go if it weren’t for your bro to fall in your place? Countless relationships are made at the expense of your bro’s romantic career.
When your bro ends up getting the preferential treatment, however, everything ends up opposite in the world of Nichibros. Male chauvinism warps into resentment towards the female gender. Your bros end up being more interesting characters than your own bland ass could ever be. Bitches are no longer justified as tsunderes. Imoutos are no longer as cute and friendly and less inclined to get into your pants on a Monday morning. You organize into little groups amongst yourselves and think of the next practical joke to pull on the poor, gullible Tadakuni of your group. You end up worshipping the Hidenori, the apex male of the entire male gender identity, instead of fawning over curves and other physical attractions. Romance is never the focal point of the bro, because that bro and your other bros are always looking out for you. You observe other groups of brosefs at the end of the cafeteria and nod in silent agreement before starting an epic food fight. They’re not doing it to get in trouble, they’re doing it for each other. You do it for each other. The path to becoming a true bro is stained with the slime of yesterday’s lunch and expired milk on your pricey, stuffy school uniform. Being with your bros is a dirty escapade. Yet, there is nothing more liberating, more exciting, than getting yourself dirty and not giving a single fuck.
The only fantasy that Nichibros promotes is the lifestyle you deserved to experience in high school. Forget the girls, forget the boxed lunches, and forget any fears of looking acceptable to society. These men beside you are going to be your bros. It may be an awkward thing at first, and you may fear that you will catch the gay if you accidentally smell their breath, but damned if I’m wrong you’re going to have the best time of your life. And it won’t even have to involve dating chicks! Take that, anime culture!