JapaneseYuri Tsunematsu
Wasteful Days of High School Girls (live-action TV)
Also known as: Joshikousei no Mudazukai (live-action TV)
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2020
Director: Daisuke Yamamoto, Ken Higurashi, Koji Hora, Ryo Nakajima
Writer: Kei Ando, Koichi Yajima, Shigenori Tanabe, Shinya Tamada, Takashi Sumita, Yuri Yamada
Original creator: Bino
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Actor: Ayaka Imoto, Keita Machida, Kouji Ohkura, Mei Hata, Momoko Fukuchi, Nagisa Takano, Nana Asakawa, Risa Naito, Ryo Yokoyama, Yui Okada, Yuri Tsunematsu, Yurika Nakamura
Format: Seven 48-minute episodes
Url: https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=22974
Website category: Japanese
Review date: 5 May 2022
It's a live-action Japanese TV series adaptation of a manga, but despite this it's good. It made me laugh. The acting isn't perfect, but there's only one cartoonish character who made me want to fast-forward. (That's the school vice-principal, who I don't remember from the anime and appears to have been added as a comedy foil for Waseda.) The premise is unchanged. Freaks, idiots and social disasters go to school. There's no real plot. They just wind each other up, exasperate their teacher and have dumb conversations. I enjoyed it a lot. To list the characters in order of how successful they are in their live-action versions:
BAKA, the idiot (Yui Okada) = Okada does very well, I think. She's having fun with it. She plays around with goofy poses, facial expressions and strange bits that you'd never get from a less confident actress. It's not a complicated role, simply requiring Okada to be ridiculous, but she manages to create someone who's at once a plausible human being and a silly idiot. She carries the show.
WASEDA, the teacher (Keita Machida) = the biggest improvement on the anime. That Waseda was too stony-faced to suggest inner life except through the voice actor's performance. Here, Machida gives a lot of life to his scenes, while still being controlled and Waseda. It's almost like having a bonus extra character.
WOTA, the otaku (Yuri Tsunematsu) = I still prefer Haruka Tomatsu's aggressive vocal performance from the anime, but I have no complaints at all with Tsunematsu. She does well. She's convincing, funny and can portray the different sides of Wota. She's short-tempered and complicated with Baka, a timid creator with her home-made manga and a giddy fangirl with her music and otome games. (Tsunematsu even tries to talk deep and rough occasionally, but... naaah, it's not the same.)
LOLI, the cute small one with a foul mouth and a complex (Momoi Saku) = the character's funny and the actress does nothing wrong.
YAMAI the chuunibyou (Momoko Fukuchi) = a mixed bag. The character's a total loon and one of the show's comedy highlights, but Fukuchi is a limited actress. There are lines and reaction shots that could have been done better, but on the upside she's giving Yamai lots of energy and hammy overacting. (That's what she's meant to be doing. That's how Yamai interacts with the world.) I didn't go away from this wanting to see more of Fukuchi in other shows, but she's doing pretty well at the most important things with Yamai.
MAJO, the horror-loving witch (Ayaka Imoto) = not a deep role, but Imoto nails it. She embodies the socially awkward, adorably sinister Majo.
MAJIME, who's a bit autistic (Nana Asakawa) = good, funny, no complaints.
LILY, the prying lesbian (Yui Kobayashi) = something about Kobayashi didn't ring quite true to me. Then again, though, that sort of fits since Lily's public persona is artificial.
ROBO, the emotionless girl (Yurika Nakamura) = she's okay and she completely fulfils the script's requirements, but I can't help thinking that it should have been possible to create a human being without undermining the role. Nakamura's going very literally for "robo". I know how I'd have played Robo... but I'm not a Japanese schoolgirl.
VICE-PRINCIPAL (Koji Okura) = sorry, no. (For what it's worth, a little of the same problem afflicts Loli's granny, who's been directed to have the odd cartoonish moment despite usually being a delight to watch.)
Not all of it is equally successful. I could have lived without the manga cliche fantasy spots in the first and last episode, which are okay but go on a bit long. I also skipped Robokko when flicking through episodes on a rewatch. (That's a mysteriously inserted bit where the regular characters play alternate versions of themselves in a period drama.) Basically, though, it's a good live-action Japanese TV comedy. Those aren't common. Recommended.