Imagine, if you will, a high-schooler so listless, so driven to be as lazy as possible that he would threaten the gods themselves for daring to introduce the unexpected or energetic into his life. That is Tanaka. He takes any opportunity he can to fall asleep, and he’s only driven to build up his muscles so they can better support him when he’s sleeping. If it weren’t for his athletic best friend Ohta to carry him from class to class, he’d probably just fall asleep under a tree and never wake up. Tanaka was perfectly fine with this status quo, but then people started getting involved in his life, forcing him to deal with these energetic, enthusiastic schoolmates. What terror.
Is this the first slice of life anime I’ve watched for this summer? I think so. Oftentimes, slice of life series are my go to when I feel like I just need something to soothe my soul. There’s not really a plot, and I can relax seeing these odd characters deal with normal situations in odd ways. It’s always pleasant. The downside to those is that a lot of them don’t really stick with me when I’m done. Sure, I like them, but there’s usually nothing that gives them staying power in my anime heart. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless kinda fits that category, too.
Yes, I did enjoy Tanaka-kun. It has the slice of life humor I wanted. Meeting the siblings (more on that later), the cultural festival, fast food trips, etc. It’s just that not much stood out too much. Tanaka’s personality was definitely something, though. There’s a joke about he recognizes one of his female classmates when absolutely no one else did. It was the first time his personality surprised me. It showed that he was more than just lazy. Although, threatening the gods was pretty funny, too. The rest of the characters provide decent humor as well. Echizen being arguably the nicest person but also a delinquent, Shiraishi’s dorkier personality, and Ohta going out of his way for Tanaka a lot more than he really should. A lot of characters comment on how Ohta and Tanaka act like an old married couple, but I always thought they came off more as a parent taking care of their child.
Real quick: I’ve commented on this before, but what is with the trend in Japanese media of one sibling being in love with another? Is that actually a problem over there? Or is this just something someone thought would be good to have in a manga? I’ve watched enough anime at this point to find it amusing when it’s used as a joke (as it is here with Tanaka’s little sister being in love with him), but when it’s used seriously…ew. Just ew.
I’m not entirely sure what else to say about Tanaka-kun. Yeah, I like it. It’s funny, pleasant, has a mostly interesting cast, and offers an okay surprise here and there. I just don’t think it ever did enough to cement itself as one of my go-to slice of life shows. Tanaka-kun is Always Listless gets a 7 out of 10. It isn’t the best slice of life series you can watch, but it certainly has its merits.