Jaku-Chara Tomozaki-kun (Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki) is a recently released anime that, while appealing to some, has several elements that don’t quite live up to the harem romance anime that came before it. Should you be in the market for a romance harem anime with a protagonist on the outside of society - check out our recommendations!
1. Oregairu - A Better Misanthrope
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 2013 – June 2013
Firstly, be sure to check out our first impressions of Tomozaki for a more in-depth look as to how it tries so hard to emulate Oregairu, but unfortunately misses the mark. That being said, Oregairu is not going anywhere and those who have yet to indulge in its unique take on a slice of life romance anime, are very much missing out! Oregairu’s protagonist is very similar to Tomozaki. Both are social outcasts, jaded with the world and the sphere of popularity that seems to dominate high school life. Yet, where Tomozaki lacks confidence in who he is outside of his head, endlessly complaining about his lack of social success, Hikigaya embraces his inner demons. Never one to shy away from a conversation, Hikigaya does not stumble over his words or blush in the face of adversity. Whatever situation he is placed in, Hikigaya remains calm and collected.
Additionally, Oregairu’s supporting cast is much more layered than those in Tomozaki-kun. Not only the female leads of Yukino and Yuigahama, but tertiary characters such as Isshiki - the underclassmen, Haruno - Yukino’s older sister, and Hayato - the class jock, all have a much more complex personality as opposed to the Flanderized characters of Tomozaki-kun. All in all, Oregairu laid the foundation on which Tomozaki-kun attempts to build off. It is more than worth your time to watch.
2. Horimiya - A Better Romance
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 2021 - Currently Airing
It’s unfortunate that Horimiya and Tomozaki-kun debuted during the same season. After watching an episode of Horimiya and returning to Tomozaki-kun, the experience is quite jarring. Horimiya is everything a high school romance anime should be in this day and age. Tomozaki-kun seems set in the traditional narrative of these shows whereas Horimiya attempts to tread new ground in its delivery. Horimiya is a great example of character development, showcasing how those on the outside of society, are often misunderstood as opposed to being freaks of nature. Horimiya wastes no time in getting to the crux of the matter, delivering the message that those who are different than the norm, deserve respect and are people too. Tomozaki-kun provides us with every stereotype of an otaku outsider without any of the redemptive qualities.
Tomozaki-kun pushes the main protagonist in Tomozaki, toward the extroverted teacher that is NONAME or Aoi Hinami. Yet, their relationship does not evoke the same feelings of excitement whenever Hori and Miyamura are on screen. What Tomozaki-kun lacks in romantic engagement, Horimiya more than makes up for. It’s already become clear that Tomozaki-kun feels no need to hasten the main couplings romantic interests. We will be forced to wade through countless episodes of accidental hand-touches and interrupted confessions before anything substantial occurs. These story tropes have been done to death and so Horimiya is delightfully refreshing - having the confession take place so early on. Truly, Horimiya is the romance anime to watch this season.
3. Hyouka - A Better Journey
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: April 2012 – September 2012
Hyouka tells the tale of Houtarou Oreki, an energy-reserving student, and his gradual acceptance of life in all its beauty. Tomozaki dislikes the world and those who find joy in it. He himself claims that life is a ‘kuso-ge’ (sh*t game) that cannot stand in the same league as his ‘kami-ge’ (god game) online fighting game. So, when Tomozaki is given the challenge to infiltrate society at the behest of Aoi, all his actions from then onwards lose a sense of honesty. Surely, everything he does is done under the veil of wanting to beat the game of life, and not so because he has undergone a mental revolution.
Hyouka, on the other hand, has a much more natural development of its lead character. In a similar way, Chitanda’s influence over Oreki is what spurs him to change his behavior. Moreover, his joining of the Classics club was originally not a choice done so out of passion. However, where Tomozaki is actively told to change his behavior, Oreki never does so during his meetings with his supporting club members. No, his shift in personality comes from a want to explore life more energetically and do so with the girl responsible for helping him see the light. While Oreki and Tomozaki are arguably very similar, Oreki’s laissez-faire attitude never comes off as rude, due to the intermittent sparks of genuine niceness we see throughout the series. Tomozaki is just a jerk!
Tomozaki-kun is still in its infancy and so it may be unfair to compare it to such titans as Hyouka or Oregairu. However, when, during your debut, you are thoroughly outperformed by an anime airing alongside yourself, it will not take long for people to start looking elsewhere. We hope that Tomozaki-kun will redeem itself upon its final episode but, while you wait for that, be sure to check out these three recommendations and let us know what anime we missed down below!