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Manga / Asobi Asobase

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From left to right: Kasumi, Hanako and Olivia.
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Asobi Asobase is a manga by Rin Suzukawa. It was originally published on Hakusensha's Young Animal Densi website starting in June 2015 before being moved to their Manga Park website in August 2017.

Kasumi Nomura is a strait-laced girl who has grown up hating games thanks to her older sister always beating her at them. When she sees the foreign transfer student Olivia playing a silly game with the energetic and wealthy Hanako Honda, Kasumi sees her chance to improve her terrible English grades: in exchange for teaching Olivia how Japanese people have fun, Olivia agrees to teach Kasumi English. Little does Kasumi know that Olivia was actually born and raised in Japan by foreign parents and doesn't know a word of English. This leads to the formation of the Pastimers Club, which is dedicated to playing games and having fun.

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While the series contains an aesthetic of "cute girls doing cute things", it showcases surreal humor often featuring Kasumi, Olivia, and Hanako being jerks to each other and everyone they encounter, their classmates and teachers being just as neurotic, and lots and lots of butt jokes. The series received an anime adaptation by Lerche which began airing on July 8, 2018 and is currently available for streaming on Crunchyroll.


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Asobi Asobase provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Maeda helps build an English-speaking android to replace Olivia for a competition, but the android only knows how to spew English curses and tries to strangle Chisato when they attempt to reprogram her.
  • Abuse Mistake: In an innocent example, Olivia and Kasumi practice using makeup on Hanako. Since none of them has much experience, they mess up, and Takayanagi walks in to the girls standing over Hanako, who has what appears to be a black eye (eye shadow) and a bruised cheek (rouge).
  • Another Story for Another Time: The Student Council Vice-President's dating all the members of the neighboring all-boys school's Student Council, eventually, results in the worst fiasco in the school's history once it's found out. However, this incident isn't elaborated on.
  • Anti-Climax: When Hanako finally arrives prepared for the match against the Soft Tennis Club and declares that she's about to get serious, her opponents immediately forfeit so that they don't get sweaty before their mixer, leaving Hanako infuriated at being deprived of her revenge against the popular girls.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening theme, "Three-Piece", is a cute and fluffy song with visuals of the three protagonists in white sundresses with copious lilies everywhere, suggesting that it's an easygoing slice-of-life series. In actuality, the series is a surreal comedy featuring the girls being moronic jerks to each other and everyone else. The ending theme, "Inkya Impulse", which is a heavy metal song featuring surreal neon scribbles of the girls while Hanako screams about popular girls, is more in line with the series' true tone.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Shogi Club President agrees to settle who gets to use the classroom by challenging the Pastimers Club to a game, namely shoe kicking. Furthermore, when Olivia bends the rules by using a swing to kick her shoe, the Shogi Club President goes one step further by riding a bike down a hill and jumping off. She wins by a landslide, but she also breaks several bones in the resulting fall and the Shogi Club decides to meet at the president's house while she recovers, letting the Pastimers Club keep the room.
  • Bland-Name Product: Episode 12 references the "Pineapple Store". Hanako even repeats it with a clear look of disbelief.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Anytime one of the girls asks another for advice or assistance, expect neither of them to really understand what they're doing.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Olivia confesses to Kasumi that she doesn't know English and asks if she still wants to hang out with her, Kasumi gives a heartfelt yes, affirming their friendship and sharing a hug. When Olivia asks Hanako the same question:
    Hanako: "I had a feeling since partway through Episode 1, but I stuck around."
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Olivia and Kasumi to Hanako, especially during the latter's more nonsensical moments.
  • Deranged Animation: The series has a lot of it. Hanako in particular enters this mode when she's angry or otherwise upset, which is to say most of the time.
  • Dirty Old Man: Hanako's grandfather is this based on everything that Maeda and Hanako say about him, from his large collection of sex dolls to the Olivia android that he provided the vocabulary for talking about nothing but sex.
  • Does Not Like Men: Both Chisato and Kasumi are afraid of men, which in the former's case led to her becoming a Christmas Cake. When Kasumi and Chisato realize how alike they are in that regard, Kasumi brags that unlike Chisato, she's perfectly fine with the prospect of being a spinster.
  • Flower Motifs: The anime's opening is full of yellow lilies. While lilies might make most viewers think of the Yuri Genre, yellow lilies specifically symbolize falsehood; this can be seen as a hint that despite the cute, fluffy visuals, this opening is lying about the show being your typical easygoing Schoolgirl Series. Also, there are several species of lilies that are highly poisonous, so there's that too.
  • For Want of a Nail: In Episode 5, an entire bistro restaurant got burned down because of Hanako's flunked attempt at pen-spinning.
  • Freudian Slip: In Episode 10, while in cooking class, Kasumi is so distracted by her dream about Tsugumi that she keeps on replacing various words with "dick".
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Maeda can fire these from his butt thanks to aliens hiding a secret weapon in his rectum.
  • Friendship Moment: Despite finding Olivia's broken dialect act amusing, Hanako agrees to help her explain to the class that she doesn't actually have an accent because she sees Olivia is now being burdened. This is opposed to Kasumi who immediately determines Olivia keeping her accent is for the best because if she becomes normal and makes other friends, Kasumi will be left alone with Hanako.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Tsugumi's boyfriend says this after learning that Tsugumi is a boy, but they apparently still break up.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When Hanako presents her poster design for the club's upcoming film, Kasumi suggests she add an announcement for Season 2 of the anime. Hanako promptly shoots it down, outright saying there are no plans for a Season 2.
    • Chapter 66 of the manga has the anime opening used as part of the Pastimers Club's promotional video to be aired during their school festival, a proposal idea which got scoffed at by the Student Council President.
  • Loophole Abuse: Olivia uses the school's swing set to give herself a massive momentum boost during the shoe launch match against the Shogi Club. They can't disqualify her since nobody said anything about using swings. The Shogi Club President later tries to one-up her by riding a bicycle and actually wins. However, the resulting inertia causes her to painfully crash onto the yard and getting severely injured, causing her victory to become pointless.
  • The Makeover:
    • In her latest bid to become popular, Hanako asks Olivia to apply makeup on her despite Olivia knowing nothing about it. In her first attempt, she uses way too much eyeshadow and makes Hanako look like she got punched; in her second attempt, trying to emulate the Lord of Pastimers, Hanako ends up looking like The Joker.
    • In another episode, Olivia tries to cut her hair due to the heat, and ends up messing up her bangs. Chisato is actually able to salvage them, at the price of Hanako and Kasumi mistaking Olivia for their teacher.
    • A male student from the boys' school opposite gave one to the Student Council Vice-President after he admits he could not tolerate how plain and dull she looks and feels. This worked out so well, it made her the Gyaru Girl that she is now.
  • Nightmare Face: The girls are prone to sporting dramatically horrific faces when feeling vengeful or angry.
  • Nondescript Club: The Pastimers Club has a very vague goal of "having fun". Reality Ensues when the Student Council President rejects the girls' bid to get approved as a club, since they only have three members and "having fun" is something they could easily do at home. Additionally, in more technical terms, they wouldn't be considered a "club", but rather an association.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Olivia and Hanako have this reaction when Olivia goes to slap Kasumi after Rock-Paper-Scissors and accidentally slaps her boobs. Olivia could get away with it against Hanako because in the latter case, there was nothing but air there.
    • In Episode 7, when Hanako accidentally calls Kasumi weird after trying to deny reading her perverted fanfiction, they both have this reaction.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Hanako and Olivia's discussion about "virgin-killer clothes" results in Hanako believing that Olivia wants them to go out and literally kill virgins.
  • One-Gender School: The series is set at an all-girls' middle school, and there's also an all-boys' school nearby that's sometimes brought up.
  • Pet the Dog: The Pastimers Club are in tears when Oka tells them about Agrippa and are determined to help her get better. When Oka confesses that she doesn't think her magic will actually do anything, Olivia tells her that she shouldn't start being rational now and convinces her to try healing her with magic.
  • Precision F-Strike: Maeda made an android based on Olivia to represent her in an English-speaking contest. However, its programmed vocabulary is mostly comprised of the dirty slang that Hanako's grandfather speaks. This gets past the radar in the anime due to the misaligned timings of the censor bleeps.note 
  • Reality Ensues: The Student Council President rejects the Pastimers Club's bid to be a club, with its 10,000 yen in club funds, because they only have three people and because "having fun" is something that they can do at home. They manage to at least qualify as a circle by ensnaring Chisato into their club.
  • Running Gag: Hanako, Kasumi and Olivia's unusual fascination with kendama, which is usually a younger children's toy.
  • Schoolgirl Series: A rather absurd Parody of this genre. While the three girls are certainly cute, this series is definitely not a typical "cute girls doing cute things" story, as all three of them are moronic jerks who frequently do and say things that are decidedly not cute. It seems to set out to prove that contrary to what most anime of the genre will tell you, middle school girls can be just as weird and gross as middle school boys.
  • Serious Business: Any game the girls play is treated as a life or death situation. Kasumi in particular takes any competition seriously to an egregious degree.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Sore Loser:
  • Slut-Shaming: Hanako tends to immediately hate other girls with sexual experience, or who even just have boyfriends. It's made clear that this is just the secretly boy-crazy Hanako's sour grapes and people who she derides as "sluts" are often shown to be more capable than her.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The "Senpai" in one of Kasumi's yaoi reading materials in episode 8 whips out a roll of super sticky tapes to bind his romantic partner. He then licks said tape and gets his tongue stuck on the roll.
    • Kasumi and Hanako both display a flagrant lack of self-preservation when playing the mobile battle royale with Olivia, standing out in the open while merrily trying to convince her they should go out exploring instead of hugging a cover, despite the latter repeatedly urging them to hide. This being a battle royale game, both are promptly proven wrong.
  • Training Montage: Hanako trains a stag beetle to help break into the Student Council office with a montage of lifting weights, drinking egg yolks, and learning basic arithmetic.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Kasumi is absolutely horrified by the revelation of Tsugumi's genitals in a nightmare sequence.
  • With Friends Like These...: Despite their seemingly close friendship, the three girls will often ruthlessly turn against each other while playing games and make scapegoats of each other to save themselves from trouble.

Narrator: Sorekara do shitano** 

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