Kenji pretends to be a bad boy at his local high school, with a group of friends making up his “gang”. One day he meets a group of girls with a gaming club that are desperate for a new member to keep their club alive. Through fairly violent persuasion they convince Kenji to sign up, save the club, and basically be their whipping boy.
D-Frag is hilarious, hands down. It plays with humor in multiple ways and they all land very well. One of the strongest points of the anime is that they take the mundane and turn it into something epic. Something as silly as fighting over a bag becomes a massive battle that includes most of the school, and competes with the most serious of anime for over the top dramatics. This leaves the viewer both with a sense of “wtf” as well as endless amounts of joy.
The other big source of humor is Kenji himself. He can be called the main character in some respects, though that doesn’t seem to be his purpose exactly. Instead of being part of the story Kenji seems to exist mostly to call out the over the top craziness of everything. Every thought of “why is this happening” is voiced by him and with great enthusiasm. Out of place flashback? Kenji will yell about it. Important information glossed over? Kenji has you covered, he’s already called it out. He is basically the voice of the audience in the actual anime.
The story itself is complicated to say the least, but at the same time fun to sit back and just enjoy. Each episode adds something new to the game club’s past and their struggles now. The group is filled with girls that seem to excel at anything they want to, but rarely put effort out beyond just suiting their own enjoyment. They are nerdy, weird, outcasts, and yet completely honored and respected. Most of their “enemies” are just friends in deep competition with them, or at the very least people that desperately look up to them. Kenji is often conflicted, confused, and more than a little out of touch with how the girls feel about him. The truly enduring thing about this anime is that over and over the bonds the group have mean they all stand up and help one another, including the put upon Kenji.
Yes in the middle of a raunchy, over the top, crass, anime that can go too far for some people there is still something very touching to be found. It’s works very well, giving the viewer just enough to be shocked by, laugh at, then be touched by.
It’s biggest problem seems to be the very silliness that is actually so great. The anime jumps a lot and has it’s fair share of repeating humor. For me I greatly enjoyed this level of crazy, some people however might find it a bit too much. It has very few real quiet moments where the humor and silliness seems to slow down and let the viewer catch up. Also every time you think “well this has gotten as out of hand as it can possibly get” it will get even more over the top.
D-Frag! won’t be for everyone. It honors everything about nerd culture while at the same time completely making fun of it. It’s silly, over the top, and as stated above more than a little crass. However it will have most people laughing out loud (truly) and is a whole lot of fun. It’s one of the best recent anime comedies I’ve had the chance to enjoy and I would highly recommend it.