It is incredibly common that any anime series set in a high school will include students that attend various clubs and most of the time all of the core cast members are part of the same club or are split up into different clubs and re-unite after school or during class. Other times the students are part of what is generally called a “Go Home” club which means that the students simply leave school once it ends and aren’t actually part of a club. Despite its name Chronicles of the Going Home Club is far from the standard Go Home club anime viewers are used to and now that the series has been released in North America, is it worth picking up?
After entering high school Natsuki Ando is unsure of what club she wants to join and even though one of her friends is thinking about joining a sports club, Natsuki feels like she is going to just join the Go Home club which as mentioned earlier, generally involves simply going home and not being in an actual club. When her fellow classmate Karin hears that she wishes to join the Going Home Club, she is quite pleased and offers to show Natsuki where it is located.
Much to Natsuki’s surprise, the club is an actual real thing and rather than focus on simply going home once the day ends, the focus of the club is to have as much fun as possible even though it usually just devolves into wacky jokes to kill time. Ultimately that is what Chronicles of the Going Home Club is, a series that does its best to be as self-aware as possible while delivering goofy punch lines as the five girls interact with one another.
You see, there while Natsuki and Karin are deemed the “Super Rookies” Natsuki’s role in the group is to play the straight man who constantly makes retorts to the absurd jokes the rest of the club makes while Karin’s role is simply to be as cute as possible. This is especially true considering the main reason she joined the club is because she couldn’t choose between the Handicraft Club and Cooking Club meaning that while she is capable she is as airheaded as they come, much to the delight of the rest of the club members.
The original members of the Going Home Club consist of Botan Ohagi, an extremely skilled martial artist capable of inhuman feats of strength and taking down bears without breaking a sweat, Claire Kokonoe, a girl from an extremely rich household with no concept of money who readily repairs any damages done to the clubroom without a second thought, and Sakura Domyoji, the president of the club who is ordinary in almost every way except for her energetic personality and the strange ideas she comes up with.
All five of these girls fit into their archetypes well and while there isn’t much to the actual premise of Chronicles of the Going Home Club, the series is a very solid slice of life comedy series that will provide plenty of laughs for those willing to give the series a chance. There is even a little white seal that appears often and either narrates an event or adds an extra line to a scene as it serves as a mascot character that none of the characters can actually see.
Of course humor is rather subjective so not everyone may enjoy the brand of self-deprecating humor that the series employs. That being said, the way that the series’ low budget, cost cutting measures, and the lack of popularity are made into running joke, how many jabs the series takes at other more popular anime series, as well as the way situations planned by Sakura, such as a murder mystery or mixer event, end up backfiring in humorous ways make the series worth watching for me and anyone who likes a comedy slice of life series such as this. Let’s just say if you can find an episode almost completely dedicated to a word chain competition between Natsuiki and Sakura as the two try to come up with plans to beat one another by making one say a chosen “Taboo Word” enjoyable, you’ll find Chronicles of the Going Home Club to your liking.
The chemistry between all of the girls is great and the capabilities that of Botan and Claire add extra spice to the comedy and even if it doesn’t exactly have anything special going for it and tends to follow the same pattern every episode, those who give Chronicles of the Going Home Club will be in for a good time as long as they know what to expect.
Despite the way that the cost-cutting low budget is turned into a running joke, the character designs in Chronicles of the Going Home Club are polished and clean looking with a bright use of colors throughout the cast even if the designs are a bit standard on their own. One notable thing is that Natsuki’s ahoge (cowlick) has been given special attention which is a noteworthy effort considering the way it is used for extra comedic effect.
As for the rest of the series, most of the scenery is fairly standard looking and unfortunately the cast rarely leaves the club room but when they do it usually comes with a nice change of scenery and costume change for the cast though even then most of the outfits remain fairly standard outside of a few extremely basic fan-service shots that are joked about almost immediately.
NIS America has released Chronicles of the Going Home Club with only the original Japanese voice track which is fitting for a comedic series that so heavily relies upon the chemistry of the cast to pull off successful jokes. What is interesting in this series is that outside of Natsuki’s voice actress Ibuki Kido, the rest of the voice actresses made their debut in this show. This comes as something of a surprise since the cast works well together and brings out the best of the characters in the series.
As for the background music, the actual standard soundtrack is nothing to write home about as it features fairly standard themes throughout the series but I must note that a lot of care has been given to the ending themes. While the opening theme “2 Gakki Debut Daisakusen” by Otome Shinto is a memorable theme, there are three ending themes used throughout the series. The first ending “Wakuwaku Days” being a fairly standard theme featuring the voice actresses for the cast but after this we see character focused songs featuring “Hanabi” sung by Botan’s voice actress and “Kimi ni Tsuite Ieru Koto” by Karin and Claire’s voice actresses with both of these themes being impossible to skip, especially “Hanabi,” since they were that enjoyable.
With the release of Chronicles of the Going Home Club NIS America has given the series their latest premium edition treatment featuring a collection of extras. While the on disc bonuses include “Deluxe” versions of the Going Home Club Theater shorts, fancier versions of shorts that appeared at the end of some episodes, clean versions of the opening and ending themes, and Japanese trailers, the real bonus comes in the form of the chipboard art box and the art book.
The art book features sketches of the core cast as well as little tidbits of information about them while also providing episode summaries but unlike their past releases, all of their episode summaries are comically misleading and feature accompanying sketches, as well as interviews with various members of the anime staff.
Chronicles of the Going Home Club may not bring anything new to the table as far as slice of life comedies focusing on five girls go but it does feature a great cast of characters and plenty of amazing humor that often breaks the fourth wall and is rather self-deprecating. By never taking itself seriously the show is a very light comedy and is an enjoyable and entertaining series for those who want a good laugh but not much else.
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