Season aired: Fall 2022
Number of episodes: 12
Watched on: Crunchyroll
Translated by: ?
Genres: Slice-of-Life, Comedy
Thoughts: When I asked the Anime Trending community to choose two additional anime from the Fall season for me to review, I was surprised to see that Do It Yourself!! dominated the options. Despite the relative silence on social media and its non-appearance on our anime charts, it is clear that the anime has struck a chord with a large enough crowd to win one of the two review slots I had opened.
Do It Yourself!! follows Serufu, a clumsy girl whose head is more often in the clouds than in reality. During one of her accidents, a senpai from her school helps her out by fixing her bike. Later, Serufu learns that the senpai is the president of a DIY club. Interest piqued, Serufu decides to join the club. Despite her tendency to hurt herself, Serufu is determined to master the many DIY projects the club has to offer — bandages and bruises aside!
Do It Yourself!! objectively has the makings of a perfect cute-girls-doing-cute-things anime. Its cast is colorful and wholesome with distinctive personalities and designs that make them all easy to tell apart. When the girls begin to chop wood, hammer nails, or tear materials apart, the animation is accurate to the point that real-life DIY lovers have commented on its realistic fluidity. The music is simple yet accompanies the relaxing atmosphere perfectly. In fact, the anime outperforms technically with interesting visual choices such as portraying scenes at unusual angles or scene shifts that feel like cameras shifting from one person to the other.
However, I didn’t enjoy the anime as much as I thought I would. While the girls are as adorable as they need to be in this genre, I didn’t feel they changed much throughout the series. Serufu learns to develop and improve on her DIY skills, but her head remains in the clouds, and she’s still constantly prone to accidents. Rei (the DIY club’s president), Takumi (Serufu’s classmate and friend), and Kokoro (a foreign student with a wild side) don’t change at all.
I still found myself disconnected from the two characters who had character arcs. Miku, also known as Purin in the anime, is the tsundere best friend of Serufu who begins the anime upset at the protagonist for going to another school. However, her path to reconciling with the main character feels contrived since Serufu remains unchanged in the areas that drove Miku up the wall in the first place. Her petty anger for Serufu “abandoning” her by going to another school also feels unreasonable since Serufu actually tried to get into the same school as Miku and wasn’t able to get in.
Jobko, the child genius from America who transferred in for a single school year, has the best arc. Because she’s a literal child, she begins the series throwing fits, lashing out at others, and not properly communicating what she wants. She never loses her childishness as the actual baby of the group, but with the help of the girls, she does grow emotionally by no longer throwing fits and learning how to communicate with others better.
Unfortunately, her satisfying arc wrapped up relatively early in the series, leaving an overall lack of development from the other characters. Additionally, her dialogue throws in gratuitous English that only takes me out of the show whenever she talks. Part of Jobko’s communication challenge is that she’s not perfectly fluent in Japanese, as she is a fluent English speaker from America. However, this realistic conflict loses its effect when the English sounds obviously not fluent, especially when it is central to her character.
As a whole, all the seiyuus sounded stilted. Kokoro’s voice in particular was grating because her character trope was “cat-like.” Ending every other sentence with “nyan” was simply too much for me to handle, and there was little change in tone or emotion to her lines. Kana Ichinose does the best of the cast to embody Miku’s character arc, but even her emotional expressions can feel repeated when Miku, as a character, cycles through wanting to forgive Serufu, seeing Serufu having fun without her, and getting tsundere-upset at Serufu.
On the other hand, the anime does effectively convey that its purpose isn’t to show characters growing or changing. Its purpose is to show the joy behind discovering new hobbies and putting your heart into them regardless of the futility, and in that regard, it does succeed.
This element is elevated through a unique decision in worldbuilding. Rather than having the story take place in a completely modern society, as CGDCT anime tend to do, the anime instead resides in a futuristic world between today and worlds we see in science fiction. The buildings, the food, the clothes, the toys, and the atmosphere are relatively unchanged, but the technology is beyond what we currently have. The buses are sleeker. There are cute animal robot butlers that take care of kids at home. The school that Miku goes to has desks that can fold and unfold into the ground, holographic screens, and 3D simulation equipment for students to take home and practice with. It’s a futuristic world that feels genuinely possible, keeping the story grounded, but also adding importance to the theme of DIY.
This is showcased visually when Miku’s technological school casts a literal shadow over the shed in which the DIY club convenes. With technology doing so much for everyone, people see little point in DIY projects. Both Miku and Jobko hold that initial perspective: DIY is a waste of time when technology can do it faster and more precisely. Effort should instead be put into furthering technology to make things even easier for people.
The anime reminds viewers that it is not the result that matters but the process and that losing that process also takes out the meaning in the end product. This theme is so successfully written that, despite my overall apathy towards the characters, I still managed to feel touched seeing the girls finally finish their collective passion project from the beginning of the series: the club treehouse.
In other words, Do It Yourself!! is a good anime, but it isn’t an anime made for my tastes. It is undeniable that the overall lack of character development was purposeful and integral to one of its themes: the point of a hobby isn’t to change who you are but rather to utilize your strengths in ways that are encouraging and fun. It displays the importance of enjoying process — slow, fast, accidental, or purposeful — and how imperfections often look beautiful because of that process. It is a feat in production with its incredible animation and intelligent visual storytelling techniques. I just personally like stories more where the major characters grow and change, and for that reason, I couldn’t help but feel bored at certain points of the anime despite objectively understanding its depth.
Plot: 8 (Multiplier 3.5)
Characters: 6 (Multiplier 3.5)
Voice acting: 6.5
FINAL SCORE: 73