• remind me tomorrow
  • remind me next week
  • never remind me
Subscribe to the ANN Newsletter • Wake up every Sunday to a curated list of ANN's most interesting posts of the week. read more

The Winter 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki 2: Second Stage

How would you rate episode 1 of
Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki 2nd Stage (TV 2) ?
Community score: 3.8

What is this?


High school student Fumiya Tomozaki considers real life to be "a trash game," deserving of minimal effort, as opposed to his favorite online fighting game Attack Families (AtaFam), which he believes is properly balanced, rewarding dedication with success. As the number one AtaFam player on the national leaderboards, when he beats his closest rival, they request to meet him in real life. Tomozaki discovers that the number two player is his seemingly perfect classmate Aoi Hinami who excels not just at videogames, but life in general. Aoi takes Tomozaki under her wing, giving him objectives to "level up" his real-life persona and become more socially adjusted. Hinami's approach to life involves cold logic and expending almost inhuman effort to exceed her peers in every aspect of life. Tomozaki and Hinami's outlooks and motivations couldn't be more different, and Hinami harbors deep-seated issues of her own…

Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki 2: Second Stage is a sequel to Winter 2021's first season and is based on a light novel series of the same name by Yūki Yaku and Fly. The anime series is streaming on Crunchyroll on Wednesdays.

How was the first episode?

Kevin Cormack

Boy, am I glad to see the return of everyone's favorite teenage Emperor Palpatine Machiavellian manipulator Aoi Hinami and her Sith Apprentice hopeful student Fumiya Tomozaki. Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki's first season was a fascinating (and funny) exploration of not just adolescent psychology, but offered an insight into group dynamics, morality, and ethics. Let's say it does a bit more with its characters than the average high school anime rom-com.

Essentially, this is Oregairu for Smash Bros. nerds, and it's full of little nudge-nudge wink-wink jokes like Tomoazaki's brawler of choice being the unbelievably-on-the-nose-titled AtaFam, on the portable "Yontendo" console. We've been upgraded to AtaFam ver.2.0 now, and in Tomozaki's sister's words, he's been upgraded too – or at least "you've gotten better, but you still have a way to go." Compared to Hinami's fully DLC-loaded Ultimate, he's probably progressed from N64 Smash to GC Melee.

Tomozaki's latest assignment from his Dark Lord is to "observe the mood in a room" and "take control." Not at all sinister. He seizes upon the unfair dynamics he witnesses when his class chooses a female captain for the school sports festival. The brash yet indolent Erika Konno essentially bullies the timid Hirabayashi into taking on a responsibility she doesn't want, mainly so that Konno can get away with doing the minimum. This scene perfectly encapsulates the difficulties and pain of navigating group situations as a shy people-pleaser. Konno manipulates Hirabayashi lower into the group's social hierarchy so she's easier to boss around. In response, Tomozaki interviews his classmates regarding Konno's weaknesses in a retro pixel JRPG style – with each nugget of relevant intel gained like a treasure chest opening before him. We're left with Tomozaki prepared to take on Level Boss Konno, with even Hinami in tow as a (sort-of) useful summon!

The episode takes the opportunity during its info-gathering segment to reintroduce most of its large cast of characters, from the irrepressible blue-haired Mimimi (still groping and sniffing at the yelping Tama) to the bookish Fuuka. We also meet Tomozaki's apathetic redhead work colleague, Tsugumi Narita, who seems like a fun addition to the cast. They're all interesting and empathetic people, and I'm look forward to seeing them interact more as the season progresses.

discuss this in the forum (483 posts) |
bookmark/share with: short url

this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history

back to The Winter 2024 Anime Preview Guide
Season Preview Guide homepage / archives