There is no denying it: I am a girls girl! I have always been someone who loves having girlfriends. I grew up close to my two sisters and my mom. While I have had and still have guy friends, there has always been something special about having girl friends.
As a result, I have always enjoyed stories where the main focus is the friendship between women. I think in all kinds of media, we tend to prioritize romantic relationships. I mean, of course, who doesn’t want to be in love and rooting for love? It makes the world go round! But because of that, the friendships always seem surface-level and just serve one-sided purposes. The best friend characters usually are just cheerleaders for the main characters.
Stories that do tend to focus on friendships as opposed to romance tend to fly under the radar. A lot of these stories in anime and manga fall under the “slice of life” genre. There are romantic stories in some slice-of-life anime, but more often than not, they focus more on a group of friends or a character and all their relationships.
Every anime season tends to have a quiet little slice-of-life anime that flies under the radar. But those who know of it, can’t stop talking about it. For the 2022 Fall anime season, that was Do It Yourself!!
About Do It Yourself!!
Do It Yourself!! is an original anime from Pine Jam studios, which has previously worked on titles like Just Because! and Gleipnir. An accompanying manga debuted the same month as the anime in Manga Up! magazine and is still ongoing.
The story follows Serefu Yua, a clumsy but artsy high school student, who joins a DIY (do it yourself) club in school after an encounter with the club’s only member, Rei Yasaku. Serefu decides to help Rei in recruiting more members for the club to keep it going.
The first few episodes focus on the club gaining members and then we see the club decide to make a treehouse, plan how to raise funds, and eventually build the treehouse together. Through cute hijinks, fun little projects, and even a beach episode, we come to love the girls and all the effort they put into the DIY club.
At first, it is easy to just categorize this anime as a cute little slice-of-life without thinking about it too deeply. But if you’re willing to scratch the surface just a bit, you will see there are key themes that take this anime from ordinary to special.
Do It Yourself!! For Yourself!
Serefu Yua (whose name is a play on saying Do It Yourself said in English by a Japanese speaker,) is one of the best main characters I’ve seen in a while. She is a total klutz, but in a way that isn’t overbearing, unlike your typical airhead trope. Serefu may not be handy with tools, but she is an amazing artist and has creative ideas.
Serefu is truly the glue of the DIY club and her “try my best attitude” is infectious. I think she does well as the main character because she is relatable. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you won’t be GREAT at something. Serefu teaches us that even if you mess up and make mistakes if you are having fun with something, it is worth doing.
Serefu is an amazing lead, but the other characters aren’t too far behind. Each of the characters adds their own unique charm to the group and makes the show. Takumi is shy but incredibly talented with arts and crafts. Jobko, is an American transfer student who is a bit bratty but super intelligent for her age. Rei, the oldest of the DIY club comes off as abrasive but is sweet and a great leader. Kokoro, from the tech school who is so carefree.
On paper, the girls could not be more different but this makes their union even sweeter! They all enjoy the DIY club so much and combine their talents to make their projects successful.
Do It Yourself!! For Friendship
If you’ve seen the show, you were probably wondering why I left Purin out of the previous section. She is such a great character she deserves her own section.
Purin is the textbook definition of a tsundere. It is pretty clear that she loves Serefu a lot, but she spends most of the show seemingly being annoyed by her. As the series starts, you aren’t given too much information on what their relationship was like.
To me, at least, it seems like the show leaves their past intentionally vague and as the viewer, you are left to assume. We know that Purin got into Yuyu High, a technical high school and Serefu did not, thus goes to the Gatagata girl’s school next door. Purin may not admit it directly, but this definitely upset her.
As the episodes go by, we see Purin become more and more involved with the DIY club, despite her best efforts not to. She ends up housing Jobko, helping during the beach episode, and is always watching Serefu from afar.
On the other side of the coin, it’s clear that Serefu cares for Purin just as much and has zero intentions of hiding it. Her motivations for the DIY club treehouse also include fulfilling a childhood promise she and Purin made. She also goes out of her way to try and include Purin in everything.
By the end of the season, we learn that Serefu and Purin did not have any type of falling out. Purin just REALLY loves Serefu. And in that love, she gets so frustrated by Purin’s airheadedness and wants to just take care of her.
Their friendship completely sold me on the series and I loved watching Purin come around toward the end. Girl friendships are so important and exploring different dynamics in friendships is something I would love to see other anime do.
Do It Yourself!! was in a league of its own this past fall. Slice-of-life anime always tend to fall under the radar behind big titles like My Hero Academia and BLEACH, but their appeal is timeless. I also think many slice-of-life titles can have heavy moments, and many think that if it doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, it is just too light and fluffy.
Do It Yourself!! was able to make a lighthearted story about girls building things and subtly add deeper layers that aren’t often explored in this way. The story is fun and whimsical, and it also is a reflection of how beautiful life can be with the right group of friends.
Do It Yourself!! is streaming on Crunchyroll.