Chronicles of the Going Home Club is based on a manga by Kuroha. The anime was produced by Nomad, and was directed by Hikaru Sato. The series aired on Japanese television from July 4-October 11, 2013. As of this writing, NIS America holds the North American license for Chronicles of the Going Home Club.
The series focuses on a group of five girls who are part of the unofficial “Going Home Club” at their school. Instead of doing regular club activities, the members are dedicated to having as much fun as possible.
The five girls who make up the membership are very diverse characters, although their attributes are exaggerated due to the fact that Chronicles of the Going Home Club is a gag anime. Natsuki Ando is a first year who is the “straight woman,” serious member of the cast. Although she may be serious, she has an exaggerated cowlick on the top of her head. Karin Tono is another first year, but unlike Natsuki, she is an airhead who is good in home economics. Sakura Domyoji is the president of the club; she may be energetic, but she proclaims herself as the “ordinary girl” in the club. Claire Kokonoe is the “rich girl” of the group, an heiress to her family’s mega corporation who enrolled in this school because she wanted a normal school life. Botan Ohagi is an expert in martial arts, and is the successor to an ancient martial arts school; however, her abilities are exaggerated considerably, which serves as a running gag in the series. There is also a little white seal who appears to be a mascot for the club, but the girls never acknowledge seeing it; there are times when the seal serves as the narrator as to what’s happening in the story.
Each episode of the Chronicles of the Going Home Club is split into several vignettes. Most episodes include three or four, but the final episode squeezes in 20. Many of the stories will feature parodies or references to anime (such as Sailor Moon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Pokemon, Dragon Ball, and Fist of the North Star). There were also times where I felt that the entire concept of an unofficial school club that does random things, led by an energetic girl and consisting of members with various personalities, was a reference to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya; the only things missing were the extraterrestrials, espers, and time travelers.
Another element of this series is the fact that the characters know they’re in an anime series, and will either poke fun at the animators or make direct references to being in an anime. In a lot of respects, it feels like the characters are “breaking the fourth wall.” I have to admit that their awareness of being anime characters was one of my favorite parts of this series.
Overall, I thought Chronicles of the Going Home Club worked well for a gag anime. I was able to identify many of the references, and the exaggerations were zany enough to make me laugh but they didn’t come across as “over the top.” To me, these are two important elements to make a gag anime successful.
Even though I enjoyed Chronicles of the Going Home Club and I think it works well for what it is, gag anime usually isn’t something I’m going to be giving a lot of repeat viewings to. I’m glad I saw it and that I enjoyed watching the series, it’s not one that I would rush to add to my anime home video collection. Even if I did want to add it, it would be expensive to obtain, since NIS America holds the North American distribution rights. It’s not the kind of series I would be willing to spend US$50+ on in order to own a physical copy.