Original Run: October 6, 2022 - December 22, 2022 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Slice of Life
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Do It Yourself!!. Reader discretion is advised.***
A new school year is starting, and the technology-minded Miku Suride (voiced by Kana Ichinose) is excited to begin learning at the cutting-edge Yuyu Girls’ Vocational High School. However, her victory feels incomplete when her best friend, the accident-prone Serufu Yua (voiced by Konomi Inagaki), fails to get in. Instead, Serufu will attend Yuyu Girls’ sister school, Gatagata Girls’ High.
For her part, though, Serufu, as she always does, goes with the flow and is excited to start a new chapter in her life.
One day near the start of term, Serufu’s bicycle breaks. Not sure what to do, she gets lucky when Rei Yasaku (voiced by Ayane Sakura) passes by and effortlessly fixes the busted bike. Later when Serufu goes to give her thanks, she learns that Rei is the only member of the DIY Club. Almost instantly, Serufu falls in love with crafts and handiwork and agrees to join.
Through Serufu’s friendly persistence, the DIY Club gains more members:
- Takumi Hikage (voiced by Azumi Waki)
- Juliet “Jobko” Queen Elizabeth VIII (voiced by Nichika Oomori)
- Kokoro Kouki (voiced by Karin Takahashi)
Realizing its new potential, the DIY Club sets out to grow larger and create even more beautiful works of hand-made art.
Welcome to the world of CGDCT anime, or in other words, Cute Girls Doing Cut Things.
This review will treat that moniker as a descriptor of fact rather than a detriment (a circumstance that isn’t entirely uncommon). After all, franchises such as Non Non Biyori and Yuru Camp would fall under the same label, and they have proven to be nothing short of brilliant.
And while we are setting the record straight, no, Do It Yourself!! (DIY) is not in the same league as Non Non Biyori and Yuru Camp. No, this show aligns more with 2020’s Diary of Our Days at the Breakwater. It’s a great series assuming you want to shut off your brain and relax.
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with the CGDCT sub-genre, that introduction was simply a meaningless exercise in namedrop-ing. What kind of show was DIY?
Well, the plain fact of the matter is, CGDCT could not be more literal. This was a show with a cast of adorable-looking characters doing a specific activity. In this case, our characters focused on hand-made crafts. They constructed bookshelves, small trinkets, and furniture. Heck, the big project of the series was the Gatagata Girls’ DIY Club building a treehouse.
There was no interpersonal drama in this show. There were no twists or turns, no unforeseen developments, and no tension in the slightest. The characters were at no risk of failing since there was nothing they could fail at doing.
Thus, if DIY is your first foray into CGDCT anime, you might be wondering, “How could a show like this be worth any amount of time?”
Well, unlike the larger slice-of-life genre, which (in theory) can pull material from anywhere it needs to, CGDCT anime need to make whatever activity a show is highlighting look enjoyable. More to the point, when you are watching, do you feel an urge to try your hand at whatever the characters are doing? The stronger said urge is, the better such a series tends to be.
To continue with this line of thinking, while watching DIY, you’ll most likely not want to build your own treehouse. However, running a trip down to your local hardware store might not be that bad of an idea.
Again, while this show might not be amongst the top-tier CGDCT anime, it is undoubtedly charming.
With that said, DIY does a lot of things well enough.
For example, this show’s animation was lovely. Colors were warm and welcoming; movements were fun and expressive; the general atmosphere facilitated a calming air. Although they fell short of outright stunning, the visuals weren’t an afterthought; they had a role to play. Specifically, the artwork reliably complimented something more substantial – the characters.
And this is where we find the lynchpin to any CGDCT anime – characters are everything. This type of show’s cast dictates success and failure since – as mentioned earlier – there isn’t much of a story. To that extent, the characters of DIY are what allow this series to earn a place in one’s queue.
Granted, DIY’s cast is at its strongest when everyone works together. This isn’t a lone-wolf type of anime; not one of these characters had the strength to carry this show by themselves. That is, except for maybe Serufu.
To give credit where it is due, Serefu’s aloofness made her exceedingly likable. Sure, she should probably see a specialist to determine if she has any attention disorders. After all, her inability to retain her focus longer than five minutes caused her repeated injury throughout the show. If she insists on using very sharp, very fast-moving tools as a hobby, getting distracted isn’t exactly an option.
Nevertheless, of all the characters, Serefu was DIY’s heart. There was a scene that resulted in pure heartbreak for the entire club. And yet, it was Serefu’s reaction to this event that was the most distressing. Consequently, her bounce-back was equally satisfying.
So, on the whole, DIY had qualities that made it worth watching. Of course, there were other aspects to this series that were strange at best and irritating at worst.
In so many ways, DIY was a collection of minor irritants. One point on its own might be no worse than a temporary annoyance – over and done within the same breath. But by the end of this series, the culmination of every cringe moment grew wearisome.
To start, we need to question the use of puns. While some may revel in them, others loathe and groan whenever they hear one spoken. In a sense, wordplay is a mastery of language wrapped in a sheet of immaturity. However, when they are forced, we get the name Serefu Yua.
At first glance, our protagonist’s name appears innocent. But once you put it in the order spoken by the Japanese, you get Yua Serefu.
Do you hear it? Yua Serefu? As in, Do It Yua Serefu.
F#%@ you show.
While we are on the topic of the Japanese pronounce-ification of English, there was the character Jobko. She was an American exchange student who joined the DIY Club who often used English words in her speech. The problem was, Jobko was the personification of this show’s unnecessary tendencies.
For one, almost without exception, when a character speaks any language other than Japanese in anime, their pronunciation is infuriatingly bad. And it is not an issue of accents. Instead, foreign characters’ dialogue rely heavily on Katakana (the Japanese form of writing most often used to depict non-Japanese words), and it always comes off as unnatural.
It also doesn’t help that most anime, DIY included, cause non-native Japanese speakers to sound slow and robotic. It is never not insulting.
The point is that Jobko and her use of English is just the most blatant example of details that add nothing to the show’s enjoyment. On the contrary, it was more of a detriment.
There were plenty of other instances where our characters’ actions didn’t make much sense. There was a scene where Serefu and Takumi didn’t want to hurt Rei’s feelings upon realizing the cookies Rei baked were undercooked. Then while the two Japanese girls were trying not to gag, the two foreigners, Jobko and Kokoro, loved them. And this series didn’t comment on this discrepancy.
Sure, Japan’s cookie selection (as seen through this review’s author’s experience) is garbage, and what selection you can get is usually the consistency of bricks. But was this show tapping into that sentiment? Whose to know?
Thus, throughout DIY, some moments felt off and were mostly self-inflicting.
Yes, this show had plenty of face-palm moments. Still, at its core, this is a pleasant watch.
This series goes at a relaxing pace that puts you at ease; it’s the perfect kind of anime to sit down with at the end of a long day. While you might not get anything spectacular, a soft chuckle and a light smile are not out of the question.
Although it is not the sort of anime that needs watching right this very minute, if you find the time, you won’t leave disappointed.
Do It Yourself!! does earn a solid recommendation.
But these are my thoughts; what are yours? Have you seen this show; how would you advise Do It Yourself!!? Leave a comment below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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