The Do It Yourself!! anime is an underappreciated gem. The setup, of course, is not for everyone; it’s one of those relaxing slice-of-life anime about girls in a niche hobby club. Beyond some low-key science-fiction elements, the story does little to stand out in its subgenre. If you’re not already into this kind of show, then you might need some extra convincing to try it out.
Fortunately for me, I happen to be in exactly the right place at the right time for it to resonate.
The other day, my partner and I succeeded in buying our first house—exciting! Amid all the jubilation over finally having a place to ourselves, we are both very aware that there is a lot of renovation work ahead.
But the story doesn’t end there. At the same time we were signing the deal with the real estate agent, a massive storm hit my city. I returned home only to find that the power was out. It would remain that way for five whole days.
Between these two dramatic events, I found myself thinking a lot about the things we take for granted. Even when you live a comfortable middle-class existence, there are still times in your life when you have to make do with only your wits and hands. For example, when there is an extended blackout, or when you renovate a house on a tight budget. This is when DIY finds you, whether you want it to or not.
In the world of the Do It Yourself!! anime, there aren’t any “push comes to shove” moments like what I just described. It would absolutely undermine the point of the show if the characters only did DIY because of necessity. Instead, it’s about the simple joys of creating something with your own hands and marvelling, “I made this!”
In order to heighten the catharsis, Do It Yourself!! is set in a soft sci-fi world where automation has progressed even further than it has already. Thus, the tsundere childhood friend Purin pompously declares, there is no need for DIY anymore. As far as her privileged self is concerned, it is nothing but an antiquated hobby.
Yet even in this mellow picture of everyday suburban life, where there genuinely is no practical need for manual labour, DIY still has sentimental value. For the heroine Yua Serufu, it’s a way of pushing past her innate clumsiness and connecting with other people. The club members work towards making a treehouse not only because is it the most archetypal DIY project you can imagine, it’s a prop that conjures an image of cozy, warm friendships.
The thing that resonates most with me about this anime is Yua Serufu herself. Although she’s cartoonishly clumsy, I do relate to how others in her life have sheltered her to the extent that she never learned to do simple tasks by herself. The good thing is that it’s never too late to learn. Even when she’s ridiculed at first for trying something so obviously out of her comfort zone, the show is subtle about displaying her growth visually. She consistently makes mistakes, but on a smaller scale over time.
Her progress is totally believable, so that by the time Rei comments on it in episode 6, it’s a pleasant surprise to hear.
After the anime finishes establishing the characters (around episode 5), it starts focusing more on the little ways in which you can find inspiration for projects and cost-effective ways you can make them happen. In that sense, it’s a very approachable take on its subject matter. If a couple of kids in high school can do it, then so can you.
When I work on making my dream house, I’m going to take my inspiration from this comfy little show. DIY will probably never be something I would prioritise as a hobby, but watching Serufu is comforting to me. She makes me think that I don’t have to be particularly good at it, and I can even enjoy it. The important thing is to be willing to ask for help from more experienced folks and not to get hung up about fixable mistakes. Going forward, Do It Yourself!! is going to be my bible.
Has Do It Yourself!! inspired you at all when it comes to DIY?