Sick of the mahou shoujo genre? Itching to see a new twist? Secretly wondering why there isn’t an *ahem* bishounen version? Presenting to you … the first ever mahou shounen to grace the screen! Expect bishounen prancing around in ridiculous colourful costumes, the entire magical boy transformations, plentiful ‘cute’ moments, over-the-top exclamations of love, as well as the special bonus …. the strong yaoi vibes that will leave fujoshi and fudanshi fans squealing in delight!
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei Bu LOVE tells of a story where five pretty boys in a conveniently single-ed high school are suddenly given magical powers by a pink fluffy wombat who – apparently – is very powerful. Reason? The Earth is about to be devoured by hatred, and only love can save the world. Our protagonists are given this very special task from the start, and together they take on the daunting and noble task of fighting monsters which manifest through negative emotions, clearing the school from them.
Parody of the finest quality
The strongest point of Binan Koukou is that, being a parody of the mahou shoujo genre, it clearly presents itself as a series that is not to be taken seriously, and then pokes fun of itself in the most unexpected ways. By following a formulaic monster-of-the-week approach that slowly reveals the underlying evil plot of the antagonists, the overlying plot structure is all too familiar and predictable. Yet, one should not be too quick to criticise the lack of a good story, for Binan Koukou deliberately adopts the strategy of magnifying a weakness common to most another anime series, and manages to maintain its freshness by adding in plenty of comedic moments. The ingenuity of this series lies in the type of comedy it chooses to indulge in. Rather than anything slapstick, the emphasis here is based on overused tropes of many other mahou shoujo and giving a sarcastic twist to it. What is particularly endearing and memorable about this is that it mirrors the audience’s thought processes based on their experiences of the mahou shoujo genre and then adds a smart-ass comment that leaves the viewers grinning in agreement and marveling in wonder.
The Daily lives of the Overly Bored High School Boys
Aside from the premise of reflecting the ludicrity of mahou shoujo plot developments, slice-of-life and fanservice also go hand in hand in contributing to the overall enjoyment of this series. We have inordinate amounts of the main characters soaking in public baths, spending time basically doing nothing in the clubroom, having training camps, and engaging in activities that make you wonder if Japanese high school kids actually spend close to none of their school hours on studying. Not to mention the whole lot of yaoi and shounen-ai vibes, which clearly pander to fans of these genres, but serve as a source of a good laugh for the rest of us just wanting to see something new and ridiculous in this line of anime. However, those expecting content along the lines of Daily Lives of High School Boys would be sorely disappointed, mainly because there is very minimal emphasis on any topic that real life teenage boys actually dwell upon (e.g. devising ways to attract girls, trying to look cool in general etc.). Instead, the frivolity of these boys’ daily conversations present a more interesting perspective to how random they can get as they bicker over topics like whose preferences in food are the best. As such, one can enjoy the conversation as it is without needing to put themselves in a real life high school boy’s shoes.
The brevity of this review belies the amount of enjoyment I had from watching this series over twelve weeks. In fact, it was the most suitable series out of the entire Winter line-up for me, given that I was in no condition to marathon any series at that point and my concern with watching ongoing series lay with the fact that I had to remember a continuing plot over twelve or thirteen weeks. With this series, no such concern existed, and I was happy to settle in every week and enjoy the series over my lunch being dragging myself to school.
Binan Koukou is a most optimal example of a series that relies on characteristics other than a strong plot and/or character development to break through longtime formulas and shine in its own right. It serves as a reminder to even the most jaded and obtuse of anime viewers (i.e. me) that the anime industry’s capacity for creativity and entertainment has not run dry. A rare gem that is not immediately obvious, Binan Koukou is the series to go to for those craving something a little different, or for those wanting a hilarious, fun ride after a terribly long day.