Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!: where LOVE is everything!

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.

Conclusion

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.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki kun: the shoujo-esque shounen (or is it the other way round?)

Tags: Anime, Takumi (Scya), Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Sakura Chiyo, Kashima Yuu, Nozaki Umetarou, Wakamatsu Hirotaka

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki kun is a comedic series that is told from the point of view of Sakura Chiyo, who we see confessing her feelings to her schoolmate Nozaki, right at the start of the anime. Due to a misunderstanding, however, Nozaki thinks Sakura is just a fan. She then discovers Nozaki’s other identity; a shoujo manga artist. As she gets closer to Nozaki, she befriends Nozaki’s quirky acquaintances who assist him and serve as inspirations for his manga. (Source: ANN)

The beginning of the series deludes us into thinking that it was just another typical shoujo series albeit with a comedic twist to it. Such ways of thinking are immediately proven wrong. As we are introduced to the quirky characters that make up this show, we quickly realise that Gekkan Shoujo is a very well done parody of all existing shoujo character archetypes and school events. Defying conventional standards is what makes this comedy stands out amongst even its peers in the same genre. A brief character analysis would serve to prove my time.

Chiyo Sakura

Our protagonist is a really typical shoujo heroine, with unrequited feelings towards her schoolmate, Nozaki. Honestly, there probably isn’t much that stands out about her character in particular, except to serve as a backdrop to all the other unique characters that populate this series. She serves as the emblem of normalcy, making her a sharp contrast to the other characters. However, she really plays along well with the others. At the very end of the series, though, the focus revolves back to her and her relationship with Nozaki, reminding us that hey, this IS the protagonist, and it is because of her that we get introduced to all the wonderful characters.

Nozaki

This is a pretty normal male high school boy who is a professional shoujo manga artist. This seemingly irreconcilable set of identities already set him up as a just-for-laughs character. As his stoic nature soon shows, he is definitely talented in certain ways (in being a professional mangaka) and severly lacking in others (sometimes everyday common sense). He uses the people around him as models for his manga characters, and often goes around sniffing out ideas for his manga. One particularly ironic aspect about him is that though he specialises in shoujo manga, he is incredibly dense and oblivious with regards to Sakura’s feelings towards him, which are not exactly discreet.

Mikoshiba

GekkanShoujo1

Kashima and Mikoshiba. No prizes for guessing who is who.

This misleadingly designed character whom, on first glance, seems like the ‘flirty’ love interest in shoujo manga, is actually a tsundere and becomes extremely shy after flirting with girls in general. In fact, he serves as the model of the female lead in Nozaki’s manga.

Kashima

This princely fellow almost always seen to be decked in a royal outfit and ready to go to the rescue of maidens around him….is actually a girl. Naturally, she becomes the model for the ‘princely’ male character for Nozaki’s shoujo manga.

Seo Yuzuki

One of the most hilarious characters ever to be created, her denseness to social situations always never fails to crack me up. Check the self-explanatory gif below for illustration.

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And many other supporting characters which complete the hilarious anime that is Gekkan Shoujo.

What can I say? Do watch this if you just want something to laugh about, or if you find something inherently funny (or ridiculous) in overused character tropes in all shoujo anime/manga. Having said that, please don’t watch this for any romance, for you may very well be severely disappointed. (I wasn’t, because i love all their current relationships now to care xD)

*All gifs and clips used in the production of gifs belong to their respective owners. I do not own any of this and I do not claim credit for their production.*