OK, I allowed myself to be suckered into this show. I mean, not only is it a sports show, it is also what I call a Squealing Girl Show, as a divergent bunch of ladies find a commonality and bond. In one sense, this show is NO DIFFERENT than “Roar!” That show was ladies on motorcycles; this show, “Long Riders!” (“Rongu Raidāsu!”), is girls on bicycles. (more…)
Skating on Thin “Ice”
Now, this is a sports anime and I was in the middle of two other sports anime and I was really REALLY thinking of passing this one by, but the title arrested me (but I avoided a frisk-and-search), and that is “Yuri!!! On Ice” (and, yes, we need all those exclamation points as well. What is it now with exclamation points?) Now, I got pulled in, as I know what yuri means, but I had a hard time thinking is was a show about yuri types on ice. Well, they are a type of yuri type and….crap, send out the Zamboni and I’ll explain. (more…)
Wow, never have a seen a show with such *ahem* naked fan service and there are a ton of those shows out there (like “Eiken” and “Ikki Tousen” and “Sekerei”), but this one is unabashed about it, as it is all part and parcel as to what goes down. Welcome to “Keijo!!!!!!!!” (also known as “Competitive Girl” or “Hip Whip Girl”) And, yes, we do need all EIGHT of those exclamation points!!!!!!!!
If this came out in the 1970s, we would have called this ‘trash sports’, much like “Battle of the Network Stars”. It is a caliber of sport, but not what you would consider a real sport. And what is keijo????????
In the middle of a huge pool, and it had best be a squarish pool, so Olympic-sized pools may be too small, there is a float. This is referred to as a ‘land’. Depending on the size of this land, two or four or six ladies (and YES, it HAS to BE a LADY!!!!!!!!) stand on this floating land. Their goal: make the other competitors fall into the water or collapse to the land. And how is this done????????
Well….that is to say….I mean….h-h-how can I put this????????
The ladies must use either their breasts or butt to shove, force, propel or otherwise launch into the water their opponents or force them to the ground. Needless to say, this sport is very popular with the guys. The series revolves around four tyros to the Keijo League and all their struggles to become good enough to go pro and what is required of them to be able to attain that dream. And who are our fair and fulsome maidens to make this endeavor???????? From left to right:
Kazane Aoba, her right hand can copy any opponents attack, but she has to feel their butt
Sayaka Miyata, former judo champion and fast on her feet
Nozomi Kaminashi, former gymnast, her signature move is the Vacuum Butt Cannon
Non Toyoguchi, a country girl with a butt so soft, it absorbs attacks
They all feel they have the right stuff to make it, but are challenged at every turn and curve. They learn a butt-ton of butt exercises and the strategy to use every advantage for their benefit. And if they can move up to Elite Status, they get better food, better training and better support. Yeah, I need to put myself out there.
They are put through their paces, getting expert teachings from past masters and daily challenges to fortify both body and spirit. The high point of the show is the annual West vs East competition.
You see, there are two main schools to learn keijo and the best from both meet for a three-round competition to see which school is better. Our ladies are from the West, and the leading champs (they have won this competition for a solid decade) are from the East. Whereas our ladies are demure and courteous and sociable, those other ladies are cutting and sarcastic and rude. They MUST be put in their place, with a conclusion that was totally readable.
That was a bit of a drag, until I realized that we have to stretch out the episodes so we can see the ladies in their combat garb (bathing suits that even Venus would have a hard time wanting to vend) as they breast and butt their way to Ultimate Victory.
Honestly, this is a thin show. The main idea is about friendship, trust and dedication, but we have wrapped it around very tight or revealing swimsuits so it doesn’t mean much, unless you can use your massive orbs to propel another massive-orbed lady off the land. I am truly surprised I never heard the dig “Hey, lady, how’s the drink?”
I also felt there should have been more resistance from parents. We had one plot point for this, but would you, as a father, want your young daughter using her bedonkadonk to smack some other lady silly? Tough call, as you have to balance things as cautiously as you do when you stand upon the land. (PS, “Bop Girl” is an ‘80s song by Pat Wilson. Check it out; it’s a catchy tune).
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Cute girls, strange swim suits)
Plot 7 (Rather typical approach to an odd idea)
Pacing 7 (Fast and furious)
Effectiveness 7 (Well, it is an unusual sport)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Overall 7 (Couldn’t escape self-set traps)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. You fail to understand the nature of my butt!
Short Pull Series XX – “Tennis”, Anyone?
OK, lest I sound like a sour old man (“Hey, you kids, get off of my lawn!”), there is nothing wrong with all-girl animes…..to a point. It’s just that you need to have something more than moe girls or full-figured femmes or luscious ladies cluttering up the screen. I do like (wait for it)…plot. We actually started off with “Teekyu”, which began as a sports comedy manga (and the title is a pun on the Japanese word for ‘tennis’. Things like that are lost on me). They then had a spinoff, “Usakame”, which is named for the high school these four ladies attend and they belong to the tennis club. (more…)
“Ace” of Base
This was another sports show that I gave up on, but some other sports anime fan felt that I didn’t give this an honest run. Since we now have “Ace of the Diamond: Second Season”, I should check it out, as ‘it has gotten better.’
The reasons I left the show were (a) the minute dissection of everything to the point of it being mono-minded, (b) the butt-head nature of all the people involved and (c) the real lack of character growth. My feeling was that any problems that bedeviled the first season would still be part of the second. Not that the second season started out that well. It opened with THREE recap episodes. Crfap, I might as well watch the end of the first season. One recap show, OK, but three? Not a smart call in my book.
So, the team has gone its separate ways, as the third years have graduated, but the Saito baseball team, still smarting from its playoff loss, dedicates itself to the Fall Tournament….with the same cast of nitwits and ninny hammers, plus more. The biggest addition is a new coach, who spends the show tugging at his cheesy chin beard. An arrogant, conceited, self-serving butt-head, I was hoping that four or five members of the team would jump him, hold him down and shave that sucker beard off! You look like an idiot! (more…)
“Road” to Nowhere
OK, as you know from a previous review, I walked away from “Yowamushi Pedal”, as I felt everyone were pricks. I got a message from a fan of the show who felt I was too harsh in my initial review and I should give the second season, “Grande Road”, a test drive. (Huyk! Hyuk! Gotta love those puns!)
The overall problem is that any concerns that were endemic in the first season will potentially continue through to the second and worse ones may crop up. They did.
The first problem is that the original idea of the show, letting us see how otaku Sakamichi Onoda (specs in the middle) transmogrifies from a ‘weakling pedal’ (the English translation of the show) to a determined person, has been discarded, so that he is a supporting player in his own series. He gets left behind as we examine, in painfully minute detail, the lives of everyone to show that they did not all start out as pricks, but unhappy events and foul circumstances and missed bus connections MADE them into the revolting piles of poodle-doo that they are now. (more…)
It’s a Cruel “Summer”
Certainly the ending of “Free!” strongly implied there would be a second season; I just didn’t expect it to come so fast.
“Free! – Eternal Summer” continues/completes the saga of the Iwatobi Swim Club and the rivalry between them and Samezuka Academy and how they strive to prove who is the best, both individually and collectively, with the target of the Nationals well within their sight and grasp.
One thing that bothered me was the titles of the individual episodes, as they tethered it with swim terms. It’s just that it got corny to watch “The Butterfly of Farewell” or “The Crouching Start of Vindication”. Why not have “The Flip-turn of Despair”? This was one of two drag points. The other was fake problems that really weren’t problems, but everyone gets to sing an aria in this show, so you need something that causes them consternation. Oooh, oooh, I broke a nail! (more…)
Let’s Have a “Ball”!
OK, it’s another sports anime. “Haikyuu!!” (“Volleyball!!”) takes us into the marvelous and interesting world of…..volleyball! Oh, yeah! I can hear you stomping your feet and pounding the table. Serve it up! Sorry, it’s Men’s Volleyball and done inside (Sure, if this was Ladies Beach Volleyball, that would be COMPLETELY different).
OK, it’s another sports anime. This one tells the story of Shōyō Hinata (the carrot top near the right). He watched this student athlete play called “The Little Giant”. He was short, short, short, but managed to dominate the game big, big, big and became a real force to contend with.
OK, it’s another sports anime, so we see the trials and tribulations as the divergent members of Karasuno High School start to come together and form the team into not only a cohesive whole, but try and revive the greatness that this school once had. (more…)
Fan Service Alert – “World” Harmony
Now, let’s drop the pretense. “I Wanna Be the Strongest in the World” is just a really thin excuse to show off female wrestlers and their body parts. The plot of the original story was practically transparent but the OVA drops everything.
There may be more than three shorts I ran across (about five minutes each), but you get to see all that you want to see.
Somewhere in the bowels of the Berserk Gym is a special room, a room filled with mud, so the ladies can learn all there is to know about mud wrestling. Is this an Olympic event or is Hooters hiring? So the ladies learn that mud is slippery and, in trying to acclimate themselves as to what to do, costume tops gets pulled down and the boobies come out, unfettered and uncensored. There is squealing and not caring that one is topless amid other topless ladies as we slop about and slide through and roll hither and thither. (more…)
“Free” To Be You and Me
I was drawn to this sports anime, as I had not seen one with swimming as its core. For this show, “Free!” is both a noun and an adjective, but first, some background for the plot.
Some years earlier, our four friends used to swim for the Iwatobi Swim Club and participated in the Medley Relay, which they won readily. However, one of their entourage was moving to Australia and this would be the last of it. Flash forward to the future. Three of them attend the same school and learn that the swim club they spent their youth at is being torn down. They go to look at it and bump into their old friend, who has enrolled in a different school, one that is a swimming powerhouse (Samezuka Academy), while these guys go to a school that no longer has a swim club. This is a show about revival and what it means to be free. (more…)