Here on this blog there’s a general rule of sorts that you may have noticed if you’re a long-time reader – although it has been subverted on occasion,  for the most part when there is a magical girl show Ariana will do it and for the most part when there is a fujoshi-esque show Moeronpan will do it. Exactly what we would do when a fujoshi-esque magical boy show popped up we didn’t exactly ever consider, but we have now! This will be the first time there are two separate First Impression reviews of the same show – it’s actually something I’d been interesting in trying for a while now (especially when it comes to the kind of shows I absolutely slam in First Impression reviews and the fact that the four reviewers on this site often have very differing opinions on things). You’ll be able to see what Ariana thought of this show in a few more days.

It’s kinda cool to see a wombat in an anime, even if it’s pink and is actually an alien.

Two friends named En Yufuin and Atsushi Kinugawa are chilling at their favourite public bath – owned by the family of the hyperactive Yumoto Hakone. Their musings about the underrated oden ingredient chikuwabu are cut short when a wombat-shaped alien appears and announces his desire to protect their beautiful earth. Then his speil is cut short by Yumoto trying to cuddle him, after which the two friends make their escape.
En and Atsushi are members of a school club that the rest of their friends are also in – there’s also the money-obsessed Io Naruko and the lady-0bsessed Ryuu Zaou. They have the usual Anime Problem of there not being enough members yet, as well as the additional problem of not knowing exactly what club they even want. The sign on the door says that it’s the ‘earth protection club’, but nobody actually knows who put it there or when.

The wombat eventually appears at their school – having apparently taken over the dead(?) body of their teacher, and again tries to get the four boys along with Yumoto to protect the earth with him. The boys are mostly uninterested, until they end up being forced to transform into magical boys to defeat their first enemy – a student who has transformed into a giant chikuwabu after being disgruntled at how plain he is. In other words the second show I watched this season is also completely off the wall.

this sure happens

Binan Koukou is, as you may have guessed, a magical girl parody. Basically everything that happens could have been lifted from an episode of Pretty Cure or Sailor Moon – even the ridiculous chikuwabu was less ridiculous than some of the latter’s monster-of-the-weeks. Most of the attacks Yumoto does also have Sailor Moon equivalents, and everybody’s brooches are sparkly hearts with wings that would not look out of place in the little girl’s toy aisle. The word ‘Love’ is inserted to almost everything the magical boys do, and their magical transformations are literally called ‘Love Making’, which they shout out in a gloriously campy way. It’s very upfront about doing pretty much everything that happens in a typical magical girl anime, dumb poses and all – but swapping out the sexes.
I’m in two minds about this aspect of it, personally – on one hand, finally. I always thought this kind of magical boy show – as in, with an actual entire team of magical boys, would be fun to see. But on the other…something about it honestly feels a little lazy to me. Maybe it’s just because there’s pretty much no genre more easy to parody than ‘magical girls’, so hopefully Binan Koukou can  manage to do something else memorable with itself besides just the inversion. I feel like the ‘wohoho so wacky they’re guys!’ thing is going to wear pretty thin if that’s the only thing it has behind it.

It does seem to be mostly trying to be a comedy, anyway, and I’m actually really torn on how exactly I feel about it. There were parts where I was feeling pretty annoyed at some of the dumber humour – after all, parodying something by…doing the same thing that the thing you’re parodying does doesn’t often make for good humour anyway. Yet, every now and then there was a joke that I actually did laugh at – the whole ‘is our teacher actually dead’ thing was surprisingly dark but I did smirk at it, and I also like how En and Atsushi’s first reactions to seeing a magical talking animal telling them about their destiny was to get the hell out of there. The opening part of the show where Atsushi and En have a pointless food conversation that  seemed like it could have been lifted ad verbatim from a Lucky Star episode may also have been a sly parody, but the overall style of the humour is pretty hit and miss. On one hand, the boys’ blasse ‘lol whatever’ attitudes to everything that happens can be a little annoying in places (and as of now none of them are particularly distinct from each other except perhaps Yumoto), but on the other I feel like the alternative would be everyone overreacting and screaming at each other, which is really damn annoying in anime, so I’m thankful there’s a surprising lack of that here. The humour does become a little too ‘LOOK SO WACKY!!!’ for my liking, no matter how tongue-in-cheek it is, but I did think that things really did pick up towards the end. The dumb magical boy fight was the highlight of the episode – the campy transformations were great, and the wombat suddenly telling them not to shout out ridiculous attack names at random also made me laugh.

Something rather interesting about the main cast of this show is that almost all of them are voiced by relatively new talents – for Koutarou Nishiyama (Atsushi) and Yuusuke Shirai (Io) it’s their first time doing a main role, and for Yuuichirou Umehara (En) it’s only the second role he’s ever done, his first being Wakasa in Orenchi no Furo Jijou last season. It’s kind of cool to witness rising stars like this, so I hope they do well for themselves. Also, everybody’s last name is also the names of famous hot springs locations throughout Japan. Besides Yumoto’s family owning a hot spring, I have no idea what kind of relevance this has to the plot, but I’m a little interested to find out.

I’m also interested to see exactly what the deal with the mysterious Student Council characters who look like they got lost on their way to Utena is. They’re hinted at to be the main villains (with a green talking hedgehog of course), so I want to at least watch one more episode to see where the show is going with that. At this point I can’t say its a particularly strong candidate for me to want to blog here, but considering that I was enjoying it more towards the end than I was in the beginning, hopefully that means the next episode is going to be better…or at least more fun to watch. As it is now, the show’s a bit of an overly ridiculous mess but I’m still keeping an eye on it.

the future of anime is here everyone

Out of 5,