Binan High is gearing up for its regular Pretty Boy contest, a ridiculous event in which the prettiest boy in the school is determined by popular vote. Apparently the winners are usually in the student council, but this time the flamboyant ballet club’s supervisor Moteo Kurotori wants to take the title for himself. He also wants to promote his ballet club and get as many members as possible, whom he can convert to fans who will vote for him. Meanwhile, the Earth Defense Club wants to take a crack at it as well – specifically Zaou, who is constantly fighting for pretty supremacy against the other pink-haired boy in the show, Akoya Gero from the student council. The club decides that in order to stand a chance, they need to make themselves more popular in a way that appeals to boys (rather than women), given that the voters are all male, and that the three main areas of appeal they should use are ‘strength, money and brotherlyness’. Yufuin goes to show off his strength, Naruko his impressive bank account, and Zaou his dependability, in order to secure themselves some votes.
Meanwhile, Moteo begins to despair at the lack of people coming to his ballet club and becomes the monster of the week, a black ballet swan who sabotages the announcement of the Pretty Boy winner. His power is to make men fall in love with him – including the Battle Lovers – but Yumoto is unaffected.
I was hoping I’d be able to have decided by now but…no, I still have no idea what to make of this show. Nor can I figure out who its target audience is intended to be. To restate what I wrote in a comment on Ariana’s last review, it’s like it doesn’t seem to know, either – it never fully commits to any of its components. Is it a gag anime for people who liked Daily Lives of Highschool Boys? (If so, it should be funnier). Is it aimed at fujoshi? (If so, at least make the characters distinct, they’re completely one-dimensional so far and even Bakamatsu Rock had more distinct characters than these guys.) Is it a magical girl parody/homage? (If so, do something with it rather than just following a template). Right now, it seems like it’s trying to awkwardly combine these three things in a way that offers something for all the potential audiences – and whenever that happens, especially in anime, there’s the huge risk of it pleasing no one.
The more I watch of this show, though, the more I realize how a lot of it feels older than it should. All-male cast aside, a good portion of it seems like an anime from the early 00s, albeit blended with some more modern humour stylings such as the boys’ relative deadpan approach to everything. The animation, regrettably, also reflects this – it’s not what I’d quite call ‘bad’, just uninspired with only the rare bit of pizzazz. In short, there’s quite a lot of things I’m disappointed with in regards to how this show is developing, and I feel like I’ve been sticking with it out of sheer stubbornness and the hope that it improves. I could forgive everything else about it if the characters improved, though, because even now I feel like nobody is particularly distinct from each-other in the Earth Defense Society. They might talk a little differently, Naruko mentions money more and Zaou mentions girls more, but except for Yumoto you could swap around their actions and it wouldn’t make a difference to the plot or the characters themselves. It’s the biggest weakness in what I feel ought to have been a character-driven show. The cliche magical girl anime it parodies pay more attention to character dynamics than this.
This episode did manage to at least be somewhat fun, stupid as it was. While, as usual, some of the humour was forced, there were a few genuinely funny scenes and the overall plot was pretty amusing. The funniest parts to me personally were in the small details – Moteo(his name a dumb pun on the word for ‘popular’, by the way) was hired by the school solely because the principal thought he was a volleyball supervisor and not a ballet supervisor – a joke about how similar the ‘ballet’ and ‘volley'(how the sport’s name is usually referred to) sound in Japanese, and a sign in the background at one point reveals that this particular Pretty Boy contest is the 1579th one. Yumoto is all but explicitly confirmed to be gay (it’s even pointed out that his remark about attractive gangsters in movies was his way of ‘coming out’, plus there’s his declared love of seeing male nudity earlier in the episode), which may have also been the reason why Moteo’s weird ‘turn all the boys gay and also totally ok with bird-men’ power didn’t affect him. (On that note…uh, yeah. The student council actually state that their ‘evil plan’ this episode was to create a world where everyone is gay and so no one will reproduce, which makes them sound hilariously like a Tea Partyers strawman nightmare. It never actually states why, because the Student Council are still not given any explicit reason why they want to spread evil and/or mild inconvenience. Finding out if there’s any depth to them at all is one reason I want to keep watching this dumb show.)
I’m going to keep watching this, but I’m still waiting for it to get better. It’s not droppable, and at its current level it’s still watchable as a mildly amusing distraction, but I know it could be so much better than this given the team behind it.