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Just a boy, his dream, and his tendency to spout random kabuki lines

Lifelong kabuki fan Kurogo is determined to start a kabuki club at his school. However, he doesn’t want to only study the traditional drama form – he wants to perform it himself! Like every other “school club anime” protagonist in existence, this means that Kurogo is now faced with the task of finding four more members.

First, he recruits his stoic but video-obsessed friend Tonbo. He then targets Shin, a rock musician with a less than stellar voice who is the son of a kabuki actor. Shin refuses, as he claims to hate kabuki. Kurogo notes he uses a lot of specific and uncommon kabuki vocabulary. He suspects that Shin is secretly a fan, and refuses to give up on attempting to recruit him. The next attempt, drama club member Kaoru, falls through when it turns out that Kaoru is actually an androgynous female. (Kabuki is traditionally performed only by men.) Finally, he goes after a third-year named Niwa, who practices traditional dance. However, Niwa turns out to both have an explosive temper and have mysteriously given up dancing, and he angrily refuses to join.

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Shin is what would happen if Minami (from Yuri!!! On Ice) quit skating and joined a rock band

Just as all hope seems lost, Kurogo and Tonbo encounter a mysterious boy in the hallway performing a famous kabuki scene. He turns out to be Jin, the heir to a kabuki family and an accomplished performer. The episode ends as Kurogo attempts to approach Jin.

In many ways, Kabukibu is every “let’s make a school club” anime. I went in very apprehensive….and yet, found myself liking it a lot more than I expected. Sure, this show isn’t going to be for everyone, but I definitely came out of the first episode feeling like I couldn’t just discard it onto the pile of identical club shows.

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new favorite character alert

I admit, though, I may be slightly biased: I like kabuki. I’ve researched it extensively and seen it live, so I was excited to see it getting some focus in an anime. (And had been hoping for it, really, what with other recent shows focusing on traditional arts like rakugo and calligraphy.) While the focus in the episode was definitely on recruiting club members, there was a lot more references to actual kabuki included than I expected. Kurogo is very knowledgeable, and often talks at length about his favorite kabuki shows and performances. He even has a habit of occasionally delivering lines in a dramatic kabuki style, complete with traditional vocal patterns, which I found very cute. However, the kabuki terms and references are spat out rapid-fire without much explanation (save for one term being defined during the next episode preview), so people unfamiliar with kabuki might be slightly daunted during some of Kurogo’s rambling.

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I like how Jin seems to possess the ability to summon sparkles and flowers

While the plot of the episode itself was nothing original – each character refused to join the club, but will obviously end up agreeing eventually because they’re in the OP and ED – I did find myself liking the characters. While Tonbo was rather bland and seems to just be “Kurogo’s straight man” so far, the three failed recruits and the mysterious Jin all managed to catch my attention. I really liked how each of them, despite being an eventual member of the kabuki club, served to reference another Japanese art form. Shin is a wannabe J-rock star, Niwa does traditional dance and Kaoru, with her androgynous beauty and legion of towel-presenting female fans, brings to mind the all-female Takarazuka theater. On the subject of Kaoru, I am excited that the show plans to include women in the titular club. Traditionally, kabuki is performed only by men, but a high school club would not have similar limits, and both Kaoru and another female character appear in the OP. I very much hope that both characters get the chance to do some performing once they eventually join up!

So I’m cautiously optimistic about this show so far, and might even consider blogging it. I’ll wait until the next episode before deciding for sure, though. Until now, out of 5 Dios:

diodiodiodio

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I want to know more about Niwa and his friend. Also, they look really pretty here

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