- Titles: Kenka Bancho Otome: Girl Beats Boys
- Genre: Comedy, school, short, wait what? this isn’t a romance?
- Episodes: 8
- Studios: project No.9, A-Real
So, you know how when you start high school you almost always get randomly kidnapped by a guy who happens to be both your long lost identical twin and the youngest child of a yakuza family who forces you to take his place in an all-boys’ school while he takes yours at an all-girls’ because you are better at fighting than he is. I know, it happens to me all the time as well. So naturally, when you find yourself in such an unknown setting and you don,t want to be found out, you need to make friends. Super attractive friends of the opposite gender would be o.k. I suppose. And; Hinako knows exactly who to quickly make some really great friends. Beat the ever-living ish out of them with her bare hands! It’s a fun show.
I added this series to my list as a lark. It had the word otome in the title. I find that anime based on otome are either so corny they become hilarious masterpieces or just obviously bad enough for me to drop in the first episode. In hindsight, I should have added this series to my list because it had the words Girl Beats Boys. How the heck did I manage to miss that? You guys should not put any faith in my powers of observation!
Not only is Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys- (I will never get tired of that title) based on an Otome but it’s also a short which sort of makes it a double whammy for dismal production values. And although it’s hardly any type of powerhouse, I’ve certainly seen much better-looking shows, heck I’ve seen much better-looking shorts, it’s actually pretty solid.
One of the great ways experience pays off in production is that you eventually get a sense of where to cut corners and how. I can’t give the anime any true credit as far as designs go since those are very faithful to the game. So good job Spike Chunsoft. Because this is what’s going to really bring across the company’s great eye for design. And not, let’s say, Danganronpa…
Anywho, the designs in Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys- are what you need. Distinctive and attractive enough for people to have a favourite boy but simple enough to easily animate. And mob characters are often kept just as shadowy figures to really facilitate the animators’ jobs. Backgrounds are not that interesting but complete. They might also have been lifted from the game.
The voice acting is actually exactly the type I like. That is to say relaxed and playful. You don’t get the feeling that they did dozens of takes on each scene. At the same time, the cast is obviously talented and comfortable with each other so it came out great. Have you ever listened to two very pleasant YouTubers doing a let’s play together and goofing off each other? It kind of sounds like that.
The animation is probably both the weakest and smartest aspect of the production. Unlike a lot of other shows in the genre Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys- features a lot of action. In fact, there’s a fight scene pretty much every single episode, sometimes more than one. And the studio obviously didn’t have the budget to splurge on all of them. I say obviously but I honestly wouldn’t have noticed at all if I hadn’t watched a whole bunch of anime in my time while specifically looking for production shortcuts.
The lazy solution to this type of situation is to move the action offscreen (the Royal Tutor likes to do that) or t use stills. Instead, the director or storyboard artist of Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys- brilliantly managed to string together sequences that don’t require much animation but look like they do.
For instance, the camera will often zoom in on characters’ expressive faces as the fights so they only need to animate squinting eyes, movement lines and even occasional moving backgrounds are used to simulate a dynamic scene without actually having to animate the characters much. Finally, the fights themselves are pretty short (even for a short) and are often interspersed with visuals of the characters’ thoughts or memories. This makes it seem like a much longer scene while keeping the number of frames fairly low.
The end result is that it feels like there’s a lot more animation than there actually is. And I find that super cool.
My summary was actually pretty accurate for once. Hinako is an orphan without any family then one day she meets Hikaru who looks exactly like her. Everyone expects him to start at this infamous delinquent high school and to take it over through brute force but Hikaru has no fighting skills. On the other hand, Hinako has been practising different martial arts her entire life and she is both skilled at and enjoys fighting. So they switch places. From there, we follow Hinako’s (now known as Hikaru) daily life trying to not get found out and picking fights with various pretty boys. Hilarity ensues…
AniList assures me that each episode is 8 minutes long (probably more like 7 when you take out the ED but the episode does run through the OP) however I could have sworn they were like 3 minutes. They just flew by. You’ve read the premise, you know the source, Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys- isn’t any kind of masterpiece. But oh man did I have fun with it. A mindless joyful fun. I would have watched this for another 5 seasons.
The thing is, one of the basic purposes of these types of anime is to sell you the games on which they are based. Now I have played a lot of Otome but pretty much none that have an anime adaptation. At least not that I know of. So I don’t know how they translate to adaptation. For instance, Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys- the anime, has pretty much no romance. There are some occasional flirting/blushing moments but they are all played for quick jokes and never on the part of the main character. So I don’t really know how this translates as an otome. But I WANT to know.
This show sure worked on me. I would say that after just about every session, I immediately went online to try to find a copy. Apparently, it has never been officially translated which makes me sad. Finding out it was a Chunsoft title just fuelled my interest even more. Chun, listen, you come out with a North American version for the switch at like 90$ or something (switch games are always super expensive) and I will buy it! Right now. I’ll buy the silly preorder with the tiny art book of chara designs for an extra 30$ if you want. Just saying…
Wait, this isn’t what I was here for. Right, should you watch Kenka Bancho Otome -Girl Beats Boys-. I mean if you’re reading this (and you read all the way here – thank you!) and you’re still thinking, Ummm not sure about this one, doesn’t really sound like my jam, then don’t watch it. If you read: tiny pink-haired girl spends her time beating up the dudes she thinks are cute and thought to yourself, awesome! Then go for it, it’s a really fun show!
Favourite character : Hikaru Onigashima – Hikaru is awesome. He’s gonna become a terrifying yakuza, I can just tell.
Suggested drink: Are You Tough Enough?
- Every time we see the real Hikaru – Cheers!
- Every time the lexicon comes up – take a sip
- Every time anyone calls Fauxkaru (that’s Hinako as Hikaru) cute – gasp!
- Every time anyone is getting interrogated/interviewed – take a sip
- Every time we see the school front gates – take a sip
- Every time Takayuki is being all tsundere – awwww
- Every time there’s a flashback – take a sip
- Every time you think OMG what a coincidence – it’s probably not going to happen
- Every time Houou shows up – cheer again! I just like the whole family
- Every time someone resolves their issues through physical violence – learn
- Every time we see the chorus guys – take a sip
In case you’re new here, I have a Pinterest with all my screencaps (there are a lot!). If you can’t find a show you are looking for in my main boards, just go to Anime Screenshots. I move the shows I have reviewed there. Of course, I’m still going to add a few images here!