Binan Koukou… is a remarkably funny gender-bender of the magical girl genre: five high school guys are chosen by a pink space wombat to wield the power of love (and sailor fuku) to save the earth from monsters. The humor is quick, weird, knowing and punchy but it somehow avoids breaking the fourth wall.
That’s the clever part, really. By keeping the boys firmly grounded in their world AND aware of magical girl genre and it’s conventions, we get something special. Their surprise when shouting random attack names to fire beams from their love-sticks mirrors our surprise, and their amusement at the absurdity of it all matches our joy too.
Truly, Binan Koukou took me completely by surprise.
The Summary: idol-class high school hotties Atsushi Kingawa and En Yufuin are taking a nice hot bath and shooting the breeze about the philosophical place of certain Japanese food items… when a pink wombat falls through a portal and asks them to defend Earth.
Later, the Wombat, who controls their 77-year-old teacher (who may actually be dead) gives the boys and their Earth Defense Club friends Ryuu Zao, Io Naruko and Yumoto Hakone heart-shaped bracelets that transform them into sailor-scout like warriors of love and they defeat a fellow student who has been transformed into an angry Japanese food item.
You may like this if: you enjoy normal people taking a magical and bizarre situation in stride and mostly having fun with it. The situation is so silly, and seemingly so harmless, the boys just laugh at it and have fun firing off magic powers and making jokes with each other.
It’s a solid, silly laugh and the gender-reverse (by genre standards) isn’t used in a gross or awkward way. No one is shy or embarrassed by what they are wearing and that goes a long way to make us feel comfortable — and stay in the mood to keep laughing.
You may not find this interesting if: you want cutting edge graphics or any semblance of a serious story. While not ugly, BK is not a pretty show and I can’t imagine it aims for anything deeper than entertainment.
On the other hand, it could always go BL on us and, even if it just stays platonic with its sexy boys, that may not be your cup of tea.
My first impression is very very good. From the promotional materials, I expected this to be an early drop from my review docket. It may still get dropped along the way — there’s always the risk that the momentum will run out or the formula will get tired — but Binan is glorious in the now.
Give it a watch and let me know what you think in the comments below. There’s a very good chance you’ll be hearing more about this show from me in the weeks ahead!