Oy! Oigakkosan! What’re you doing? You dropped this show, son! Leave it alone and move on!
“Bwahahaha,” I say! Like any addiction, Binan Koukou starts off innocuous enough. I laughed, I rolled my eyes, I generally felt wonderful while watching it but I never knew I’d be ants-itchy for more?
Wait? you’re giving it a 9?: Binan Koukou has wonderfully tight dialog that feels exactly like bored guys shooting the breeze to pass the time. It may not have the accompanying throb of music to sell its emotions like Yurikuma, nor the high-art juxtaposition of highs and lows of Yatterman Nights, because it doesn’t need to.
In all seriousness, if you strip away the genre-reversal hook of Battle Lovers, it’s just about five guys who’ve become friends in high school, who are both distinct in personality and going with the same flow. The joke around, make fun of each other, make fun of culture, make fun of the world around them, but always just to have fun.
In fact, because we know how the genre works, and they know how the genre works, there’s no tension to the conflict at all. Normally, this would drive me nuts because it defies the logic of how-we-tell-compelling-stories.
However, because BL’s boys are so engrossed in their own amusement, it basically doesn’t function as a narrative in the first place. Sure, narrative happens, but BL is about guys amusing themselves first and, because the boys are so pleasant to be around, we get to feel included in their little group.
It’s hard to express clearly, if you haven’t had the experience. Essentially, watching BL is what it’s like to be in a high school clique.
I’d even argue the Student council shows us what a bad, false clique is like too. These guys only get along on the surface because they have some random goal they are pursuing and, even then, they don’t actually have much fun doing it. This reminds me of my days playing D&D or Halo in some random SOB’s basement that none of us really enjoyed…
Okay okay so what actually happened this week?: The boys are talking about perceived age and Blue gets the blues because he looks ‘oldest.’ Pink and Red are dubbed “youngest,” but Pink contends that he uses it for cute and Red is just a child.
Red continually proves this point but all of this teasing banter upsets the monster of the week, who is another student that everyone thinks is an old man.
And there was some backstory that establishes the Student Council president was a childhood friend of Green’s and they both wished upon shooting stars together. Green’s was to become a super hero and the President’s was… probably world domination.
This week’s battle pitted elementary-school versions of the Battle Lovers against a pink haired anime villain dude. To say it was adorable as they fell all over themselves in their baggy clothes would be an understatement. That is to say nothing of their nude-battle as kindergartners that followed.
At the end of the day, as always, the villain is defeated by a love shower and comes to terms with his own inner weakness. Unlike previous villains, the boys see him again later, in the bath, and his life really has turned around. He’s got a girlfriend who likes older, more reliable men…
My verdict is to be frustrated. This is such a fun show to watch, and it toes the line with BL now and again in a way that I think is equal measure clever and palatable. It’s just not all that pretty and lacks the ‘must see’ of a high art show like Yatterman so I really do think I should drop it…
But man– man! It’s a fun little show to watch!