Equal parts deconstructive, funny, disturbing and ridiculous, this week’s Binan Koukou sure did layer on… the layers. However, for all its academic and philosophical implications, what made episode 7 shine is the same as all the other good Koukous before it: the dialog was funny.
Yes. It’s a beech episode and a hot springs episode. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, it’s also an all-male location, which has everyone except Wombat and Yumoto on edge.
They swim, they bathe, they take a midnight test of courage to find their way through the woods and desperately try to avoid the other beech goers or ending up in couple-style scenarios. Unfortunately, because of their own awareness of convention, they do end up in some awkward situations that bring on the dreaded BL canopy none of us want nor enjoy.
Fortunately, Binan Koukou is not BL. In fact, I’m pretty sure the point is that we could look at the five Battle Lovers as if they were female and still appreciate the message: the genre forces homo-coupeling onto it’s characters, even if they have no interest in it and/or it’s not their orientation.
Think of it this way: these guys are bros, and they get along as bros, but there’s a line that’s socially hard to define. That line vague as it is, doesn’t have a cultural short hand in the same way for the female gender. At least, not in how the Sailor genre is essentially already a gender swap of male-action heroes.
These are just guys who’ve known each other a long time and get along really well and are forced to fight absurd monsters while wearing skimpy, feminine clothing and striking unmanly poses. Of course the audience is invited to ask the “are they?” question.
Between grit teeth and migraines, the cast is asking themselves too and, because the scenario is so weird, and because the cultural line is extra hazy because of the details, they don’t have a good answer for us either.
“Man I wish I was with a cute girl right now, then someone could hang on me…”
If anyone is guilty of making all this awkwardness happen, it’s Yumoto but, again, he has another purpose. On one hand, he represents the absurdity of adults being so sensitized to sexuality (through his total blindness to it) and, on the other, he points out how creepy it is for the young, bubbly, airhead of the sailor-genre group to bear so much of the sexuality and responsibility for creating situations to show case it.
In this episode, he causes everyone grief because he uses Orange’s tooth brush by mistake, doesn’t realize it, but also doesn’t see why it would be wrong in the first place. “Its like kissing,” which is apparently an idea each guy has had in regards to sharing a girl’s toothbrush, never crosses his mind.
As for humor? The Inn the Lovers stay at looks so much like Yumoto’s family bath house that the wonder “Are we cutting corners?” aloud.
Sensei is constantly snapping flash photography, often to wonderful comedic timing, and Sensei’s tragic return to life (and probably re-death, this time at the students’ hands) was delightful.
So solid, thought provoking stuff here OR just stupid silly fun OR ugh BL OR all of the above, depending on how you want to take it. That’s a complex little anime you got there and that, especially because it was a relaxing laugh to watch, lands it with a high 8.