Keijo!!!!!!!! – Mid Season Review

Note: Due to injury, Linny will be taking a diminished roll through the Mid Season reviews. She will return for the full reviews at the end of the season.

Keijo!!!!!!!!:

Original Air Dates: October 6th, 2016 – ???

Keijo Basics 101.

Synopsis: Nozomi Kaminashi is a fantastic gymnast, and in an effort to keep her family out of poverty, she’s decided to become a competitor in an all new women-only sport, Keijo! where girls battle each other with their chests and behinds to knock the other off a floating platform and into the waters below. Victors can expect a huge cash prize, but does Nozomi really have what it takes to make it big in this busty new world?

Mid Season (6 episodes) Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):

Tom: Keijo is probably of the quality that every ecchi anime should be striving for. Starting with the animation Keijo is visually impressive. The artstyle is eye popping, with solid character designs, art work, and fluid animation during the most intense of match ups. The work that’s gone into making Keijo look as good as it is cannot be ignored, and should be praised for the sheer visual fidelity that’s been achieved. The only time art dips is in non-Keijo sequences, and even then it’s only episode two that looks at all questionable.

Are you checking for lice in there?

Keijo’s method for handling fan service is also praiseworthy, limiting its more perverted angles and suggestive shots to during the match ups and fights (or the occasional locker room sequence as seen below), leaving character moments outside the ring to feel more natural and less visually pandering. It helps that Keijo’s very story promotes its ecchi genre tag, without making it feel outright exploitative or unfair to its female characters. The story supports this aspect of the series and gives it fair justification, something more ecchi anime should strive for.

But even looking beyond the more sexualized offerings, Keijo should also be applauded for providing non-traditional character designs. There are indeed characters within Keijo who have more muscular, or plump bodies not normally found within the anime medium. While many of these characters are little more than sideline players, and receive little real focus, it’s a step in the right direction for a more diverse portrayal of the female body.

Could have sworn that was a diaper at first glance.

But the praise only goes so far. Keijo, despite where the hype may try to lead you, isn’t perfect. Keijo’s cast is enjoyable, but unoriginal. Our lead, Nozomi, is little more than your classic shonen/sports lead, with the same go-getter drive that makes these character appealing, but lacking in enough outstanding definition to make her feel unique and original. The same can be said for the rest of the cast, perfect and even enjoyable renditions of classic archetypes, but without enough nuance and originality to set any of them apart.

The same can be said for Keijo’s story. Outside of the originality of its fictitious sport, Keijo is largely standard fair. Characters join up for Keijo, rise through the ranks, meet struggles along the way as they all attempt to become pros. Don’t let the hype blind you, there’s little original here beneath the appealing aesthetic and over the top atmosphere. You’ll find many of the same tropes, same struggles and ideas that you might see in any shonen sports anime.

Bet that’s not the only thing that’s hard.

That said, the way Keijo works these classic elements in with its tone, attitude, and over the top charm go a long way to keeping it feeling fresh and fun, even if all of this is quite well worn. It’s that extra coat of paint that keeps Keijo feeling fun and engaging week to week. The highlight here is Keijo’s rather ridiculous butt and boob attack mechanics. These absurd elements keep you laughing, smiling, and shaking your head in sheer disbelief episode to episode: What more can you really ask for in such an over the top series?

Weapons of Ass Destruction.

Keijo isn’t the ‘savior of anime’ or ‘deeper than you know’ as some hyperbolic statements might proclaim. Keijo is a lot like Food Wars, it does what it does well with such over the top bombastic flare that you can’t help but smile and enjoy– but beneath that is the same well worn, tried and true plot devices, narrative flow, and characters that are largely overused across the medium. Thankfully both have found an attitude and style that elevate that, making what was old feel new again. Keijo isn’t amazing, and if the more sexualized style is a turn off there’s little reason to keep watching, but if you’re comfortable, or even enjoy Keijo’s more sexualized art style, there’s plenty of fun to be had.

Tom Recommend Badge

“Recommended: Keijo offers a bombastically over the top flare that’s appealing to anyone comfortable with or who enjoys a more sexualized style.”

Linny TiolI Art Badge

“Take it or Leave it: Keijo’s over the top approach to its sexual sport makes it feel like a comedy and not just shallow fan service but its generic cast prevents it from being anything more.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keijo!!!!!!!! is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com and has a simuldub via Funimation.com

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3 comments

  • I can’t give any exact numbers, but a lot of the hype for this anime comes from the people who’ve read the manga, myself included.

    One important thing to understand, is that the anime has only 12 episodes, it needs to have a satisfying ending point, and a good enough starting point; said ending point would be chapter 87 (the end of the match between the two Keijo schools), and (given that there’s only 12 episodes) said starting point would be chapter 35 (when the two main characters enter the school and meet their new room mates), instead of the very first chapter.

    Since I’ve read the manga (as far as english scanlations go, at chapter 96; the manga currently at chapter 157) before watching the anime, for me, the characters’ personalities are consistent, identifiable. The main character, Nozomi, is far from “not being outstanding”, she’s perceptive (can catch details and acquire information that most people don’t), creative (can use acquired information in unconventional ways, at times not in her benefit, for comical effect), strong-spirited (trusts her own analysis without letting fear affect her decision making), curious, persistent, partly because of her poor upbringing, and her need to overcome this financial hardship for the sake of her siblings, resulting in a rare case of a protagonist with poverty as a disability superpower.

    Regarding the comment about the originality of the anime, personally I don’t give originality much importance, because eventually the novelty factor will wear out; people (not only in anime, but in games too) seem eager to consume new things, only to replace said new things not too long, for even newer things, which will in turn be replaced by even newer things. Different people can be more or less stimulated by different things, but at least for me, I wouldn’t give up on things I like, only because they stopped being new, as if said thing had an expiration date. Rather than focus on originality, I personally focus on the overall feel, the reading/watching experience; the setting of Keijo, the characters, their interactions, backgrounds and progresses, the story, the bits of world building, comedy, training, the matches (the longer ones involve lots of focus in good, fast-paced decision making, constant adaptation and adjustments for all players, who try to outsmart others, at times in mind-blowingly creative or absurd ways), they all contribute to an unique, distinguishable feel. Stereotypes, if used well (or executed well), do help make a good story.

    • Sorry for the late reply, been recovering from a severe cold the last few days, but thanks for commenting!

      When I said “but lacking in enough outstanding definition to make her feel unique and original” I purely mean that from a media context. Nozomi is very much like Goku, Naruto, Luffy, etc. She exhibits all the classic traits, many of which you describe above, of a classic shonen lead. It’s not to say she’s a bad character, but she fits a precise template and lacks characteristics that make her stand out as memorable amongst all the other characters that fit that mold. In the confines of the show, if it existed within a vacuum, she is indeed a good, solid lead.

      When it comes to originality is where we clearly differ, and that’s fine. I can understand your notion that originality is more a novelty than anything else. The idea here, on my end, isn’t that we should give up on things because they fail to be stand out or original (heck Keijo got a recommended from me) but that its important for media in general to always be striving to try and bring innovation. Without innovation our media would stagnate and gradually feel vary samey. All those elements you describe do indeed help make a good story, and should be considered, but if we take things to the extreme conclusion, would those elements really be worthwhile if they were but carbon copies of some other sports anime? It’s important series’ strive for uniqueness and find new avenues for telling their stories, providing twists and turns for the audience.

      Stereotypes/Archetypes can indeed help make a good story, but it’s important that they not be relied on solely, and that’s an issue the shonen genre has been struggling with for decades now. And that’s why I do give originality so much importance, as without it we’d eventually just get the same story and characters over and over again without any nuance or uniqueness.

      • I’ve said before that different people are more or less stimulated by different things, and thus my aim with this post isn’t to change your stimulum towards originality.

        About the “lacking in enough outstanding definition to make her feel unique and original” part, at least for me, I see Nozomi as Nozomi, not as Goku, or Naruto, or Luffy. Trying to fit them into Keijo’s setting, or even just swapping Nozomi’s personality with theirs, would feel weird (and worse of all, people would miss Nozomi 🙁 ).

        About originality, I agree that trying to explore the medium’s possibilities (story-wise, visually, narrative-wise, etc..) is good, but I personally don’t agree with the notion (that I think a lot of people have, regarding their attitude to exploring new anime/manga/games, to the point that the term “Flavor of the Month” was created) that “if an anime doesn’t try to experiment and/or push the medium’s possibilities, it is a severe problem of that anime”, as if this would be enough to invalidate whatever other strong points the anime would have (for example, an anime that I like, Akagi, doesn’t try to push the medium’s possibilities or to be original, not in the sense of “being different from other anime, being its own thing”, but in the sense of “trying to create tropes, or avoiding pre-existing ones”, and that’s not a problem for me; it doesn’t, at least for me, become a problem that invalidates the anime’s strong points). Personally, rather than valuing “which work created something new”, I value more “which work made the better use of something (subjectively speaking), be it a new work or an old one” (for example, which works made more interesting stories about subjects such as zombies, mechas, medieval fantasy, etc), and sometimes, trying to be original goes against what the author is trying to make (for example, an original approach to storytelling can make the story *unintentionally* more difficult to be understood, and/or sacrifice its other fun factors for the sake of originality).

        About the elements being worthwhile if they were carbon copies of other sports anime, in this case I think that the execution of said elements wouldn’t be good; there wouldn’t be much reasons to read the “copies” if they don’t offer things that are *different* (and said different things being things that people like to read/watch), not necessarily *new*. Well executed stereotypes (tropes), recently created or old, contribute to making stories more interesting and/or fun to read, badly executed ones don’t as much (or they can work against their stories). New tropes are good for being new tools for authors to work with (following them, subverting them, contrasting them, etc.).

        About uniqueness, in Keijo’s case, I think that the manga tries to provide bits of world-building and characterization occasionally (both of which contribute to Keijo being its own thing), so it takes time to get the two, time that the anime doesn’t have (enough, at least; not only there’s world-building and characterization on the manga chapters that are adapted into the anime, but on the chapters before the anime, and after it; and the anime’s already adapting a lot of chapters into its 12 episodes; some things were compressed, or left out). Making a comparison with the Touhou Project games (as far as this logic can still remain valid for both series), people wouldn’t know as much as they do about the Touhou characters and setting, if the games (and other content such as printed works) stopped being created earlier.

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