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