Keijo!!!!!!!! – Preview
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?
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Keijo’s designs are undoubtedly fanservicey, each of the main girl’s sporting figures and busts that are designed to catch the male gaze with exceeding precision. The art is bold, with solid and thick lines detailing characters giving them an eye popping look. Action sequences are the most impressive, eye catching and act as highlights throughout the episode. However, outside of Keijo’s match ups, the art can dip at times towards the back half of the premiere. But Keijo’s characters aren’t all buxom beauties to titillate the male viewers, as a few characters buck the trend, in particular the Keijo girl’s instructor who is anything but a bishoujo beauty.
Linny: The animation does a great job of portraying the more ridiculous elements of the action scenes. You can still tell exactly “where” the most attention to detail has been put into the art. As a show that’s been heavily advertised for its Ecchi content, there are definitely a plethora of fan service friendly camera angles. On the other hand, the show doesn’t have the girls moaning and squealing like porn stars every time they are hit, which makes the show feel a lot less sleazy than one would have assumed based on the promotional material. Even the breast and butt movements and jiggling during battles seem like they are done more for comedic effect rather than sheer titillation.
Tom: In fact that’s the surprising thing about Keijo. While the show is happy to allow a few shots to linger on the girl’s behinds, maybe even let them fiddle with their swimsuits for our viewing pleasure, the show never plays up the sexual angle during the matches, content to let the girls battle with their busts and butts in a completely forward and serious manner. There’s no accidental arousal, no kinky embarrassment, just butts and boobs slamming into each other with the ferocity of competitive spirit.
Linny: Starting off, ignoring the obvious Ecchi notes, Keijo can almost pass as a tale about various girls who join a training institute in a quest to be the very best in a particular sport for all sorts of personal reasons. Some are in it because they want the money, some to use the resulting fame as a way of drumming up publicity for their tiny hometown, while others have more secret agendas. But in this case, rather than being about a group of misfits coming together to form a team and friendships, or playing the sport for the love of the game itself, this show makes no qualms that everyone is in it for personal gains.
Tom: Despite the hype for the series, and its fans who’ll assure you the story is deeper than it’s fanservicey visuals, that’s not entirely true. Keijo’s story feels pretty standard. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking, or shocking about it, save that it’s honestly decent for a show that many expected to be nothing more than boner inducing. But what makes Keijo perhaps so much more interesting is the way in which it does handle its fanservice. Keijo ensures that its pandering is never the main draw, keeping it subdued enough to allow its decent story, and more importantly its unabashed absurdity, to shine through, allowing Keijo to be a near laugh riot for its over the top combat that’s taken so seriously you cannot help but chuckle. There’s no doubt Keijo is indeed pandering to the male gaze, and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves, but that pandering isn’t the only draw, and people who are at least comfortable with the character designs will still be able to appreciate Keijo for the absurdly serious over the top tone it otherwise offers.
Linny: Let me put it this way, if you were able to enjoy and appreciate a show like Food Wars!! for more than just its Ecchi content, you should be tickled pink by the absurd comedy presented in Keijo. The action is played up for laughs and for the more easy going viewer, Keijo can prove entertaining as a comedy and not just as an Ecchi.
Tom: Characters is an area where Keijo feels pretty basic, although not bad. Our lead, Nozomi is your classic go-getter; feisty, willing, and even skilled. She’s probably Keijo’s most original character. She’s not a clutz, that’s saved for someone else, and while she’s got the classic hill-billy, backwater persona going on, she’s surprisingly honest about her dreams, seeking little more than to become the wealthiest gal in the Keijo business. There’s even a backstory set to unravel, and given away in the show’s synopsis itself, that should also add to her depth and appeal.
Linny: Character does seem like an area where Keijo could feel a little phoned in, as not only do we have a bright eyed and eager protagonist in Nozomi, we also have the classic stoic and reserved best friend that accompanies every other ‘over the top’ protagonist in the form of Sayaka Minata. Sayaka is so stoic that she doesn’t even respond when being interviewed by reporters. They both come off as classic stereotypes and it’s hard to amass enthusiasm for characters one has seen a million times before, but if you’re still fond of those staples, I can assure you that the girls fill those roles most efficiently.
Tom: Rounding out the cast we’ve got a lot of archetypes. Sayaka the jealous friend, Hanabi, a crazy eyed girl with murderous intent, the clumsy nitwit, Non and the antisocial girl, Aoba. None of the girls scream originality, but at least offer plenty of avenues for Keijo to explore, and seeing as the series has a penchant for over the top, deadly serious comedy, I’m sure these girls will bring plenty more entertainment than these mere archetypes offer at first glance.
Linny: For now, viewers have only been given a light taste of the supporting cast with a very quick shout out to some of the other talented and hyped Keijo players. From the supporting cast so far, Sayaka and Nozomi’s clumsy roomate, Non has been given the most personal airtime and it’s clear to see why. For fans of clumsy, slightly thick, good ol’ small hometown anime gals, Non is your fantasies realized and is likely going to be winning herself a fair number of fans with her adorable country bumpkin accent and good old small town hospitality.
Tom: Keijo was the show I was most excited for, one I had a feeling was more than the mere titillating shlock people had written it off as. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but Keijo offers more than breasts and butts, giving viewers deathly serious water wrestling that becomes intensely amusing, coupled with a story and characters more engaging than one might assume, and Keijo shows exactly what Ecchi anime can be if care and attention are put in.
Linny: Despite all the people (mostly men), and even Crunchyroll itself, pushing the Ecchi content in everyone’s faces, this first episode has been rather restrained. It might possibly be a result of the over hype that’s caused me to feel like it isn’t as extreme as people seem to make it sound but on the other hand, the first episode still remains a fanservice riddled experience with enough butt and boob shots to offend the conservative viewer but maybe not enough to please the more extreme Ecchi fans. So far, there’s no deep or outstanding story to be seen here, with characters that all fall into common cliches but it’s also clear that Keijo wants to entertain you with its comedy and action, and not just its Ecchi as scenes that could’ve been maximized for sexual effect are often used instead as pure comedy fodder.