Sanrio Boys – Anime Preview
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Synopsis: Hasegawa Kouta, 17 years old, is a second-year high school student. His days are unremarkable and average when Kouta meets Mizuno Yuu, Yoshino Shunsuke, Nishimiya Ryo, and Minamoto Seiichiro, who are fellow students attending Hijirikawa High School. In an instant, Kouta’s average life begins to be awash with sparkling light. A tale of a sparkling youth and his encounter with the Sanrio Boys. Our story begins. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Sanrio Boys boasts generally solid, on point animation that sticks out amongst a number of Winter titles that just don’t look that great, even from episode 1. Sadly, Sanrio Boys’ impressive presentation exists for only one true reason: the greatest product placement ad anime has to offer.
Linny: The episode starts off like a simple show about a teenager trying to find his place in high school, wanting to be popular and have his own unique appeal. Nothing super deep but not immediately screaming product placement either… that is until we get to the ‘ad’ part of the show where Sanrio Boys ends up feeling like propaganda to urge male audiences to become consumers of Sanrio products. Not that I was ever expecting it to be a socially conscious and forward show that propagates the notion that assigning strict gender preferences is outdated, but it’s laughably and unreservedly out and out an attempt to market the cast as dream boats for female Sanrio fans and as enablers to try and get male customers to increase product sales.
Tom: Our group of boys each boast distinct, if archetypal, personalities. We’ve got a shy guy, a bad boy, a playboy etc. If you’re looking for a character to swoon over you’ve got the classic line up. As far as depth goes, we do go a little into Hasegawa Kouta’s personal drama, he’s the shy guy, and what makes him tick. Unfortunately all the drama is built around a thinly veiled attempt to sell the Sanrio merchandise. It’s almost comical the role this pop culture brand plays in the lives of these boys, especially Kouta, as one of his childhood traumatic events centers around a stuffed Sanrio bear that ultimately tore him and his grandmother apart. Deep stuff.
Linny: It’s no surprise that our main cast have such paper thin and cliche stereotypical personalities, ones that might still work well to win over fans of those stereotypes thanks to the solid art and animation making them appear as appealing as possible. It of course only makes it that more obvious that Sanrio Boys is an ad and if you go into it expecting anything more, you’re going to be disappointed.
Tom: Sanrio Boys might be a passable drama with a bit of rewriting and the removal of the blatant product placement. As it stands, the show feels single minded in its effort to thrust Sanrio merchandise at the viewer, so much so that there’s an almost ironic appeal in this first episode. With the drama built around it, there’s no escaping the notion that you’re watching one giant ad. All we’re missing is little footnotes on screen denoting the price of each item and then it’d feel complete. As Sanrio Boys stands, it’s probably best skipped over, unless you’re in it for that ironic appeal.
Linny: Even for ironic appeal, the utter devotion to marketing Sanrio products, and cliche personalities and stories will wear thin pretty quickly. Sanrio Boys is best watched by those already familiar with the Sanrio Boys themselves and wish to see these characters who were limited to still images, finally ‘come alive’. Everyone else? Let’s all just move on.
Sanrio Boys is available for streaming via Crunchyroll