Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review: Fudanshi Kōkō Seikatsu (Anime, Season 1)

So this weekend, upon playing around on our PS3, we found we still have Crunchyroll, oops!  This means we can watch things - like Yuri on Ice!! - and we're so far behind in anime.  So we decided to try one out that my partner had mentioned, but I hadn't seen.

What's it about?

Ryo Sakaguchi is a rare person.  He's a young, straight, man who is actually a fan of Boy's Love manga.  This, of course, leads to many hilarious situations across 12 short style episodes.


The premise is cute, mostly because as a female Yaoi and Boy's Love fan I can't quite imagine how it might be for a guy in Japanese society.  This creates a very meta feeling series that is quite self aware of all the cliches and tropes present in the genre and uses them to create very amusing commentary.

For example, the main character loves pairing guys together and will take pictures, collect the manga and doujinshi and such, but when ever he runs into it real life, he always comments about the problematic areas of such a relationship in real life.  Like most fans of the genre he's very aware of the difference between real life and the fantasy, and he's ok with them being different.  I find that part of him really easy to identify with even though it's one of the hardest things to explain to someone who isn't part of the fandom(or any fandom for that matter).

One thing I do really love about the series, is the serious lack of shame around the idea.  In most series like this, you would expect the main character to be given a lot of grief for what he likes and even possibly have the central plot based on that until there's some sort of lame conclusion about accepting one's self.  In this case, the creator has decided to ignore that cliche in favor of reflecting how the character feels about himself.  Sure, he's embarrassed about his hobby, but that's where most of the shame comes from.  His best friend thinks it's a bit weird, but only makes very small comments here and there as a best friend would.  By doing this, the series doesn't shame the audience for what they like, and it's a nice alternative to what I normally expect in this sort of series.

The downside is that this short series requires one to have a pretty wide view of the genre, as each episode is it's own little inside joke.  If you aren't as familiar with Yaoi and Boy's Love and the culture of it's fans, I have a feeling that quite a bit of this series would be lost on you or uninteresting beyond the simple setup idea.

The other downside is that this only seems to work as short sketch episodes.  I can not, for the life of me, imagine watching this series with full sized episodes and an overarching plot without seeing it annoy me with troupes or become one itself and lose my interest.  The premise is cute, but created for a large scale plot it is not, which is fine, really.

In conclusion?

If you're familiar with Boy's Love and Yaoi and like the genre yourself, you'll probably get a couple laughs out of this series.  But don't expect anything major, just go in for quick, amusing distraction.

Where'd I get it?

Crunchyroll has all 12 episodes.  No word currently if more are planned. 

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