I know that with Spring well under the way, I really should be talking about currently airing anime, but I really wanted to have at least one post on what I consider to be Winter 13’s most under appreciated anime.
Warning: Like any respectable fanboyistic post on this blog, this post to is 50% picture spam, 40% incoherent text and 30% non-existent math.
It is hard to try and quantify exactly what it is that is so great about Gj-bu. A lot of people often prefaced their “I love Gj-bu” with “I don’t know why, but for some reason….”. I, myself don’t really know exactly what it is that made this show such a joy to watch, but I do know for sure that it was a joy to watch.
(I actually have two draft posts on this anime, but they didn’t go anywhere. That just goes to show that this is actually quite a difficult anime to blog about or you know, just how lazy I am.)
Gj-bu has no overlying plot or story that connects each episode. Even though references to past events are often made in episodes, each episode is stand alone. And that makes sense for this show is slice of life and a large slice at that to. I guess you could think of it as a blend of Haruhi and Minami-ke?
The CharactersLike all anime with no story, the characters are the most important part of Gj-bu and they don’t disappoint.
Most of the characters in Gj-bu are very loosely based on common anime archetypes (e.g. Tsundere, super smart girl, etc). Note how I sad loose though. This show does a great job of creating characters that are fleshed out enough to stand out from most of their peers.
There was really only one character I didn’t really like in Gj-bu and that was Tamaki. I didn’t dislike her either though. I just found her to be average. I also wasn’t too fond of Kirara, but that is less because her character was lacking, but more so because her base archetype was one that I am not generally fond of.
The fact that the worst character in this anime is only ‘average’ should tell you just how likeable the cast is.
Upon first sight, it might be easy dismiss Kyōya as generic harem lead #343847, but that would be a wrong judgement for two reasons:
- Kyōya is actually not a bad lead character.
- Gj-bu is not a harem, or at least not a traditional harem.
It might seem contradictory to suggest that an anime with 1 guy and 9 girls (1 of which is an imouto) is not a harem, but it is kind of true in this case. The girls in Gj-bu like playing with Kyōya, but none of them have ever actually expressed a desire to be romantically involved with him.
Kyōya himself has his Dere Dere moments, but he to doesn’t really see himself as being romantically involved with anyone of these girls.
Going back to the first point for a second, Kyōya is actually a pretty likeable lead.
For the most part, he is incredibly passive and a push-over but I never felt that the mockery he suffers at the hands of his club mates ever enters the bullying or offensive region. Lightly prodding Kyōya is just the Gj-bu members (mainly Mao) do and lightly accepting those prods is just how Kyōya rolls.
He is nice, but he isn’t like that for no reason. He is nice to his fellow club mates because he actually does care about their well being and enjoys being around them. This becomes quite apparent when you realize that Kyōya doesn’t spend the entire day thinking ecchi things, nor does he see the girls in this show as walking boobs.
Kyōya actually converses with his friends on a one on level. He actually thinks of them as friends. It might not seem like a big thing, but in the world of bland male leads, it is a pretty big thing (heck, encountering a guy this nice and respectable is probably a rare thing in real life to).
It is this kind, respectful nature that makes Kyōya such an endearing character. He is not a character you will stay up all night thinking about, nor is he one you will hate with passion. He is a character whose moments on screen will be accompanied by peaceful bliss and the occasional chuckle.
If Kyōya’s regular personality can put you at ease, then Ore-Man can make you laugh quite hard.
Ore-Man was a persona that Kyōya was forced to make to appease Mao and the other club members. The main building block, or rather the only building block, of this persona was manliness, lots of it.
The most remarkable thing about Ore-Man (other than its obvious hilarity) was just how dignified of a persona it actually was.
Normally when folk think of manly things, they think of a chauvinistic, buff, succeed or die trying kind of guy. Kyōya’s interpretation was a bit different. His interpretation is a confident, dignified individual capable of making quick decisions and capable of saying what needs to be said.
It is a nice interpretation and one that I hope I can someday sort of emulate.
Mao is the president of the Gj-bu club and arguably the most important character in this anime for her decisions pretty much decide what happens each episode.
If I was to categorize Mao as a club leader, she’d fall into the ‘occasionally clumsy, somewhat strange, but excellent leader’ category. Even though she is nowhere near as perfect (in terms of scholastic/athletic achivements), Mao reminds me a little of Haruhi. They are both club leaders that actually do leader like things. Namely, both of them boss everyone around and arrange club activities.
Her biting fetish is a rather interesting personality trait and one that inspired many a watcher to adapt biting as a personal fetish.
Her outlandish behavior is well complimented by her less obvious quirks. Little things like her dislike of orange veins, her fondness of kids meals and her kiss phobia do a good job of rounding her character.
It takes an episode or two to get used to her Genki-tsundere blend nature, but once you get used to her, you never really stop liking her.
Megumi was the first Gj-bu girl I liked and my initial candidate for best girl.
At her heart, Megumi is a polite, gentle girl with a weight complex.
It might not seem like much, but her refined, elegant nature is surprisingly well done and never feels overbearing or shallow.
And it is not like Megumi doesn’t have her moments of adorable-ness. She has plenty of them to!
She also provides a great contrast to her older, far more brash sister, Mao.
Shion is the ‘smart’ person in this club. Like all ‘smart’ characters, she naturally lacks common sense.
Three things though set her apart from the competition:
- Her lack of common sense is from a sheltered upbringing not her large cranium.
- She doesn’t even lack that much common sense. She just isn’t used to ‘normal’ things like vending machines.
- She actually tries to work hard on improving her common sense.
That last point is particularly important. Shion recognizes her own weakness and works on it. I love a hard working smart person.
Her relationship with Tamaki is also very cute.
I am normally not too fond of cat like characters, but Kirara was all right. (A lot of people really like her though).
She is the uncontrollable beast of Gj-bu. She does whatever she wants and eats as much meat as she wants.
She didn’t talk much, so I never really got much of a feel for her character unfortunately. That is probably why I don’t like her as much as I like the others. On the other hand though, she does some very interesting things.
The strange things she does when drunk are hilarious and to top if of, she has some connection to Canada, which obviously makes her 10 times better.
I also loved her texts in the last episode. Here we have a character who almost never speaks and only speaks in shortened sentences, but her text messages are incredibly long and well crafted. It was a neat little twist and throwing it in the final episode right before her graduation was a classy touch.
I mentioned this earlier, but I felt that Tamaki was the weakest character in the show. She joined a bit late and there wasn’t quite enough to distinguish her from everyone else (especially Mao). Then again, maybe Mao got someone similar to her because Mao would be graduating soon.
I also wasn’t too fond of the way she spoke. The frequent ‘des’ at the end combined with the high voice irked me a little.
Tamaki still had her moments though. She was a good enemy for Megumi (what with her constantly eating and never gaining weight) and a great plaything for Shion. She also had some great faces.
I am not going to bother talking much about the remaining 4 characters, but they are all quite likable in their own. The fact that their are two Mori’s and no one knew was hilarious. Kasumi has a massive brother complex like all imoutos, but she is energetic enough to make it work. Seira is scary and quite interesting because of her “inner voice” thing. Geraldine lived in Canada and calls Kyōya “Samurai Master. What is there not to like?
It is not uncommon to get ecchi scenes or “sexual tension” in anime (especially in anime where almost everyone is a girl), but Gj-bu does sexual tension a bit differently.
There are not many “walked in on girls changing” or “face accidentally implanted in boob” scenes. Instead, Gj-bu has a good amount of implied sexual tension. Or well, that is the impression I get anyway.
For starters, even though Kyōya never acts like a pervert, a lot of the novels he reads are kind of erotic.And he seems to enjoy them on a slightly different level than most porn loving otaku. His lax, almost shame free attitude towards erotica reminds a bit of folk like Kastel and Master 2DT (don’t tell them I said that).
I mentioned Mao’s biting fetish earlier, and while it is a very interesting fetish, a far more prominent fetish would be the infamous “hair combing” fetish.
Hair Combing is probably the number one phrase used to describe this show and for good reason to.
@reisengrath everytime i brush my hair i wonder why HE isn't doing it ;_____;—
chii (@andrea_chii) March 31, 2013
In the anime, Kyōya often gets roped into brushing someone’s hair and whenever he does so, the facial expressions and sounds emitted are rather….
And it doesn’t stop there. Some of the activities the club members engage in have subtle hints thrown in here and there….
Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a memorable soundtrack to Gj-bu.That comes with the territory though. This is just slice of life, there aren’t any over the top combat scenes that require epic background music. Some of the background music like the Ore-Man theme was pretty good though.
The opening song isn’t something that you would listen to on its own, but it is a very appropriate song for this anime. I think the visuals in the OP really go well with the anime as a whole. The Opening never failed to hype me up for this anime and at the end of the day, that is all you can really ask for.
There were several different endings, and I don’t remember them terribly well, but the final ending used in episode 12 was pretty great. The graduation theme was also excellent.
The animation was for the most part not outstanding, but the cartoony, simplistic design worked really well for this show. The character designs and color choices reminded me of Acchi Kocchi and just like Acchi Kocchi, the palette gave the show a nice, comfortable feeling.
Some of the character movements and cute scenes were made all the more cuter because they had neat little tricks like large chibi faces thrown in.
I think there were one or two scenes with some really nice animation though.I think I recall a Cherry Blossom scene having quite nice animation, but my memory might be kind of shoddy.
All in all, the animation was very consistent and I never really noticed it drop.
I am not going to claim that Gj-bu had the best finale last season. I can’t make that claim because there were many other equally good finales (Tamako, Minami-ke, JoJo and heck even Haganai). Having said that, the ending was great.
I went into the final episode with much apprehension because I did not want Gj-bu to be over. I had enjoyed it a lot more than I had expected and its episodes never failed to bring a little smile to my face.
For once, the ending to a slice of life actually felt like an ending. It didn’t end on a “hey, we are going to keep being cool, so you go watch something else for a few seasons while waiting for us to come back” note. No, the final episode concluded it all. It had a complete graduation and a proper farewell to Mao, Shion and Kirara.
It was wonderful and gave me lots of fuzzy feelings.
(Don’t get me wrong, we might still get a sequel as the LN is still ongoing, but this felt like the perfect way to end an important part of the Gj-bu club’s history.)
As some folk would so eloquently phrase it, the final episode gave me a serious case of the feels.
All in all, Gj-bu was a very fun show. It was something I could watch with little worry and thought. I ended up enjoying pretty much every episode. From it’s delightful cast to its colorful visuals to its lovely character interactions, Gj-bu was really one of the dark knights in Winter 13.
I don’t know how long I will remember this anime, but for now anyway, I am glad that I watched it.
This shot of lonely Kyōya is shortly succeeded by: