I don’t normally review anime, but I ended up watching all of Kenka Banchou Otome (Girl Beats Boys). It has no corresponding manga, being based on a video game. And, really, there is hardly any there there…
… but I kind of loved it, anyway.
It may be time to admit that I have a problem. I really love delinquent high school boys… and badass girls.
So we have our hero(ine), Hinako.
She ends up going to an all-boys school called, Shishiku Academy, under the most ridiculous, suspender of disbelief-snapping, contrived set of circumstances, ever.
Even though she was raised as an orphan, turns out Hinako is actually the twin sister of Hikaru, the second son of a yakuza boss. Hikaru fakes an accident between them and bullies Hinako into cross-dressing and taking his place at the Academy. He, meanwhile, cross-dresses and takes her place at an all-girls school. (Literally nothing is made of his sub-plot, even though I kind of think he’s pretty happy with this arrangement given that he has posters of a male pop star, Mirako Yuuta, on his bedroom wall, and once in the dress, he’s never seen out of it.)
However, Hikaru neglects to mention that this all-boys school is a 24/7 fight club. Or that his brother, Onigashima Houou, is the toughest tough of the 3rd years and became king of the school in a matter of months.
Hinako is tasked with doing the same.
Turns out, she’s good at it. Being an orphan meant she got bullied a lot, and with the help of a fellow-orphan nii-san, she got tough fast. Plus, she’s studied martial arts… so, surprise! (no surprise.) she quickly rises to the top.
In the way of these things, pretty much anyone she defeats in battle, she also wins over their hearts, and they become ‘bros (seriously the term used in the anime).
Weird quirk of this anime? A lot of slang is actually defined for you in still-frame cut-scenes. Also, the characters have these odd moments where they seem to be talking to the audience, 4th wall breaking style, at odd intervals. I’m sure this is entirely a mimic of part of the gameplay.
Oh, and another thing, the episodes are 8 minutes long.
They do manage to cram a fair amount of drama into those eight minutes (though I initially though something was wrong with my iPad when I was watching this because I thought, “that wasn’t long enough; did the feed cut out after the intro?”) There’s, of course, the constant threat that Hinako’s true gender will be discovered, but also there are mini-arcs about friendship and loneliness and tragic backstories.
My favorite character was Kira Rinatarou, who is the first to guess the truth about Hinako, and who ends up having a secret connection to her past.
But the whole thing is kind of… dumb? Far-fetched? Ridiculous? YES. YET I LOVED EVERY EIGHT MINUTE GEM.
I’m such a loser. 😛
If any future commenters want to point out my bad taste, throw this one in my face. I’ll have no defense.