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Final Impressions: Keijo!!!!!!!!

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Zoom-a zoom-zoom-zoom and a poom poom

At the start of the Fall 2016 season, as the Japanator staff chose anime to cover, Managing Editor Josh Tolentino warned me about selecting Keijo!!!!!!!!. He told me to be sure about covering this show because I'd have to keep up with it even if the show declined in quality. I decided to go all in anyway because it seemed too ridiculous to pass up, and for the first couple of episodes I was fine with the decision. 

But despite ending up on two of our staffers' best of 2016 lists, I don't think Keijo!!!!!!!! is good show. It's a victim of the law of diminishing returns as the bouncing butts were ridiculous fun at first, but gradually had a lessened effect as the series rolled on. It got kind of boring, honestly. 

One of the things I noted back when I first covered the series was how impressed I was by its smooth action animation. Luckily that indeed continued as the season rolled on to its end. As the girls' attacks became more ridiculous, so did the animation. Unlike other sports anime, which only bent physics, Keijo!!!!!!!! often incorporates many flashing lights and colors not unlike ones you'd see in traditionally shonen anime. In the last mini-arc, as sort of a graduation exam from their time at the Keijo Academy (which was only a year long, for some reason), the girls found themselves facing off against a rival academy from the East. This meant the series suddenly found itself in even wackier circumstances than before. This mini-arc presented the best episodes in the series as girls suddenly started using spiritual qi attacks, harnessed wind, and, of course, the absolutely nuts "Gate of Bootylon." 

But ridiculous as the visuals were, I found myself not caring about any of it. As was indicated in the first episode, these girls have no character beyond what techniques they use. Nozomi had an interesting motive for joining the sport (wanting fame and fortune, which is pretty atypical for the sports genre) but that was dropped after the premiere. Even when the series slowed down for its brief training intermissions, these episodes felt like filler. Just as how it became a shonen series in animation, it took on some of the worst characteristics of shonen storytelling. The filler training episodes were more about developing certain techniques rather than use the development of those techniques for character growth. For example, Nozomi training to use her signature Vacuum Butt Cannon only resulted in her learning the move rather than have the move be a resolution to a personal problem. It wasn't to overcome any weakness, or something a bit more worthwhile character wise, it was just because. While that's characterization in itself, it's still not strong enough to warrant following this character through the series. 

But as you've probably guessed, strong character work isn't exactly Keijo's top priority. That's totally fine, but it doesn't save the show from being hollow. At least it does a few different things toward season end that actually might be interesting additions if/when the show continues. Along with the flashier moves and kookier characters, a bit of characterization is introduced in the final mini-arc. The top keijo player in the rival East school is a girl named Maya. We're given a bit of her background in which she's teased for her inhuman strength until her mother introduces her to keijo (by having Maya break a hole in a bed with her butt), but her anxiety over the sport created a second, more antagonistic personality, Kaya (complete with new eyes and hair color). Her inner conflict (solved within two episodes, on par with the series' rapid pace) ends up an outer conflict against Nozomi and it's a bit interesting. Nothing to write home about, but better than the zero character work than I expected. It's just a shame Nozomi doesn't develop herself as a result. All she gets is a 'Super Saiyan' like mode which helps her win the day.

I suppose there's an argument for having a blank slate main character as Keijo becomes more of a shonen-action series, but the best shonen anime give their main characters personalities, if small ones. Yu Yu Hakusho's Yusuke was a brash punk, One Piece's Luffy is blindly optimistic and selfish, and even Dragon Ball's Goku more often fights for himself than others. Then again, those series had time to flesh out their characters. Keijo's hugest flaw is how much it wants to cram into its short, 12 episode run. The series just has too many characters doing things at one time to really focus on anyone. Apparently the season took place over the course of a year, and that year was Nozomi's entire time at the Keijo Academy. That's insane. Because at the end of the season the girls start talking about their love for one another, but there's not enough evidence of this before it's all just dumped on the viewer. Much like taking a hip whip to the face, the series blindsides you with how fast it goes. 

It's like butt whiplash. 

I may not be interested in Keijo!!!!!!!! anymore, but I'm glad it has its fan base. There are already quite a bit of anime productions littered with fan service, so viewers might as well enjoy the competent one. If you're going to look at boobs and butts, then I fully support looking at ones used as tools and weapons. 

I mean, when nipples are hardened to the point where they're used as acupuncture to achieve a "Super Saiyan" transformation, I can see the appeal. 

[You can stream Keijo!!!!!!!! on Crunchyroll and Funimation Now


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Nick Valdez
Nick ValdezContributor   gamer profile

Nick Valdez likes Kamen Rider, Super Sentai, and songs about butts. Some genius will hopefully combine the three someday.  more + disclosures


 



Also on Japanator: Keijo!!!!!!!!   (3)   From our database:

  • Final Impressions: Keijo!!!!!!!! - Nick Valdez
  • Japanator Awards 2016: Christian's Top 5 Anime of the Year - Christian Chiok
  • Japanator Awards 2016: Josh's Top 5 Anime of the Year - Josh Tolentino
  • Annotated Anime: Keijo!!!!!!!! episodes 2-5 - Nick Valdez
  • First Impressions: Keijo!!!!!!!! - Nick Valdez
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    Filed under... #adaptations #anime #Annotated Anime #BOOBS #First Impressions #Girls #Sports #top stories

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