Navigating through any social media outlets during this anime season, you’d be hard-pressed to not find any gifs or screen-caps of anime girls in swimsuits strutting their stuff. No, everyone didn’t suddenly become obsessed with ecchi overnight. It turns out, girls clashing their booties and boobies makes for an explosively exciting sport. And this is exactly what Keijo!!!!!!!! is all about.
Keijo is a professional sport where girls compete on a ring floating over water to push their opponent off with nothing but their butts or boobs. The competition is intense. For 18-year old Nozomi Kaminashi, she wants nothing more than to be the prize queen of Keijo — a prestigious position of vast fortune and fame granted to only the very best player in the world. Nozomi is hoping to use this wealth to help her struggling family out of poverty.
Let’s be honest here. I don’t think anyone goes into Keijo expecting to be knee-deep (or ass-deep for my fellow pun lovers) in a thought-provoking narrative. What you see is what you get; fierce battles with over-the-top signature moves, an ambitiously overeager protagonist aiming for the stars, and ridiculously humorous training arcs all guised under butt-loads of fan-service. In that regard, it’s not for everyone. But if you can get past the fan-service, what you’ll find is an immensely entertaining and creative series that will have you rolling for hours. Seriously, you have a girl whose special ability entails hypnotizing you with their boobs to render their opponent useless. Or an ass vacuum that can rips a person (or their clothes, more likely) asunder with violent winds. Or even a wedgie that, the deeper it rides, the closer to the speed of light a person achieves. These outrageously random abilities make it so you have absolutely no idea what’s coming next. One thing is for sure, the writer for Keijo stretches the abilities of this show to the absolute limit.
Even while Keijo is a satirical piece, there are still elements of the series that will take you pleasantly by surprise. For as prototypical as the cast seems, Nozomi and her friends are all fun characters. Throughout the course of the show, they show an immense amount of growth as they foster teamwork and and tackle personal issues to overcome their problems. Are you ever really surprised by the results of their matches? Not necessarily, but the series isn’t about that. It’s about the journey of this group of friends and the hilarious happenings along the way. Keijo is just the vehicle that drives it home. It helps that Nozomi is a surprisingly likable protagonist, as one cannot help but be sucked in by her drive to be the best and the compassion she has for the friends surrounding her.
I think it’s also worth mentioning that the art in Keijo is nothing to sneeze at. While the character designs are very simple, the animation is rather fluid. The art style itself is nice to look at, incorporating thick bold lines to make the characters pop in a way that is arguably similar to that of Needless, except without the sharp angles. These bold lines come together with dynamic angles and speed lines to make battles explosive. It almost feels like you’re playing Street Fighter when a signature move is freeze-framed with overlaying text.
As a small aside, the bulletin boards used during battles remind me of those used in earlier Pokemon series, when Ashe visits the elite four.
Overall, Keijo was surprisingly enjoyable. Is this series for everyone? No, absolutely not. But those who can see past the tropes and fan service will find a terribly entertaining show that’ll have you laughing until it hurts. What helps make Keijo stands out is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously and that’s precisely what makes it so darn funny. You have characters pulling off all these crazy antics that are so hard to believe and yet, they’re dead serious about their goals and aspirations. For a brief moment, it’s even possible to forget you’re watching a sport about butts and boobs. Well, at least until you see a girl use her hardened nipple to throw her opponent overhead. Then it becomes obvious that this series is a satire on Shounen through and through. Anyway, If you’re looking for something more along those lines this season, then perhaps a slower show such as March Comes in like a Lion or a light-hearted piece like Yuri!! on Ice is more up your alley.
Mood: Palpable 😀