It’s been a while, but I couldn’t be bothered to write a review. I’m ready, now and it’s time once again to look at an anime that I am currently watching. I will give a brief synopsis of the series, my thoughts on the plot, animation and voice acting/dubbing, as well as any content of the anime that might get a WTF! moment. Boy, this one has some. Let s take a look at KEIJO!!!!!!!!
KEIJO!!!!!!!! (yes, that is a lot of exclamation points), which means “competitive girl”, is an anime based on a Japanese sports manga of the same name. Also called “Hip Whip Girl”, it was made by XEBEC and licensed in North America by Crunchyroll, with Funimation producing a dubbed version. This review is of the Funimation dub.
In the fictional all-women sport of Keijo, competitors must force their opponents off of floating platforms into the water. The catch is, this must be done using only their breasts and butts. Former gymnast Nozumi Kaminashi joins the sport in hopes of becoming rich, helping her family escape the poverty she’s known all her life. Despite this, she easily gets along with her friend, Sayaka Miyata and their two roommates, Kazane Aoba and Non Toyoguchi. Despite a less that spectacular start, she attracts the attention of the instructors and Elite students alike with her skill, determination and quick mastery of the dreaded “Vacuum Butt Cannon.” Just… just let that sink in. Nozumi and her friends soon find themselves among the elite and training to take part of the East-West Challenge against a rival Keijo school
The character of Nozumi is a likable main character. Sure, her motivation is money, but it is help her family. She is very friendly and open to the other girls on her team. She can be a bit ditzy and a little too forward, but she means well and is very determined. Her friend Sayaka is more serious, having left a promising career in judo to take up Keijo. This created a rift between her and her family, but she is determined to make it and be successful. She is also self-conscious of her bust size as compared to Nozumi and the others. Their two roommates, Non and Kazane are an unlikely pair. Non is very clumsy but nice and tries to hide her country accent. Kazane is quiet and shy, but she is very knowledgeable about Keijo and even has an ability to read her opponent’s weaknesses.
The girls find themselves at odds with members of the elite class at first. Girls such as Hanabe and Mio take a liking to Nozumi, with Mio making some unwanted sexual advances (because what’s an anime without a predatory lesbian, right?). They eventually warm up to the Nozumi’s friends, accepting them when they move up to the Elite Squad.
Now, what’s a fighting anime without special attacks, right? The world of Keijo has that, as hinted at with Nozumi’s Vacuum Butt Cannon. Yes, somehow her ass is able to create a vacuum to propel her butt attack, with the added bonus of shedding their bathing suits. Other moves have names such as Heat Seeking Butt Missile, Butt Gatling, and Titty Hypnosis. All these have flashy effects and shows this anime does not take itself seriously.
The Funimation dub I’ve watched is good. The voices seem to fit the characters and synchs up well with what is on-screen. The only nitpick would be how they portray Non’s country accent. They give her a Southern twang in the dub. I guess it would be hard to convey what the Japanese would consider a “country bumpkin” accent in a another language. I guess a southern drawl would be better than, say, a North Dakota dialect (you betcha!)
THE WTF FACTOR- Medium. Which the premise of being a sport in which you attack with boobs and butts, you know KEIJO!!!!!!!! would raise a few eyebrows. Close-ups of the girls’ breasts and butts are common, especially when they are competing. Some of the girls (Mio) get handsy with the other girls, as is common in anime fanservice. Surprisingly, though, there is only partial nudity. The girls go from one piece bathing suits to bikinis as the series progresses and of course, there are changing room scenes, shower and bath scenes and of course wardrobe malfunctions due to special attacks, but all the naughty bits are covered up. I was surprised there wasn’t an occasional topless scene of fan service-y peek in the shower, as there was in a similar girl sports anime, Wanna Be the Strongest in the World (women’s wrestling, BTW). It wouldn’t have been unwelcome, to be honest. All the girls are adults in the anime (have to be 18 to be in Keijo) and none of them skewed young. I wouldn’t watch this in mixed company as it is and a little T&A wouldn’t have mattered.
KEIJO!!!!!!!! is a solid, if different, anime series. It is one that you come for the fan service, but stay for the characters and story. I am sad to hear that there will not be a season 2 and that the manga has stopped in Japan, but hopefully international interest may revive the series. The series is streaming on both Crunchyroll (subtitled) and Funimation (dubbed) with all the episodes available.