Second post, I was planning to review an anime series from last season, but after watching Episode 4 of the new Summer 2011 series “Ro-Kyu-Bu”, I’ve changed my mind. For those who don’t know, Ro-Kyu-Bu is the story of five elementary school girls who form a basketball club and their high school student coach with an odd experience causing the shutting down of his own basketball club. As they practice to get better, the girls’ skills improve while the coach finds out more about the circumstances the club is in, and the story follows the characters growing and the lessons they learn.
I’m a sucker for the inspirational, underdog plotlines and adorable characters, I can’t help but want to do better when I hear the OP, (“Growing my determination, don’t give up, and try your best”). The girls have great chemistry and their personalities just provide a boost for each others’, and I became a lifetime fan after seeing them stand up to the boys’ team (what jerks!). I’m not a big sports fan, but these girls need a team name soon, so I have something to shout out in excitement when they score. The characters are dynamic and each episode’s plotline leaves the viewer without enough new information in the form of answered questions or revealed pasts that you’ll become more and more attached as the series continues.
The animation is great quality and what impresses me most is the realistic physics when they’re playing basketball. I point this out because normally the animation of sports is a bit off the more dynamic the scenes are, but Ro-Kyu-Bu does a beautiful job. All the speeds and bounds seem right and the viewer never gets distracted by weird paths moving objects might take. Even shots in slow motion are done very well.
With that said, I have to point out that these “elementary” girls, are anything but, really. Whether in height, skill, personality, or body, if the story were honest, they’d have to be middle schoolers at least, but then, who wants to hear about middle schoolers? (For most of us, those are memories we’re trying to repress) I’m also finding this series to straddle the line between fanservice and eechi, getting past the fact that these girls are too developed to be mere elementary schoolers, the awkwardness is getting a bit too awkward, the male protagonist shouldn’t be surprised when his friends at school call him “Prince Lolicon” with the seemingly inappropriate things he’s muttering to himself.
After that, I’m still looking forward to the next episode and am curious to find out what new challenge they’ll face now that (SPOILER) they’ve defeated the boys’ team. I recommend this to someone who enjoys underdog stories or just want to see something different, as I’ve not seen many sports-themed anime quite like this.