bros before hoes

I really don’t get this season. There just seems to be a lot of bromantic, both platonic and not-so-platonic, series airing at the same time.

Sakamichi no Apollon is about bros united by their love of jazz and music. There’s the nerdy, misfit transfer student who looks someone who would post on Facebook about cutting himself all the time (except this anime occurs in 1960s, pre-Facebook) and the misunderstood bully with a heart of jazz. And a beautiful bromance blooms… we pretty much knew by the time Kaoru and Sentarou got wet in the rain together, but it’s pretty much solidified once Kaoru bought Art Blakey (or as the anime calls him, “Ar-to Braa-kii”) record.

(I wonder how expensive the record was. It has to be a recent import from the US since Moain’ was released in 1959. And it couldn’t have been cheap to import it to Japan in that time period. So Kaoru put down serious dough to buy a record to impress his new jazz friend.)

I am excited about Watanabe and Yoko Kanno collaborating again. Everything about Sakamichi feels like a musical epilogue for Bebop where Watanabe stumbled across this josei series about jazz, speed dialed Yoko Kanno, and went, “I don’t care if this won’t make money; we’re making an anime about jazz and bromance!” And they did. And they animated the heck out of it… I like the shading, and the characters look alive as they move. There’s no Fate/Zero sparkling CGI effects, but new studio MAPPA gets the job done.

(Look at Japanese BD sales. Big budget josei makes as much sense as making an x86 CPU to compete against Intel.)

I was like, “Shit, is this yaoi?” when I saw this scene. Yeah, it does look like a typical boy on boy love setup, but I don’t think Sakamichi will veer that way (don’t quote me if it does). The characters seem genuinely bonded by music, so that’s a good thing. Maybe we’ll get a character develop, slice-of-life music anime featuring jazz. Sakamichi is basically K-On! without moe and with much better music.

Oh Watanabe… had to be jazzy fight scene. It’s his hallmark much like Shaft being Shaft is to Shinbo. I’ll let it go since I enjoy them so much. Let’s just say between this show, Aquarion, and Code Geass, Yoko Kanno is making a nice comeback in 2012. But there’s no one else I would make to make a jazz bromance anime than Watanabe and the Seat Belts. And, oh yeah, Spike dies.

(If there’s anything combating the bromance love fest in anime, it’s Game of Thrones. Can we get more brotherly hatred for one another? At least we have a lot of bonking. So that makes up for it… I guess…)

Damn it, we aired a season too soon! We were 2012 bromance hipsters.

Season one… a lot of bromance (Iskandar x Waver, Gilgamesh x Kirei, Tokiomi x wine, Saber x self-righteousness)… this season… not so much. Yet.

Bromance in my basketball anime? Yes. While the LeBron x Wade x Bosh bromance is wearing off, the Kuroko x Kagami bromance is taking off. While the whole concept of anime characters playing basketball is humorous to me, Kuroko no Basket features at least an attempt to understand the game. Nevermind how Kuroko’s “special ability” of being a wallflower isn’t going to work in real life since he is such a defensive liability. You can somewhat get away from being a defensive liability if you’re Amare Stoudamire. If you’re a homeless man’s Jeremy Lin, not so much.

(I don’t get Kuroko’s position, and it never was clarified in the manga. He’s a shooting guard that doesn’t shoot? He’s not a point guard as the team has that hawk dude on the one. If anything, a shooting guard who doesn’t shoot or play defense is only slightly more useful than Darko.)

Kagami and Kuroko are more like the odd couple. They’re definitely more apt to self-combust a la Shaq and Kobe than be found shoe shopping together. I’m okay with this bromance setup. It works well for basketball.

My biggest gripe with Kuroko no Basket thus far is that they didn’t toss in an OVER 9,000!!! gag when Riko was examining the meat market. Kagami’s over 9,000, how can you not make that gag?

(To show that anime has ruined me for anime, the beefy “Americanized” star player’s name is “Taiga Kagami.” I just think of either Taiga from Toradora or Kagami from Raki Suta… in any case, I break out in giggles like an eight year old boy reading Highlights.)

Tsuritama is probably the most confusing show of the season. I have no idea what is going on except that Haru has a water pistol that shoots out some sort of date rape drug. No, seriously, everyone who gets hit by it blacks out and wakes up in a weird, unfamiliar situation. In an otherwise normal anime. Oh, he might be an alien, so that might be an alien jizz gun for all we know.

His partner in bromance, Yuki, is about serial transfer student much like Kaoru from Sakamichi. Except where Kaoru kind of has a “Fuck you and fuck the world” attitude, Yuki is trying to stay low and be accepted (without exerting undue force). Unfortunately, his plans go haywire as Haru enters his life and squirts him with the alien jizz.

(Haru also manages to Jedi mind trick slash alien jizz his way into convincing Yuki’s grandma to live with them. I was so puzzled by this. It’s like the writer gave up and said, “I’m not even going to try to explain how they sleep together.” Andohbytheway, the grandma in this show is like a normal mom in real life age-wise. So anime takes a generation out of your age… ah… Sanae…)

Whereas Kaoru and Sentarou and genuine connected by music, Yuki and Haru are less connected via fishing. There’s a lot of weird fishing themes and ocean motifs going on in this show. I don’t know what to make of it. Going back to a K-On! example, imagine K-On! if Ritsu squirted Yui with alien jizz, the scene cuts to Yui buying Gitah, gets sprayed with alien jizz again, Yui is now on stage performing Fuwa Fuwa Time, gets sprayed with alien jizz one more time, and now Yui is rocking out in Budokan while pregnant with Ritsu’s love child. That’s Tsuritama. In a single episode.

Their romance is super, super homoerotic. The scene where Haru tries to reel in Yuki in their first day of school… I let out an “OH GEASS NO!” It’s almost like if Yuki were a more beaten-down version of Kyon, and Haru were Haruhi and Itsuki rolled up in one. Let’s just say if they went past bromance, it wouldn’t surprise me.

(Between Sakamichi and this show, there’s like 36-40 students per class. Is this typical Japanese class sizing?)

The animation and colors for Tsuritama by A-1 is fantastic and top notch. If A-1 nails Sword Art Online (and I would be disappointed if they didn’t) and execute on this show and the next bro show, they would be on a roll (already have Friendship Anime in the bag). They have come a long way since they started in 2006.

The other A-1 bromance show this season? Space Bros. I love this show. It shows what anime can do if it wants to tell a story other than harem comedy or slice-of-life harem comedy. And Mutta has not one but two bromances going… one with his brother Hibito and the other with fellow applicant Kenji. By episode three, the plot settled down and the pacing slowed, but they is showing it’s colors. The characters are interesting and feel real with real loving families and friends. Just kinda weird in anime.

And the characters behave how you expect them to behave. That’s important too. Even though this cast is the oldest cast I’ve seen in anime in a long time, they are kids at heart… and their pursuit of their childhood dream… just not a message seen commonly in anime: You do have a second chance at life.

The bromance between Mutta and his actual bro took a backseat as he develops his bromance with Kenji. Which is a weird bromance in that they do shake hands a lot, and he eventually points this out. While Mutta is the odd-ball applicant, Kenji is like the clean-up ideal one. It’s interesting how they cheer for each other and pal around. It does kind of have that Kuroko and Kagami dynamic going. And, thank Oharuhi-sama, for a show about space, there’s no space jizz involved.

I doubt this series will become a love comedy, but Mutta is probably farther along than anyone else in their pursuit of a haremette. And Serika, wow, probably best one of the season. She’s a doctor? She calls her parents? She has her own goofball qualities? She likes to eat broccoli? I’m cheering for Mutta x Serika as hard as I cheered for Nia x Simon and Mayoi x Arararararagi. Just characters made for each other.

(And despite featuring a pug in the OP and first episode, we haven’t seen a pug since. I want to see how Mutta gets a pug. I’m more looking forward to that than seeing how Kirei betrays and backstabs Tokiomi.)

The weirdest and most awkward segment is a great way to end this post. Anyway, bromance is alive and kicking this season. After all, spring has sprung and bromance is in the air.

9 Responses to “bros before hoes”

  1. As one Dr. Jack would not have said,

    “I believe the term ‘Hoes’ is quite belligerent. Is the world so inundated with ‘moe’ that it must be called a ‘hoe’?”

  2. As Sakura says: “Hoeeeeee????”

    Anyway, I felt that Sakamichi no Apollon had the highest chance of going the BL route, especially with the rain scene. It just screamed “Hi, I’m the seme and you’re the uke” between the two of them.

  3. Don’t forget the fact that Super Space Bros. opens up with copious amounts of rainbows. You know that shit is about to get bromantic with that many rainbows.

  4. Can’t shoot or play defense. Doesn’t rebound. Supposed to be the best player of his generation.

    This is why I can’t watch sports anime.

  5. Watanabe is also the music producer on the new Lupin show. Redline personnel (Takeshi Koike and Sayo Yamamoto) are also involved/directing plus with Dai Sato writing there is even more of a Cowboy Bebop connection. Aside from the voice-over that drowns out that sweet opening theme, I’ve enjoyed the first couple episodes quite a bit. I’m hoping it will get even better and not drop off and fulfill your “they are who we thought they were!” prediction.

  6. Kuroko’s the “6th man,” supposedly, but he’s technically a backup point guard who got a lot of playing time because his best friend was the star player on the team. Their super powers in the manga are super ridiculous, but it’s still a huge step up from SLAM DUNK to me.

    Yoko Kanno? Jazz? Looks like I’ve actually gotta watch Apollon now…

  7. The only thing I’m taking away from this is Ritsu’s alien jizz. Thanks.

  8. If it has Yoko Kanno’s music, I got to watch it. It’s the rule. There may be gay sex in it, I will watch it if I have to…

    That Space Brothers show, they were marketing the hell out of it in Tokyo the last couple of weeks. Their faces plastered all over the Yamanote line trains.

  9. The cosmic balance! The last season was a yuri season with Symphogay, Black Gay Shooter, Lagrange and the one about lesbian space pirates. Now its bromance time.

    See you all the next season!!

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