“Love, Once More!”
Summer 2016 is full of sequels to shows that were on my second 10 for 2015, and Binan Koukou is the third one to premiere (it just cracked the list). This was a sequel of a type that’s become somewhat unusual in the modern era, in that it’s not a split cour or a predetermined second season – its existence was genuinely in doubt, and depended mostly on the commercial success of the first in the disc market. Director Takamatsu Shinji was very open that he and writer Yokote Micihiko very much wanted to continue Binan Koukou but that it all depended on sales. Happily they were good enough (I’m guessing just barely) and here we are.
The nice thing is that this is a series that’s ideally suited for multiple seasons, a silly romp without a huge amount of deep character arcs that require closure and (since it makes up its own rules) seemingly endless potential plot developments. Takamtsu-sensei is the unchallenged master of satirizing anime about girls using the canvas of anime about boys, and Binan Koukou is pretty transparent about it. Make no mistake, the Cute High Earth Defense Club is a flat-out mahou shounen parody of the mahou shoujo genre, unique in that it sells out nothing in committing to the premise. Usually mahou shounen pull their punches in that either the satire or the shounen is tangential to the premise, but that’s not the case here – these guys even get full-on transformation sequences every bit as immodest as their female counterparts.
There’s no interruption of either the shamelessness or the lunacy, with the extended opening sequence featuring the CHEDC quintet at the bath – where they’re soon joined by former enemies, now allies, the Student Council. The topic of Atsushi and Kinshirou’s long-dormant friendship is as front and center in the premiere as it was in the finale arc of the first season, and with the student council off to study in Europe the tsundere is on full display as it’s debated whether Atsushi will come see his osananajimi off at the airport.
Yumoto makes that decision for them (in his usual fashion) but there’s still the matter of evil to consider, and that gets in the way in the form of Hourglass Monster-san (another villain role in Binan for Ishida Akira), who has the ability to freeze time but mostly seems to enjoy getting sand everywhere. He manages to destroy the quintet’s loveraclets (and later Ryuu’s “Shounen Gunp“) but Goura-oniisan comes to the rescue in the nick of time. That doesn’t stop Hourglass-san from picking things up the next day, but this time it’s no less than Wom-san himself who comes to the rescue – complete with a wardrobe upgrade (because this is season 2), a power-up and a dead teacher.
It seems the big bad this season is going to be twins Beppu Akihiko (Koumoto Keisuke) and Haruhiko (Murakami Yoshiki). Or rather, the green squirrel who’s pulling their strings. Really though, I think we can look forward to more of the same – which makes this a series that should lend itself fairly easily to audience judgment. If you liked the first season you’ll probably like this one, and I don’t think it’s likely to go much beyond that. This show is very silly, very shameless, and very fun – but it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. As someone who likes Takamtsu’s style and thinks the mahou shoujo genre is as ripe for satire as any out there, I think Binan Koukou has managed to get the balance just right, ands I expect that to continue in the second season.
OP: 「Futten Toppa☆LOVE IS POWER☆」 (沸点突破☆LOVE IS POWER☆) by (Chikyuu Bouei-bu)