With the appearance of a second season of Binan Koukou, I want to give a refresher on the first season, because I never thought a second season would come to be.
First off, The plot is fairly standard. A group of people are recruited to fight crime, evil, or a galactic force. They are given superpowers by their mentor and complete their duties with gusto. Usually it is a group of girls, which I guess makes Binan Koukou an original take on an old plot.
At Binan high school there is the Earth Defence Club, their version of the Going Home club. 5 male students are members and spend their after school time doing what they prefer, i.e. reading, sleeping, math. The 5 are not all particularly good friends with one another, Atsuhi and Yufuin are childhood friends but the others are pretty independent. They each represent a different ‘type’ of boy. Yufuin is the laxidasical character. Yumoto is the happy go lucky character. Ryuu is the player character. Naruko is the budgeting character and Atsushi is the bookworm character.
One day a pink creature shows up, and attaches bracelets to the 5 boys. The creature claims to be an alien who has landed on earth to protect it and to safeguard the Love in this world. He has essentially forced these boys to become Sailor/Power Rangers.
The creature is dubbed Wombat by Yumoto, despite looking more like a Care Bear mixed with a capybara and dipped in pepto bismol. Wombat is able to travel with the boys by taking control of Tawarayama-sensei, a teacher at Binan high school. A running joke throughout the season is the state of Tawarayama, considering he progressively gets greyer and less alive the more Wombat controls him.
The 5 boys of course have an official name, the Battle Lovers, and individual names, Battle Lover Vesta, Scarlet, Cerulean, Epinard and Sulfur.
Well these boys need an enemy don’t they? And this comes in the form of the student council members, Kinishiro, Ibushi, and Akoya. These three males are the personification of elegance, and are disgusted by the Earth Defence Club members because they consider them lazy and low class.
The student council is approached by a green hedgehog alien named Zundar. He transforms them into the Caerula Adamas. They become Chevalier Aurite, Argent and Pearlite. They use Zundars power to inject people with a serum that transform them into the very trait that is stressing them out. For example, Moteo Kurotori is a student obsessed with winning the pretty boy contest. Zundar turns him into a black swan ballet dancer out to destroy his competition.
Once Wombat detects a monster, he sends the Battle Lovers into action. They activate their powers in a very Idol like way and performs their introduction.
The fights resemble the battles in Undertale, in that it may not be about physically overpowering the enemy. Most Monsters are devoid of love, and as Battle Lovers it is their duty to restore Love to the foe. After a couple blows, the 5 of them join their powers into 1 weapon that Yumoto uses to deal the final blow, usually leaving the un-transformed student in a puddle of tears of happiness at having finally experienced Love.
In each episode there is a new enemy, and a new dilemma for a member of the Earth Defence Club. In one episode Yumoto is sick, and is behaving the complete opposite from his usual self and refusing to particiapate as a Battle Lover. In another Yufuin and Atsushi are fighting, and Yufuin leaves the club and Battle lover squad. In a third, all Battle Lovers are transformed into babies.
The conflicts are resolved by the end of the episode just like a good linear plotline does.
The show concludes when the Student Council and the Earth Defence Club realize who each other are, because during a school festival the boys decide to use their Battle Lovers outfits to create a Superhero Cosplay Café. We find out through memory flashbacks that the Student Council President, Kinishiro hates the Earth Defence Club because he used to be friends with Atsushi, but there was a misunderstanding when they were younger that caused Atsushi to stop being friends with the President and become friends with Yufuin instead. It was blown out of proportion in Kinishiros head, and he build up so much anger towards Atsuhi. The two end up in a battle, with onlookers assuming it is part of the festival.
The fight doesn’t come to an end with a winner. It ends when the characters find out they are being manipulated in an intergalactic space tv show. When the show is exposed, Yumotos older brother Gora is transformed into another monster, or final boss the characters must face. After Big Brother Gora is defeated, then the Goldfish, Hireashi, behind the TV show jumps into a Mecha, and becomes the real final boss. The 8 boys together defeat Hireashi, causing the show to be cancelled and the alien animals to be sent packing.
Well, what to say about Binan Koukou. It was so weird, but really well done. It was comedic in the way that it used all of the magical girl elements but on guys. It used the transformations, the catch lines, the magic wands and the sappy enemy’s. Hell, they had 3 battles in public during a cultural festival and afterwards was able to resume activities like nothing had happened. And every episode had a bathing scene. Yumotos brother ran a bathhouse, so that as their ‘celebratory bath’ moments.
With all of the clichés and the tropes there was not a variety of music, it was mostly upbeat music or girly battle music.
While the transformation scenes were animated well(I mean they were used 12+ times), but were a bit laggy in some episodes. Some of the characters were less expressive in emotional moments. Anger was portrayed by Kinishiro very well, and joy was portrayed by Yumoto very well, and Yufuin had a handle on the ‘too cool for this’ look, there was not a lot of sadness coming from Atsushi during the emotional moments with his past friend during their emotional ‘lets be friends again’ scene.
There were no major flaws in the season, there were a couple moments of mismatched lip sync, and inaccurate timing to distance issues, but the outlines were clean, the colors were bright and the details were simple. It did not blow me away, in fact it was labouring to continue watching. The parody of the magical girl genre was refreshing at first, but it felt like too much.
Towards the end the anime became very repetitive, and the plot seemed very predictable. The twist of the tv show being the cause of it all refreshed the plot a little, but they still won and everyone was happy and all was good. I have no idea what they have planned for the second season, I mean will it be like the Hunger Games where they are featured in another tv show? Will they be swept off to another planet to participate in their tv games, or will it be a legitimate threat that they must defeat.
Either way, people liked it so it received a second season.