What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a manga series about survival games (although it takes some detours before getting to that point)… wait, it was published in a shonen magazine ? Odd, as this is clearly targetting a female audience.
Hotaru Tachibana, our highschool protagonist. The student council president, and a flamboyant Hero of Justice ! The kind who jumps down three stories to beat up a bunch of bullies. Now, Tachibana is quite short an unimposing at first sight, but more than makes up for it with ridiculous athletic and fighting skills. As well as getting into the face of anyone that remotely looks like an Ennemy of Justice !
The twist being that Tachibana is a girl, and identifies as such, despite coming to school in a male uniform. Very few people are aware of this, and you get the sense there’s an intriguing story behind her attitude. But we’re not getting into that yet.
Kanae is, for the lack of a better word, her best friend, and one of the few people in the know. She’s a bit too eager to try and get Tachibana to put on a skirt for my tastes. Anyway, she kickstarts the plot by telling her friend she’s broke after that humiliating time at this male hostel club… and Tachibana is already off to avenge her before she can add that it was because they turned her away (for being a minor, obviously), and she spent all her money on comfort food. But hey, Tachibana never misses an opportunity to go half-cocked to fight imaginary villains.
Masamune is the MVP of this host club : not only one of the most popular hosts, but also having a good eye to please the customers and avoid faux-pas from his colleagues. He was the one who turned Kanae away, and as such the object of Tachibana’s misguided wrath. It helps that he’s also her new neighbour, and they got off to a very bad start earlier in the day.
If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with survival games… Well, that’s Masamune’s hobby, and he insists on his duel with Tachibana being with toy guns. Yes, in the middle of the host club. (Cue all the hosts & customers cheerfully putting on safety glasses. Clearly this isn’t the first time.) While he takes on a handicap and Tachibana shows off some nice althletic and tactical skills, she makes the rookie mistake of not counting her ammo. Oops. Now she’s his.
So of course he wants her to join his Survival Game team, as a way to repay for all the needless damage she caused while jumping around in the club. He still hasn’t picked up on her being a girl, by the way.
(The third member of this team makes a cameo at the end.)
Very good indeed. The action sequences are entertainingly over the top and get ridiculously fluid animation. There’s also a lot to like in the soundtrack.
You know what they say : you can make any premise more interesting by dropping in a crossdressing girl as a protagonist. (Okay, I have no clue if anyone ever said that, but it’s true.) It helps that the show turns out to be way more entertaining than it has any right to. The sense of fun is pervasive, and Tachibana’s dumb antics are more amusing than irritating once you get to know her better.
Sure, there’s a bit of the characteristic rapey subtext of shojo romances (seriously, how is this manga shonen ?), but that stays as a low enough level to avoid being more than slightly annoying.
Besides this, the show turns out to be quite fun, so I’m strongly considering keeping with it.