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Anime Review: Gakuen Handsome

Gakuen Handsome is a parody series, which becomes clear as soon as you start watching. The drawing style isn’t very pretty, which is kind of the point, and the series puts anime under a magnifying glass. Or at least, some parts of anime. Like extra pointy chins or the ‘oh no, I can’t fall in love with a guy, I am a guy’ cliché we often see in shounen ai. The episodes are only 3 minutes long and the story is based on the eponymous game by Tohoku Penet.

There isn’t a lot of a storyline to this series. It all starts off with a seventeen year old boy, the main character of the story. The story is told from his point of view and his name is Yoshiki Maeda. Baramon High School, a private boys’ school for the elite, is the setting of the series. Yoshiki just transferred to this school and meets quite a few characters there, among who his childhood friend Takuya Saotome, the soccer captain Sakuya Mitsurugi, the principal Jirou and the student council president Renji Kagami. Love, friendship and conflict are all part of this series.

Since the episodes are only 3 minutes in length this did limit the series, when it comes to storyline and character development. There is some background on the characters, but not a lot. The storyline seems pretty random, as opposed to other series with short episodes, such as Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu. Gakuen Handsome’s genres are Comedy, Parody, School and Shounen Ai. These genres describe the series pretty well, although for a series that announces love, friendship and conflict there isn’t a lot of conflict or love in this series.

As I mentioned the drawing style isn’t very pretty and the animation doesn’t flow smoothly, but that seems to be part of the ‘Parody’ genre in this series. Most of the side characters are meant to look ‘pretty’, which is still made clear despite the drawing style, with little details in their looks and behaviours.

The intro song of this anime, ‘GET!! Yume & DREAM (GET!! 夢&DREAM)’ by Shou Kagami, is kind of over the top when you look at the translated lyrics. This is the point of the anime as well, since it is a parody, so it fits well. The lyrics of the ending song, ‘Shin Handsome Taisou de Zundokohoi (真・ハンサム体操でズンドコホイ)’ by 10Re; seem pretty random, but again so does a lot of the series itself. Both songs are cheerful and sound slightly overdone, when it comes to the vocalization of the words.

Personally I expected a bit more from this series, but I never played the game or watched any of the other Gakuen Handsome material, so there wasn’t a specific basis for it. I just saw a lot of parody opportunity in a shounen ai parody series, but this series didn’t really make me laugh. It wasn’t a series I hated to watch either, but there wasn’t much original content to it. The content was often just an exaggeration of other anime’s content, but not in a very funny way. It seemed to mainly state certain things happen in anime sometimes.

Perhaps I’m not the right target audience for this anime, although I do enjoy parodies and comedy usually. Maybe if you’ve played the game the series will be more fun to watch.

Studio: Team YokkyuFuman
Started airing: 4th of October 2016
Number of episodes: 12

Rating: 40/100

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