Someone’s about to get rocked!
While Binbougami Ga! is a consistently funny series, it isn’t consistently paced. The second and third outings of this fledgling series have such diametrically opposed philosophies in storytelling, that sometimes it feels like I’m not watching the same Anime.
I’ll make this clear, the third episode of Binbougami Ga! is much more engrossing experience than the previous chapter. Not that the second episode is bad, it’s entertaining in its own right. It’s truer to the ‘comedic’ spirit. Depending on your tastes you could make a case for either being the better episode.
The Case for Episode Two
The epic battle between Chichiko and the Binbougami! Who will win?!?!?
As Ichiko and Momiji butt heads, the wide breadth of comedic styles for this show become apparent. While the show itself bills itself as slapstick, it dabbles in referential and meta humor as well, never missing a beat to tell a good joke. The pair’s chemistry is hard to deny. Dialogues quickly blow up into scenes of pure hilarity. There was never a moment I wasn’t at least smiling during the episode. You can’t go wrong with Doraemon or Dragon Ball Z references.
My favorite scene has to be the battle between Ichiko’s summoned familiars of love and fortune and Momiji’s unfortunate zombies. Well… it was quite a one sided affair. The Goddess’ undead minions decided to call it quits to fetch a beer and watch some television. Classic.
The Case Against Episode Two
Must train harder… Must develop my character over 9000?!?!
The flip side is that the characters have no depth. There’s no hook to help us identify with Ichiko and Momiji. Their lives are inconsequential to the viewer; therefore the plot is inconsequential to the viewer. Slapstick comedy can only maintain a person’s interest for so long. Even though the story hardly progressed this episode, I don’t think I would have appreciated any developments regardless.
It doesn’t help that meaningless supporting characters are being introduced. While the horny priest is a trope I enjoy the two female leads need to be solidified first. To the credit of the first episode, some attention was given to Ichiko’s backstory. We learned that she was actually a very lonely child, and that maybe all the poison she has is from that childhood of solitude.
The Case For Episode Three
I am beautiful on the inside as well! I swear!
Ichiko is put under the examining table for the third outing, exploring her self-serving nature. Character development, almost nonexistent in the second episode, becomes the show’s primary focus. The comedy definitely takes a back seat but it’s all for the better. Relying on reoccurring gags gives some space for the cast to breathe. When certain scenes are inherently funny because of what the protagonist does, it frees up the script for meaningful dialogue.
The catalyst for Ichiko’s growth is Keita, a blonde hair bishounen. He has been sleeping in class since the first episode, but for the third outing, he finds a way to wake up. He has a down to earth personality that really helps ground the eccentric cast.
The Case Against Episode Three
Episode Three doesn’t feel true to the Binbougami spirit. We want to laugh and have fun and not give a damn about the characters. At times scenes took a sharp turn for the melodramatic. It feels out of place. While the premiere had some of Ichiko’s back story, it felt tacked on. The scenes from her lonely childhood failed to elicit a response because our lead appeared to be a terrible human being.
This is the face I make when I am going to do some character building.
For the series as a whole I have my concerns and reservations. For now Binbougami Ga! is a one trick pony. The first episodes made a great splash and injected some much-needed personality into the summer line up but its brand of comedy can quickly grow irksome. But the writers have a whole have shown they have some creative minds, so I’m hoping that they switch up the formula often enough to keep things fresh.
The problem the show is facing as a whole is finding a way to make us care about the characters. Essentially this Anime is a character piece, focusing in on the lives of two individuals in particular. Sure some shows take the easy route of making their leads easily identifiable, instilling them with characteristics such as compassion, honor, and selflessness. Binbougami, takes the path less tread to put two not so endearing characters into the spotlight.
As a viewer, it’s hard to forgive the lazy storytelling exhibited so far. Buried neath all the humor are two genuinely interesting characters that are being shoved further down the generic pigeonhole. Ichiko shouldn’t develop into a selfless social worker or anyone of a similar ilk. She has her own flair and needs to brandish her own style of munificence. The reason I give so much praise to third episode is because it takes a step in that direction.
But whatever side of the coin you find yourself on, Binbougami Ga! is a ton of fun. For now, you could compare this show to a piece of bubble gum. Chew it around for a bit, but then spit it out when you’re done. Here’s hoping that the fourth episode can find a good balance between character development and delivering laughs, one scene at a time.