First Impressions – Aoharu x Kikanjuu

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It’s time to put ya guns on!

winter15-skylionWell at first blush I was expecting C3-bu, only with cute boys instead of cute girls. After the first episode, it’s not far from that, but the road it’s going is very different indeed.

 

winter15-anaagaI wasn’t planning to watch the first episode of this anime at all. Irene emailed the team, so I checked the promotional image and the synopsis in MAL. When I saw the image, I was brimmed with excitement because bishies! Now let’s see whether the story is as good as the image.

 

spring15-irenes Now tell me if you’ve heard this one before: High-school tomboy-ish girl wearing the boys’ uniform gets mistaken as one, is forced into a males-only club to repay her debt for destroying valuable property. The club’s leader is a blond bishounen who works as a host, and is charming, quite a ladies man, can go off on dramatic tangents, and is constantly into the girl’s face, even without knowing she’s a girl. And also the vice-leader of the club is a black-haired guy with glasses who is good friends with blond guy, and has both a kind and a dangerous side? Sound familiar? If not, stop what you’re doing, go to your nearest anime source and watch all 26 episodes of Ouran High School Host Club. Once you’re done and you have denied your desire to read all 18 volumes of the manga, come back here, and join the rest of us more privileged individuals, for Blue Spring X Machinegun, also known as,  Aoharu x Kikanjuu.

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Meet Hotaru, high school student, president of the student council, and yes–a girl. 

Get Ready for Survival Games!

IreneSharda: It’s funny, but I originally looked at this title, simply because no one else had signed up for it. I wanted to know if there was a reason why, so I read the plot summary which didn’t tell me a lot, and with no real PV out yet either, I had to do what I never like to do–read the original material. 🙁

I promised myself I would only read one chapter, and ended up having to force myself not to go on to the third. AxK was just so funny and fun, that I couldn’t wait until the first episode. And I must say, I wasn’t disappointed.

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Like I said in the intro,  this is basically Ouran High School Host Club meets sabage. Our tomboy this time, is named Hotaru Tachibana. She has an extremely high sense of order and integrity, and fashions herself to be a protector of the weak and heroine of justice. Student council president at her high school, she stays ever vigilant and has the brawn to back up her bite. She doesn’t fit the classic Japanese female model, but never denies her femininity. If people mistake her for a boy, well, that’s on them. However, her world is turned upside down when she meets her new next door neighbor, the blond playboy Masamune Matsuoka and though a series of unusual events, ends up roped into his boys-only club of sabage players.

Hotaru is an interesting girl. She’s not quite as charming as OHSHC’s Haruhi, however, her single-minded obsession with justice and the fact that she’s got the strength and skill to back up her crusade, gives her a unique edge over probably any other anime female this season. You have to wonder where she gets her skills from, both her physical prowess and her ability to handle guns. Her comments in regards to guns and how Masamune treats them, makes me wonder about her background and her combat experience.

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“Miss independent, Miss self-sufficient,
Miss keep your distance.
Miss unafraid, Miss out of my way,
Miss don’t let a man interfere.
Miss on her own, Miss almost grown,
Miss never let a man help her off her throne.

Hearing her spout her rhetoric over and over can get tiring, though I’m hoping with the inclusion of our two male leads, she’ll tone down a little. The animation here was wonderful, especially during the gunfight. And the sabage games will provide an interesting new setting as well, with as much high adrenaline as if we were watching real survival games with real guns. But the character development between our leads is just as important to me as the action itself. How will Hotaru change the lives of her new teammates, and how will they be changed by her? Also, who will be the first to realize her true gender? She’s never hid it, and yet she doesn’t flaunt it either. So, I guess it will just come down to who is the most observant.

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Yeah…they’re not even trying to hide it. 

Man of Fortune

skylion: I would expect most folk to instantly glom onto Hotaru as the best character of the bunch, and most folk would not be wrong. She’s got the tropes down pretty good. We can check off Trap, Good Friend, and Defender of Justice right of the bat. But we can also put a mighty chalk mark down for Easy to Manipulate, thanks to the best character of the show, Masamune. That dude is pure show sealer and stealer.

Quite the charmer.

He’s smoking hot, and chillingly cool. It’s no argument that he wears that swagger if he wanted to pretty boy look down pat. But it’s his chilling amount of assessment that really makes him the character to watch. He’s calm, he’s in control, and knows how to rig things in his favor. A perfect counterpoint to Hotaru as the episode clearly spells out. I should dislike a character like this from the get go, but I don’t, and he wants it that way. All in all, I cannot wait for him to come across a situation where an opponent won’t be willing to play his game, cause that was how he spelled out Hotaru’s downfall. It will be nice to see him get that smile wiped off his face. If only to see him earn it back the hard way.

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How can you say “no” to that face? 

“What Have I Gotten Myself Into?”

anaaga: I feel tricked. Watching the anime based on the image and synopsis only, I did not see such plot development coming. I mean, good-looking shota who is actually a female? A host club where one of the hosts play… What do you call such sport again? Gosh, I don’t even know the name of the sport. Heck, even synopsis has nothing to do with the main plot. Such misleading promotional image and synopsis. I was definitely surprised when I finished the episode.

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Not exactly the best way to ask for a date. 

Nevertheless, I like the unexpected development that happened. It’s been a while since an anime serviced me with surprising elements, and that’s what this anime gave me. Despite the ridiculous female character, weird host club, unrealistic reasoning of the host’s ability, extremely tolerant host club manager, despicable best friend that cannot be called as a best friend, and many other things, I truly enjoyed it. And I’m not pissed too! I’m actually fine with the bishies and the unexpected plot the way they are. The only thing I didn’t enjoy is the art, since the art in the manga is sharper and more mature than the one in the anime. It’s kind of ironic how the thing that led me to this anime became the thing I like the least in this anime. There’s nothing much that can be said about that though, since there must be reasons why anime studio keeps changing the art style in the anime. Maybe profit? Whatever it is, just feed me with more surprise, and I’ll be more than happy with this anime.

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You ready for this? 

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Ah Masamune, all that kinetic vision and instinct, and can’t see what’s right in front of his face. But then again, without these contrivances you wouldn’t have much of a story. I’m interested very much in how this will all go down, and how the team will come together. Hotaru, Masamune, and Tooru are a fascinating trio and I’ll be watching to see their team dynamic both on and off the battlefield. Also, the comedy and romance can’t hurt either. All evildoers  beware the combined might of Team Toy Gun-gun! 😀 (Yeah….that name’s got to go.)

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Despite of my enjoyment, I’m still not sure whether I’ll continue watching this anime or not. Sure it is surprising, but the main focus of this anime, which is that shooting-shooting sport thing, is just not my thing. I don’t like such sport. I like dancing, aerobics, and sleeping. Outdoor is not my thing. Everything I don’t like is bundled inside this anime. So of course I don’t feel like continuing this anime. Why would I watch the thing I don’t like? The bishies, however, is holding me back. I’m a sucker smokers, and the boys happened to be smokers, so yeah… Besides, the unexpected surprise makes me feel excited for next episode, so I’m not sure whether I’ll drop this or not. Let’s just see how it develops first.

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This show should not have been in my interests, but this was a bang up, hard to ignore first episode. Brain’s Base has the material dead to rights, and I only want to see more. The survival game almost seems like a reason just to have Masamune show off…..

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Bang…

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11 Responses to “First Impressions – Aoharu x Kikanjuu”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    Well, I guess this balances out certain circumstances this season. We have a trap lead in Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace and a reverse trap lead in Aoharu x Kikanjuu. Each of them works too well in their deceptive appearances.

    Agreed with you three and though I’ve only seen a few episodes myself, this reeked of Ouran High School Host Club vibes which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not to mention the way Hotaru got trapped into joining Masamune’s team: causing damage to expensive items. And instead of Sagebu, I was more thinking Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu.

    The one thing hard to overlook is Hotaru herself who is the very definition of tomboy right now. She’s so lacking in femininity that it’s baffling and had I not seen this myself and someone told she’s actually a girl, I’d have told them that they’re lying to my face. Especially with that masculine “hero of justice” mentality. Another thing. Where’d she get that inhuman strength and durability? It’s nearly at Shizuo Heiwajima levels.

    Anyway, not a bad first episode since it was entertaining and I now have something to look forward to in watching Hotaru continually dig her own grave in a desperate attempt to maintain her façade. Already what’s shown in the next episode’s preview seems to be a nail in her coffin.

    • IreneSharda says:

      Well, if she wasn’t so “unfeminine” Masamune would have figured it out already. And if I know my cliche’s well enough, Tooru is going to figure out she’s a girl before Masamune will. But it’s interesting that Hotaru is really not trying to hide her identity. She tried to tell Masamune twice that she was a girl, but he kept interrupting her. Also, her honor and pride won’t let her skip out on a debt, and if by being in his male only club is the only way she can do this, it isn’t her fault that he made a mistake.

  2. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Mmm… Tasty reversetraps. Tasty bishies. Delicious meal-gao?

  3. Highway says:

    I didn’t mind watching the show, but a lot of the things started to be more annoying afterward when I was thinking about them. The main character is turned up too far, voiced too stridently for my tastes, doesn’t listen before flying off the handle, and is one of the first times I’ve found 3rd person referrals annoying. And the action really didn’t fit the show, and was stupid with the “oooh, I can dodge this easily” stuff, as well as the “I’ll break all the furniture running up close.”

    The comedic parts were just flat – run over by the Tachibana steamroller, and the action parts unrealistic. C3-Bu had realistic fighting for the most part, and ran into problems with the characterization development of Yura. Sabagebu took care of the comedy, and thus made the realism of the fighting parts not matter. It kinda felt like this show tried to go in the middle, but neither part was good enough to make up for the deficiencies in the other part.

  4. JPNIgor says:

    Hmmm… I have so many mixed feelings about this one. A lot of time I kept thinking about Ouran x Sabagebu, but as BB mentioned above, it really does remind Stella a lot more. But still, I think the animation isn’t nearly as consistent as Stella, and the context the Sabagebu is introduced is so silly it’s hard to take it seriously. And of course, let’s shoot pellets at a Host Club, and let’s make it a rule of thumb that all guests be ready for a shootout at any time. And of course, nothing will break with pellets flying around the whole time.

    Not sure if it’s a keeper, gonna take the 3 episode test. I have to drop something anyway, many things caught me off guard this season.

    • Highway says:

      I agree with Sabagebu. That show was clear that it was going in its own direction right from the beginning. That meant the animation didn’t really matter, as long as it served the joke.

  5. Karakuri says:

    Well this was cute! I really need to learn by now that when they say “survival game” these days, they’re not talking about the Kaiji-type ones…

    But anyways, I didn’t mind the first episode! I could have sworn that Masamune figured out Hotaru’s identity from the start due to his closeness in that hand-grabbing scene (you know how some playboy types just have an insane female radar…), but oh well. That makes things interesting for the future!

  6. HannoX says:

    Not sure if I’m going to keep this one or not. As always when a new season starts I have to check out most of the shows, but can’t keep up with all of them. This is on my list of ones I might drop and it might only get a two rather than three episode test.

    There are things I liked about it, I just didn’t like them a lot.

  7. Overcooled says:

    Just wanna start off saying I was surprised she was a trap too, oh man. Surprised they kept that one a surprise in the synopsis!

    I had to stop halfway, this one just didn’t work for me. Hotaru is supposed to be a tough girl…and yet she falls for the playboy. Did that really have to happen? Couldn’t she just be a badass girl without a love interest? Unwelcome romance aside (y’all know I just don’t like romance by now I think lol), Hotaru was just plain annoying. I’m not sure how a guy saying tits and a girl getting flustered about it constitutes as a real joke to anyone who isn’t over the age of 8 years old either. It’s sad because the OP song had me expecting this to be an exciting, dramatic show with lots of action and tension. But nope…just forced romance, bad jokes, and annoying tropes.

    Let me know if it gets better, I’ll watch a reel of all the battles minus the character interactions!

    • Di Gi Kazune says:

      There must be a reason why she choses to be a cute shota and perhaps it has to do with her past romance life. A simpler answer would be that she has deeprooted psychological issues.

      Probably the main reason for creating the romance angle is to satisfy the target. I can remember all 1,2,4,5,6 characters of Ouran, yet can only name Haruhi, Tamaki and Honey. The twins are just evil and Mr. Glasses is a good accountant.

      *worries at the increasing love of cute shotas… ^^;;*

  8. akagami says:

    Lots of dislike here… I for one really enjoyed it! Of the 10 premieres I’ve watched so far, this one is tied for my favorite so far (along with Rokka no Yuusha) – still another 15 more to check out, so the rankings will probably change (so far 3 of my 3-episode test list are for sure going to be continued… will Sore ga Seiyuu! make it 4 for 4? Will it??? Or will my aversion to anime/manga production series kill it???)

    I came in expecting this to be like a typical otome game adaption with tons of bishonen – entertaining, but run-of-the-mill. And instead I got massive vibes of Ouran Host Club. OMG. And I like Hotaru so far ^_^ I hope they keep the good vibes rolling, even with the setting change (survival game tournaments)~~~

    To be honest, it didn’t remind me of either Sabagebu or Stella, besides the survival game setting. Stella was about Yura trying to find her way (how I sat through the entire series, I don’t know, but by the last couple of episodes I hated Yura). And Sabagebu had just too much nonsensical imagination I couldn’t handle it after 2 episodes.

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