First Impression – Cheer Danshi!!



Boys plus cheerleading…what is there not to love about this match made in heaven? I was easily won over by this novel concept during the season previews, but in the end, I think this show is just full of hot air.


When I reviewed the first episode of Days (the upbeat soccer anime), I noted that it used a lot of popular tropes, but it still succeeded because it used them well. Cheer Danshi!! is the opposite. It tries to be unique by introducing the concept of male cheerleaders as opposed to soccer, which is wildly popular in anime and real life already. However, it doesn’t know what to do with this concept. At all. They’re sitting on a goldmine here, but are too incompetent to bring this genius idea to life.


Ahh, nothing like a post-shower rooftop brooding session

I found the first episode of Cheer Danshi!! to be utterly boring. It’s relying far too much on girls (and some guys. I got you, fam.) to watch this for the promise of hot guys doing flips and flashing cool poses. It baited me in with promises of this, and I already had low expectations for this to be a mindless fan service show. The sad part is that Cheer Danshi!! doesn’t even deliver on that low of a level to even be a vapid fan service show…because there’s no service to speak of!

The big “cheerleading” scene that’s supposed to get the gang (and the viewers) hyped about cheerleaders is depressing. Derp-faced randos perform a tame routine that isn’t done any justice by the stocky animation. There’s a blinding filter to try and make it look good like desperately fixing an ugly selfie on Instagram, but just making everything blurrier and shinier doesn’t fix the underlying blandness underneath. There is absolutely nothing there to pull me in and get me excited about cheerleading…especially if it’s going to look like that. I’d rather watch yet another regurgitated baseball anime done well than this.



I would have been alright with a plot-light show that just lets me oogle pretty guys, but Cheer Danshi!! clearly isn’t delivering on this. I mean, the guys aren’t even that attractive so even if the animation improves, they won’t be doing anything for me. So what I’m left with is the possibility that the character-driven drama will be decent. Afterall, Days had some boring soccer scenes but some great chemistry between the two lead characters! But wait, Cheer Danshi!! doesn’t even have likeable characters in their own respect, let alone in terms of how they react to one another. The cheerleading scenes aren’t good and the character drama isn’t good so…what’s left to keep me watching? (Hint: not much)

To elaborate on why I can’t stand the more personal moments, the directing of this show just isn’t cutting it. Cheer Danshi!! breaks the rule of “show, don’t tell” on every single occasion, choosing to develop characters by having their traits explicitly stated in awkward verbal outbursts. There’s no need to have someone say “Wow, you’re so loud when cheering people on even though you are a shy character” or “your cheering has a special effect on people” (TWICE!), or outright saying that a guy is hard to deal with when it’s very obvious from the conversation that this is the case. Every little thing is pointed out through dialogue as if the audience is too dense to see it on their own. It’s tiresome, and it makes the conversations feel wooden, since no one ever talks like this in real life.


How very insightful…

The characters are also very stiff, as if they’re just going through the motions but don’t have any life to them. I often don’t understand their actions, such as why Kazuma is so in love with cheerleading because his mom did it. He literally pulls out a random box and suddenly tells his best friend this out of the blue, for the first time. It comes so far out of left field that it almost seems like he’s lying. “Hey, my mom used to do this sport and STARTING RIGHT THIS SECOND it is my passion in life as well!!!” A little capricious for a college-age student to decide his one wish is to form an all-male cheerleading club, isn’t it? Cheer Danshi!! is all over the place in many more ways, but I’ll spare it the fine combing process since I’m sure you get the idea by now.

I usually try to entertain at least a shred of optimism after watching only one episode, but Cheer Danshi!! makes it difficult. I’m even more crestfallen than usual because I actually asked to blog this and it ended up being a mess (not the best track record of having good judgement after last season I dealt with Big Order, is it?). I doubt this show has much room for growth, and it looks like it will always perform at this underwhelming level. The underlying directorial style of blatantly explaining character traits instead of showing them through actions isn’t working for me. It’s causing me to feel very distant from the main characters, aside from perhaps the glasses guy who doesn’t know how normal social interactions work.

I don’t know how they did it, but they took the pizzazz of male cheerleading and then immediately ruined it. How can you mess up such a wonderful formula for success? My only hope is that in the future it would up the animation budget for the cheerleading scenes so we could see some better routines. There was also a bit of foreshadowing that Haruki may be afraid of heights, which was the only clever bit of insight we saw this whole episode. I’d tell people to go for Days instead of Cheer Danshi!! in a heartbeat, and Days isn’t even a stellar anime in the grand scheme of things. Cheer Danshi!! isn’t without potential, but it’s pretty much at ground level without much hope of taking off.


Oh, same



A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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5 Responses to “First Impression – Cheer Danshi!!”

  1. skylion says:

    Are they trying to be like, “oh this is reverse psychology” in how they told this one? It’s CHEERleading, so be CHEERFUL.

    Goodness, it was rather dour, I don’t think I’ll be “shopping here” again.

    • Overcooled says:

      Yes, some cheerfulness would be much appreciated. It’s a silly concept. Be silly!!

      • Di Gi Kazune says:

        You seriously did not expect it to be a boy’s version of some sunny non-cheerleading show, did you?

  2. zztop says:

     I think this show is just full of hot air.

    I haven’t read the source novel for this, but I think the main problem is the anime following the source material too closely, especially if the novel had these reflective, dour moments.
    I’m reminded of the Free! prequel novels, which were more stoic and serious compared to the anime. Basically Cheer’s lacking that flamboyant spark the Free! anime had.

    • Overcooled says:

      Ah, I see. I’m not sure exactly what the source is like but if it’s more serious then I wish the anime had made it more flashy. Free! had the right idea going on for sure!

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