Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! is a bit of a funny series for me (in more than just the comedic sense). I’m definitely on-board – I understand what this show is selling and I’m buying it. But as a subject for blogging purposes it’s pretty problematical. Comedies are generally the hardest series to cover, but character-driven comedies (like Working!) are the easiest among them. Situation comedies like Minami-ke are somewhat harder, and then there are straight-out gag series like this one. When they work they’re hilarious, and this one works often enough to be very rewarding – but the gags are what they are. So what does one write about in a blog post?
It is indeed a conundrum. Sometimes a series like Hoozuki no Reitetsu can be so brilliant that these articles more or less write themselves on a good week, but Binan Koukou isn’t on that level. And you can’t fall back on a catalog of satirical references, because the satire here is almost entirely genre (mahou shoujo) related rather than literary or historical, thus pretty much speaks for itself (though I do have to call out the Peanuts reference this week for particular praise, and the run of English dialogue that culminated in Wombat’s “Don’t touch me!” was pretty hilarious).
So where does that leave me? Enjoying the series, certainly, but unsure of what form weekly posts might take. This show would be a perfect candidate for a digest post, but there’s really nothing else on the schedule this season that matches up. And it’s really the only bubble series of the season, which is a weak one to begin with, so I’d hate not to cover it. I guess for now I’ll free-associate my reactions to the episodes, and see how it goes from there.
So for this week, what jumped out for me was the sheer randomness of the episode. What I see here is part of the continuing process of deconstructing the genre, showing us how the plot quickly becomes secondary to the form – what’s important is that the characters perform the dance every week, whatever ridiculous and nonsensical premise is devised to get them into the act. The villain-dupe-of-the-week this time had no backstory at all – we met him about two seconds before the Zandarbolt zapped him and turned him into what looked like a cross between a remote control and a squid. Why did Sousa Enkaku (Eguchi Takuya) have a chip on his shoulder about control issues – and why did he turn into a squid and not just a giant remote control (whatever the cause, his rant about why remotes were created and the dangers they represent was a comedic home run)? Some questions are perhaps best left unasked.
In fact, the entire “crisis” this week was really a premise to cause a panic amongst the Love Squad as they were being hassled by student reporter Kinosaki (also an onsen) Kou (Morikubo Showtaro), which was complicated by the fact that Wombat seems finally to have had his fill of Yumoto’s cuddle-abuse and has literally left Tawarayama-sensei to rot (or at least mold). Kinosaki, as it happens, appears to be working for a third animal-controlled faction – it’s a goldfish who’s pulling his strings – and his “story” was merely an excuse for a spy mission. And I confess I’m starting to get very curious to see what Takamatsu and Yokote are building up to with Sugita-san’s Gora character, who seems to show up for no good reason 30 seconds before the end of every episode – knowing the parties involved, I’m expecting something pretty spectacular (and baka).