We’ve pretty much graduated from subtext to flat-out “text” on Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! LOVE! at this point. It was probably a mistake to watch this episode on the train, even setting aside whatever anyone who might have caught a glimpse of my laptop would have thought. The poorly-suppressed guffaws emanating from the guy wth the earbuds probably gave a few commuters pause this morning.
Even for a series that flaunts its guest stars pretty openly, pairing off Koyama Rikiya against Namikawa Daisuke is a pretty big coup. Koyama-san plays Munakata Shigoki, the captain of the volleyball club and more more importantly, a guy with serious problems. He can’t stop talking about his balls (seriously – he loves talking about his balls), he’s just chased away the only other member of the club, and he’s twenty-six years old and still in high school because he won’t graduate until he’s competed in a tournament. Finding someone to receive his balls is the least of this dude’s problems.
Originally that someone was Oka Shuzo (Namikawa), but after he proves himself incapable of dealing wth the sheer power of Munakata’s balls, the captain kicks him out of the club (and his life). By a freak chance he sees Yumoto make a great dig on the ball he’s just spiked through the window of the gym in anger, and the next day he holds Yumoto’s bladder hostage unless he agrees to join the club and bring four (how convenient) members with him. The best part of this sequence is that the Earth Defense Club is talking about volleyball (how to spell it, what the Japanese name “Haikyu” means) in the bath later – before Yumoto brings up the fact that he’s volunteered everyone to join the Volleyball Club.
First of all, I didn’t know the word “Haikyuu” was Japanese for volleyball (well, duh I guess), but I don’t think that part about the “Hai” being the same Kanji as “excrement” is true (for starters I don’t think you even write the word in Kanji). But that’s the least silly thing that happens in the remainder of this extremely silly episode. One of my favorite elements is Dadacha suddenly revealing himself to be the nurturing mother type, whipping up all kinds of tasty hotpots to soothe his angsty boys. And he does it all while wearing frilly kitchen aprons and such – how cute was that? All of a sudden Ao has a new rival, and this one wants to take over the world.
At this point Shuzo-kun enters the picture, and Namikawa really takes the limiters off. VEPPer ends up turning him into “Boba-yan“, a black volleyball monster who wants desperately to be polished so he’ll shine. The one he really wants to shine him is Munakata of course, and Shuzo makes a pretty easy mark for Yumoto & company’s love attack. It’s no great mystery how this will end up, but the sheer lunacy Koyama and Namikawa bring to the table makes it all a major blast. There’s no doubt in my mind that Binan Koukou is crazier than ever this season, and it’s definitely a better show because of it.