>Recently, I’ve been
kidnapped coerced happily recruited into our friendly review family. There’s a slight problem. Namely, I’m a complete idiot when it comes to anime, manga, and everything Japanese. I haven’t seen more than two or three episodes of an anime since middle school when I watched Dragonball Z. For some reason, someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to bring me in anyway, for an “outsider’s perspective”.I think they were desperate.
The fuck is this Mongolian cartoon shit?
Out of sadism In an attempt to give me the experience I require to properly review further works, they’ve asked me to review Chu-Bra. Already sore from the day’s previous punishments, I was strapped to a chair and left to silently weep, blood drying on my face while the video played.
ON A RELATED NOTE, I HAVE $5000 CASH AND APPROVE OF THE POLICE. JUST PUTTING THAT OUT THERE.
Driven half an inch from the precipice of total mental collapse, I painfully nudged the “Play” button with my shattered toe, knowing the consequences of refusal.
Oh god, the beatings...
I came in with extremely low expectations. My
kidnappers benefactors? Giving me something I’d like to see? Doubtful. An anime about a middle school girls’ underwear club? Even worse. I didn’t understand how a show centered around that could possibly be worth watching. In some ways it filled those expectations, in some ways it didn’t. At this point I’d like to say it was better than the absurdly low bar I set for it when first watching it, but that also isn’t saying much. Overall, mixed opinion. I can say one thing for sure though: this show can be a little bizarre.
The plot is fairly straightforward. Our protagonist, Nayu Hayama, tests underwear. Her brother, left to take care of her following her parents’ deaths in a tragic accident (oh god orphan cliche), supports them both with a job designing underwear. Taking after her grandmother, Nayu is obsessed with underwear and determined to fight against people’s perceptions of it as something dirty. Instead, she sees it as a thing of beauty, just as one might see expensive shoes, a sports car, or a well-designed house. This leads her into wacky hijinks as people mistake her innocent hobby with something more. First a pariah because the school is convinced she wears fancy underwear to either attract older, wealthier men or because she’s an outright prostitute, the gossip and wrong conclusions continue from there.
7th grader? Prostitute? WHAT?
Nayu, after initial opposition from incredulous, conservative teachers, begins an underwear club. While at first she struggles to gain members, she eventually makes a breakthrough, gatheringenough students to keep it going. Nayu helps young girls in the club, doing things like helping them learn their bra size, instructing them on how to put a bra on properly, and teaching them how to know if their bras are improperly placed. Outside of the club she lends her aid to her friends, designing a bra for Yako that doesn’t slip off her undeveloped chest, for example.
The first and one of the most pervasive elements of this show is fan service. Lots and lots of fan service. In the intro, in the ending, everywhere in between. The creators can’t let the characters do so much as walk down the hall without an upskirt before moving up to their faces. While I’m not prudish enough to discredit a show just based on that, it does
start to get a little irksome after a while. Yes. We get it. They’re girls. They have underwear and that underwear covers up fun things. Great. You don’t need to have a shot of it every single time you change scenes
. There’s occasional fan service, and then there’s excess. This show fell into the latter category, which seemed to detract from other elements.
To some extent, this struck me as a conflict of audiences. The fan service is clearly an attempt to reach out towards a teenage male demographic. Give a glimpse of some bras, flash some panties, have the girls grope each other a bit, and in a few cases show bare boobs,
exactly what you’d expect a stereotypical teenage guy to love. At the same time, it seems to have contradictory subject matter. Early examples include Haruka’s harassment by her grade’s boys over her large chest and Yako self-consciousness about her comparative flatness, things one would hardly expect the same viewers to care about. Combined with some educational statements about bras and how to use them, Chu-Bra seems to simultaneously reach in completely opposite directions. Some gender neutral comedy is thrown in the mix in an attempt to tie them both together.
Ultimately, this effort to merge audiences falls short of its intended effect. As a guy, I couldn’t sympathize with the characters as much as I otherwise would have. That is, I understood their situations andwhy it would make them feel bad. But I’m not a woman. I’ve never had woman-only problems. Without that personal connection it doesn’t have the same effect it might have on, say, an adolescent girl. At the same time, I’m beyond the point where fan service really does anything for me. If I wanted to see boobs that badly, I have plenty of other avenues.
My porn library has a vast selection.
The one thing left, comedy wasn’t enough to truly endear me to the show. Some of it was really bland. A few jokes were genuinely funny. Even when I thought it was humorous, I never found it enough to make me laugh out loud. As a whole, the humor failed to truly capture my attention. There were some funny moments, but it didn’t seem to justify my spending the time to watch it.While it had a few good things going for it, I couldn’t help but be disinterested. Some of the elements seemed to directly clash, and the positives weren’t strong enough to redeem the show. I can’t say I enjoyed Chu-Bra, but I also can’t say it was painfully bad. But you know what I would enjoy? Getting out of this basement. Please help.
They’re watching me even now.