If you desire a solid 22 minutes of action-packed laughs in one of the most unique approaches to a genre of animation then ‘Keijo!!!!!!!!’ is the series for you
To many, the world of anime is one based solely in absurdity, yelling, and scantily clad females, and were ‘Keijo!!!!!!!!’ to mark their first tentative steps into this world then they would not be far off the mark. However, these steps would also be some of the most enjoyable they could take into a series that offers complex undertones, but is, at its core, an overwhelming fun take on the sporting anime genre.
Welcome to the boob-smashing, booty-battling world of Keijo, where girls take on girls with nothing more than their bounciest assets. Former gymnast Nozomi Kaminashi can’t wait to bring home the big bucks, because in this competitive sport where girls knock each other off floating platforms, winners get paid and losers get soaked!
Were you to simply read the synopsis for the series, you may be mislead into believing it to be a highly sexualised production that ventures into hentai territory - but you could not be further from the truth. Admittedly, the main “weapon” in this sport is the rather buxom assets of their female players, but the manner in which they are used is far more comedic than it is sexual. The reference to technique and interplay of characters veer far from tastes of objectifying women, and sit far more closer to a parody of what many expect is watched by the “perverted anime viewer”. A booby slap to the face that renders players unconscious, for example, is near impossible not to laugh at, with many of the players’ moves making butts and boobs appear as asexual of an objects as a foil or boxing glove.
As with all successful series, there is more to the anime than the mere action of the sport itself. The main protagonist, Nozomi Kaminashi, is the perfect anchor of the series, able to both set the bar in levels absurdity and humor, but balance them against a deeply seeded passion, drive, and doubt. It is also quite refreshing to see that she it not an inhumanely overpowered player, but is at risk of, and often does, lose matches and displays a range of weaknesses on which she can improve.
Both Nozomi and the anime itself treat the art of Keijo ias of much of a professional sport as football, judo, or tennis, with the players requiring adept physical fitness, original techniques, and ability to read their opponents movements.
Of course, in keeping with its perpetually upbeat tone, moments of serious sporting contemplation are juxtaposed with the more frivolous interests in the sports, such as one character professing her involvement in the sport is simply to earn a personal bikini designer. It is an original and inspired take on the sporting genre that proves physical excellence and fun are not mutually exclusive traits.
The animation, storyboarding, and art direction has raised the bar for action-oriented anime, pulling the audience into the energy of the match with its choice of angles. The outlining of the characters is also notable for varied thickness, giving greater depth to the design and maintaining the interest of each frame. For a series largely set around the water, the selection of blue tones is superb ad speaks volumes of the skill of the art department in their ability o energise every wave, bubble, and splash.
If you are wanting a deeply ruminating series that will lead you to an existential crisis then ‘Keijo!!!!!!!!’ is not for you. However, if you desire a solid 22 minutes of action-packed laughs in one of the most unique approaches to a genre of animation then this is very much the series for you. You would do yourself a great disservice to dismiss the series as perverted merely by its description, as after watching the first episode alone it is clear that while it borders on absurd, it is a smartly planned and inspiring production.