Episodes 1-2 (Streaming on Crunchyroll)
“The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” – Eden Phillpotts
Previous reviews by several anime critics, me included, have in the past described the swimming-based anime Free! as being the gayest show in the world not featuring anyone who is actually gay (except in the minds of viewers). I think I can say, with a 100% degree of confidence, that this is no longer the case.
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! must also be the campest thing in the world. This anime is camper than Julian Clary, Louie Spence, Alan Carr and Bruno Tonioli glamping in San Francisco – and that’s no bad thing. This show is a wonderfully funny parody of magical girls in general, and indeed it has many great comic moments in its own right.
The series begins with two boys in a bathhouse: bespectacled Atsushi Kinugawa and lazy En Yufuin, who are third years at the all-boys Binan High School. While bathing they suddenly find their bath occupied by a talking pink wombat, who insists that they help him save the world with the power of love. But before the wombat can go on to explain more, he flees after being chased by the bathhouse owner’s son Yumoto Hakone, who loves cute animals and is a first year at the same school.
The next day, Kinugawa and Yufuin go to school where they find their homeroom teacher, Mr. Tawarayama, carrying the wombat. They try to escape, but things become more complicated when Yumoto comes onto the scene, eager to hug the wombat again. Kinugawa and Yufuin make their way to the school club, the “Earth Defense Club”, which is an organization that doesn’t really do anything. The other members are second year students Ryu Zaou, who keeps trying to flirt with girls, and Io Naruko, who keeps making money on the stock market.
Eventually, the four meet up again with Yumoto and the wombat who is now cuddled-out. The wombat reveals himself to be from another planet and gives the five boys special bracelets, called “Lovracelets”. Soon a strange monster attacks the school and the quintet go out to try and help, which results in all sorts of bizarre things. Firstly the find themselves automatically barking out embarrassing statements to the target about love, while striking strange poses. Then they end up kissing their Lovracelets, exclaiming the phrase “Love Making”, and undergoing a weird transformation in which they find themselves in bizarre costumes. With the wombat’s guidance, they defeat the monster, but the Earth Defense Club are unaware of the cause. It turns out to be the student council, who are actually the “Conquest Club” of three students: Kinshiro Kusatsu, Ibushi Arima and Akoya Gero, who are guided by a talking green hedgehog from the Planet Evil called Lord Zundar.
In the episodes broadcast so far, the Earth Defense Club have mainly been battling monsters, who are actually students controlled by Zundar, that are possessed by some sort of minor problem. One student, for example, likes things to be even, so when he keeps breaking his disposable chopsticks because they do not break evenly, he is transformed into a chopstick monster. At this moment in time the Earth Defense Club are unaware of the Conquest Club. All they do know is that the reason why the wombat is always with Mr. Tawarayama is because the wombat accidentally knocked him unconscious, nearly killing him while he was fleeing from Yumoto. The wombat thus stays with Mr. Tawarayama to preserve the body.
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! has so far proven itself to be a highly entertaining show, mainly because of the knowing parody it contains. The series mocks all of the normal magical girl tropes, whether it is the poses, the lines that are spouted, the transformations, or the attacks. The only real difference is the fact that you have male characters instead of female ones.
The characters themselves are also a big plus point. Again you have all the standard troupes mocked, which puts me in mind of one of my favourite anime: Ouran High School Host Club. Of course that is a harem series, and so far there have been no female characters – unless in a later episode some female parody of Tuxedo Mask appears. But, as in Ouran, just about all the typical romantic types are covered: Yumoto is your shota-type akin to Honey; Zaou is a bit like the romantic flirt Tamaki making him the Princely-type; money-manipulating Naruko is the Little Devil-type like the Hitachin twins; bespectacled Kinugawa certainly qualifies appearance-wise and probably in terms of attitude to Cool-type Kyoya; and Yufuin thus ends up akin to being like the Strong, Silent-type Mori; but rather than being quiet, Yufuin just can’t be bothered to make the effort. All you are missing is the Haruhi-like Natural-type and I’m not sure that a pink wombat qualifies.
But let’s not forget the real reason that people will enjoy this programme is the one thing most people will probably not admit to. Let’s be honest, we all knew that as soon as the concept of five attractive boys akin to magical girls was revealed that every fujoshi and fudanshi was preparing to write quite a lot fan fiction. While the boys in this anime may currently hate the position they are in, in our heads the boys love other things, which may also involve Love Making.
Hopefully the anime will keep up the quality of the first two episodes. At the moment it looks like a series that should certainly be a highlight of this season.