Keijo, an anime airing this season is the exciting tale of a sport where girls battle in swimsuits using only their boobs and butt. Oh my God, oh no how could they have made such a sinful and distasteful show. Now they’ve done it. Uh my medium of choice is in pieces. No. Keijo is amazing, let me explain why I believe this okay.
Keijo takes place in a world where this sport is a high class gambling game. It’s on par with horse racing and poker. This is a big sport that young girls try to get into, the athletes are paid big bucks and work their bodies to top form. What you’ll realize right away is, they’re serious. This idea of a silly sport where girls clash with their assets is played off dead serious. In the first episode Nozomi arrives at the school to train and everyone engages in a big battle. We have characters in one pieces jumping around, smashing into each other, calling out ridiculous battle names, and it’s so fun. The action is smooth and their are thick lines to create a classic shounen vibe. The hits boast heavy impacts and the characters mean it.
The very idea of Keijo is goofy, but the show exists in a world of it’s own. The girls aren’t embarrassed or ashamed of what they’re doing, in fact they view it as normal, like any other kind of sport. As the series goes on Nozomi accidentally lets off a big attack, the Vacuum Butt Canon. An ultimate finishing move where she flips around, twists her waist and unleashes a massive blast of air. It’s a devastating move that could injure her back, ruining her entire career.Sounds familiar eh, a little like…the Dempsey Roll? Later the coach warns her not to use it but upon seeing Nozomi’s motivation she lets her train in a weird constrictive rubber suit. After a week or so in the suit Nozomi is stronger but needs to make up for the added butt muscle.
So what we basically have is a silly and fun comedy ecchi that has actually stakes and reasons to care about the cast. Every character has their own motivations and specials moves. It’s no world class team, but they all train and are seriously passionate about the sport, which is just a game of smashing into each other. By creating easy to connect with characters the show allows us to maximize enjoyment while laughing at the silliness. They’re learning ass-trology and boob-ology in class, Nozomi’s uprooting turnips with her bum, Aoba massages everyone’s tush to gain intel, it’s surreal at times, and this is the very core of the comedy.
By having a world where everything is played straight, the nature of the situation is made even more hilarious. No one is breaking the illusion that Keijo is a super serious sport, the girls train and fight hard. The show is balls to the wall in it’s approach, there isn’t any nudity but it’s an unabashed ecchi show that is not scared to roll with it’s themes. It goes all in on it. Nothing is shameful or embarrassing, they just slam their butts together and clash. There is no lame male character to nose bleed and bring it down, it’s straight up boobs and butt combat. It’s an idea so silly that it completely works.
Keijo knows it’s dumb and it rolls with it, delivering what the audience wants in a fun way. The blonde girl is the most sexual part of the series, literally assaulting Nozomi on multiple occasions. There are also some moments of typical fanservice, but this is to be expected. The show markets and presents itself as an ecchi fest, but it’s not these moments in the changing room that define the show, it’s the comedic execution and likable cast that make it all work. It can be compared to Prison School in this way, while not nearly as well written and funny, Keijo makes the absurd serious and gives some eye candy along the way.
Fanservice is a big topic in the anime world, everyone has a different stance. Some like it, others are indifferent and many hate every single flash of a panty or bounce of a breast. Either way Keijo is not tricking anyone, it sells itself with an idea to attract the ecchi audience but does a little more then give big breasts and plump bums. I will not get into the fanservice debate, as my views are simple. There’s a time and place for everything, and this is that time and place. I am a fan of absurd things, I like wackiness and I love that this medium can give us ridiculous shows like this.
Keijo is no masterpiece however it’s a good time ecchi which is something we need more of. It’s a fun show, taken seriously, that creates a likable and passionate cast who display good sportsmanship and train hard. It’s ridiculous and knows how to play itself to maximize laughs. Keijo is not for everyone, but those who can enjoy a well made ecchi and don’t take things so seriously it hurts, might find secret brilliance in this production.