Daily Lives of High School Boys
Yoshitake, Tadakuni and Hidenori are three high school boys living the.... life, doing everything one step at a time; turning a random stick of wood into an RPG, having weird talks about wind with the book-loving girl near the river, attending school and trying on their sisters' underwear.
Comedy can be a very subjective thing. Maybe the most subjective thing of all... except maybe politics. And religion, possibly. Is that the two go-to excuses when it comes to edgy or potentially touchy material? The last case where vitriol was flung around was when Kyoto Animation announced they would make the show Free, which... that's right. Sexism! Another hot button topic.
I... I was going somewhere with this. I think.
Daily Lives of High School Boys subscribes to this random unloading of events, and it's hardly the first to do so. However, where this show can lay claim to a bit of originality is that it's probably the first show about nothing where the main cast is made up of boys. It's the voice of a new generation.
Oh, wait. Cromartie High School is older than this show, come to think of it.
Our main trio -- Yoshitake, Tadakuni and Hidenori -- make up the majority of the plot events. Hidenori in particular -- voiced by Sugita Tomokazu and perhaps best known for Kyon of Haruhi fame -- serves as the dry wit of the show, often commenting on all the weirdness going on despite often causing it as well. Most of his dialogue is priceless, particularly from the point where he gets involved in the life of Yassan, aka "The Book-loving Girl", and their many future pretentious dialogues centered around wind. His internal monologues make much of the humor of this show, and half of the fun is in the delivery.
Yoshitake and Tadakuni are his two best friends, the blonde sometimes idiot and the straight man who's somewhat naive respectively. Together, the three tackle the hard questions in life, like what's up with those short skirts, man. Wouldn't it feel really embarrassing wearing something like that on a windy day? This is but one of the many, many questions passed along between the three of them, none too weird, too dumb or too irrelevant to be left behind.
Of course, the three are hardly the only characters in the show. Why, Daily Lives of High School Boys have a large roster of boys whose lives you will be involved in, one way or the other. There's the other students, like Motoharu, who might look like a thug now, but suffered some pretty heavy bullying from his sister and her friends. There's the student council, a trio of perfectly respectable boys (to which Motoharu is one) and their idiot council president.
And then there are the girls, most of which are judgemental, rude, bossy, stupid and often violent. The aforementioned bullies aside, all our three main characters have female siblings, all with anger management issues of their own, and nowhere else is that taken to the utmost of ironic parodies as in the short "High School Girls are Funky" segments at the end of most of the episodes, where three of the girls, in what is clearly a parody of K-On, bring out the best of the worst of all the girls. Special mention go to Habara, formerly known as the "Arch Demon", who might come across as the more reasonable of the three, but this definitely ties in with her past as a mega bully.
Which is not to say that all the girls in Daily Lives of High School Boys are parodically insane. The show plays the character of Nago-san surprisingly straight. Her looks are fairly plain -- which is a real rarity in anime, particularly when it comes to high school girls -- and while she's certainly aware of it, she's surprisingly sensible too. Then there's Yassan, the book-loving girl. She isn't violent per se, but watching her is like watching a disaster unfold in slow motion.... often with pretentious dialogue about wind, in case I forgot to mention that. She has her own piano theme too, so she has to be important.
Despite its topical normalcy, the best word to explain Daily Lives of High School Boys is "unhinged". The aforementioned girls isn't meant to be an even remotely close representation of reality; rather, it's a bit of a protest statement of the deluge of high school girl shows that's been playing on the wire over these last couple of years, where the all-female cast desperately hinges on staying afloat by being cute or super-duper nice. And while I Would hardly call the boys in this show normal either, for ONCE, we get a somewhat intelligent representation of them, idiosyncracies and all.
Ironic as it might be, I hope this show starts a new trend. While I'm not above liking some of the aforementioned "cute girls doing nothing" shows -- like Hidamari Sketch, for instance -- the anime roster as a whole need more of this stuff, with jokes that challenge gender norms and returns the boy side to a more even keel, far away from the hapless losers or the almost supernatural heroes of the worlds. With clever dialogue and punchline setups and hilarious, hilarious gags, awkward opening episode notwithstanding.
The return of the boys. Watch it; it's awesome. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The boys (and some of the girls) often take curiously realistic damage from all the slapstick violence levelled at them during the show. Outside of that, some of the jokes presented in it can be a bit inappropriate for the younger audience. On the other hand, there is no fanservice in this show.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD, Japanese with English subs only.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Daily Lives of High School Boys © 2012 Square Enix, Sunrise.
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