Green Green TV
Long long ago, a man and a woman fell in love. For some reason or another, their love was forbidden at that time and they could never be together. They promised that when they were reborn they would be together.
Many ages later, in modern Japan, the rural Kanenone High School is about to try a one month experiment in coeducational existence. Wacky hijinks will ensue and a little bit of love is about to blossom at this mountain school.
After finishing Green Green TV, I spent a while in thought. It isn't that the show really is particularly thought provoking. In fact, it is quite the opposite. What I was trying to figure out was why I disliked this show so intensely. Element by element, I've seen shows with flimsier plots, more fan service, more annoying humor and yet I still found this show unusually bad. I decided it was the result of a synergistic process. A combination of elements that may and may not be bad in of themselves (though many were) combined with a laughable attempt to try and pretend this show is actually some sort of sweet romance story instead of what it really is: puerile, pointless, and sometimes even offensive.
As I hinted earlier, there is a lot of fan service in this show. Even the opening sequence has the various appear naked at first, after which clothes are placed on them bit by bit. Almost every episode features some sort of flimsily constructed excuse to see a girl nude, in her underwear, or in absence of an actual direct plot scene to that effect, they make sure to include a fantasy sequence of that nature. Many of the female characters are bit bustier on average and it is rare to have a scene where a female character's breasts don't visibly bounce. Now fan service and nudity in and of themselves don't particularly bother me (heck I just got done watching Najica Blitz Tactics, which I enjoyed), but a show is going to have to have something else going for it besides just fan service for me to enjoy it. Just flashing a little T&A in lieu of actual interesting plots, characters, or at least entertaining humor or action is just going to end up annoying me.
Romantic comedies are often made or broken by their characters and in this particular area Green Green falls completely flat. The main male characters are, for the most part, basically obsessively creepy pervert stalkers. At several times in the show, they tried to make it seem like the viewer was supposed to empathize with them trying to show their "true feelings" but quite frankly they all came off just weird and disturbing. For one thing, most of the male characters don't even seem to spare a second's thought about the idea that the object of their affections are actual human beings. Instead, the girls are just props for the self-centered and often vaguely disturbing fantasies of these "wacky" boys.
The female cast fares no better. While one could argue that at least most of the males got development (of sorts), most of the female characters are shallow constructs based around a few basic archetypes (pervert "ugly" girl, weird girl, quiet girl). Even the female romantic lead, Midori, is annoyingly shallow as a character. I suppose we were supposed to be impressed by her deep connection to the male lead, but she just comes off as a flighty obsessive who has no personality other than, "I love Yuusuke!" Part of this is the result of the contrived way she is supposed to be connected to the aforementioned male lead. They just mention that they were in love in a past life (this isn't a spoiler, they mention it at the beginning of EVERY episode) but never showed much of it. I can understand why Yuusuke finds her annoying. There is no actual viewer emotional investment in their pseudo-relationship since it all happened off-screen. She doesn't even seem to try and win his affection gradually but instead just constantly throws herself at him.
There are two characters who actually do get some decent character work: Yuusuke and another female character, the strong-willed Futaba. Yuusuke seems to be one of the few males in the show who isn't a creepy pervert. Futaba starts off seemingly one dimensional as the aggressive anti-male female, but given that Yuusuke's friends keep doing everything they can to antagonize the women, her reactions makes sense. I have a feeling this show could had been a lot stronger, overall, if they simply would have jettisoned half the cast and focused a bit more on Yuusuke, Futaba, and Midori. It doesn't help that instead of focusing the romance a bit more tightly, early on they seem to pointlessly muddy the waters with several girls seemingly becoming interested in Yuusuke. The harem angle was thankfully toned down quickly. It can be amusing if it is done well, but it was not coming off well in this show.
There isn't much real plot to Green Green. The final few episodes suddenly clarify a few of the background points in what ends up being a painfully contrived scenario that results in a somewhat abrupt shift in the personality of the main characters. I will note the final couple of episodes actually managed to have some decent dramatic intensity, but even that is overshadowed by how forced the entire plot has become at that point and just the crude shadow of the ten episodes that preceded it.
For the most part I just didn't find the humor in Green Green funny. As I noted earlier, most of the male characters end up involved in various scenarios that are more vaguely creepy than funny. Sex and teenage sexuality can be a very amusing topic if handled well but when we just have three creepy losers talk about how many times they pleasure themselves each day or say...being molested by bears (and yes I'm serious about the bears) well that just doesn't do it for me. Excluding the somewhat normal Yuusuke, the other guys just were not likable. Just having failed wacky plans to seduce women is one thing but half the time these guys even try to openly go for the women physically. It is supposed to be comedic as we see the women dodge (or in Futaba's case beat them up), but the implied willingness of these guys to sexually assault women was a bit disturbing and somewhat offensive.
The art and design work was actually fairly good, but that is to be expected considering this is such a recent show. The music wasn't particularly spectacular but the opening and ending themes are kind of catchy. This wasn't enough of an action intensive title to really test the limits of the animators but the animation was, for the most part, smooth.
All that doesn't save this title though. Green Green is the kind of show that gives anime a bad name.
When I started watching this show I was hoping that it would be, perhaps, a raunchy but still entertaining romantic comedy with a touch of sweetness, a sort of anime American Pie. Those hopes were quickly dashed as I realized despite the 'true love reincarnation' angle, this is really just a show mostly about creepy guys leering at women and getting involved in various rather unfunny (and sometimes disturbing) scenarios. The weak character development for most the cast only intensified my disdain. — Jeremy A Beard
Recommended Audience: Green Green has quite a bit of nudity and fan service. Actually, a moderate amount of violence from the losers getting beaten up but nothing too severe in that regard. There are no directly shown sexual encounters but many of the fantasies of some of the male characters get pretty steamy at points. We do have some monkeys (yes monkeys!) semi-molest a girl and a bear sexually assault a guy but you don't see most of it directly (and I thank the heavens for that). They don't dance around necessarily talking directly about sex on occasion at times. So I guess what I'm saying is that you should show this to every preschooler you can...or maybe not. This isn't a hentai title but it does really push at that border at times. Probably should stick to older teens.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Green Green TV © 2003 Kanenone BOD / Pony Canyon / Pony Canyon Enterprises / Studio Matrix / GROOVER
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