When we talk about cute stuff, we almost immediately think of it in relation to girls. But if I’m going to be talking about cute anime, I can’t ignore a conversation about how it’s ascribed to boys. I’m sure some of you can name plenty of examples of cute boys in anime; heck, I can too. But this time, we’re talking about this magical boy series that came out recently. Why? Because it’s got “Cute” in its name!
Cute High Earth Defense Club Love (Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love) puts us in an anime that’s all about the boys! The boys of Binan High’s Earth Defense Club, made up of Yumoto, Atsushi, Io, En, and Ryu, spend a typical day lounging around talking about who-knows-what and doing absolutely nothing productive with their lives. But then one day, a pink talking Wombat appears along with a teacher who turns out to be a walking corpse, warning these ordinary boys that their world is threatened by evil forces that feed on negative emotions. Wombat then bestows them with a unique power to transform into magical boys!
Together with their new powers, these Battle Lovers must fight evil through the power of “Love-Making!” (no really, that’s the actual dialogue in the series).
Not gonna lie. This was actually a really fun series to watch. It’s not BL, but they try to push those limits to what can be shown on TV! A lot of the content is pretty ridiculous, but if you can appreciate that this is a parody of everything girls do in other anime, you will be laughing too!
There is certainly no shortage of guys in this show, but I suppose some may fear the lack of “masculinity” going on here, too. What else would you expect of a series where there aren’t any girls around to balance things out? Ryu likes to talk about all his girl friends, but we never see a single one! And there was one questionable female beach shack waitress in the obligatory swim suit episode, and her display as such is, shall we say, very peculiar.
But then again, there are also plenty of anime shows out there where the girl/boy ratio is absurdly high, that shows like this one need to balance out those gender-saturated shenanigans.
But these Battle Lovers aren’t just goofing around doing meaningless stuff. Binan’s student council has an oddly-colored mascot of their own, Zundar, who will be stirring up a lot of trouble! Zundar’s goal is unknown until the final episode, but his sinister plan includes transforming emotionally unstable boys into monsters bound by some material thing that emphasizes more of their misfortune! And what makes it even worse is that this green hedgehog can do it all with a permanent grin on his face!
But of course, with every episode, Zundar’s and the rest of the student council’s plans are always foiled by our colorful heroes. And before you can say “Love is over,” they must always shower love over their foes to show that love is good, and that love conquers all!
Doesn’t make a lot of sense? This is a parody! It’s not supposed to make sense, at least not to most people! Cute anime shows like to spread the message of Love and Friendship and Rainbows and stuff all over the place like it’s going out of style! But we see it so much that we may not recognize those messages, from the truly beautiful things that we identify with on a personal level to the less-fulfilling cute stuff that glosses over it.
This series may be overtly cute for some, but realize that its subject is cuteness coming from boy characters! If you want cuteness done right, leave it to the boys, because cute things are judged heavily under a male-oriented perspective!
Now let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. If you thought I was serious, I may as well say that this is the manliest cute show I’ve ever seen; but who cares? Masculinity and femininity are arbitrary labels we put on quasi-typical behaviors of men and women anyway. And besides, maybe it’s time for us to realize that some of these gags we see in a lot of anime are quite overused and outdated. On the other hand, some of them just need a refreshing new look and a new perspective!
But don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of moments in this series that do emphasize love in a positive manner. I mean, how could they not? They’re the Battle Lovers! From a meaningless conversation at the bathhouse to a lifelong promise to a friend, love takes on many forms. They don’t always have to be romantic!
And so to end this review, and this month on “Cuteness,” I will leave you with some final words from Battle Lover Scarlet.
So if you’re looking for an anime that turns the whole concept of cuteness upside down, watch Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! In the coming month, I will be featuring more anime reviews under the theme of Liberation. Until then, enjoy the cute stuff!