This series is not rated very high on MAL—something that should have prepared me for what was to come.
I was intrigued by the premise of this anime, one that focuses on the maturation period when kids begin to grow into teenagers. Puberty is in full swing and the concept of gender identity and the norms that are attributed to them begin to dawn upon those with the awareness to live by them. I went into Kyou no 5 no 2 thinking that it would be a light-hearted, but serious look at the life of kids changing in ways they don’t entirely understand through everyday interaction. What I got was an excuse to flaunt the bodies of pre-teen girls through means of misunderstandings.
What is it about anime in general that love to use misunderstandings to provide humor? Especially those of a sexual nature? Perhaps there are many more people who find the concept hysterical, because it appears everywhere, while it only makes me want to groan loud enough for people in Japan to complain about the noise. These unexpected situations where characters are suddenly on top of each other, staring into each other’s eyes, when another character comes in and believes they’ve stumbled upon a private practice, running away with their tail between their legs. What is so amusing about these scenes? Of course, most of the time these scenes are used with teenagers, more rarely with adults. But Kyou no 5 no 2 takes the taboo up a notch and does it with children. Have you ever wanted to imagine the scenario of two eleven-year-olds giving each other oral sex in a closed equipment room outside the school? If so, this anime may be the answer to your sexually-fueled, pre-teen fantasies.
Now, if you enjoy the idea of kids getting into precariously risque situations due to their growing curiosity of the things they see on TV or their parents doing, I don’t really care. Think what you will and feel what you feel matters to you. In my own mind, this anime borders upon disgusting. The characters in this anime are a little too young for my taste to be subjected to the sexual nature of the more popularized “humor” being put forth in standard anime fare. Nothing within Kyou no 5 no 2 ever gets to the point where it becomes obscenely graphic, but it pushes the boundaries every so often. That excerpt above about the closed equipment room? Inspired by a scene from this very anime. Aside from this, it holds no qualms about showing skin, chests, butts, and girls acting mature in a child-like manner. No nudity here, but it teases it periodically. I’m almost afraid the feds may get me for having an anime like this within my history.
Of course, everything I’ve said thus far is only one spectrum of what the show has to offer. Despite what I may make it seem, Kyou no 5 no 2 is not all kiddie porn. There is a slice of life setting to the show that is dedicated to kids being kids. They’re eccentric, petty, competitive, and eager to believe every bit of gossip, rumor, or information they’ve garnered from outside sources in an attempt to feel superior to one another. It’s a common theme to have children rough-housing despite the differences in gender, as either side just wants to play and have fun, and the anime does this wonderfully. Whether or not that has any involvement of one’s enjoyment of the show is another topic, but I found myself mildly entertained with the differences in characters’ personalities bouncing off one another. If only I could say the same about what these characters show individually.
One character in particular is Ryouta, the lead male character in the series. He is gruff, eager to play, and horribly oblivious to the feelings and hidden desires of those around him. He stands as the “butt of the joke” of the series, constantly being regarded as stupid, weak, short, and losing in any challenge he participates in. He gets probably the most screentime of any character, flaunting his loser shtick in all sorts of different situations (some not of his own doing), and for this, he easily becomes the most annoying. I’m not picking on the loser to feel like the winner, I assure you. Most of the characters in this show are one-dimensional, serving in their respective personality types to better establish the comedy or fan service of the show, but Ryouta being the one most shown becomes the most memorably repetitive. He gets into trouble with his classmates and is subjected to punishment or humiliation. Hahaha. Something or another gets him roped into a sexually-charged situation with a female classmate. He freaks out. Hahaha. He talks big and then can’t back it up. Hahaha. The amount of linearity with the execution of every episode is something to be noted. It’s very low-brow and doesn’t allow much creativity or variety in the kids’ everyday lives. Never does the show ever seriously look at the changes the kids make as they slowly grow older, looking at things they wouldn’t look at in a different light. Instead, every episode relies on random, sexually-charged humor and kids being kids from beginning to end.
Kids being kids isn’t necessarily a negative attribute for a show as basic as Kyou no 5 no 2. The first, and perhaps the second episodes of the series were relatively harmless and captured the spirit of how kids behave in the settings they’re placed in. They can be a tad ridiculous sometimes, but it works with the context that the series tries so hard to cram down your throat. I didn’t begin to squint with dismay until near the halfway point in the series, when the show began to rely more on using Ryouta as a scapegoat and using the girls as mannequins. For the sake of mindless amusement, the first few episodes of Kyou no 5 no 2 will serve well enough to hold one over for their kiddie comedy kinks.
Another aspect of the anime I liked was the use of fluctuating art styles. When a serious/mature situations was unfolding within the scene, the characters’ faces would shift to that of an older version of their original design, highlighting that sense of growth they’re going through with their in-between ages. And highlighting the sexual tension, but we’re done with that. This was something I thought would serve well as an indicator of what these kids’ viewed as mature or how they perceived transitioning into that grown-up state would be like. Unfortunately, it’s more used for comedy than anything else, deterring the potential of growth these kids could have by series’ end. When not shown in that level of detail, the design of the characters are, putting it mildly, blocky. They’re almost chibi-like in nature, with very little indications of noses, chins, or even closed mouths. They’re quite shiny, too, almost giving them a heavenly look that they don’t deserve. I don’t much care for the look, but again, should they have used it to embody their youth and transition to teenagehood, I would’ve been more inclined to enjoy it as a means of interpretation. Animation-wise, the show is fine for its time. Nothing special, nothing fantastic. It’s there.
I felt I spent a majority of this entry typing up subjective arguments for why this show is gross rather than pinpointing its quality. In any case, there isn’t much reason one could go into this anime expecting anything more than juvenile fanfare. The humor is based around standard ecchi rom-coms only with kids instead of teenagers. The slice of life factor is there for those wanting a more relaxed experience, but the characters are anything but relaxed, cutting off that feeling of tranquility. It’s a tough footing for Kyou no 5 no 2, but it seems to dilute itself in every regard with its style of execution. Perhaps the OVA series this version was based on does a better job with less time on its hands, but seeing as this was a near-direct interpretation, I’d feel more comfortable passing up what would likely be nothing new.
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.