Short post today, as I’m battling off a cold.
Back in early 2013, I watched GJ-bu. At the time, it was the fastest anime I had ever completed, finishing twelve episodes in the span of about sixteen hours. I was enamored with this new sensation of vivid, candy-colored moe that was taking place in front of me, complete with bubbly, embarrassing situations resulting in playfully vague sexual tension. I’ve made myself known as somewhat of a romanticist in the past, and GJ-bu seemed to hit every sensitive spot for me, which helped thrust it among my favorite slice-of-life shows. This led me to pursue its light novel origin, scouring the web for any sort of extra material to sink my rotting teeth into. These girls had put me under their spell, one I couldn’t escape from for some time.
I broke the spell. It no longer enchants me the way it once did. Even more, the series is actually kind of bad.
Recall series such as Love Hina, which is notorious for being cruel to the oblivious male lead. For whatever reason, Japan seems to have an understanding that using a beta male lead as a punching bag for a group of girls’ hijinks is “funny.” GJ-bu is little different, only without making it obvious that the group of girls around the male lead are infatuated with him. That’s not to say they aren’t, because they are, but one could confuse teasing him due to being shy with teasing him out of a camaraderie within the same club. Despite this lack of harem tendencies, the series still falls in line with those within the genre, as most characters revolve around the desires of the male lead and directly involve him in just about every scenario. The type of attention he receives is almost self-insert-like, though he isn’t entirely fawned over.
Interestingly enough, there were times when re-watching GJ-bu that I became annoyed with the overly antagonistic demeanor of the group of girls. It’s been quite a while since an anime has made me irritated with the execution of its humor. Typically I’m stone-faced, but furrowing my brow and frowning isn’t a natural response. Most of this comes from how long some of the scenes play out, meticulously placing the girls of the group in line to receive an equal amount of the male lead’s attention. Predictable is one thing, but overdrawn is the poisonous cherry on top. While not always so obvious with its intentions, the humor in GJ-bu has a tendency to become one-dimensional as the series goes on. Involving a new character halfway through the series hardly helps whatsoever, especially when they underutilize her. She’s hardly important at all. Most of these girls hardly matter. This whole series doesn’t matter.
The biggest slap in the face is the final episode, which is intentionally emotionally poignant. Oh, no! The club members are actually all one big happy family. All the shenanigans, physical assault and baseless accusations, and unimportant club activities were baby steps to developing a bond between the members. Because what makes me close to a group is constantly being bitten, verbally abused, and used as a playtoy for the curiosities of high school girls. It’s okay, though, because I know deep down that they all love me. As long as that keeps the balance of things afloat, I’d happily sacrifice myself for the gr—Pffffft! Not likely.
The series is moe for the sake of moe. As entertaining as that can be, and the aid of pretty visuals to make it all seem casual, it provides little in terms of meaningful character development and interaction. No amount of gleefully sinister foreshadowing of a looming romantic quadrilateral can save a series from being shallowly mean-spirited and devoid of any real emotional value. Should one see GJ-bu as a parody, perhaps these situations can come across as dark, ironic humor. Outside of that mindset, we simply have an empty, albeit pretty and entertaining series of one boy and a million girls surrounding a single club that does jack-shit.
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.