Quick Updated Thoughts on GJ-bu

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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.

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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.

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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.

Thoughts on GJ-bu@ (Spoilers?)

It’s been over a year since I discovered GJ-bu. Now, with the passing of what I presume to be their last hurrah, GJ-bu can finally rest in peace. Probably. I can’t help but think the author will milk it to no end anyway.

What was it about GJ-bu that I liked anyway? How can I recollect the feelings that I had for the original title? It was over a year ago. I really can’t say. I finished it within a day. I gave it a seven, which is saying something since I even admitted the multiple flaws in both character and plot production. I suppose there was just this magic to it that made me really ooze all of my own personal faggotry onto the series. Oh, to be bound by emotions. It’s a pleasing conundrum.

With everything wrapped up (I hope), I can honestly say that the magic is gone. Was I particularly excited for this OVA’s release? Absolutely. Was I satisfied after viewing it? Pssh, no. The first thing that threw me off was the whole premise of the club going to New York. It happened. Okay. It never explains how they got there, nor does it really make itself anything more than a day at the club. Not to mention, it’s only half of the OVA. Only half. So, to sum it up, what does the premise cover? The insignificant half of the OVA that doesn’t care to expand upon its normal formula, despite a completely different place of setting… kind of. There are so many scenes that COULD have been shown that weren’t. Why? So they could make room for the second half of the OVA? It just makes the whole trip to New York seem lazy and obligatory. Wasted potential. Much disappoint.

And so we’re introduced to the second half. By the way, it comes up out of nowhere. Seriously. One scene they’re in New York, the next they’re somewhere I don’t even recognize. It took me a full two minutes to even figure out they were back in Japan. That’s very abrupt, GJ-bu. The central character of the five females, Mao, the former president, is avoiding main male character. Why? Good luck trying to figure it out, because NO ONE EXPLAINS IT. You’re left to assume the reason, and when you finally come to a conclusion, it still doesn’t explain her desire to avoid him… was she avoiding everyone else, too? She seemed fine while talking to Tama. Was it just him? By the way, what is with these characters and kidnapping? This series takes the matter very lightly. The rest of the OVA deals with Mao’s stupid problems and throws in a few moments that are designed to make you cry and bawl and have you empathize with the characters, as it is, I presume, their last hurrah. It worked, to an extent. I couldn’t get over how forced it seemed. Everyone looked so content and happy and “Oh, this club is so pwecious! Ohhhhhhhhh!” Regardless, I had a hole in my stomach the size of… my kidney stone. Yeah. It’s safe to say the magic has worn thin.

Can I just say that the laziness of this special is apparent in a single, critical area? Background. There is a scene where Mao is moping around with main male character when they first get back to Japan. In the background, there are unnamed characters that are frozen in time. Frozen in time. One character was laughing, the one beside her presumably told her a joke about the OVA’s production value. Then a few others had their backs turned to the camera, probably hiding the shame they had on their face to be used in such a mundane fashion. When it comes to quality, the only thing that matters is the central characters. The most impressive scene, I think, was the scene of every character eating their burgers. That was bizarrely entertaining. It kind of grossed me out, too.

I was left unsatisfied with the ending of the original GJ-bu series. Now, I’m left unsatisfied with its actual conclusion (maybe). Is this a sign that I’m actually just unpleasable? Probably. GJ-bu@ is basically a mainstay for those who needed closure after finishing the original series. However, it will only work if your heart is in the right place. My heart happens to be under lock and key when it comes to things like this. Gj-bu@ just didn’t have the right combination. Ho-hum.