Gokushufudou (The Way of the Househusband)
What can I say other than that I’m sorely disappointed? And not over anything to do with the story itself, because having watched the live-action series, I’ve become quite a fan of the adorable idiocy that is Gokushufudou. It’s just that this adaptation of the story, frankly, sucks. Little more than a collection of still frames, presumably taken directly from the manga, and with literally only a few seconds of (terrible) animation throughout the entire episode, means this barely qualifies as an anime at all, let alone one that does its source material justice. It really is a shame – the direction seems fine, the voice acting is on point, and J.C.Staff are no newbies, yet it’s blatantly clear that this show was set up for failure from the very beginning, with a grand total of 5 half-length episodes released on Netflix and what appears to be a roughly $5 budget. I wanted so badly to like this, but all I can see from the end result is wasted potential of what could and should have been comedy gold.
This is another show that would have greatly benefited from a larger budget. In general, visuals aren’t the be all and end all of most anime for me, but when the key appeal of a series rests on a highly performative sport, and said sport looks truly awful when presented as its own key introductory scene, I don’t think an instinctively negative reaction is unwarranted.
I suppose I might have been inclined to forgive the horrendous CG if the rest of the episode had been enough to take my mind off it – and to be fair to Bakuten!!, I don’t think the storytelling is by any means bad. On the contrary, there are a couple of moments in this premiere that seemed really well put-together. For instance, the main character’s sporting backstory is conveyed effectively and sympathetically in the span of about two seconds thanks to a simple shot of some pinned photographs, and some completely natural-feeling and good-natured humor is derived from Shoutarou’s extremely eager yet understandably shy efforts in getting up the guts to introduce himself to the team as a hopeful member. Direction-wise, Bakuten!! strikes me as perfectly competent, if not exactly overflowing with wow factor.
However, at the end of the day, would I have bothered giving this a try at all if “rhythmic gymnastics” had been replaced by almost any other sport name in the synopsis? Probably not – and since the characters on their own aren’t enough to keep me emotionally invested, I just don’t see myself sticking around for 11-odd more episodes of this.