Summer 2011: Ro-Kyu-Bu!

RKB: Not that bad when they're playing basketballl- now if only they would keep playing basketball.

Summary: Like last season’s Soft Tenni, only with basketball and much more blatant fanservice with even younger characters. Le sigh- why does it feel like my task as an aniblogger is to continually try to find redeeming value in shows clearly meant for pedophiles?

Streaming: Nowhere yet, but apparently it’s licensed by Sentai Filmworks now. That was fast.

Possible Alternate Titles: Random Loli Shower Ball, SoftBaski

The best part of RKB is watching Tomoka be a tiny Bball badass- it might be fun to watch the inevitable match with the boys team, if I can stomach everything else about this show long enough to stick it out.

Look, I realize that “pedophile” is a word I find myself using a lot on Otakusphere lately, but cut me some slack- it’s not me, it’s Japan. You know it. However, to avoid sparking unnecessary controversy, I’m going to avoid talking about pedophilia if I can help it from now on and instead use the world “loli” to describe these kinds of characters unless there’s actual sexual relations going on. It’s safer, and besides, I don’t necessarily have anything against pedophiles- as long as they stay home and watch Ro-Kyu-Bu! and keep away from actual kids, it’s all good.

Now, despite my tone thus far, Ro-Kyu-Bu! isn’t entirely without merit. Lots of sports anime completely fudge the physics of sports, and rely on constant speed lines and other tricks to make the characters look like they’re doing something athletic, yet refreshingly, this show seems to be doing a pretty credible job where basketball is concerned. Not only do they actually animate the characters dribbling past each other and stuff realistically (at least so far), there’s some attention to detail as well; notice how differently Tomoka, the one experienced player, dribbles from the other girls.

Really, as long as the characters are playing basketball it’s not too shabby- the problem is the random shower scene that comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with basketball. Or the random maid-cosplay scene that comes out of nowhere and has nothing to do with basketball. If we decide to ignore the question of whether or not fanservice featuring such young girls is distasteful in and of itself (and I’m tired of even thinking about it), it’s still a problem in that it’s just so blatant, character age not withstanding. Usually when characters cosplay for fanservice purposes, there’s some kind of excuse provided in the plot, however flimsy, but in this show it’s all “here’s the entire female cast in maid costumes in lieu of nothing! Have a nice day.”

The characters are cookie-cutter so far, something not helped by those generic Key-esque character designs and the fact that there isn’t a lot of differentiation between the characters other than hair color. On a different note, I also don’t buy the whole series premise that our hero Subaru’s basketball team was disbanded because of something the coach did- sure, the coach would be fired, but wouldn’t they just appoint someone else for the year? It seems like the whole “the coach touched a pre-schooler and got the team disbanded” plotline is just there to introduce the concept of inappropriate relationships between coaches and their charges, just to get that idea in there without having to dirty Subaru’s character by assigning these urges to him. He’s not going to touch anyone, because it’s not his thing, but apparently, the audience is supposed to sit through this show in the vain hope that he’s going to. Classy.

All that said, I’m probably going to watch the second episode just to find out how the “cliffhanger” (kind of) turns out, but I’ll be very surprised if I end up continuing with this show beyond there. Add ten points if you like basketball I guess, but I can’t think of any other reason to recommend this.

Oh, and before I forget, here’s a notice to anime writers: girls do not touch each other’s breasts all the time and tease each other about it. I am in this strange cult of femalehood, so I know a few things, and I’m telling you, it’s simply not done. Please pass it on.

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