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animefringe december 2003 / feature
Animefringe Coverage:
Green Green - For Ecchi Fan Who Has Seen It All

"Once upon a time, a young boy and girl fell in love. However, in that age, it was a forbidden love. The two made a promise to be reunited in the next life. To live together for eternity."

I saw these words flash by, and already I was doing a solid job of not suppressing my yawns. "Wonderment!" I proclaimed with sarcastic glee. Yet another lame hentai "romance" anime series. Blah blah blah nice boy intimidated by hot girls with giant breasts. Seems like this genre of anime has been beating a dead horse past the zombie stage, and it keeps on going. Sure, slight variations are present in each incarnation, but I have always regarded this genre with little respect, care, or notice.

There are plenty of reasons why I just don't enjoy most shonen, fan-service-based anime. Since I'm not really into the whole boob-and-panty factor, most of these anime leave little else to entice me. Most of the dialogue is contrite, the plots are thin and simple, the male leads annoyingly shy and nice, and most of the fashionable, busty girls dull and predictable. The shy nerd girl, the genki athletic chick, and the assertive true love interest. We've all been here before, and it was boring the first... four hundred times we saw it, and continues onward in a path of dull, yet at times surprisingly well drawn and skillfully colored anime.

Then came Green Green. Hands-down, the most enjoyable fan-service anime I think I will ever witness. About five simple, clichéd little stories wrapped in pure, hectic insanity. I knew I was in for a treat at the opening animation; a fast-paced ska song underscores a series of hot chicks being covered in clothes with a computer mouse, reminiscent of the hentai-dating game genre where many such anime gets its inspiration.

Not only the women, but... the men of the show go from nude to clothed in record time.

Classic.

Kanenone Gakuen is about to embark on some sexually charged crazy-times. See, this boarding school has traditionally been All-Boys, a seething pot of unleashed testosterone and teenage immaturity. The precious hands of the students are eternally blistered by enormous amounts of self-gratification, their already addled heads filled with images of... boobs, bigger boobs, and even bigger boobs.

So what brilliant plan does the boarding school's Board of Directors decide on? Kanenone Gakuen is considering going co-ed, beginning an attempt to assimilate a nearby all-girls school. The anime opens with the experiment about to go underway; one class from their sister school is going to live at the school, so that the administration can figure out whether making the school co-ed would actually work.

The four male leads are understandably ecstatic about the situation. Over-achiever and all-around nice guy Yusuke (you know, the guy that stars in every single one of these kind of anime) works hard to bring unity to the two sexes, yet is sadly thwarted by his trio of friends:

Bacchi-gu, the wannabe Sultan of Sex, commonly seen in Hugh Hefner-esque smoking jackets, spouting nonsensical advice on how to score, commonly using his own supple bust to illustrate a point. Bacchi-gu is, as Van Halen's magnum opus illustrates succinctly, Hot for Teacher, sexy nurse Chigusa, the wizened, bosomed nurse who accompanies the girls to Kanenone Gakuen.

Muscular, big, yet shy Tenjin wants the painfully quiet girl Sanae, but simply can't put up the courage to hit on the girl he already fantasizes about being his younger sister. He dreams of being called "Onii-chama", a weird conglomeration of the "chan" and "sama" suffixes, and doesn't find fault in trying to sneak into her room while she is sleeping to spoon with her. If it wasn't so strongly set in the comedy vein, such actions would definitely come across as creepy at best.

Then there is Ichiban-Boshi, which can translate to "Number One Hat". Compared to Bacchi-gu and Tenjin, he is... sorta normal. Probably why the creators of the show named him "Number One Hat". A careful balancing act, you see.

I think you can all understand this insanity of which I speak.

I haven't even started on either the girls of the anime, or the united-by-fate love story...or the time traveling. This is how good this anime is. Like, how Midori is a girl who traveled back in time from the 30th century to be together with Yusuke. Too bad he's not aware of their fated coupling, and is generally half-terrified of her ecstatic presence.

Some of the other bizarre female characters include Wakaba, a girl who, besides having respect for her onii-sama, and the intimidating Futuba, who gets most of her advice, friendship and love from her pet cactus, Togemura-san. Togemura-san protects her mistress with his cactus thorns and smart advice.

Green Green also has a pervy, yaoi fangirl in its midst, Haruna. The idea of two bishonen exchanging roses in the school gardens, stealing a fatal kiss from each other in the midsts of the world that would spurn them! Tragedy. Portrayed as otherwise plain, surely her lustful meanderings lead her into the arms of the perverted boys... but to the disgust of both of them. (Mental Note: Always, always put on your glasses first)

Green Green is the sort of anime that could only have existed by drawing on the long-living genre's tropes and generic story-lines. Co-ed adventures, time travel, shy girls, boobs, and scandalous time spent in a hot spring together; the creators of the show tie up all of these basic aspects of the ecchi anime genre, to both parody and respect them.

So here it is: the ecchi series I've been waiting for since Urusei Yatsura went off the air, and that was a friggin' long time ago. The strength of this series lies in that it goes beyond the basics of the genre, and creates something surprisingly memorable. All this because, at the end of the day, an insanely funny comedy is going to hold up better as a series than just another dull 'romance' story, but with extra breasts.

Boobies and comedy. What will they think of next.

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