Review

by Theron Martin, Jun 28th 2006

Boys Be...

DVD 2: Summer

Synopsis:
Boys Be... DVD 2
Aki Mizutani, a close friend of Chiharu, is a fun-loving girl who had a crush on Tsuyoshi Ueno in middle school, but he was too focused on his photography to notice. On a chance encounter during the rainy season Aki runs into Tsuyoshi again, which dredges up all her old feelings. As the seasons change into summer, Kyoichi and Makoto go to work in a beachside resort, where they plan to spend their time ogling girls since Chiharu declined to come along in favor of her track camp. Though worked ragged, they also encounter Nao, the cute but fragile younger sister of the proprietor (and a cousin of Chiharu). Back at home, Yoshioki has become blasé about his commitment to baseball, but his interest is rejuvenated by the intense enthusiasm of Natsue, a first-year team manager who has dreams of being a baseball pitcher even though her gender prevents it. At track camp an injury leaves Chiharu in a state of depression, one lifted by encounters with college-aged Yuuki – but the consequences of that short-lived relationship could run long and deep.
Review:
Aki Mizutani, a close friend of Chiharu, is a fun-loving girl who had a crush on Tsuyoshi Ueno in middle school, but he was too focused on his photography to notice. On a chance encounter during the rainy season Aki runs into Tsuyoshi again, which dredges up all her old feelings. As the seasons change into summer, Kyoichi and Makoto go to work in a beachside resort, where they plan to spend their time ogling girls since Chiharu declined to come along in favor of her track camp. Though worked ragged, they also encounter Nao, the cute but fragile younger sister of the proprietor (and a cousin of Chiharu). Back at home, Yoshioki has become blasé about his commitment to baseball, but his interest is rejuvenated by the intense enthusiasm of Natsue, a first-year team manager who has dreams of being a baseball pitcher even though her gender prevents it. At track camp an injury leaves Chiharu in a state of depression, one lifted by encounters with college-aged Yuuki – but the consequences of that short-lived relationship could run long and deep.

Want an anime exemplar of a “slice of life” series? Boys Be... . . fits that description quite well. Here there are no alien princesses to be found, nor magical forces, androids, mecha, assassins, vampires, or any of the other fantastic elements for which anime is known. All that's here are straightforward stories about high school relationships told in a lightly dramatic fashion. It's hardly a dynamic series, and doesn't have much for ongoing plot, but if honest, character-driven stories which feel real and avoid going to silly or angsty extremes appeal to you then there's a lot to like here.

The four episodes in this volume conclude the series' Early Summer arc and cover the entirety of the Summer arc. A regular cast of recurring characters populates the episodes, but each episode focuses on a different character and, except for the last one, tells a mostly self-contained story. And while the premise of the series is supposed to be relationships “from a guy's point of view,” two of the episodes in this volume squarely focus on the girls: Aki gets the star treatment in episode 4, while episode 7 is all about Chiharu. These stories are good ones, and their style and tone certainly fits with the rest of the series, but they do make the claims on the back cover of the case feel a bit misleading.

Despite the clean storytelling, Boys Be... . . doesn't hesitate to be sexy in these episodes, especially episodes 5 and 6. It takes full advantage of the season to give the viewer numerous opportunities to ogle both main and background female characters in swimsuits and other cute or sexy get-ups, and it makes sure that all its important female characters have ample (though not grossly oversized) busts, no matter what kind of figure they actually have. The series might still have gotten away with this if profiles of some of its female characters, complete with measurements, hadn't been included in the 16-page booklet accompanying the DVD. That teenage girls like Aki and especially Natsue have the kind of cleavage they do given their listed measurements strains credibility, and the suggestion in the Director's Comments in the booklet that perhaps Natsue was using some “enhancements” sounds more like a cop-out. Even though it dampens realism, there's nothing wrong with a series making all its female characters well-endowed to help keep the interest of male audiences, but the creators should at least be honest about it.

Character designs do a good job of not only giving all their characters varied and distinctive looks, but also giving them substantial wardrobe arrays even within the same episode. It's also pleasing to actually see a female character (Chiharu) in an anime that's not a dainty little thing, too, and the bathing suit-based fan service is done quite well. The animation is less impressive than the art but still not bad. The background music is generally innocuous; in a few places it does play up the mood of the scene but most of the time you're unlikely to notice it. It's definitely not the kind of thing that would make for a solid OST, but at least the opener and closer are respectable pop numbers.

The English vocal cast is a mix of veterans and relative newcomers. The prolific Michelle Ruff voices Aki, while other key cast members are likely to be recognized from series like Paranoia Agent, Naruto, Koi Kaze, and DearS. The voices are almost invariably matched well to the role, and although the performances don't duplicate the distinctive inflections used by the original seiyuu, they still sound smooth, hit the right tone for their characters, and emote at least as effectively as the originals. (Which isn't saying much.) The English script stays close most of the time, but there are a couple of places where the rewording is substantial enough to bleed away some of the strength of the original dialogue. While not a common enough problem to drag down the dub grade, it is a nuisance.

Aside from the aforementioned Character Profiles and Director's Comments, the insert booklet also includes profiles on key seiyuu. Also included in the case is a mini-poster of the cover art and a reversible cover that's, oddly, just an exact repeat of the original cover. The only on-disk extras are company trailers and a Line Art Gallery, but at least there are four episodes this time.

The pacing of Boys Be... . . makes it unsuitable for anyone who doesn't have a fair amount of patience, but those that do will find a pleasant and likable slice-of-life series free of the normal anime gimmicks. It's not a series for everyone, but will certainly find its way into the hearts of some.
Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : B+
Animation : B-
Art : B+
Music : C+

+ Good character-driven storytelling, unusually wide array of costuming for key characters.
May be too slow-paced for some, unimpressive musical score.

Series Director:Masami Shimoda
Music:BE-FACTORY
Original creator:Hiroyuki Tamakoshi
Original Manga:Masahiro Itabashi
Character Design:Itsuko Takeda

Full encyclopedia details about
Boys Be... (TV)

Release information about
Boys Be... - Summer (DVD 2)

discuss this in the forum (1 post) |
bookmark/share with:

Add this anime to

Add this DVD to
Around The Web