From the Gallery
Strong Pitch for Boys Be
by Michael Nicolas,
Let me quickly give you an overview of the show since many of you likely haven't heard of it. Boys Be... is a coming of age story about six high school friends (three boys and three girls) and their first experiences with serious relationships. Some of those relationships might be with each other, or with other characters. Although the episodes are for the most part self contained (they do jump around focusing on a different lead character each time), the running story focuses two childhood friends coming to terms with their feelings for each other. Kyoichi is a fairly quiet, moody and introverted guy with a talent for art. He serves as the narrator with an amazing ability to set the tone for each episode with these very thought-provoking and enlightening quotes. Chiharu is a rather tomboyish girl, a sprinter on the school track team who bears a striking resemblance to Misa from End of Summer (yes, I admit to having seen that). Right down to the fact that she keeps her hair in a ponytail, and that there is some significance when she actually lets it down. I know there is some cultural reference concerning that. I think Anime on DVD put it best by describing all of the characters as the types you'd see in a dating-sim game. I am hardly one to disagree.
The manga of this I am told is a long running one, but I am not sure if there are more characters than what was depicted in the anime. The anime itself was a very typical 13 episode release.
Now I admit to having a soft spot for this one mainly because I found a way to relate to it. It was able to tug at my memories of my own initial curiosity of the other sex. In many ways, the images in this show are a reflection of that fact. I remember Trish Ledoux saying that for all the anime out there, subjects of love and coming of age are the most universal ones. I tend to think they're the easiest to sell. Mind you the anime that really got me hooked was Kimagure Orange Road, a fact that many seem very surprised to learn, especially for an inexperienced fan like myself. But Boys Be... doesn't start off with any really weird premise like KOR or Marmalade Boy. It truly is a slice of life type story. For whatever reason, whether it be the story, the visuals, or the music, it worked for me... okay the girls are cute too. I guess it really is good to see it for the warm, fuzzy feeling it leaves behind (no jokes please).
Here is what's interesting to me though. Boys Be... is a Pioneer Production that came out in 2000. During that time shows like Sol Bianca, Hand Maid May, Nanako, Lain, and Gatekeepers all saw initial releases. If you have noticed, Boys Be... is one of the few recent Pioneer projects that haven't been released here. The DVDs I rented out were from a company in Singapore called Odex, whom Pioneer made an agreement with for region 3. By the way these are the copies I bought from E-bay.
This is something that has kind of gotten to me. Why hasn't Pioneer USA taken a chance on this one for North America? It's a wonderful story, it isn't outrageous. It's only 13 episodes, so there isn't much to commit to. Maybe that's just it, it isn't outrageous enough, therefore it wouldn't appeal to us North American fans. Or is it too Japanese for our tastes? I find that problematic, mainly because a lot of the anime already released here show many facets of Japanese life. This is a sad situation if that is the sentiment.
So Pioneer USA, I am begging you to give this one a try. Even though I do have the Singapore copies, I'd be the first in line to by a bilingual one from you. That is after all what many fans here have worked for, right?
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