The Summer 2016 Anime Preview Guide
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE!
How would you rate episode 1 of
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE! ?
What is this?
It hasn't been long since the Battle Lovers and Caerula Adamas discovered the truth about what they were doing and called it quits, with Wombat and Zundar retreating back to their home planets. Now they hang out at Yumoto's family bathhouse, but the Student Council isn't going to be there for much longer – they're going abroad and Kinshiro desperately wants Atsushi to see him off at the airport. The rest of the guys really want to see these estranged childhood friends unite, but before they can do anything about it, both Atsushi and Kinshiro pass out from both the heat of the bath and the stress of the moment. No sooner has this been resolved than the door bursts open to reveal an hourglass monster, just the kind of fiend that the Battle Lovers used to take on daily! But their Loveracelets no longer work, and even if Yumoto's brother throws the monster out for roughhousing in the bath, he'll still be waiting for them at school the next day. Just when it looks like all hope is lost, who should fall from the sky but Wombat, bearing brand new True Loveracelets for the boys! Now with new powers, fancier outfits, and more scenes of Yumoto's bare butt, the Battle Lovers are back in action! But who are these mysterious new boys with their talking green squirrel? Are they once more being forced to participate in an intergalactic reality show? Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE! is the sequel to an original anime work and can be found streaming on Funimation, Thursdays at 3:35 PM EST.
How was the first episode?
I'm not sure if I actively missed this show, but I certainly am happy to see it back. The magical girl parody takes a bit to get going, spending pretty much the first seven minutes of episode with the guys in the bath, but once the monster attacks, it really takes off. Not that the bath scenes aren't good – first of all, if you enjoy gazing at lithe young anime men in the buff, there are plenty of butts, legs, and vast, nipple-less expanses of chest to gaze upon, with plenty of teases for shippers, such as Ryou perching spread-legged on the rim of the tub in front of the other guys or the dynamic between formerly estranged childhood friends Kinshiro and Atsushi. This last is really played up well, with the six guys from both the Earth Defense Club and the Student Council crowded into the smallest portion of the L-shaped tub while Atsushi and Kinshiro awkwardly sit next to each other in the long part. The usual meandering discussions don't work particularly well for an introduction back into the show, but once it turns to Atsushi and Kinshiro about halfway through the opening scene at the bathhouse, the show feels like it's back on solid ground.
Of course, the real meat of a magical boy show is going to be fighting the monsters, something perky (and kind of dim) Yumoto understands. He's ecstatic when a giant hourglass comes in and starts crapping sticky pink sand all over them, even if the monster does destroy his Loveracelet. The best parts of this scene, however, are En-chan suffocating in the sandy goo and Yumoto's brother throwing the monster out by yelling at him about proper bath time etiquette. Somehow the axe he's holding isn't even the scariest part. In any event, things pick up from here, and by the time that Wombat descends from the sky once more, Cute High Earth Defense Force Club Love Love is back to its usual form. The new transformations are especially astounding, clearly taking a few cues from last season's Sailor Moon Crystal (or even the original Sailor Moon S) in its use of ribbons for Yumoto's transformation scene. Not only does he sail majestically through the sky wrapped in filmy ribbons, but we also get a close-up of his ass as his shorts are materializing, poking fun at the fanservice aspect of the transformation scene, at least in magical girl shows intended for a male audience. Everyone's outfits have been upgraded to something puffier, floofier, and just generally more, and Atsushi's face as he examines his new butt bow with dismay is pretty great.
Of course, no one is asking the most important question (and if you haven't seen the last episode of season one, stop here): if the last time they got powers they turned out to be unwitting contestants in an intergalactic reality show, what's going on this time? Did they win and now have to face off against new opponents? Is the entire galaxy watching them take baths again? They clearly remember some things from season one, so how are they not concerned about this?
I suppose that doesn't really matter in the end. We're not watching this show for the deep plotlines, and besides, this is only the first episode. Next week we'll surely be introduced to the twins (?) who are replacing the Student Council as villains and perhaps find out more, but for now we can sit back, relax, and laugh with vaguely uncomfortable second-hand embarrassment when the Battle Lovers call out their attacks.
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