Sanrio Boys Series Review: At Least They Tried?

This was always going to be a Sanrio advertisement but did they manage to also make an interesting anime? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.

Review:

The first episode of this anime was quite the surprise. Despite the wafer thin premise which was clearly just a justification to make an anime featuring a range of Sanrio characters and sell merchandise, there seemed to be some genuine effort to craft a story around a group of boys who were struggling against the stereotype that high school boys shouldn’t like Sanrio. There was real potential in this story and the characters. And then it all went very wrong.

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I know there are a few people who did enjoy this until the end and really there are some positives to be found. If you happen to like messages about the power of friendship and working with others and you aren’t too picky about overblown friendship dramas, then this actually works quite well. My biggest issue with the story though is that these boys are meant to be in high school and the youngest of them turns 16 during the series which logically means the other characters are 17 and 18, and yet they still need a pep-talk about the power of friendship?

It really doesn’t sit well.

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Even then, I probably could have rolled with it, except that the main character really unravels. He starts as a typically aimless high school student who reconnects with his love of Sanrio which kind of inspires him to get involved in things again. That is fine and is one of the positives from early in the series. By the final three episodes, however, he’s throwing temper tantrums and whining about how he wants to ‘sparkle’. I’m wondering when he took a blow to the head and how his character deteriorated that much.

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The other real problem I had with this anime is that we open the show with the five boys on stage performing a play with a voice over telling us that we’re going to find out how they got there. So by the mid-way point of the series when they are all together and begin working on the play, there’s nothing left to be surprising. Even the fall-out between the boys as a last hurrah final tension isn’t something you can take seriously because we already know they end up on the stage together happy as can be.

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Again, if you love Sanrio characters, if you happen to really like stories focusing on the importance of friendship, or even if you just like the five main character designs and want to switch off for awhile, there’s probably some fun to be had with this show. For me, by the end, I was mostly over it and wasn’t really enjoying the viewing experience. That doesn’t make it an anime to avoid, but it isn’t one I would personally recommend and nor do I intent to ever watch it again.

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Sanrio Boys Episode 12: If You Want Them To Be Six, Make Them Six

There are some anime you get to the end of and breathe a sigh of relief with the warm and happy feeling of not having to ever watch it again. Sanrio Boys is definitely one of those and for those who didn’t follow my episode reviews until now, just reading the titles linked below is more or less an explanation as to what went wrong with this anime from a reasonably interesting beginning.

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But I’ll get into that in the full series review. This episode feels like an after school special featuring the equivalent of Rainbow Bright for all the talk of friendship and working together. And if you ever wanted to memorise the Japanese word for ‘sparkle’ look no further because they say it almost every other line.

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But at last the play is done and the show comes to a close. Everything of course is fine and dandy even through Kouta still feels inadequate, he has the magic of friendship to save him. Ryo’s father got told that his family weren’t moving to live with him, in public, without a decent discussion, and he just smiles and thinks that’s okay that his family don’t want to live with him. This is definitely a case of don’t think about it too much, or at all if you want to make it through the episode. But it brings this particular advertisement to a close and we’ll be left with a parting shot of the adorable plush merchandise you might choose to own.

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Sanrio Boys Episode 11: Kouta Vs His Own Feelings of Inadequacy

As the boys rehearse in earnest and Kouta pushes himself to collapse, the play looms ever closer and yet this happy group of friends is facing a fracture that not even Sanrio merchandise may be able to smooth over. Of course I’m kidding. Sanrio merchandise will fix everything and that is why the end of this episode ends up outside of Puroland again.

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In seriousness though, Kouta spends a lot of this episode trying to handle everything himself and feeling frustrated when he thinks he isn’t as good as the others or contributing as much. Now, in common sense land, they could have easily just pointed to all the things he had actually finished rather than the one missing thing, but instead they decided to let him brood about it by himself and then of course he got sick.

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When all is said and done, it was a very average episode with an overblown conflict that could have easily been resolved but instead we will stretch it out until the 11th hour in the final episode when somehow everything will be all sparkly. Incidentally, Kouta’s fascination with sparkles is really starting to concern me.

 

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Sanrio Boys Episode 10: This Has Run Out Of Steam Half-Way Up The Mountain

For a show that started out defying expectations (however low viewers’ expectations of an anime based around cute merchandise and a group of boys essentially acting as walking adverts for it might have been), the second half has been decidedly average or even a little bit below average. And the reason for that is the show has already locked in its ending and we’re just kind of going through the motions now to get there.

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There are some last ditch attempts at inserting drama with Ryo and his family and Hase with his trying to do everything himself (oh no, I sense a moral sermon about the power of team work and asking for help coming our way) neither of these ploys are particularly affective and basically this show is just stepping us through the preparation of the play.

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However, if you want an incredibly literal visual metaphor, look no further then the key chain getting torn from the bag and shattered. My, I wonder what tears that will create next episode? Basically I’m finishing this show off but I’m going to be fairly happy to say goodbye to it at the end of the season.


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SANRIO DANSHI BIRTHDAY MEMORIAL CD VOL.2 HAPPY SUNNY DAY


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Sanrio Boys Episode 9: And The Boys Go To The Beach

Review:

Admittedly, for a beach episode this one wasn’t all that painful, mostly because the show never actually tried to pretend that it wasn’t just an excuse to show the guys off in different poses and doing the usual ‘beach’ activities. Plus, given this show doesn’t really care for drama we were spared any near drowning antics so points for that at least.

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Basically they spend about five minutes of the episode actually discussing the musical/play whatever that they are meant to be planning and the rest of the time either ‘refreshing’ or ‘training’ and both of those activities involve showing off the guys and not a lot else. It is kind of hard to be annoyed at the show though given it hasn’t exactly been trying for a deep and meaningful plot prior to this point so it is one of those occasions where a beach episode doesn’t lead to a noticeable drop in the quality of the story.

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By the end of the episode, they still don’t have an actual idea for their performance except that Kouta decides to let Yuu write it (generous of him – we can’t collectively think of an idea so you do it). Somehow this is an acceptable decision and we end on a high note. Anime logic.


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Sanrio Boys Episode 8: He Wants To Sparkle Now

Review:

After the ending last week you would have thought that Kouta had experienced some kind of grand epiphany. Instead we realise he is swept up in emotion and wants to sparkle but hasn’t thought for a moment about how to achieve that. In the grand tradition of anime he starts by attempting to imitate those around him With fairly predictable results.

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That’s about the first ten minutes. He joins the soccer team briefly, falls asleep in the library, has his feet fall asleep at archery and fails completely at cooking. The thing is, he surely should have known that he wasn’t overly sporty after his previous show down with Yuu and the soccer ball and falling asleep in the library was just a little bit pathetic. If their goal was to make this character seem as completely hopeless as a two year old, mission successful. If it was to build any empathy for him, then I would have to declare this a mission failure.

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Finally though he remembers the parade and from that Yuu actually suggests they should put on a musical. So after all of that Kouta doesn’t even come up with the idea. You would think that the rest of the episode would be preparing for that but instead they decide the biggest issue will be the budget (no script or clue what they are doing but we’ll pretend they can estimate a budget based on nothing) and so they spend the summer doing part time jobs.

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At the end, we have money but still no clue what we are doing. But hey, rather than sit around in someone’s house with no idea, let’s go to the beach next episode and still have no idea.

Really, this show started out not as terrible as expected but is fast becoming a real chore to get through each week.


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Sanrio Boys Episode 7: And We All Went To Puroland

Review:

Well, if they want to advertise their theme park, I guess this works well enough. It kind of lacks anything resembling a story and a few moments of character realisation in the last couple of minutes of the episode doesn’t really make up for that. Basically, this was like the Anime-Gataris episode where they went to a convention. While it might show the experience of friends going to a convention quite well (or in this case Puroland), what it doesn’t do is tell a story in an engaging way for the audience.

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Basically, after we realise that Kouta has been ditching the friends he had at the start of the series to hang out with his new Sanrio friends (something that happens a lot in anime where the main character suddenly has all new friends and is seldom seen with the original friends), and then the Sanrio friends decide to visit Puroland on the weekend. We then see photo-ops, rides, and merchandise before they make us sit through the show/parade thing.

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At least I now know how we get to the first episode where the boys were putting on a play clearly for a school festival. So at least the series has some cohesion in that regard. Still, as an individual episode, this one does not do much, unless boys with various animal ears are your thing.


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Karandi James

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Another way you can support the content here is by buying a copy of ‘Thoughts on Anime 2017‘ as an ebook. It contains a selection of reviews, features and top 5 lists from 2017 and while the content is available free on the site, this is a great way to give a one off show of support for the blog. It is available for $3.99.

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