From time to time, shows are created which don’t seem to have to rely on any technical merits or insightful writing to be able to completely win me over. Or perhaps it is exactly the fact that the show has no merits to speak of that becomes the reason why I like it so much. In any case, Gakuen Handsome is definitely one of those shows. It’s barely animated, and when it comes to technical quality I have never seen anything worse-looking in anime. Just look at the screenshot above and you’ll understand what I mean!
Yet I love it. It makes me laugh. I find it wildly entertaining, even though the story seems to be very mundane so far. Sure, it’d probably overstay its welcome if it was a full-length show, but the episodes are only slightly over 3 minutes long, so it’s all good. Actually, it’s fantastic. This show is great.
Verdict: Great for a sincere laugh. Definitely continuing.
Well, that certainly was a jam-packed first episode of a new show. Based on the character designs I was expecting a generic cute girls kind of show, but the very first scene strongly reminded me of Ping Pong the Animation when it came to the intensity of the stakes and the emotions. After the first scene it did turn into more of a cute girls slice of life show, but with some interesting aspects that are very much characteristic of sports anime. The focus on differentiating the characters’ looks, personalities and playing styles reminded me of Saki, and I like Saki, so I hope they keep doing that. One seemingly odd element is the fact that the “main” (at least for the first episode) main character, Agari, is a massive narcissist. I’m really interested in seeing how that will play out, because the show has already started challenging her.
The show’s biggest weakness so far is the visuals. The animation in some of the ping pong match scenes was good, but the art otherwise looks kind of… flat, and it’s also somewhat inconsistent, especially when it comes to the character designs. There was also some (in my opinion) unnecessary sexualisation of certain characters (for instance, Munemune-senpai), but I think I can live with it, at least if the story and characters end up being interesting. One other notable thing was the music in the first scene, because it really got me pumped up. I don’t know who’s doing the music for the series, but I’m definitely going to try and find out.
Verdict: Interesting in some fairly surprising ways. Definitely continuing.