I’m not particularly unbiased towards this series because, as a whole, I love survival games. After all, they’re all about simulating battles minus the gory wounds and limb loss and other icky things that happen in real battles with real guns that have pointy bullets. What is real are the thrills; to be in a survival game is to feel truly alive and strengthen (or, more realistically, destroy) friendships.
Oh, right, Aoharu. Yeah, it’s pretty swell.
Right off the bat I like Hotaru already. She makes a good first impression on me by shouting some really melodramatic lines before jumping out of a window in a gloriously animated 4 seconds that wouldn’t be out of place in Baccano! or Durarara!! or any other of Brain’s Base’s shows before their collective brainfart.
In theory, she’s not very far from a typical shonen protagonist—she’s hotheaded, bombastic, she likes to picks fights and kick metric tonnes of ass, and other stuff. In practice, however, she’s hilarious. Not only she is the only character that’s like that, but it displays a good amount of self-awareness regarding her overly dramatic tendencies and also she somehow speaks in this ludricrous near-contralto that is like the cherry on top of a cake of ludicrousness.
We are also introduced to this guy, Masamune. Presumably, he used to hang out with other guys called Muramasa, Amakuni, Kanenobu and Sadamune. The first thing he does is talk about dem titties over the phone with some other guy. Presumably, he unironically enjoyed Bikini Warriors. He sort of reminds me of Zaou from Boueibu in both personality and appearance, except he’s way more of a jackass. His antics are okay, although nothing to write home about.
He only hits its stride towards the end of the first episode, but that can be said of the entire series.
After a rather unremarkable middle point of slightly bland gags, the series regrabs my interest via a gloriously ridiculous and excellently animated scene in which Aoharu destroys half of a host club in order to attempt to win an airsoft battle. As an airsoft veteran, I can confirm that that’s how airsoft matches would go if they were carried out in a host club.
Hilariously, it does turn out wrong for Hotaru, now indebted by millions of yen to the club. Remember guys: don’t be a shonen protagonist if valuables are nearby.
Episode 2 introduces Yukimura, the third (and for the time being, last) member of the rather stupidly named Toy Gun Gun airsoft team. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to face anyone named Tokugawa because we all know how that turned out last time. If nothing else, this guy is impressive because of how my opinion of him kept changing during the episode.
His unsubtly homoerotic relationship with Masamune is the central conflict and… it’s a mixed bag. His motivations for his rather yandereish affections for Masamune are sort of compelling—after all, being betrayed by people one thinks are one’s friends is a bitch. On the other hand, despite his fixation with Masamune, he can’t seem to trust him enough to think that he won’t bring a traitor into the team.
Most of this episode was about this conflict between the three parties, and it’s for the better that it took only one episode because holy hell it’d be really tedious otherwise. I sort of despised Yuki during this entire drama that felt more forced than it had any right to be.
That said, I ended up liking him again when they made up at the end. While the drama surrounding him is boring and tedious, he is pretty funny when he’s focusing on gags. The reveal that he makes weird hentai comics left me laughing for a pretty good while.
Overall though? I like this series. It has the potential to be a pretty fun and bombastic shonen (as much as a yaoi reverse harem can be classified as shonen; GFantasy works in mysterious ways) as long as it doesn’t focus too much on the silly melodrama between the three parties. It seems that Brain’s Base finally has their marbles together, so that’s a plus, too.