GJ-bu Review

This is review number one hundred and ninety one. This anime is part of the Winter 2013 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is GJ-bu. I’ve had this in my laptop for a month now. I kept avoiding it but since I will watch everything in a lineup, I figured I should watch this now. This is a pretty good anime. It’s a twelve episode Slice of Life Comedy anime that had some good and bad things to it. Let’s read on.

Story

The show is about the members of the GJ (Good Job) club. The functions of the club were never really mentioned. The only important thing is that the anime is about the everyday activities of the members in the club. It features the characters spending time with each other, doing anything from games to eating snacks and they also poke fun of each other. It’s a simple anime. It’s really just about the characters in the club.

Taking the Pants Off

I was curious about this anime for a while now. My otaku gut told me to stay away from this one though. I will eventually watch it though so I decided that I’d finish this off before I proceed with any of the Winter 2013 anime. GJ-bu is a slice of life anime about a guy and four girls in a club. I’m a bit conflicted because that’s basically the entire anime in one sentence. GJ-bu is a club themed anime. The baffling thing about this one is that it doesn’t offer anything new. It doesn’t have a story to build. The characters look generic and plain and there is nothing in this anime you probably haven’t seen before. In fact, I think the whole club related anime trend has already passed so I can’t believe something so textbook of a club themed anime is released at 2013. While the show offers nothing new in terms of experience, the thing that it presents is pretty entertaining. I know, I told you I’m conflicted by it. I just watched a show that was heavily reliant on its genre that it doesn’t have a personality of its own yet I was greatly entertained by it. Now, then, how do I write this review?

The anime is just about the people in the club. In fact, the anime never leaves the room. It involves the characters doing things together inside the clubroom. They mostly talk about anything they want. They play games and do various activities together. Some of these activities are pretty random and a bit ridiculous. They also joke around and poke fun of each other because they’re a close knit group of people. That’s basically everything the anime had. It the story is nonexistent. I know some club themed anime with a story like Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai so it’s a bit weird watching something without a plot. The anime doesn’t even have a premise to dance around in. There’s nothing that resembles a structure to determine the direction of the anime. There’s nothing that the anime builds per episode or even just a pretense to serve as something to keep the anime interesting. Most club themed anime is about the uniqueness of the club. The club in this anime was never really mentioned that much. There is just a room that the characters waste their time in and that’s basically it. It just focuses on the activities of the club. It’s a very character driven anime that stays true to its genre: Comedy and Slice of Life.

The first episode also showed how massively flawed the anime would be. It jumped right into an established status quo and commenced with the craziness without any proper introductions. The jokes were a bit hard to laugh at because we basically don’t have any idea who the characters are. The jokes themselves were setup a bit too long and the punch line wasn’t really that great. The best reaction I could give was an “oh…” under my breath. I’ve seen a lot of anime and you can just tell this show would just get worse. Surprisingly though, it doesn’t. The anime, despite having no worth whatsoever, kept me entertained through and through. One of the things that the anime did right was cutting the formalities. There were no character introductions because you will slowly get to know them through the various skits in the anime. Even a new main cast introduced at episode five had no introduction. She just appeared and the show never once mentioned her arrival. This worked for me because while I was trying to understand the characters while their undeniable charm was being utilized in the skits. As the anime progress, it’s clear that the show isn’t about trying to make you laugh but more about making the characters likeable. It’s smart because if you are drawn to the characters then any random activity they do will become interesting just to see how they function within the skit.

The biggest hurdle in the anime was trying to follow the show’s rhythm. You need to get over the fact that the show has no story and it’s just about the various skits involving the characters. The anime had four or five individual skits to it so you need to follow the anime’s format. You need to understand the show is a Slice of Life anime so the pacing will be abrupt and expectedly boring. Some things in the various skits may not appeal to you. That’s OK. More importantly though, you also need to accept the fact that the show isn’t remarkable in anyway. It offers nothing new and doesn’t challenge anything. It is what it is. Once you understand all that then you can easily enjoy the anime. It doesn’t appear to be interesting but the show is really entertaining. It possesses the strengths of a great Slice of Life club themed anime. After a few episodes, I was instantly hooked. The anime was pretty relaxing. The content is fun to watch and the lack of intrigue makes it a great anime to watch when you just want to switch your brain off. Soon enough, the characters and their crazy time in the club becomes pretty damn entertaining.

The characters are the main selling point of the anime. They really made the anime interesting because they are very well rounded. The anime had a guy and then four girls in the GJ club. This isn’t a harem anime though. Some skits do poke fun of the fact that there is only one guy in the club. Some skits also feature some one on one time involving the girls and the one guy. I’d say that there are some romantic undertones but the anime never fully went there. There is enough to hint that the girls sort of kind of maybe like the guy but they are never direct about it. They also never mention or notice things that obviously look like romantic flags. It’s just some cute teasing in the anime and that’s really enough.

Anyways, the cast is pretty interesting. There is the normal guy that is surrounded by girls. He is the type of nice guy that accommodates any kind of interaction with a girl. He’d even gladly brush their hair if they order it or pretend to be their big brother so one of them can act like a school kid. The girls started out simple. There is the short loud type, the kind spoken girl, the smart girl and the girl that barely speaks. As the anime progresses, using the various skits, the girls are slowly introduced and their certain quirks are often the focus of a skit. This makes the skits interesting because you see a side of the characters that gives you a better idea of them. They are also simple stuff like the short loud girl is actually a big sister, the smart girl has eight brothers and is really good at chess, the kind girl obsesses with her weight and tea, and the quiet girl is actually addicted to meat and can speak fluent English. The personalities of the characters also slowly become the centerpiece of the various skits. Like I said before, the skits won’t really make you laugh and you’re really watching to see the characters. This approach to the skits in the anime really made them interesting.

There are more characters introduced in the anime. They don’t have that big of a role but they are also often the focus of some of the skits. They are pretty interesting in the way the anime utilizes them. They often stick to a generic personality and they slowly become interesting as the anime progresses. In some anime, side characters make the main characters look good. In this anime, they really just add some variety to the cast. It made the character interaction pretty interesting to a certain degree but the focus is still on the main characters.

gj1

Now I will admit that the show captured my attention through and through. I’m pretty easy to please though and the anime does have one massive flaw. It still doesn’t offer anything worth watching. It will entertain the crap out of you but the whole experience is forgettable. It doesn’t have a story so you can’t really expect much from it. The anime actually had a chance to add a story and still retain its strong appeal but it chose not to. I’m not really sure a lot of people would like to watch a Slice of Life anime with no story and possesses a slow pace. It will get boring at some point and the fact that the characters carry the show is pretty unremarkable. It’s not like the characters are scene stealers. They take time to develop requiring a few episodes to slowly appreciate them and not everyone is patient enough to do that. Some show would at least do something to intrigue the viewers and keep them watching but this anime doesn’t. It’s pretty frank. ”I’m a Slice of Life club themed anime and I will keep you entertained but you will get nothing from me. Stay or leave. It’s up to you.”

The anime also gets a bit repetitive at times. To be fair, Slice of Life anime will get repetitive and this anime does the same. Some of the situations are recycled in the anime without much change like, for example, the guy brushing the hair of the girls. It was repeated several times in the show and they all each of these scenes offer the same idea. Some of the jokes are also done several times that they often get a bit tiring. They won’t make you laugh so I find it a bit pointless that you’d try the same skit twice and hoping for something different each time. The lack of story really hurt the anime. I personally lost interest towards the later parts of the show. I like this anime but it just doesn’t have much and that is a major flaw as far as I’m concerned.

This anime is good. I won’t deny that and I admittedly enjoyed watching it. The characters kept me interested but it does have so noticeable flaws to it. I can easily look past those though because the show was pretty fun to watch through and through. It’s not perfect but the positives easily match the negatives for this show.

Sight and Sound

Character design is pretty decent. The girls all have nice look to them and I love how there is some range when it comes to the characters. They are still the cute character types though with the big bug eyes but the outfits pretty much made them unique. I also love the bright color of their hair and the way their look compliments their personalities. They don’t remarkably stand out though but they all have great looks. The various little sisters in the anime were also nicely designed. They have a unique look to them that made them pretty nice to look at. The only guy in the anime looks plain. This was intentional since he needed to look normal, boring even.

The animation is pretty poor. One thing I do not appreciate is when the characters talk, only their mouth moves. Their eyes do not blink and they body stays still. This happens a lot in the anime since the show is very dialogue heavy. The characters also lose their great details during certain scenes. They often look different when they are from afar and the shape of their face is often noticeably different. This is poor animation but it doesn’t really affect the value of the show. The anime does make great effort at some scenes like when a character fidgets or acts nervous. These scenes greatly need smooth animation and the animation was able to present it pretty decently but it is most definitely inconsistent. This is disappointing because the animation could’ve at least made the show ten times more interesting than it already is. Most Slice of Life excels in animation so this was a missed opportunity for the show.

The anime’s OP is “Mousou★Koukan Nikki” by Otome Shinto. I love this song. At first the song doesn’t really strike hard. The dialogue in the beginning was pretty infectious though and after a couple of listening, the song does grow on you. The song has a decent pace you’d expect from an idol song. The verse was pretty simple and a bit bubbly. The chorus explodes in a great unison of the voices of the singers and it sounds pretty fantastic. The OP sequence features all the characters and their various musings in the club. There is also a short summary of the show in a cute little montage. I love how they exclude the new member in the OP at first since she wasn’t in the first half.

The soundtrack is one of the anime’s strongest aspect and they really hit hard with it. The anime has four EDs. The first one is “I wish: Tokimeki no Mahou” by Mao Amatsuka (Maaya Uchida) & Megumi Amatsuka (Yume Miyamoto). It is sung by the club president and the kind girl. It’s a really cute song about friendship. It is also ridiculously catchy because of the high energy of the song. The unique voices of the characters really gave the song a great identity. The verse was pretty simple with the bubbly voices of the characters which made the chorus really catchy. I love it.

The second ED is “balance unbalance: Hontou no Watashi ” by Shion Sumeragi (Suzuko Mimori). This was sung by the genius girl who likes to play chess. Once again, the character adds great personality to the song. It’s a romantic song that is a bit techno. Just a bit though because the song stands out because of the character’s great voice. It has a slightly mellow and serious tone to it but it is still very catchy and energetic. The ED sequence features the girl alone in the clubroom. The background suddenly goes CG as the room loses gravity and the girl goes a funky black and white montage. It ends with a bunch of balloons floating up to the sky and the scene slowly being colorful. It’s amazing and intricately done. I’m a big fan of it, to be honest.

The third ED is “Purely Sky: Watashi Dake no Sora” by Kirara Bernstein (Chika Arakawa). It’s another song sung by a character of the show. It’s also another awesome song. The singer’s voice is really great and it complements the arrangement of the song. It starts out slow and becomes massively fast at the chorus. It is energetic and again, catchy as well. The ED sequence features the girl walking in the rain. The animation goes wild with the girl moving wildly throwing the umbrella and flailing her limbs around while in a walk cycle. I love the high detail in the animation because even the bounce of the boobs was given extra attention. It ends with the character striking a pose with some cats in the rain. It’s awesome.

The last one is “Hashiridasou! (走り出そう!)” by Mao Amatsuka (Maaya Uchida), Shion Sumeragi (Suzuko Mimori), Megumi Amatsuka (Yume Miyamoto), Kirara Bernstein (Chika Arakawa). It is sung by all the main girls in the anime. This was a decent song. It’s the least impressive song but it is still pretty good. It’s the standard kind of song that features the characters. It’s not as great as the solo songs though. Maybe the whole blending of the voices just doesn’t feel quite right. The ED sequence is amazing though featuring the characters taking some photographs in the club at this cute red sofa. It highlights all the cute moments of the characters together and ends with a nice group shot. It feels weird that I had a lot more to say about the music than the actual show. I’m still very conflicted.

Overall Score

5/10 “It’s as highly entertaining as it is forgettable.”

This is a great slice of life club themed anime that will really entertain you. It starts and ends there. It’s nothing but a bunch of interesting characters spending time in a club together creating some pretty enjoyable moments. If you like these kinds of show then you will love this one. The show has nothing more to offer though. No story or anything intriguing to watch. If you want more in your anime besides enjoyable characters then this show may not be for you.

2 thoughts on “GJ-bu Review

  1. I was wondering how much you could write about this anime :)) … I watched it as it was airing, and the words ‘relaxing’ and ‘enjoyable’ were what popped in my head whenever i saw a new episode had aired. This is great for the regular anime fan for when he wants to take a break from the heavy stuff, and still watch something. I’d say it achieved everything it aimed for, and in that sense, it was a success. It reminded me just a little bit of Acchi Kocchi (in the lack of direction, though the RomCom / SoL elements were obviously different)

    • it was not easy writing this review.
      yeah, it’s a relaxing anime to watch but it’s not enough. that relaxing theme is double edged. it’s a strength and a flaw a lot of Slice of Life anime possess. that’s why the genre mostly excel in Story and Characters. If you don’t have a great story then the great characters are basically flailing their arms with no direction. having a great story with bland characters doesn’t really make an impact. one without the other is just an incomplete anime that could’ve been so much more.
      like this anime.

      the songs are awesome though. they’re in my ipod now. 🙂

Thoughts~

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