This is review number two hundred and thirty two. This anime is part of the Summer 2013 lineup and it’s a second season of a fairly decent anime. I’ll be reviewing this anime called Ro Kyu Bu SS. The first season was my seventy sixth review and the second will be my 232nd so that’s a bit special. It’s a twelve episode anime about a high school boy having an elementary school girl harem of five. No wait, its ten now. No wait, there’s more? Let’s read on.
The anime is about five girls of the Keishin Academy trying to become great mini-basketball players. They train with their high school coach who is really fond of them. They want to become the best and they’ll do everything to achieve it. So when the chance to have a rival arises, the girls jumped at the opportunity and nothing can stop them as long as they have each other. They won’t give up and they’ll make sure this little team of five becomes something even greater.
Taking the Pants Off
Ro Kyu Bu is among the truly dark moments of TPAB’s journey. The first season was something I do not have fond memories of. I actually tried to forget a lot of the things I watched in this show because, let’s f*cking face it, a loli anime is just too goddamn extreme. I still distinctly remember the random shower scenes with the sunflower censor over the various asses. I also still remember one odd episode of the girls playing in their bikinis because the show wanted to have more loli fan service. I do not have the bright eyed enthusiasm as I did back when I watched the first season so hearing of another season really made my forehead sweat. How the hell did this anime get a second season? Then again, a bunch of 2011 anime is oddly getting new releases (Maken-ki? Are you f*cking kidding me?) so I’m sensing a pattern. Anyways, if you’ve seen the first season then you’ll know what to expect from this anime. There will be a lot of elementary school kids providing fan service, an underage harem experience and a few basketball matches from time to time. I actually hated the fact that the first season didn’t put enough basketball matches in the show and I’m pretty sure I’ll be seeing a girl put her crotch in the guy’s face for this brand new season. It’s going to be another season of loli ecchi nonsense. Or is it? Believe it or not, the second season actually improved a lot of things. Bottom line, we now have a lot of basketball matches and more characters for the girl’s to play against. The second season sadly proved though that loli and basketball really has a hard time being together. The improvements were not enough and there are just too many negatives to outweigh the positives.
The second season of Ro Kyu Bu is pretty much like the first season. There aren’t a lot of things changed in terms of the premise of the show. It’s still about a bunch of cute and sexy elementary girls trying to play basketball with a high school dude as their coach. One thing that absolutely changed from the second season though is the balance of the loli and the sports. My initial complaint about the first season was that it had an interesting sports angle to work with yet it stiffed us by providing more Ecchi related non sense rather than the basketball matches it promised. I think there were only two notable matches the girls had against other teams and the rest of the episodes were about the high school coach getting freaky with his harem. They were actually training and sprinkling the ever popular theme of friendship while they go about providing fan service. It definitely got hard to watch because I simply wanted more sports and I’m not getting what I want. I was expecting the same kind of experience in the second season. I was honestly readying myself for the sunflower censors all over again. Heh, the moment I wanted loli fanservice was the moment I actually got sports. Apparently, the first season held back on it so the second season can have enough. Before I get ahead of myself though, I’d like to point out the three plot points that make up this anime.
The first one is the mini-basketball matches. There are a lot of matches in the second season. I think there are more than five and it was really crammed tight in the twelve episode limit. The sports elements of the show slowly came through. There were a lot of rivalry set up among the characters, there was a sense of pressure and excitement as you watch the matches and there were a couple of standout characters with specialties in the court like a girl that can shoot out of the three point line and one that can alley-oop. It really felt like a sports anime and I absolutely loved that part of the second season. There were a bunch of new characters introduced in the show so there were a lot of chances to have new matches as you progress through the anime. The sports angle was so prominent that even the coach himself got into the court and did some moves with the loli athletes. It was finally achieving the loli and sports balance that I really crave for. The show just needs to properly establish more matches while also presenting some lewd elementary fanservice. It’s easier said than done though.
There’s still a downside to the sports angle of the anime. Now that they finally incorporated it fully, the lack of a decently paced basketball match really hurt this second season. The matches are good. They’re so good that you want nothing else but this. Unfortunately, the show was lighthearted so there is often more focus on the characters and their friendly rivalry than actually focusing on the pace of the match. It gets a bit annoying when the show focuses on one character throughout the match simply because she’s going through a personal conflict. It drags the game down and the show often skips ahead to a more important part of the story without letting the audience have enough basketball to satisfy them. I personally wanted one really good match involving the girls and an opposing team where the focus is on the game itself and less about the girls with their petty squabbles. Compared to the first season though, I’m still glad the anime focused more on the sports. It was decent but it definitely had all the potential to be great. Hey, as long as it distracts away from the loli fanservice then I’m good.
The second plot point of the show is the mindless fluff. While this anime is about basketball, it is undeniably a slice of life anime as well. When the girls aren’t sweating it out on the court then they’re having a great time elsewhere. The show would often follow their simple times together at festivals or any other fun events. The whole point is to display the power of friendship and the wonderful things it produces. This was slow geared and lighthearted so you can immediately tell that it did some damage to the sports aspect of the show. Instead of introducing new characters smartly, the show would waste time having the girls play around. It makes sense, I guess, because they are just elementary kids anyways. The slice of life activities of the girls served no purpose though because the show ultimately hits a climax at a basketball match and you could’ve used those wasted slice of life moments trying to get hype for the next match. The light hearted notion of the show is just too prominent though. Any form of rivalry is easily quelled and any tense in the matches are overcome with the power of friendship. It ruins a perfectly good match. To make matters worse, we then get to see the “friends” have fun in their school swim suit or simply naked being all friendly in the bathroom. I kid you not, there are a lot of bathroom scenes in this anime. To make matters more worse, it’s not the extreme kind of loli bathroom scene that was unpleasantly burned in my eyes from the last season. It’s just normal bathroom scenes of the girls hugging and laughing around. I feel like I should point it out if you were like me expecting something horribly uncomfortable yet admittedly interesting. At the sake of cramming more basketball in the show, it really toned the elementary perversion down. I feel conflicted, to be honest. I don’t want to see it but I also want to. The mindless fluff of the show now serves no actual purpose because it bogs down the sports aspects and then toned down the Ecchi elements.
The third plot point of the show does fill the space the loli-ecchi left behind. An important part of the story is the focus on the relationship of the coach, Subaru, and the girl named Tomoko Minato. The two have undoubtedly formed a strong bond and the second season hinted some romance between the two. You read that right. There are some romance elements in this show. It’s not the direct kind of romantic entanglement between a high school boy and an elementary school girl though. It’s subtle but strongly suggestive. There would be a lot of moments where the two characters are alone and the show made sure each scene was interesting. From being in the bathroom together to sleeping on the same room together, there was enough uncomfortable-ness in the third plot point to replace the jarring sunflower censors from the first season. It’s not as shocking though if you’re used to the loli angle of the show. The interaction of the two characters is certainly a bit uncomfortable but, since you’ve already bonded with them during the first season, the shock value of the moments does seem a bit tame. Romance wise, it was also pretty cute. It’s shallow as hell but the responses they give to each other were nothing short of loli cute and definitely a right direction in terms of character development. There are also small hints of a love triangle but the anime was all over the place to clearly feel its presence.
That’s basically the keyword for the second season. It’s sadly all over the place. The plot points didn’t have the right cohesion to them and they didn’t help each other out. The amount of characters, events and personal conflicts discussed in the show was a clear sign of a really rushed anime. The pacing was too fast to the point where the potentially good sports loli anime became a shallow show about lightheartedness and friendship. It kept introducing new characters that the wonderful balance of characters was severely tipped and it was a bit chaotic trying to feature all the girls. The fact that there are small subplots brought up and slowly swept to the side is something I feel was a wasted potential of the show. The subplots and featuring rivalries were all really good. I felt that if the show highlighted most of them and developed them some more then the anime might’ve had a good structure to it. There were subplots about two teams of girls with every member having something to prove to the opposing side. There was a subplot about a brother and sister that hates each other, a subplot about the guy that made Subaru lose his motivation for basketball confronting him again, a subplot about a rematch with the girls they fought last season, a subplot about the newly formed team trying to reacquire teamwork, a subplot about a girl that cannot play basketball unless it’s one on one, a subplot about Subaru’s father being a great coach as well, a subplot about Tomoka’s strict father keeping him away from Subaru and a subplot about the girls acquiring some new techniques they can use in the court. There were an abundant amount of potential all wasted and it bums me out a bit. It really came to a point where the show was just about one basketball match after the other. Everything in between is just forgettable crap that makes a shallow story turn into something convoluted. It’s a shame.
The characters are badly one dimensional. It’s no surprise since the first season had one-dimensional characters as well. I was eagerly excited to see the new characters though because of how they were presented in the opening sequence. It started out pretty sweet. The show nicely introduced the new characters and how they were related to the old characters. A small rivalry was formed and I was really hyped up. The show then introduced more characters to the point of over kill. There were a lot of them that it was a bit hard to keep up. The fact that they were poor characters to begin with was also something very hard to take in. Their sole purpose was really to add more people to the court. They made each match interesting to a small degree. Since they all had a chance to carry the ball then it certainly became a bit exciting to see your favorite loli handle the ball. Outside the court though, they were all just needless clutter that stirs the focus all over the place. Since the show is shallow, any attempt to develop a character is pretty useless since it serves no purpose in the overall scheme of the anime. The only characters that truly stand out are the ones introduced in the first season since we already know their role and how they will affect the show. The new characters came barging in with an awesome presence but you’ll be surprised how they slowly fade in the background and how some of them gets major screen time than those that needed it. I personally wanted to see more of my favorite loli and she lost purpose in the second half. The anime was also introducing new characters all the way to the second half so the anime becomes a bit hard to follow towards the end.
I was personally excited about this anime. I had high hopes for the second season. The anime really started out great but I think it just crammed way too much into a twelve episode anime so the result was pretty bad. It became a bit boring towards the end. Studio No. 9 and Studio Blanc are fairly new studios. This is really the only anime under their belt. I guess you can see how green they are but I guess the fact that they got their little show another season is a victory in of itself. I’m really conflicted about this show. As much as I hated it back in the first season, I really think that a handful of uncomfortable loli-ecchi would’ve been enough to save the show. Oh well, it’s done. It’s a decent show and I’m just glad I’m done watching it.
Sight and Sound
This was the strongest aspect of the show for me. The characters are really great eye candy and I love how overly cute they are. I miss this kind of cute characters. The KyoAni kind of moe has been around for so long that the particular big headed characters with small bodies have slowly faded away. Seeing them back in Ro Kyu Bu was one of the reasons why I wanted to see the show again. I love Tinkle’s (original artist) design. This person knows how to make really suggestive loli art with how the details are accentuated. The faces of the characters looks a bit similar with only the hair being different but they took special care of all the small details. From the bouncing hair of the characters to the cute outfits they have on, they are great addition to make the characters truly awesome eye candies. Simply having a small girl with silver hair wear a jersey is really enough to satisfy me. The character design doesn’t stop there because it’s not just cute, it’s also sexy. The way the characters have curves and how the cycling shorts shape their legs and their um..crotch area also improved the characters visually. It’s not a direct kind of fan service but it’s really enough to make the characters be both cute and sexy. This is all finished with a bright color palette that makes the girls all the more appealing. The hard colors really make the characters all the more young and that’s a great plus. Plus points for the anime though for capturing the wonderful designs and the balance that Tinkle incorporated in the characters.
The animation is also pretty awesome. The basketball matches are all outstanding. It’s actually the reason why I was hoping for a more decently paced match. The production values are so great that it’s a shame not to focus on it more. The way the characters move around the court is pretty amazing. The movements are pretty complex. To have loli characters run while dribbling a ball isn’t easy. Their body movements while handling the ball are also pretty precise that I want to see more of it. The shooting positions are also nice. Some of them are pretty weak though but the flashiness of the scene nicely comes through. The way the ball leaves the hands and it enters the hoop is really impressive. I also love how the net sways around after the ball shoots through it. It’s the detail work for the basketball matches that really made the show special. It’s one of the great highlights for a show that had too many negative aspects. Outside the court, the scenes are also pretty great. Its dialogue heavy but the animation stays consistent. The one dimensional personalities of the characters nicely come through. The facial expressions lack a bit of quality though but that’s OK.
The anime’s OP is “Get goal!” by RO-KYU-BU! (Kana Hanazawa, Rina Hidaka, Yoko Hikasa, Yuka Iguchi, Yui Ogura). This is a lovely OP song. It had the energy befitting the anime and the singers really made the song special. The way they got all out on the chorus is really a nice touch. The OP sequence features the main characters and their matching rivals. This was actually the first thing that I saw in the anime and it got me very excited. I was hoping the rivalry would be the central focus of the show and it sucks that it wasn’t. The OP sequence nicely captured the spirit of the show though nicely showing off the loli aspects and the heavily featured sports aspect of the second season.
The anime’s ED is “Rolling! Rolling!” by RO-KYU-BU! (Kana Hanazawa, Rina Hidaka, Yoko Hikasa, Yuka Iguchi, Yui Ogura). This was sung by the main characters and it’s an energetic song about being elementary school kids. It was pretty crazy with lyrics like “elementary school girls are the best” and the way the “rolling” in the song sounds like “loli” but that’s just me overthinking it. It’s a fun and vibrant song that nicely features the voices of the characters. The OP sequence features a chibi version of the characters being all cute. It ends with the characters running while other chibi characters join on the scene. It’s cute.
6/10 “It’s better than the first season but only by a few points.”
This show had promise but sadly, it was a subpar second season. The basketball matches are pretty decent though and if you’re a loli fanatic then you’ll love this show because it had a lot of them. The show was really just missing a few things to make it well rounded. It’s a shame. If you watched the first season then I’m sure you’ll have room for one more. If you like Loli and Sports in your anime then this show have something for you. It’s still a rushed story with poor content though so let’s watch wih caution.