This is review number two hundred and ninety two. This anime is part of the Spring 2014 lineup. It’s a show called Boku wa Minna Kawaisou. With all my years reading fansubs, I think it translates to “We are all pitiful” but the show is officially called “The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior”. I guess my translating sucks. Good thing I just review these shows. Anyways, this is a twelve episode anime about a story that reminded me of some old shows I used to love when I was a kid. It also has a masochist and a girl with big breast in it. Yeah, sounds like a fun time. Let’s read on.
My junior high school life was a disaster. I want to forget all about it and spend my high school days in peace. And, if possible, I’d like to spend them with an intellectual and refined girlfriend.
For instance, I’d like to spend my youth with someone like her.
– Kazunari Usa’s opening dialogue, episode 1
Taking the Pants Off
I did not expect much from Boku wa Minna Kawaisou. After so many light novel anime, I honestly just didn’t think much of a manga adapted show. Who really gives a flying pokeball at this point? I’m tired. So I watched the first episode and after literally watching just the five minutes of it, I instantly fell in love. The artwork was the first thing to grab me because this was like an anime from the early 2000s with those bulky character designs. More importantly though, it was this forever enchanting story of a normal guy attracted to a hot girl and they both lived in the same apartment that sealed the deal for me. Watching just the five minutes of our main character doing a narration about the kind of girl that turns him on sends some pretty wonderful flashbacks my way. Right off the bat, the entire anime reminded me of the good times I had with Maison Ikkoku. Oh wait, this is a super old reference. I guess the experience I had with this show is also reminiscent of the one I had with Love Hina. For those ignorant bastards that didn’t watch Love Hina, I guess Boku wa Minna’s appeal is pretty much like Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. You take a bunch of eccentric characters, a rather normal main character, a hot girl he is crushing hard on and the colorful interaction they had in their house. It’s basically the same premise for all of the shows I just mentioned. Of course, they all differ on the content but the structure is the same. That’s the main reason why I immediately fell in love with Boku wa Minna Kawaisou. It felt really familiar and I haven’t had this kind of experience for a while now. I immediately welcome the experience once again. I’ll tell you though that Maison Ikkoku had wonderful drama with its eccentric comedy and puppy dog romance. Love Hina had a stupid harem and basically started all the hentai clichés. Sakurasou no Pet na Kanajo featured a more intimate bond between the residences both the main and the supporting characters. In a weird sense, personally speaking, I think Boku wa Minna Kawaisou featured the best of all three.
This anime is about a guy named Kazunari Usa who insisted on living by himself after his mom got transferred to a faraway place. His mom arranged for him to live in an apartment called the Kawai Complex. Usa initially insisted on living alone because he wanted to live an “ordinary” life both at home and at school. Unfortunately for him, the Kawai Complex houses some pretty eccentric people. The sadist that stuck his head in a fence and the loud drunkard is more than enough for him to refuse living in the same place. He was ready to march out the door until he stopped to gaze at the lady entering the complex. It’s his crush who reads by herself in the library. As it turns out, the girl lives there as well. That’s more than enough for Usa to suddenly accept his new living arrangements. His ordinary life is bust now that he lives with a bunch of crazy people but it doesn’t matter. He is spending his days living in the same roof as his crush as well. It’s a good opportunity for them to get to know each other but nothing is ever straightforward for Usa. The apple of his eye is a massive loner who rarely socializes and has her face plastered on a book all the time. She is disinterested with anything else so Usa has his work cut out for him to make a rather distant girl try to grow closer to him.
The premise doesn’t really stand out that well but, like I said, the familiarity of it immediately made me want to watch it. From the first episode as well, you can easily see the charm of the anime. From those moments where Usa gazes upon his goddess to the weird stuff the first two residents of Kawai Complex do to Usa up to the rather sentimental moment tucked between the folds, this anime seems to have a lot of great things going for it. The show also features a very infectious and colorful interaction between the characters that’ll really get you hooked. The show has a different structure though. During each episode, it’ll often be consisted of various skits focusing on a certain topic. The episode does have a central theme but then it’ll progress like your typical four panel anime where it ends with a punch line. The only difference though is that there is a flow to the story instead of just starting a new random conversation among the characters. So some skits of an episode would often have a lot of comedy focusing on the eccentric characters, other times it’ll have the same characters with the same topic is given a serious note and the same characters as well try to cheer each other up. Other times it’ll just focus on one character being fleshed out by the show after the same character was being made fun of in an earlier portion of the show. There is certainly depth when you watch the anime. It’s not so straightforward with its presentation and there are many levels of complexities to it. I personally enjoy the shows format because it can present its strong components first then build up certain things later on. With such an interesting approach, I assure you that there are no boring scenes in this anime. Some of them become a bit repetitive though but the show has a smart way of keeping it interesting still.
Anyways, this anime has three plot points. These three basically make up the content of the show since this is a pretty simple show. The first plot point is about Usa and his crush, Ritsu Kawai. They have a rather unique relationship that’ll really get you shuddering in delight. I personally find myself hugging my pillows during some of the cutest moments between the two characters. The show has this interesting way of worshipping Ritsu to the point where even a pan up of her or a zoom to her shy face can really get you going. It’s all in the point of view of Usa as well so you get an understanding just how strong his affections are for her. Their interaction is really just amazing though. Usa is the typical shy guy that approaches his crush hoping they could get something going. Ritsu is often oblivious to it though often shielding herself with her book making it hard for Usa to progress with her. The guy is persistent though. Even though things might seem hopeless, he’ll still have weak knees seeing the girl just walk past her. With that in mind, seeing the two interact is really just beyond cuteness. Knowing that Usa is talking to her crush and that he’s making incredible progress makes you want to cheer him on. He would blush like crazy while they would talk and this nice display of romantic innocence can really make you smile a lot. The interesting part is that Ritsu is blushing as well. It’s really the main appeal of the show. Ritsu might seem cold and unapproachable but she doesn’t really outright reject Usa and she never really declared that she doesn’t enjoy his company. So when Usa is blushing being next to his crush, Ritsu would be blushing as well. Is she interested in him as well? Does she think their conversation is also making some progress on their relationship? It’s pretty damn amazing how this plot point can push all the right buttons. It’s really just a simple puppy dog romance of a guy with a crush on a girl. By establishing that the girl sort of kind of might be interested as well then it gives depth to an otherwise simple story.
The relationship between these two is rather slow though to develop. It’s mostly because Ritsu is just so distant that it’s hard to make any progress with her. It often feels like the status quo might never change despite all the cute bubbly romantic setups the two characters had. The show eventually explores Ritsu’s personality though but still, the relationship angle really moves on a snail’s pace. That’s why there are certain scenes that involve Usa just trying to get Ritsu’s attention. It’s pretty damn cute seeing him try hard but also a bit sad that he would resort to it. He’ll try to read books and hopefully discuss some topics with Ritsu. He’ll often hang around the living room waiting for Ritsu to notice him reading. He’ll try to stay late at school just so he can walk home together with her. The lengths this guy goes to just makes you want to cheer him on. These things often add more dimension to when the two of them might share some cute moments again later on in the show. Realizing how far they have gone despite never changing the status quo adds some more cuteness to the cuteness filled interaction between the two. But I guess at the end of the day, the reason why this plot point is enjoyable is mainly because we can relate. We all had crushes that seem so distant and some of us even tried closing that gap only to end up in the same unchanged status quo. I personally experienced that. Oh gosh, she was my high school crush and she is a really quiet girl. She’s also the smartest in class so it’s intimidating talking to her. She also seems a bit disinterest as she only hangs out with girls while I stare at her from the other end of our classroom gazing on her messy hair tied with a scrunchy and those chapped lips she doesn’t bother to fix. Anime was our main connection and there were times where we just talked about Animax shows. Seeing her smile defined my childhood. She is really quiet. She often just studies with other girls but then she would smile like a goddess when we talk about anime and damn it, that was such a victory for me. Oh gawd, that’s enough reminiscing. Of course, nothing really happened because the gap never closed. I learn from my actions though and eventually dated another girl thanks to anime. So yes, anime will get you laid. I hope none of these girls read my blog. Anyways, that’s the first plot point. It’s about the puppy dog romance between Usa and Ritsu. It’s about their rather steamy but often distant and often confusing love affair while they live together at Kawai Complex.
The second plot point is about the eccentric characters living at Kawai Complex. Ritsu is one herself often glued to books with a huge disconnect with other people. The rest of the characters overshadow that though. There is a guy that is a massive masochist often fantasizing about being tied up by other people which really freaks them out. There is also this really hot girl with large breasts that drinks a lot because she doesn’t have a boyfriend to cling to. She often lets out all her frustrations in a drunk state wishing ill of other people in happy relationships. There is also a college student that likes to stir the pot a lot often causing trouble among the other people in the household. She especially loves to poke fun at the drunk girl crying over not having a boyfriend. Lastly, there is the landlady that is sweet and understanding but also a bit eccentric in her own ways. The second plot point is really just about the colorful interactions between the characters. This actually makes up a large chunk of the anime. Most episodes would involve the same thing of just the characters in the living room acting like idiots. The characters do a lot of things together but they would often just be all together in the living room though talking about certain topics. It’ll be about the drunk girl and her sad single life getting mad at Ritsu and Usa’s romantic relationship. Sometimes, the college student would poke fun at how the drunk is actually someone who easily falls in love and she’ll stick a few stabs at her with harsh statements. This will often turn into just one crazy scene of the characters making fun of each other. With how interesting each character is, the conversations and various skits are really vibrant despite having the same topic at times. During certain conversations though, a character is often fleshed out. A lot of things about them are often discussed that gives you a better idea of who that character is. Sometimes, it’s done so casually that you often don’t realize a character was just fleshed out so perfectly. An example would be when the drunk girl would lash out at the rest. The other characters would discuss how she falls for two timers and that she easily falls in love with anyone she dates. The dialogue would then get serious about how the drunkard explains why she easily falls in love and the rest of the characters would just console her later on. As more information is revealed, we get a better understanding of this drunk girl just trying to blow off some steam.
If they’re not talking in the living room then they’ll do some various activities together. Anything under the sun is done by the characters. There are episodes where the characters played with blowing bubbles. There are episodes where one of them would hold a concert and the rest would listen. There are even episodes where they would go on a misadventure while trying to kill a centipede. These activities are another way of introducing the characters some more but it also displays the close bond they have together. Sometimes the jokes are dropped and the characters just have fun together like kids playing games. They’re all happy and the mood is pretty bright. It just displays the wonderful atmosphere the characters all share as they live under the same roof. Even though they would poke fun of each other, there is also some bright moments of them enjoying each other’s company. This particular part of the show also ties in with the first plot point. Ritsu is a distant person but its intriguing how blowing bubbles can lure her into having fun with others. Usa would then have a good reason to hopefully close the gap between them. I guess this is really where the first and second plot point meets. Simple things like playing with water soakers or trying to get a huge bubble is enough to display the cute romantic moments between Ritsu and Usa. It all comes into a full circle though because the drunk girl would often get mad seeing such cute displays and this initiates the colorful interactions found in the second plot point. These scenes are also pretty damn funny when the characters get together, the romance is set and the comedy hits you hard. When the characters get together, you’ll really see how wonderfully balanced the anime is and how complex the story is despite looking so deceptively simple.
The third plot point is about the various characters outside of the Kawai Complex. There are certain episodes where a new character is introduced and the story centers around them. These kinds of episodes are very few though and they aren’t really all about the new character. The third plot point often explores the main characters by introducing someone closely connected to them. Some of the minor characters at Kawai Complex are given some spotlight because they are related to the new characters in some way or form. Of course, the new characters are interesting by themselves but the old characters also nicely develop thanks to them. These episodes would feature a new character being incorporated into the madness of the show but then the anime does a backflip by putting the spotlight on a regular character. It’s a smart way to avoid being too repetitive and also a great way to utilize all the characters while also fleshing out a few of them. Some of the scenarios outside the Kawai Complex are also pretty great since it features our characters in a new scenario that might produce some memorable moments here and there. The show still sticks to the same simple format the first and second plot point has but gives a few chances to explore a character some more. It’s really a nice way to add to the entertaining aspects of the anime.
The characters really made this show special. Since it’s their colorful interaction that really brightens up the anime, you can expect some nicely developed characters here. Kazunari Usa is the typical character you’d expect from a show about a bunch of eccentric people living in the same house. He’ll be the level headed type that acts as the most normal in the bunch. Deep down though, this guy is pretty weird himself. This is especially true whenever he tries his damnest to get Ritsu to notice him. Usa also acts as the straight man to a lot of the jokes where everybody else in the house acts as the comedy man. Certain jokes have stupid punch lines but it’s not as stupid when Usa carries the joke with an appropriate reaction. This dude is also known for all the times he worships Ritsu. He often talks to himself about how beautiful the girl is, compliments even the way she bats her eyelash and often talks seriously about his chances with a hot girl like her. Like I said, I think deep down, we can relate and everything this guy does is just met with a positive hopeful mindset that one day he’ll land the girl so many of us are too intimidated to even approach. Ritsu is an interesting character as well. She’s a mega loner that does nothing but read books. This creates the gap Usa tries to overcome. Her eccentric-ness doesn’t end there though. Ritsu actually acts like a child at times and she’s often distant on purpose. She finds certain social situations too bothersome and you’ll often see her curled up in a corner of the room just reading a book. I think she’s the extreme kind of loner and the show slowly reveals just how big of a gap poor Usa is trying to overcome. Ritsu might be distant but she also enjoys a few things. She has this child-like innocence with her sort of like an uncorrupted person that you just want to keep to yourself. That may just be me though and my overly creepy imagination. One thing is certain though, Ritsu is the pin up girl for this anime. Every moment featuring her involves her just inadvertently teasing and flirting with the audience. It’s done on purpose as well. The way she avoids eye contact, blushes and those big purple eyes just looking incredibly sexy really makes this character an eye candy of the ultimate form. Date A Live girls has nothing on her.
The occupants of the Kawai Complex include this guy named Shirosaki. He’s the weird guy that enjoys being beaten up and abused. This guy is a massive masochist and he often does nothing in the show except get beaten up and enjoying it. He also has a lot of scenes where he does favors for others and he would have this erotic face on as he feels like he’s being treated like a dog by others. The dude also speaks his mind a lot so most of the conversation involving him has a lot of BDSM references to them and a ton of what he say involves his masochistic fantasies. There is no way to hate the guy though because he is actually one of the most insightful characters in the bunch. Sometimes he just uses his masochistic tendencies to cheer people up and other times, he’ll be ready to sit down next to a troubled character and be a listening ear for them. He seems to want people to think of him as this idiot who likes bondage though so even the serious moments has him saying something masochistic yet funny at the same time. The biggest scene stealer among the group would have to be the drunk girl that has bad luck landing a guy. Her name is Mayumi Nishikino and most of the second plot point is initiated by her going on a drunken rampage about how relationships are a scam. She’s not always drunk though but she still loves to talk about her love woes and it often consumes a large amount of the show. That’s not a bad thing though. This girl is comedic gold. She’ll react angrily towards anything romantic, she’ll get mad when Usa doesn’t react to her fan service and she loves having pity parties about her miserable love life. It’s often fodder for all the best jokes in the show. In fact, I think Mayumi is such a strong presence that she easily makes up the second half by herself. Her loud personality coupled by her rather pathetic search for love in all the wrong places really makes her one hell of a character.
The last two members are Sayaka Watanabe and the landlady Sumiko. Sayaka is the pot stirrer among the group. She would often play mind games with a lot of the characters. She loves leading people on and getting their hopes up only to be crushed abruptly later on. She is a manipulative girl that loves seeing other people’s misfortune. She is described as a girl that only dates so she can lead guys on and it’s suggested that she looks ugly under all the makeup. She has a rather timid façade though all throughout the show that makes her look harmless at first and most of the cruel things she does aren’t direct so she’s a really scary character. Most of the time though she just spends time fighting with Mayumi. She loves poking fun of the latter’s miserable love life and it often ends in a playful chase in the yard between the two. She has a weak presence in the show but most of her jokes often create some interesting scenarios for the show. I especially love how she would lead Usa on knowing he still has little chance to close the gap with Ritsu. She’s evil that way but also an interesting character in a sense. Sumiko is the landlady. She’s the sweet old lady that just goes with the flow with whatever stupid things the others do. I think she’s memorable though because of how supportive she is with the rest of the cast. I especially love those scenes where she would serve a characters favorite food in hopes of cheering them up after the rough time they had in the episode. She also acts like a nice grandma but has a few eccentric sides to her as well that comes out from time to time. Sometimes, it’s her rather cool and calm reaction during certain scenes that stands out. It’s especially fun because she has this gentle voice when she speaks.
This anime is a really great surprise for me. It hit all the right notes and I easily find myself watching episode after episode. To be fair though, I do think people who aren’t fond of comedy anime may not enjoy the content of this show. It is pretty standard comedy with one punch line after the next. Like I said, it has a simple presentation to it and it looks like your typical comedy anime. I mostly stayed because of the familiar nostalgic feel it had but I think most people would find the comedy too low brow and annoying. I think the romance is pretty bright and entertaining but the funny moments dominated the show. The fact that the characters are a bit loud and stupid might also turn some people off. I truly understand. Comedy is truly a fickle genre. I think just watching the first episode is enough to properly gauge the show if it’s to your liking or not. I stand by my statement though at how this particular anime manages to combine all the great things similar anime to it has done in the past. Boku wa Minna Kawaisou is a really awesome anime for me. It has a simple style but layers it with a lot of complex stuff. The fact that it was able to develop the characters despite being comedy centered is pretty remarkable. Comedy tends to be one note since you rely on the status quo to deliver the jokes and just gradually add information about the characters to fuel the comedy. This particular anime is really complex because it was able to feature the comedy in not a one note fashion. It’s pretty amazing.
Another amazing thing would have to be the fact that the author of Boku Minna, Ruri Miyahara, also created Love Lab. It’s a wonderful anime back in 2013 about girls poking fun of clichés and romantic tropes. It was pretty balanced as well but I think the clunky style of Love Lab, that I adore, is perfectly mastered for Boku wa Minna Kawaisou. It captured the comedic brilliance but also incorporated the story in a smart manner. This anime is presented to you by Brains Base. So far, I have not seen a bad Brains Base anime yet. Ok, forget BroCon and all the other otome anime existed for one minute. The shows they release are really entertaining and they give each adaptation justice. From Tonari Kaibutsu-kun to Blood Lad to Isshukan Friends to Boku wa Minna Kawaisou, Brain’s Base remains consistent. I think they are enjoying considerable amount of success because they are releasing two shows in a lineup at times. The only thing they really lack now is impact. They don’t have this really grand anime to put a punctuation to their amazing capability as a consistent studio. As a reviewer, I love the fact that I can trust Brain’s Base into delivering a great anime every time but I think most of their efforts are easily forgotten despite being entertaining through and through. I’ve seen JC Staff climb out of their funk so it’s really just a matter of time before Brain’s Base steps it up and deliver something grand. I think at the point they’re growing, they have enough skill to outmatch A-1 Pictures in the I-can-hype-Sword-Art-Online-and-get-simple-minded-fans-to-drool-over-it department. That’s really the one thing Brain’s Base lack. They haven’t produced a Sword Art Online anime yet that will get people hyped from all the flashiness that the studio can deliver. A-1 Pictures is making big money off SAO despite being absolutely awful and it’s because A-1 Pictures has tremendous skill. I can honestly tell you Brains Base has twice that. Only time will tell at this point if they can punctuate themselves with a grand show. I’m all good with the entertaining anime and the otome shows though because I still love how consistent this studio is.
Sight and Sound
The first thing you’ll notice about the anime is the character design. It’s actually the color palette that might get your attention. It’s not like your typical color scheme with bright arrangements. The style is a bit reminiscent of color palettes from older shows mainly stuff like Love Hina. It kind of featured a color scheme from back when animation is predominantly hand drawn. You’ll notice the gloss on the hair, the rough outlines in the characters and the details in the hair. They oddly feel a bit familiar to me. It’s a bit hard to explain but the character design seems a bit nostalgic for some reason and I can’t really explain it very well. I can tell you though that Ruri is a pretty talented designer. First of all, I love the proportions on the characters. They all have pretty great bodies and it’s impressive because each design is actually different. One has bigger breasts, another has shorter hair and another has longer legs but they still look pretty damn impressive. The details are pretty awesome and you’ll easily enjoy a full body shot of a character. Male characters have simple designs. Nothing is really accentuated in terms of their bodies but it’s mostly because the show love showing off the female characters. They all have rocking bodies. Slender legs and pretty faces can get you far. I love the facial designs for the characters. There is really a lot of detail work in it. You’ll easily notice how expressive the eyes are. They’re big and round. Each girl also has different eye color so you’ll easily be drawn to it. Then you’ll see how nicely designed the hair are and how it compliment a characters personality. Soon afterwards, the anime will just find a way to feature their great bodies. It’s a fun show. I especially love how the show loves to feature Ritsu in a lot of cute and sexy ways. She will melt your heart, I can guarantee you. Anyways, Ruri’s design has a wide range to it. From little old ladies to small cute girls to arrogant teenagers, I love how she can capture a wide array of character. It makes this simple comedy show pretty interesting to watch all the more.
The animation is pretty great. I love how the first five minutes is kind of like a Makoto Shinkai movie with all the high quality computer rendered backgrounds and the lights seeping through. I think the director is giving a light nod to his style. It doesn’t permeate throughout the entire anime but there are certain romantic moments and just simple shots of a character that has this deep sentimental style that reminds you a bit of Makoto. The rest of the anime is about your stupid comedy. Characters like to hurt each other, they run around like children and they act weird during certain scenes. I love how the animation is able to capture the eccentric-ness of certain characters. From Mayumi’s drunken tirade to Shirosaki’s masochistic thoughts, the animation is able to give certain quirkiness justice. The comedy is also a bit fast paced especially with the punch lines and I think the animation is able to keep up with all the zaniness. The romantic moments are also nicely animated. I think this really where the animation shines. The blushing characters and the puppy dog romantic scenes are effectively told through the animation and it’s absolutely masterful. Every time Usa and Ritsu touch has this magical feel to it often implemented by the animation. Of course, all those stunning eye candy moments with Ritsu is also something to note. After all, the show’s favorite pin up girl easily has some of the most beautiful pan ups and face zooms in the series.
The anime’s OP is “Itsuka no, Ikutsuka no Kimi to no Sekai ” by fhána. This is a really cute and romantic song that nicely captures the romance between Usa and Ritsu. It follows someone completely satisfied with his loved one being beside him all the time. I couldn’t follow the lyrics very well because the OP sequence distracts me a lot. Fhana’s voice is absolutely sweet though as it gives the puppy love appeal to the song. The lovely verse that builds up the colorful chorus sung by fhana is absolutely perfect. The Op sequence features a short montage of Ritsu walking alone while reading her book ignoring all the characters that appear later on in the show. She’ll then be followed by Usa holding an umbrella for her. It’s absolutely cute that it gets me trembling in delight a bunch of times. It ends with all the characters of Kwai Complex walking beside them and Usa blushingly staring into Ritsu completely absorbed by the book she is reading. One of the best OP I’ve seen in a while.
The anime’s ED is “My Sweet Shelter” by Ritsu Kawai (CV: Kana Hanazawa), Mayumi Nishikino (CV: Rina Satou), Sayaka Watanabe (CV: Hisako Kanemoto). This is sung by the three cute girls in the show. It’s about living at Kawai Complex. It also nicely summarizes the second plot point quite well. The characters sing of how they are all different individuals but they all offer warmth to each other while living under the same roof. It has lines like offering respite to the tired and love to the broken hearted. Trouble is always afoot and there’s never a moment of peace but it’s a place we all call home. It has just lyrics like this and a pretty wonderful chorus that, again, captures the whole essence of the show. The ED features the three singers acting cute and all that. It ends with all the characters walking home to Sumiko’s home cooking displaying the warmth the song mentions.
8/10 “It’s a bubbly romantic comedy with a bunch of eccentric and absolutely loveable characters.”
This is a really entertaining show. It features a well-balanced plot between a puppy dog love story between two people with great chemistry and an eccentric comedy between some pretty insane characters. It’s funny, it’s cute and it’s a bit sentimental all wrapped in one fun package. If you enjoyed Love Hina, Masion Ikkoku and Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo then the familiar premise might interest you. If you love some strong comedy with great character interaction then you’ll love this show as well. If you’re a fan of cute romantic stories with some moments that’ll make you tremble in delight then you’ll enjoy this show a lot. If you like well-developed characters in your show then you’ll find this anime entertaining as well. It’s a really wonderful anime that I easily fell in love with. I recommend it.