Note: some of comments made in this review may be considered sexist or may upset some readers None of these comments are meant to be sexist or defaming to females.
Six High School students are about to embark on journey about love and life. Kyoichi and Chiharu have been childhood friends and suddenly their relationship is becoming more serious. Makoto believes that his computer can help acquire love. Yoshihiko is a talented baseball player, who is very unsure about himself. Chiharu’s friends Yumi and Aki are looking for a solution to their loneliness. The coming events are will teach them serious life lesson.
We see romance shows all the time in anime, but most follow a standard path that most series do. We either get the cast who cannot state their feelings for another character, or they do but right at the end of the series and there is no time to do any further development. Boys Be… is different from most shows. The show focuses on six high school students (okay so it does share that with some other shows) and their coming to grips with their feelings for others and learning some important lessons in life along the way.
The show itself is not as much plot driven, as it is character driven. Well I should correct that statement. There is a plot that does occur and it does cover all of the episodes, but it is not as important as the cast that the show presents to the viewer. What makes the cast so important is that given the six main characters is that they all feel realistic and feel like people we know in real or people that we were at that time in lives. Nobody is the super genius, no nerdy kid who has pretty females wanting him, no idol on the side stuff. Just teenagers and their normal lives and their normal love lives.
For a show that is only thirteen episodes long one might expect that there is not a lot of character development to be found, but there is quite some development of the cast throughout the series. The characters get their development throughout the series and by the time, the series ends the cast has in a sense come full circle from their initial introduction and are much stronger people.
Art and Animation:
The art and animation was done by Hal Film Maker and looks good by today’s standards. The show was created before the moe boom so the aspects that one may see in a moe shows are not to be found (okay well there is like one character who could be moe since she would in some extent have moe characteristic but that is a discussion for another time). While most of the time the character designs look good especially towards the end episode 7 however seems to have been drawn by the B team at Hal Film Maker. The characters faces look much wider than are supposed to be and make the characters look ugly (my first time watching Boys Be… back in 2009 the character designs that episode stood in my mind for all these years). The background art is good and
Being that this is a show looking at romance from the male perspective there is some fanservice that is present in Boys Be… however it is quite tasteful. There are a few panty shots that occur and a few shots that focus on breasts (not nudity but clothed) however none of these shots take away from the scenes that they occur in.
One of the more interesting aspects of Boys Be… is that there are some live action sequences included in the series. The eye catches are live action and are going to be an acquired taste to those watching. These scenes are mostly shots are what most heterosexual males would look at (when members of the opposite sex in swimsuits for example). There is also a scene where a live action scene is seen on an animated TV (those who are curious the scene is from The Thin Red Line).
Music and Audio:
While the characters and plot are the strongest part of Boys Be… the music on the other hand is the weakest. The OP and ED are the strongest part of the music both, which fit the series quite nicely. The music that occurs during the episodes sound straight out of a dime a dozen dating sim game.
The English dub was produced by Headline Sound Studio (some of their dubs are Queen’s Blade, To Heart, and Comic Party) and from the dubs that I have heard from HSS this is one of their better dubs that they have done. Veteran English dubbing actors and actresses such as Sam Regal, Stephanie Sheh, and Michelle Ruff give their voices to this series. While they English VA’s do a good job with their roles, they do not always quite capture the charm that the Japanese VA’s in their specific roles. The English script is close to the Japanese script which just a few changes such as character refer to each other by first name all the time instead of last name most of the time and first name some of the time. There is also a dollar to yen change but that is not a huge problem.
The Japanese dub is also voice by veteran seiyū such as Kenichi Suzumura (Peach Girl, Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny), Megumi Hayashibara (Cowboy Bebop, Love Hina) and Kazusa Murai (Hamtaro, Magic User’s Club) lend their voices to the show and in their respect roles they do a great job with the task given. The other seiyū that are present also do a great job with each of their given roles in the show. Both dubs are closely equal in terms of quality so listening to either should not be a huge shock in difference of quality.
Boys Be… is a different type of romance show. While it does have a few things that it shares in common with other types of romance shows or shows within the sub genres of romance it also has a few things that make it stand out from other shows in the genre. With a realistic and likeable cast Boys Be… turns out to be an enjoyable show even with a few missteps here and there.
Pros: Realistic look at life and love from the teenager perspective, likeable cast members,
Cons: Music is not very good, eye catches may be off putting to some, the character animation for episode 7