When it comes to releasing anime Right Stuf may not be as big a purveyor as ADV, Geneon, or FUNimation, but being a smaller licensor means that they have to pick and choose titles carefully. In today's anime market series like Boys Be… are something of a rarity. Sure you see a lot of teenage romance stories and high school dramas, but you don't really see them presented in this fashion. In case you were wondering I haven't actually read the manga by Masahiro Itabashi yet so I can't really compare the two. From all of the manga that I have read and the series that I have seen, I think it's probably a fair assumption that the two sources go hand in hand.
Instead of taking a trip into the harem genre or turning into an all-out laugh-fest Boys Be… feels more deliberate with its presentation. The characters have a realistic feel to them and even though each episode is dedicated to a new romance, the show has a way of making you feel personally connected with all of the characters. After watching the first volume I have to say that's quite the accomplishment especially considering that there are only three episodes on the disc. Each volume represents a season of the year and things get started on the first installment with Spring.
The first story of love focuses on a boy named Kyoichi and a girl named Chiharu. Kyoichi is an aspiring artist who is working on painting a scene with a cherry tree, but he can't seem to get the falling blossoms quite right. He's stumped on something and can't figure it out, though eventually over the course of this introductory episode he begins to understand it has something to do with the way that he feels about Chiharu.
His buddies Kenjo (the jock) and Makoto (the pervert) can't seem to understand why he is in love with her. They gave her the nickname "barbarian" because she's rather athletic and tough for a girl, but that doesn't faze Kyoichi. As most teenagers do, he goes to his friends for advice, though it's not like they really help matters out much. Things eventually grow on their own and it's handled sincerely and realistically, which was definitely a nice touch.
Kyoichi's friend Makoto gets his chance to fall in love in the second episode of Boys Be…. One day he was working in his mother's diner and accidentally destroyed a frying pan, so he had to go out shopping for one. While he was driving around on his moped he got distracted by a cute girl and fractured his leg in a car accident. That basically means he had to spend a few days at the hospital, but things perk up once he sees a hot nurse. Over the course of his stay the two get to know each other and start to fall in love, though things don't go exactly the way that Makoto planned.
Up next on the dating game is Kenjo. One day while he was at baseball practice he popped a fly ball through the library window so he had to go retrieve it. Instead of finding the ball though he stumbles upon a cute girl who literally "falls" for him. As thanks for catching her she drops a kiss on his lips that sends poor Kenjo reeling. He spends the next few days visiting the library hoping to meet the girl and seemingly gives up on his love of sports for the moment.
I have to admit that I don't usually get into series like Boys Be… for the simple fact that I'm not a teenager and most of the time anime of this genre is too off the wall for my taste. Luckily this series is sincere and practical with just about every execution of dialogue. The characters feel real and their emotion is conveyed well through the script, voice work, and animation. Aside from the fact that there were only three episodes on this release I'm walking away from Boys Be… with a very positive opinion. I laughed, I felt gushy inside, and actually found myself cheering for the characters when the big moment came.
Boys Be… is presented with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and features a very tight transfer. Apart from a few spots of grain and some aliasing, the image quality here is smooth sailing and razor sharp. Color tones appeared natural and the animation looked fantastic from start to finish. This is definitely a great looking show though it would have benefited from a widescreen presentation and possibly some clean-up detail.
Naturally this DVD is presented with options for English and Japanese language tracks, along with some English subtitles. Both offer decent quality for stereo output and there is even a little channel separation where it counts. I got more enjoyment out of the Japanese selection more than the English, but this isn't reflective of the dubbing job; it's just personal preference.
For bonus content there is a handful of trailers for other Right Stuf products, a collection of line artwork, and a textless opening animation. That's a fairly generic selection for a new series this day and age, but you can't win all of the time.
At the end of the day I'm very impressed with Boys Be…. The first three episodes here are full of some quality entertainment that puts a different spin on the romance/comedy genre. I particularly liked how each episode focused on a different set of characters yet incorporated already known ones into the mix somehow. This gives the series a much more personal voice behind the storytelling. I probably would have highly recommended the show if the DVD had more to offer. As it stands, three episodes and sparse extras just don't cut it when it comes to the asking price.
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