In today's anime market series like Boys Beâ€¦ are something of a rarity. Sure you see a lot of shows that focus on teenage romance and high school dramas, but you don't really see them presented in this fashion. Instead of taking a trip into the harem genre or turning into an all-out laugh-fest Boys Beâ€¦ feels more deliberate than most. 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.
There are several characters to get to know and you meet new ones with each episode. The main players are a soft spoken artistic guy named Kyoichi and his buddies Kenjo and Makoto. Several minor and some more major characters have bopped back and forth into the forefront of the show since the first episode. Each romance revolves around the three main guys though so throughout the series we get to know them more and more.
Since we're dealing with volume three it's probably a good idea to bring you up to speed with what has happened up to this point. Kyoichi and Chiharu (the athletic beast) were hot for each other and everything seemed hunky-dory until Chiharu went away to training camp for the summer. There she met some rich jerk who incessantly pursued her until she eventually cracked and gave in. Unfortunately she did so while her original relationship was still in effect so when Kyoichi saw them kissing it broke his heart. To be honest it broke my heart too thanks to the way Boys Beâ€¦ developed the characters and their love for each other.
Kyoichi's friends had a couple of flings all their own though nothing that has really stuck to this point. Kenjo the jock fell for a foreign exchange student who went back to her home country and his baseball team's manager. Makoto went gaga over a nurse and spent the summer hounding girls at the beach with Kyoichi. Well, it was more Makoto doing the hounding. Kyoichi was kind of just there to do a job and make some money because after all he hadn't found out that Chiharu was cheating on him quite yet.
Now that spring and summer have come and gone it's time for the love of autumn to grace these three episodes. The first episode revolves around Kyoichi and how he's dealing with what happened with Chiharu. Needless to say he's hurt and it sucks to be him right about now. By chance he finds himself spending time with another girl who happens to be a rocker chick and lead singer in a band. The two hit it off and it seems like "love" though it really just turns out to be a rebound relationship and Kyoichi never really gets into it.
In the next episode Makoto uses his super computer software to predict which girl in school he is most suited for. The lucky lady is a second year named Erika who is friends with Yumi (the geeky girl with glasses). Unfortunately for Makoto it seems that his dating program isn't quite up to par since his initial attempts at wooing her get rejected. With Yumi's help he might stand a chance of getting with the girl of his dreams, but you can probably guess how that turns out. The last episode on the disc is a philosophical piece with an interesting twist at the end that you'll be happy to see.
With only one volume to go Boys Beâ€¦ feels like it has turned on the cruise control with this installment. There is a lot of development for Kyoichi and Makoto in this volume and it was definitely interesting to see how our lead character wound up after the break up. The three episodes here may not have been as dramatic as the ones on the second volume but they still hit all of the right notes even though they felt comfortable somehow. If you're looking for a heartfelt and meaningful series that displays true emotion look no further than Boys Beâ€¦.
Boys Beâ€¦ is presented with a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and features a very impressive 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. The art direction for this series is also pretty unique which in this day and age of copycat design is something to be said
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.
The supplemental content gets a bit better this time around with a pair of commentaries and some other stuff. The commentary tracks are more entertaining than they are informative though the one for episode eight is a little drier than the one for nine due to the lack of commentators. As far as "some other stuff" is concerned there are a couple of Japanese Promo trailers, a line art gallery and some trailers for some other Right Stuf releases.
Boys Beâ€¦ is an offbeat series that marches to its own drummer. The collision of high emotion and dramatic storytelling crafts an anime that is pretty different when you get right down to it. A great sense of humor helps balance things out especially for guys like me who wouldn't normally be into a show like this. If you find yourself on the look out for something different and that makes an impression you'll definitely want to check this one out. This volume didn't carry quite the impact that the last one did but it felt more like a bout of personal reflection than an effort to further the story.
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