CONTEXT: My post in reply to this article became so elaborate that it would not post in the comments section. I decided to make it it’s own article because I spent too much time on it to back out now.
You’ve made this statement many times now, and I fundamentally disagree as a big Keijo fan.
While it may seem like the main purpose of Keijo is to titillate its audience, I would absolutely argue that it’s not. Not only that, I would say it’s use of fanservice is some of the smartest to be implemented in an anime in years.
Let’s examine a scene from the anime.
Each person ending the battle with their signature move? Check.
Calling out the name of their attack before they use it? Check.
Big, flashy special effects? Check.
People explaining how the attack works? Check.
Keijo is without a doubt in my mind a Shonen Battle manga.
Can you really look at that scene and say they were specifically trying to titillate a male audience as opposed to trying to make an epic fight? Yes, there were fanservicey moments, but that’s part of the point (which I’ll get to later).
For the most part, the best parts of Keijo are scenes like this. Because Keijo emphasizes the actual fighting over ogling the girls. The series even straight up throws in some fan disservice when because it’s acutely aware of what kind of show it is.
I mean, do you really think a show meant to titillate an audience would put in something like this which is the absolute antithesis of titillation? Whenever characters use moves like this, I even make a small wince and smile at the absurdity. If we’re to believe that the main purpose of the show is to make it’s viewers horny, why would they even consider putting in a scene like this? Honestly, if you’re coming to Keijo for the Ecchi, Keijo’s a pretty terrible show. Keijo fails pretty hard at being erotic.
I’m saying this as a straight male who translates hentai manga/doujinshi as a hobby and has literally read 10,000+ H-manga and doujins. If there’s anyone who would claim they would know a thing or two about anime/manga erotism, it would be me. For example, compare Keijo to a show that I would actually say has the main purpose of titillating an audience (To-Love Ru Darkness).
If you wanted to make the argument that To-Love Ru’s main purpose is to titillate an audience, then I would be in complete agreement. THIS is a show that’s about titillating an audience and I certainly enjoy it for that reason. If you compare this scene to the Keijo scene, it’s not even remotely accurate to consider them in the same category of “titillating an audience”. Ecchi is an entire genre where that’s the main goal and Keijo fails tremendously at being a good Ecchi series. However, by utilizing fanservice, Keijo really excels at what it actually tries to be. A Shonen Battle series.
As shown in my initial Keijo example, Keijo plays all the standard Shonen tropes extremely straight. Almost anything you can think of in a Shonen Battle series will make its way into Keijo. Training Arcs, Rivals becoming Friends, The Power of Friendship, Overcoming seemingly impossible odds, you name it. So, a question you might pose is why have the even have such a fanservicey premise to begin with? The answer is that two-fold in that it inserts familiar tropes into a new and absurd environment, which then sets a new starting point for allowing greater suspension of disbelief.
Keijo absolutely needs its fanservice. But not for the reasons of titillation, but for setting a new ridiculous background for a Shonen Battle series. Instead of your typical Fantasy setting with swords and magic, you trade those for breasts and butts. The juxtaposition of extremely familiar tropes being placed into such an absurd environment is where much of the magic of Keijo comes from. Keijo is extremely aware of this and uses it to it’s advantage. Let’s look at the iconic Gatling Punches from JoJo.
Extremely iconic and memorable, but so many series have used it over the years that it’s become kind of uninteresting. But implementing this technique in Keijo bring in a new level of absurdity that makes it new and refreshing. By not being an exact copy and instead taking the ever-smallest twist, this classic technique is given new life.
But this is only the beginning, Keijo continually and consistently keeps pushing the envelope of insanity as each girl grows stronger as a Keijo fighter. For example, lets’ look at a move that got unveiled in the most recent episode.
A character in this show actually just uses a Keijoified variant of The Gate of Babylon one of the most iconic techniques within the Fate/Stay Night universe. Is that really necessary as a show that’s just meant to “titillate an audience”? It’s only through starting with the premise of “breasts and butt fighting” can we even begin to take moves like this seriously. In any other series, the ridiculousness of such an attack would break any viewer’s suspension of disbelief and they would not be able to take it. But with Keijo consistently playing it straight and starting off with a silly premise, it allows even further craziness to occur later on in the series.
There’s so much more to a series than just reading a quick summary and letting your initial thoughts of what you think an anime is become fact. You say this in a previous article:
Curiously, fans who identified as “progressive” say it’s easier to accept Keijo!!!!!’s fan service because it’s so unabashed. It’s not hiding. It’s the whole damn thing. But even so, is the whole damn thing just off-limits to criticism?
At the absolute baseline, you would think that criticism would imply at least watching the show and making judgments based upon facts and evidence. Not just letting your preconceptions and any evidence that happens to favor your stance lead you in one way when reality is in another direction. Saying Keijo is just a bad anime with the sole purpose to titillate a horny male audience is the equivalent of saying that Yuri on Ice is a bad anime with the sole purpose of pandering to desperate fujoshi. Both are completely ignorant statements that can only come from the fact that the person saying them doesn’t actually have any real experience with the show at hand.
Not liking Keijo is fine, but to discredit it without doing proper research or even understanding basics such as what genre it actually is highly irritating.
Keijo is a highly entertaining series that puts a unique spin on a classic genre, which gives it a humorous and unique outlook while still maintaining the tension and excitement that’s expected from a Shonen Battler.
It gives lets you feel the highs of a win,
without ever straying too far from failure.
You can call Keijo a lot of things, but to dismiss it as merely fanservice schlock is something that is simply untrue.