Boys Be... Bring on the Boys
By Judy DeFrieze, Assistant Producer, 2005
We all know how most love stories go. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and live happily ever after, right? Well, we also all know that real love isn't quite that simple. Wouldn't it be nice if there was an anime that recognized the subtle nuances of romance, and took them seriously?
If you said yes, then you're gonna love Boys Be!
Here at Right Stuf, one of the first questions we ask ourselves when looking at new shows to license is: "How does this anime stand out from the crowd? Will it be distinguishable from the loads of harem and robot shows that everyone's already seen a million times over?"
Suffice it to say, Boys Be caught our attention quickly. It's a love story at its core, but there's a twist – unlike almost every other show out there, Boys Be is told from the guy's point of view. The story twists and turns around our three main heroes, as they do their best to muddle through the mysteries of women and relationships, and learn a bit more with each passing encounter.
One of Boys Be's biggest strengths is its writing. It's an amazing character piece - and best of all, there's so many characters, that you're almost certain to find someone to identify with (and maybe even learn a thing or two from!) We've got our three main "boys:"
Kyoichi: Very mild-mannered, almost to a fault; and when it comes to love, he's a little awkward. But he's the ultimate good guy: honest, caring, and rather shy.
Makoto: Always obsessed with pretty girls, looking up skirts, and imagining what it's like to kiss. He has an outgoing personality, and loves to goof around. Underneath it all he's a good guy – even if his hormones have taken control.
Yoshihiko: The tall, tan, athletic one of the group. Friendly and easygoing, Yoshihiko has a lot of natural talent when it comes to baseball, but of the three main boys, he's probably the slowest and most clueless when it comes to women.
And then there's a trio of lead girls:
Chiharu: A tomboy with a real heart for competition. Because of her outspoken, un-ladylike personality, Makoto has given her the nickname "barbarian"… but she still has all the uncertainties and overwhelming emotions that all girls have at that age.
Aki: Very playful, almost bubbly – but she's also very smart, and sharp with words. She dreams about romance and love, but isn't afraid to speak her mind to any guy that crosses her (especially Makoto).
Yumi: From her looks, you might think she's brainy – but really, she's not a geek, she just has her own style. She's easygoing and fun to be around; you could probably call her the "reasonable" one of the group. That having been said, for some reason, she's always dressing up like animals (cat coat, otter suit, etc.).
Along with this initial crew of six, each episode also tosses a new character into the mix; like the charming nurse Mizuki, the shy cameraman Ueno, or the hot-tempered punk Shoko. And as each new character is introduced, our heroes are shown a new facet of what it means to fall in love, and to fall out of love...
We've been able to snag some really great extras for this release, and one of my personal favorites is the written Director's commentary that we'll be including in each DVD booklet. In fact, just because we love ya', here's a sneak peek at the Director's commentary for DVD1!
When turning an original comic based on the theme of high school "romance" into an anime, trial and error has shown that it needs to be either relatively serious, or something with wacky comedy in every episode. Anything halfway between the two kills the piece.
If we'd taken the latter option, a short series of 13 episodes would have been fun, but there was a good chance that it'd end up being forgettable. So, we chose the former option, but oh, the difficulties it brought...
It's not as if we were trying to create some great artistic masterpiece. We were really only trying to depict ordinary romance between ordinary high school kids in the form of an entertaining show. However, in the script writing phase, we were required to have drama that showed realistic expression of emotions – and that same constraint was placed on the animation and direction styles, and how they portrayed things. There are so many restrictions on an "ordinary show" that doesn't have magic or robots...
As you can see, a lot of care, thought, and time went into this series... and it really shows, both in the quality of the writing and the depth of the characters. So if you're looking for a romance story that's more true-to-life than your everyday average anime, then give Boys Be a glance... it's sure to steal your heart.
Until next time, fellow anime fans!