I’m not exactly sure what it was that drew me to giving Kyou no Go no Ni (TV) a try. Perhaps it was the slight similarity to Minami-ke, or maybe it was the elementary school setting, or maybe it was the episodic structure itself, with even the episodes themselves being constructed of smaller segments of comedy. Whatever the case, I did not expect the main type of humor the Kyou wields: sexual humor. Grade-school kids and sexual humor, the combination could go wrong in so many ways. And yet, it does not (for the most part). After watching the anime, I felt compelled to share the lessons I learned with you, my readers.
Summary (a.k.a. skip this section if you like)
This show definitely sits in the comedy/slice-of-life genres (comedy-of-life, or slice-of comedy, as I’ve seen others jokingly name the common mixture), with its school life setting and grade school characters. We focus primarily on Class 5-2, a class full of kids whose childish antics are enacted in such a way to force the viewer into seeing them through a sexual lens. I don’t necessarily mean that the kids are always aware of the sexual implications that their words and actions lend to others, but they are understandably curious about their bodies’ changes. But any viewer familiar with the birds and the bees will see many scenes as direct representations of intimacy. This makes for an endless amount of awkwardly comical scenes for the boys and girls.
The Fun Stuff
While watching Kyou no Go no Ni, I noticed some patterns in the comedic acts that either taught lessons, made statements, or presented some fun ideas. The show doesn’t present these in a serious way at all, but it was only by stepping back and looking at the skit as a whole that I started placing the skits into categories.
Kids are not as ignorant as you think they are.
This is the main lesson you pick up from the anime, that kids do understand what goes on around them. Maybe this is a cultural thing, or just a coming of age thing, but the kids of Class 5-2 all display varying degrees of interest in the opposite sex. What makes it even more interesting is that a good majority of the girls are the ones who view specific actions as sexual, whereas the boys are completely blind. Girls do mature physically quicker than guys, but Kyou no Go no Ni seemed to also show girls as quicker in sexual maturation. We see this the best with Chika and Ryota, the main girl-boy duo in the anime. With her blushes and stammering phrases, Chika exhibits a higher awareness of the difference in sex between her and Jinta. The fact that she allows their continued friendship, and thus continued sexual tension, also reveals her strong feelings for him.
Guys just don’t get it sometimes. Or, is that all the time?
Jinta seems largely unaware of how his words and acts appear to Chika. While he, too, blushes at extreme physical closeness, I took the majority of his awkwardness as stemming from his discomfort with close proximity, not with his interest in females. This does change over the course of the episodes, as an old promise of marriage between the two is revealed, a promise which neither has forgotten.
Girls are just as cool, if not cooler, than guys.
I love the fact that the girls in 5-2 wield such strong influence on the guys. Not only do they influence them, but they also often surpass them in coolness, intelligence, and strength. The prime example of this is Hirakawa Natsumi, an energetic tomboy, whom Jinta has yet to beat in any physical battle, be it drinking milk, thumb wrestling, and sprinting. With each loss, Jinta’s cool factor visibly lessens, while Natsumi proudly gathers the claps of her female classmates. You go, girl!
Uniforms are for the sheep. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
One of the oddest things that grabbed my attention, but also something that really made me happy about this show, was the lack of school uniforms. I initially was loathe to start watching this since it seemed to be like just another school anime, of which I’ve seen many with their plethora of pleated skirts and school ribbons. Thankfully, Class 5-2 gives us variety. While the characters do wear clothes more than once over the course of some episodes, I still appreciate the attention to characteristic detail in allowing them their own clothing. Natsumi absolutely refuses to wear skirts, opting instead for more comfortable t-shirts and pants. Yuki is the completely opposite, and usually wears dresses, skirts, and frilly shirts everyday. One episode in particular shows the girls jumping the bandwagon and styling their hair to more and more extreme effects.
- Sato Ryota apparently grows up to be Yadomi Jinta. Who knew?
This will only make sense to you if you’re familiar with the currently airing anime, AnoHana.
Just by looks alone, both of these characters (as young children) sport short, dark, spiky hairstyles. Their brightly-colored t-shirts also mark them as protagonists of the show and leaders among their peers.
- Leaders aren’t always the shiniest of apples. This rings true for both when it comes to perceiving female emotions, as well as general common sense. Ryota has moments of serious intellectual stupidity, while Jinta’s fear of the world outside his home has forced him into seclusion.
- All it takes is a loud and sure voice to start the infection. As young boys, they both lead their groups of friends with boisterous voices and fearless actions. Those around them fall into their steps, often whether they want to or not.
- Affection? No way! As stated before, both of them lack female intuition. They act blind to the affections of girls, and are equally inept at expressing their own affections. While in Kyou this makes for some hilarious interaction, AnoHana instead uses the crossfire to sad effect.
Overall Impression: (7/10 Good)
This show started out both slow, and plain awkward. I was put off by the completely obvious sexual humor, especially since the characters were all grade schoolers. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that their age was exactly the age that the kids around me started becoming interested in the opposite sex. Remembering this, I started to open up to the comedy and found myself enjoying the set-ups. I then found myself appreciating each of the characters, who each in turn received their own, uniquely different, silly skits. By the last episode, I was satisfied with what I had seen and thankful that I finally gave in to watching it. I got the laughs that I wanted and could still remember the characters’ names a week later! Okay by my book.
- Minami-ke—Kyou has a similar art style, most noticeable whenever the simple and childish faces suddenly transform into heavily sketched, mature faces.
- Azumanga Daioh–Short, comical skits and random humor. They also both have sexual overtones, though Azumanga Daioh takes the acceptable route and is set in high school.