The hero of our wonderful story of love and youth is Yoshiki Maeda, but because I’ve decided so, I will call him Protag-kun . The first episode retraces the first day of Protag-kun, as he is transferred to an elite private boy school named Baramon. I’m not going to teach you anything, as you probably know, in the name of the school you can find the word Bara, which means Rose but also refers to the gay genre in Japanese literature. Don’t be surprised, such subtle allusions are a common thing in Gakuen Handsome, so catch the jaw you just dropped and let’s continue on with the story of Protag-kun’s new high school life.
Protag-kun meets with his homeroom teacher, forget all your so called White hair Bishounens cause here comes Teruhiko Saionji, the sexy outlaw teacher who is going to revolutionize your world. He’s clearly the flirting type and kind of makes a move on Protag-kun, gently caressing his chin and introducing him as his fiancé to the rest of the class. People can call that sexual harassment, pedophilia and not professional at all, I’d say it was awesome, because there’s nothing better than forbidden love, ya know. Then our glorious hero meets with his childhood friend, Saotome Takuya and goes home with him. On their way they meet with Protag-kun’s little sister who reads to many BL manga since already ships him with his childhood friend. Finally, as Protag-kun and his sister are walking home, a mysterious man appears. Who is he? What secrets does he hide? Find out more in the ext episode!
Let’s start with the obvious: The animation is amazing. Rarely have I had the chance to witness such perfection. To me it’s the accomplishment of more than 40 years of improvement in terms of animation. It’s like everything before Gakuen Handsome was only a draft, destined to create this masterpiece. The colors are bright, the animation is super fluid, it’s like the characters are not even in 2D anymore, I can almost feel their presence right beside me… Especially Saionji, I could almost feel the soft sense of his breath on my neck when he was close to Protag-kun.
Gakuen Handsome made a risky bet with his purified art style. By getting rid of all the unnecessary things such as shading, backgrounds, eyes for the main protagonist, Gakuen Handsome clearly wants us to focus more on the characters and their development rather than on superficial things like “the gorgeous animation”. I cannot do anything else than applause this risky choice and congratulate the show for choosing a simplistic approach in appearance, but which hides some bold choices. Gakuen Handsome is clearly a pamphlet against the dictatorship of modern animation and the wrongly instated “universal good taste” AND I CAN ONLY APPLAUSE THAT! THANK YOU GAKUEN HANDSOME FOR SAYING WHAT NEEDED TO BE SAID! Oh yeah, also it denounces racism, homophobia, the society of consummation and love.
Anyway, moving on with the characters. Of course, they are like the animation, amazing. Saionji is clearly a mysterious character with some deep past. I bet he had some troubles with justice before and like Joe Yabuki, underwent drastic changes in jail. Changes that made this guy another man. So if he’s a sexual offender it’s not his fault, it’s clearly the system’s fault, which also makes Gakuen Handsome a denunciation of the penal system. I know it’s a lot, but seeing Gakuen Handsome is a lot to digest.
Now for Saotome Takuya. He clearly suffers from a Mood disorder since he’s always happy and I bet this happiness hide some much more deeper secrets. I cannot imagine how sad he must have been when Protag-kun left the town… and now meeting him again, it’s like a dream. It’s destiny. I bet this guy is going to be more deep than Shinji Ikari, whom I can already remove from my favorite boiz list, to put this dude in the first place he truly deserves.
Finally, let’s speak of the main character who, without any doubt is going to be the most developed one in the whole bunch. He’s a dick, he’s a compulsive liar and I don’t trust him. You know how you can tell if someone can be trusted by looking at his eyes? Well this dude doesn’t have any. Coincidence? I think not. He clearly removed them in order to stay undercover… that’s why I don’t trust him. Furthermore, see how he ignores his little sister and focuses on his own problems? Hum-Hum, not cool Protag-kun. If I had to bet on how this guy is going to evolve, I think he’ll go full School Days Makoto. That’ll be fun to watch.
There’ll be more guys to come in the next couple of episodes but I’m sure they are all going to be equally interesting and of course, really deep.
If I could already put a grade for this episode it would be 11/10, I haven’t really watched many shows this season but I don’t even want to anymore, Gakuen Handsome is going to top them in every aspect.
Jokes aside, I’m really hoping this anime will continue to be funny and won’t try too hard to be a “so bad that it is good “show.
Watching: Hell yes.
Covering: Depends. I hope there’ll be enough content for me to make jokes about, or even to analyze…But I kind of doubt it.