Cute High Earth Defense Club Love!
There are several new anime series that have started this year strong. Despite only being several episodes in, I felt that it would be worthwhile to highlight some of the ones that are standing out among the rest. First up is the oddball comedy/parody Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! The ridiculous name is an apt description of the insanity seen in this anime that uses similar storylines and tropes of various popular magical girl anime.
Cute High Earth Defense Club Love starts with two students from the boys only Binan High School, Atsushi and En, having a conversation while relaxing at a local bathhouse. Their conversation is about the meaning of chikuwabu, and its purpose in various hot pot dishes. During this philosophical debate on the meaning of a particular ingredient, a talking bright pink Wombat materializes and falls into the bath with the two boys. Upon surfacing, the Wombat, whose real name is unpronounceable, urgently asks the boys to help him save the earth, with the power of love. Naturally, the confused boys refuse and try to escape the creature, but before they can the bathhouse owner’s son, Yumoto, spots Wombat. Having an affinity for all things cute, fluffy, and cuddly, Yumoto chases after Wombat; who in turn attempts to escape the cuddling threat. The boys are not rid of Wombat, as the next day at school their teacher comes to class carrying the fluffy pink rodent, who is not in control of the teacher. The boys again escape Wombat, who is still pleading with them for help, and soon the Wombat must escape Yumoto’s grasp as well.
Soon the boys reach a small club room where two of their friends, Io and Ryu, are lounging around; the sign on the door reads, jokingly, Earth Defense Club. We soon find that the four boys are using the Earth Defense Club name as a way to avoid actually being part of a real club. Their laziness soon ends, when Yumoto bursts through the door clutching tightly onto Wombat. Once he escapes, Wombat explains that there is not enough time before forcing Loveracelet’s, bracelet that are capable of giving their love physical form to fight evil. Without the boys consenting to anything, they are quickly dragged into becoming a team of magical boys who will protect the world with their love, as Battle Lovers. They forced, regularly, by this power to pose, recite stereotypical lines, and engage in a transformation sequence that places them into embarrassing costumes.
Many of the references made, poke fun at the magical girl anime genre. Placing normally lazy high school boys into roles that would have better fit the girls from Sailor Moon, sets the comedic tone. While the anime relies heavily on a satirical take of a genre, along with the good doses of sarcasm, the writing is well crafted to place emphasis on the jokes, even if each episode can seem a bit formulaic due to the nature of the genre being parodied. There has been a rival group introduced, along with a green hedgehog as their evil leader, but it will be interesting to see if this will be another joke or if there is a twist coming. For the teenage and older fans of the magical girl genre that want something a bit different, this is one to try. Also, if you enjoy your anime that has a very strong, “What the ...” feeling, this has many of those moments. Having started strong at the beginning of this year, this will be one to watch for some time to come.