At last I’ve gotten an anime show set in university, with a cool cast of pretty guys and a charming story which sets the big majority of this season to shame. Gone largely unnoticed, I’m here to tell you to give it a chance.
Being the least successful in a family of judo players, Haruki Bando quits the judo team, disheartened, until his bestfriend Kazuma Hashimoto convinces him to start up a male cheerleading team, this leads them to finding out the difficulties, tribulations and prejudices that come with it.
My first surprise with Cheer Danshi was that it is set not in highschool but in an actual university. You know, that thing anime conveniently forgets exists completely? That thing. Moreover, our protagonists are business students and they get drunk and their teasing romance is realistic, they get shit for practicing a traditionally feminine sport and one of them is thiccer than the usual pretty sports boy.
In the midst of all these things it does different, it still holds on to the tropes sports anime fans have come to love. Cheer Danshi still has the gay undertones, sickeningly cute childhood friendships and enough of the bag of angst to put it in the same field as Haikyuu and Kuroko no Basket. If these two shows were highschoolers, then Cheer Danshi are, as said, university students.
That’s exactly why you should watch it. Watch it if you’re tired of anime set in highschool. Watch it if you like sports anime but want something that’s just a little different. Watch it if you like slice of life anime that’s a little more mature. Just give it a chance, you don’t have to like it, but don’t shrug it off as something it is not.
Which is the big problem with this anime – from the way it was promoted to the teasers, I expected it to be something with awful fanservice and worse story, at best become something overly naturalistic and unappealing like Shonen Hollywood. The pool it swims in has dictated its potential and therefore it has gone largely unnoticed by the exact kind of people who could appreciate it.
All in all, it’s a good, fun show and in some moments touches the things I’ve always wanted anime to touch on. The production, courtesy of Brains Base, has been stable in a way it leaves Orange shaking in its boots. The formation and dances looking smooth and fluid with a deep understanding of anatomy, and if it’s ever rotoscoped, they covered it up beautifully. Which is exactly how it should be done.
Give it a chance, it might not be what you expect it to be.