This is my second of the three recommendations I gave out to my lad Kopo. To my massive surprise, this is the one title I truly expected him to drop but he did the opposite – he dropped the other two (I cri) and supposedly finished this one to the end!
Type: TV Series
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, and Supernatural
Source of adaptation: Light Novel
The time it was aired: Fall 2014, October 7 to December 23
Studio responsible: Trigger
During a Literature Club meeting, the four club members—along with their faculty adviser’s niece—suddenly find themselves with supernatural powers. Now capable of fabricating black flames, resident chuunibyou Jurai Andou is the most ecstatic about their new abilities; unfortunately, his own is only for show and unable to accomplish anything of substance. Moreover, he is completely outclassed by those around him: fellow club member Tomoyo Kanzaki manipulates time, Jurai’s childhood friend Hatoko Kushikawa wields control over the five elements, club president Sayumi Takanashi can repair both inanimate objects and living things, and their adviser’s niece Chifuyu Himeki is able to create objects out of thin air.
However, while the mystery of why they received these powers looms overhead, very little has changed for the Literature Club. The everyday lives of these five superpowered students continue on, albeit now tinged with the supernatural.
Story and Plot
I’m more impressed by the overwhelming amount and flavor of plots than the blatant and cliche overall story Ino-Bato has to offer. Despite the title, this show has very little to do with supernatural battles but rather a lot to do with supernatural abilities themselves.
That’s right! Ino-Bato’s supernatural ability theme was cool before Charlotte. Take that.
Real battles only happen in the first and last episodes which make 1/6 of the entire season run. Naturally, it will disappoint anyone who comes looking for action. I’m willing to guess that Studio Trigger foresaw two seasons of content but was unable to continue due to lack of source material. What’s left of Ino-Bato is basically a somewhat faithful adaptation that’s only half-finished in action department.
But that’s probably what kept this show on its last legs; everything else that’s not action. Ino-Bato proudly boasts itself as a slice of life show, true to the tag and the title; Jurai and his gang are enjoying their comedic moments everyday.
The pros are there and so are the cons, in equal weight at that. I’m extremely temped to slap the HAREM tag onto this show because on top of supernatural abilities as the theme, Ino-Bato is more focused on interpersonal relationships than the entire gang having their daily yarn. I’m one step closer to doing so as the show hangs onto the exact same rope every other good harem shows have had by splitting the series into character arcs, where in each one, a female character gets her valuable time to be explored and have the romance plot advanced.
What Ino-Bato actually does but not to the full extent, is to use romance as a mean to strengthen friendships between the female characters rather than straight up going past that line and have a couple hooking up. You’re basically free to keep shipping until the author really decides to break the harem (*cough* Saekano ♭).
The main cast of Ino-Bato is a mix of nicely done cliches. We have Andou July (let me just call him Jurai from now on because it’s weird as hell) the chuunibyou-suffering protagonist who lacks libido but is surprisingly smooth with his ways to the girls’ hearts.
This show does hold onto a great example of a textbook case standard tsundere. Really, Kanzaki Tomoyo is absolutely a pinpoint in the middle of all character aspects, you can easily mistake her for a normal person – she’s not!
There’s an unwritten rule in (look, I’m gonna call this a harem show now because screw MAL) anime – one of the heroine needs to have big tits and booty. Jurai’s harem has one and her name is Takanashi Sayumi, so to speak. The trope goes as far as her personality as she is obviously the most calm and level-headed character out of the entire main cast.
Now this one isn’t much a law but Himeki Chifuyu exists as the loli of the gang and her existence alone allows some great comedies in this show.
Ino-Bato makes a decent use of the childhood friend trope as well! It will really take up a separate post to have me passionately let out my thoughts on Kushikawa Hatoko as a heroine to Jurai’s harem.
The supporting characters don’t overstay their welcome. If anything, I want more of them especially Kudou Mirei!
Interactions between the character make up most of the comedy in Ino-Bato so you’re safe to call it a tsukkomi-boke show.
Art and Animation
Staying true to the light novel models (thank you!), the art is passable to not be any kind of distraction. Obviously this actually means the art is very little to no different to many other anime adapted from light novels – average.
Animation however lies on another level of decency. Remember that Ino-Bato came after the massive hype leftover by Kill la Kill therefore serious expectation regarding the animation was definitely in place.
To put it simply, Studio Trigger did not truly disappoint. Hell I’m glad that another harem show got decent animation it deserves. And being of supernatural theme, Trigger had no excuse to not animate Ino-Bato with frame by frame finesse.
Remember that the frame-rate in this show is higher than these GIF’s.
Watching Hatoko messing around with her power is actually more fun than I initially thought.
There are also times when certain scenes are extremely well thought out I can’t help but to praise them. I’ll do for one right here and right now.
Because Tomoyo’s power has to do with time, unlike Hatoko’s and Chifuyu’s power reveal…
Props to the animator for showcasing her in a very timely manner (no puns intended).
Clearly a clock is the background. The transition between each picture is quietly accompanied by the clock’s ticking sound which serves the theme of her power really well. The louder camera shutter sound is used to downplay realistic shutting effects when the screen goes black between each picture.
Studio Trigger doesn’t neglect the credits either – the ending is really fun to watch as the scenes for it are clearly thought out. I don’t skip it ever except during this time while I’m writing the review (I need to look for things to talk about!).
The Opening Theme
It actually sounds pretty good, nothing special. I’m actually a sucker for guitar pop as it hypes me as much as rock genre music. This song however is leaning much more towards pop despite having an electric guitar as one of the lead instruments.
The Ending Theme
A more joyful take which really does me wonders. I think it is a common sense to at least have either the opening or ending song be of happy vibe – don’t be sad and go suffering route for both when it’s a comedy show!
Noticeable at best, again they are also nothing special. The BGM used during the first episode’s fight however does catch my attention and does its job to lift the heavy, action-packed atmosphere to an even higher level. I actually did make notes on the piano music for romantic (or heartbreaking in that very case) scene – that’s very well done, too.
A nice mix of amateurs and veterans! They work together so well I had a hard time figuring out their experience by just listening. Going into specific, I initially thought that Sayumi was voiced by Ai Kayano but after a research I’m hella surprised to have found out that she’s actually voiced by Risa Taneda!
Tomoyo’s seiyuu also surprised me as a relatively new face to the industry at the time. Same goes with Chifuyu’s seiyuu.
Now for the veterans, I can still hear Accelerator’s remnant in Jurai when he’s voiced by the famous Okamoto Nobuhiko. I remember this man for breaking a glass with his shout while screwing around as Accelerator for the To-aru series. To have him play the role of a full on chuuni just makes my day.
Lastly, Saori Hayami once again exceeds my expectations for such a background role. Yes, Hatoko is technically a main character but she’s the least prominent one. This is where Saori-san’s voice fully grabs my attention whenever Hatoko gets a line.
He totally got me there – Saori Hayami is the exact reason why I even started this anime. Lol.
The comedy is well contained within the four walls
So yes, rarely there will be fourth wall breakages in Ino-Bato as they are mostly tsukkomi-boke interactions between the main characters.
This show has the right set of seiyuu for great comedy; Studio Trigger helps in a big way with top-notch animation, even for Jurai’s retarded reaction to Madoka Kuki‘s nickname being Cookie.
Ino-Bato is not afraid to reuse tried comedy templates such as the ‘see-through swimsuit if it’s wet‘. I could be really picky and do a rant but thank God I did not.
While it is true that the template is very old, what it does successfully every time is to create tension between the very moment we find out that Sayumi’s swimsuit is a see-through when wet and the moment we find out that it’s just a hoax.
Clearly we’re all in for reactions and Ino-Bato does not go soft for that matter.
Comedic reactions are mostly given via the characters so I won’t be surprised if you end up not feeling amused by the end of the show. It’s either that or you will end up on the floor like Tomoyo.
It seems that the characters are already well acquainted right at the start of the series. Like, they are more than just friends from the get go.
In case it hasn’t been clear to you, the anime fan – physical contact between opposite sexes is frown upon, especially by those who are in relationships. Just look at Jurai practically groping Tomoyo’s ass! That can literally spell the end of your relationship in real life if your girlfriend happens to be Japanese… 😀
This video (at 3:40) will lead you to an interesting insight about majority of Japanese people’s thought on getting hugged by an opposite sex person.
As stated in the story section of this review, Ino-Bato doesn’t take romance to the level most anime of the same genre do. Yes, there are moments of the girls admitting that they do indeed love Jurai. There are also times when the girls find out that they all love him. And then there is a time when they swear an oath to fair rivalry.
And then nothing else happens in the romance department.
It’s funny but the only person who actually gets to officially date Jurai at all is Kudou Mirei. a supporting character. It’s safe to say that anyone coming into this show for serious love will also be in for disappointment. Hatoko’s and Tomoyo’s moments with Jurai did have my heart racing but they were all to it.
I-is this a shounen battle anime, too?
Because the biggest trope of any battle shounen is to have voice over, telling us about abilities and their information. It’s clear from the front visual that diehard battle shounen fans will instantly bat an eye on Ino-Bato.
But what if you are not?
Coming in to listen to Jurai blabbing about each of the characters’ abilities and their tactics/thought processes can and probably will wear you out! It happens right off the bat, from the first episode.
Though, it is understandably common for any show involving chuunibyou to have the protagonist explaining every little thing because they obviously don’t fit well within the world we live in.
Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de gives a little of everything romantic, comedic slice of life anime can. It sure starts strong as a harem show and ends on the same status. It showcases action and mystery but fails to see the end to either of them. It plays around with romance to mingle with your heart, only to put all of it to rest. It tackles chuunibyou and attempts to explore two sides of this in great detail (more on this in a separate post) but puts them on a halt. The comedy in this show–and frankly any other anime–is timeless so there is that.
So what has this show got going for itself?
In all seriousness – nothing. Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de will lay somewhere in your loving heart and never come out as the front-face of any genres it supposedly belongs in.