Chu-Bra!!

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therik's avatar By therik on May 24, 2010

Story

My regular readers – working on the egocentric assumption that such a species might exist – will remember my most recent review as having been commissioned via TACO by KiraRin in an attempt to offend my sensibilities. This time round, sothis herself has got in on the act, deciding to exploit my utter distaste for lolicon material and underage nudity by forcing Chu-Bra!! upon my unwilling person. Thus did I end up watching a show about young teens in underwear. At least that’s what I plan to tell the police.

In a way, Chu-Bra!! is like multiple-Oscar-winning film Rain Man. Its central protagonist is an individual lacking in the social graces and common sense that anyone would consider natural, compensating this with an outlandish talent that anyone would consider god-given. Unfortunately, that’s more or less where the similarities end because, while Raymond Babbitt had an encyclopaedic memory and the uncanny ability to count things at a glance, Nayu Hayama has an encyclopaedic knowledge of underwear and the uncanny ability to annoy me.

When summed up, the show’s plot is ridiculous. A teenage girl goes around teaching others about underwear and solving their problems, on the proviso that they relate specifically to bras and knickers. However, the real problem with Chu-Bra!! is not that it is as bad as its premise sounds - rather it is worse. There was room for humour here. There was room for nonsense, room for parody, room to make something that could be laughed with rather than laughed at. Instead, token steps are taken to create something respectable, or at least as respectable as a show about a middle school underwear club could hope to be. There are trials, tribulations, and other laughable pleas for the viewer to become emotionally involved in the recycled plot points and pointless interactions that the makers have the gall to pass off as a story.

What humour and diversion the show does manage to offer is sub-par at best. Aside from a delightfully over-the-top drama club who make an Utena-referencing cameo towards the end, the comedy can be summarised in one sentence: middle schoolers of both genders find lingerie embarrassing. While the show occasionally elaborates on the theme - for example by employing a cavalcade of blushes and nosebleeds to illustrate the idea like some kind of puerile crimson PowerPoint presentation - it would be unfair to credit Chu-Bra!! with much more than this simple observation, re-told again and again with tedious dedication.


Animation

Chu-Bra!!’s animation is both generic and lazy. Backgrounds are clean but far from striking, and they frequently exhibit a lack of detail. The character designs, meanwhile, are uninspired. Aside from a couple of touches – such as Ms. Mizuno’s constantly unkempt hair – nothing much even resembles novelty. Similarly, the show is short on visual flair, and the animated medium is never used to achieve anything more creative than an overused face fault or two.

More unfortunate still are the inconstancies which haunt the show like an unusually irksome spectre. Some of the more obvious are a teleporting tea cup, a boat which can’t decide whether it has seats or not, and the curious case of Haruka’s eyelash protrusions, whose length inexplicably varies throughout the series. These are by no means the only errors which leapt out at me, and I have no doubt that an eye sharper than my own could catch many more before succumbing to some bad-animation-induced strain of ocular cancer.


Sound

Chu-Bra!!’s assault on the ears is no gentler than its assault on the eyes or brain. Both the OP and ED fall some way short of the bouncy, energetic J-pop for to which they presumably aspired, owing to jarringly fast lyrics in the OP and an irritating melody in both. The background music is usually too loud and often too serious – the relic of an earnest but failed attempt to add some kind of drama to the insistently daft and shallow plot.

I also found myself disappointed with the voicing. Whether the actors were poorly cast or just did a bad job is open to debate, but Minori Chihara, who shone as Yuki Nagato in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, offers only cutesy blandness as Nayu. Meanwhile, Takahiro Sakurai, so engaging in the role of Mononoke’s medicine seller, is wasted as Nayu’s quiet and entirely irrelevant step-brother. Not that any of the half-baked roles on offer would have particularly suited.


Characters

As well as having nothing to offer in terms of intrigue, the main characters in Chu-Bra!! have no obvious personality outside of their attitude towards underwear. In a way, that’s about all that could be expected given the premise, but in another, equally valid way, it makes for dull viewing. There is some modicum of redemption to be found in the sparse appearances of the off-the-wall eccentricity of the drama club and the down-to-earth maturity of Kiyono, but when I found myself siding with the poisonously stereotyped, no-fun-on-my-watch headmistress in her attempts to close down the underwear club, it became clear that this was not a cast I could easily care about.


Overall

In order to give an overall picture of Chu-Bra!!, there is value in going back to the very basics. This is a show about middle-schoolers with underwear problems and, no matter how you cut it, there’s a certain wrongness to that. Confronted with such wrongness, there are two things that a successful show can do. Firstly, a show such as Kodomo no Jikan can embrace the wrongness, use it to confront the viewer and create drama and intrigue. Alternatively, a show such as Moetan is able to acknowledge the wrongness, parody it, and generally have a lot of fun. What Chu-Bra!! does is make a foolish attempt to bury it. Foolish because a lame plot and weak attempts at self-legitimisation amount to barely two shovelfuls of dirt, and the wrongness is even more apparent than if they had simply let it be.

While Chu-Bra!! may not be the sole reason for which anime fandom is generally looked down upon, it nevertheless makes an excellent case for the prosecution. The show brings neither humour nor drama to the table, and the small amount of ecchi appeal it might have is nothing more than desperate barrel scrapings. There are far better anime out there.

2/10 story
3/10 animation
3/10 sound
2.5/10 characters
2.5/10 overall
papcorp's avatar By papcorp on Mar 22, 2010

STORY

I saw an online advert for this anime: brand new ecchi style anime with lot's of panties and comedy (or something like that). And I was eager to watch it, even more after I read the plot synopsis: young girl obsessed with underwear want's to start a panties 'nd bra school club. "WOW" I said to myself, "that must be one real ecchi!". Ohh boy.. how I was wrong.

Ineed the main character (Nayu) is crazy about underwear but she has her reasons. Her whole family worked in underwear business (they designed it) and she has it in her blood. So in fact she is not hentai (perverted) but it's just something familiar for her and common to talk about underwear or ask about it. Huge missplacement of characters or their history. Right from the start it's not being ecchi it's being "oh my god she is perverted; no wait she is just going to become an underwear businesswoman like her whole family". If you find underwear business perverted or ecchi then most likely you are a typical Japanese female teenager.

Basically the whole plot revolves about a group of friends starting an underwear club (society) in their school and typical problems you might stumble upon. The ecchiness only exists in panty shots, underskirts and talking about underwear. That last thing is only ecchi for Japanese people I think. I don't know about rest of the world like USA, latin america or other places, but here in Europe (not only my country) talking about underwear, asking about it HECK even showing it is not something very ecchi. Kids in that school (in the anime) act like it's public masturbation or something. So maybe it's only Japanese, I don't know (give me your opinion or share some knowledge).

Due to the lack of ecchiness in this anime i rated it so low. But at the same time I feel a little guilty because the story itself is kinda watchable. It's more like a drama and a little of slice of life anime and in my opinion no comedy. My real-life situations are more funny like those in the anime, in fact I think anyone's real-life situations could be more funny. I wasn't amused by the story, I find it even ...borring? I don't know there is just something not apealing about it but even so, I carefully watched every episode and waited for the next one.

To wrap things up: no comedy, no ecchi BUT good portion of drama and slice of life. Not what I was expecting but also something that could be interesting.

ANIMATION

Artwork and animations are pretty decent in these release. Bacgrounds are nice and they don't stick out like in many anime, they are also very detailed. Chara design is nice. each character (even the background ones) are distinguishable and genuine and their details are ok (although could be better). From time to time we encounter a cartoon style art, in fact there is a lot of that stuff and if you don't like it you might be annoyed by it (I know I don't like but still the animation is great). The animation itself is also great, moving clothes are nicely done and every movement of a character also (ofcourse we mostly see underwear :) ).

SOUND

I always have trouble with sound rating, if the sound was not annoying it was OK. If it was good you hear it and it hammers in into your head. Music was decent, nothing realy interesting just generic music to brighten things up. Although the sound effects are nice, I know there are only a few ones overall but still. Like I said, my brain just remembers that there was something good or interesting about it. Still not good or interesting enough to remember it well. Summa summarum I give it 7, just GOOD.

CHARACTERS

As I mentioned above, chara desing is nice but it also fits into the characters. They are all interesting, yes even the background ones. Or maybe it's because it's just so generic slice of life anime that everything is equally interesting? You must figure it out yourself, I won't decide. Like I said, they are interesting, each one of them has it's own story and characteristics. Each of them also have very own motives and desires about the underwear society. But I must say that some of them are useless, well not realy useless but showing them very often is useless. If I have to see a background character talking doing nothing very often please explain me anime. Please show me more of that character if you already started. But no, we get too few informations about some characters, their past and their future.

OVERALL

What's with the goose turtle and neko? no no no realy! What's with those animals? They show in the opening and ending themes. And they are randomly put in the anime. A goose, turtle and a cat (or sth, i don't remember the last one), but most often turtle and goose. I would realy like to know :)

I'm not sure if this anime is over, I try to avoid giving reviews about anime that is still on. Because it makes the review in accurate, what is the plot suddenly takes a turn of 180 degrees? But it's already after 12th episode and it looks like it ends there. Even the ending theme is incorporated into the last scenes (like in most last eps). I won't spoil you the fun and tell what's in the end. If they are going to start a second season I think I won't watch it. Unless they made story even better or realy make it ecchi it's going to fail. I was very disappointed with this anime but I watched it and I don't know why. So if you are a bit afraid of ecchi go give it a try because there is none in it.

Also there is a mang AFAIK.

5/10 story
8/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall
MidnightPrayer's avatar By MidnightPrayer on Jun 5, 2010

When I began watching this anime I thought it would be a nice, cute, light, sweet anime and as the show progressed that general theme didn't change, but it did become incredibly tiresome.  The characters develop (if you can really call it development at all) in predictable and irritating ways and the story just falls flat in the end.  The animation itself and the music are both fine, but neither are exceptional.

I suppose the part that is the most frustrating with this anime is that it's a good concept, I appreciated the idea of an anime trying to display the good points of underwear and such, but the show just wasn't honest enough for me and it lacked in an area where I felt they could have really showed the girls developing and struggling with girlhood.

If you want to watch a fluff anime, go for this one, but it's your own fault if you try to expect more from it; I found out the hard way.

4/10 story
6/10 animation
5/10 sound
4/10 characters
4/10 overall
james4888's avatar By james4888 on Oct 6, 2010

The main story is the main character is a underware expert, everyone finds out she likes to wear "adult panties" and she goes around trying to look at panties and feel ppl up....  whats not to like.

?/10 story
?/10 animation
?/10 sound
?/10 characters
7/10 overall
galacticdude7's avatar By galacticdude7 on Mar 25, 2010

-Story-

Upon first glance at Chu-Bra!, one says to themselves "NO! This should not be, this is wrong on so many levels." This results from the fact that the main character Nayu, is completely obsessed with underwear, and having to deal with the knowledge that someone is getting turned on somewhere by 7th grade girls, which is really creepy. But if you get beyond this then the story is pretty mediocre. Some parts are original, but you can help but think that it has been done before somewhere else. They toy with the audience with love interests that develop between the characters that go no where, are implied but never grown upon, or are just completely stagnant. The story seemed pretty generic, but they added a unique twist with it with the whole "Underwear Society" perspective to it, which saves it from getting a much worse rating from me.

-Animation-

The animation seemed pretty cut and dry, and lacked inspiration. The characters didn't look particularly spectacular, and neither did the backgrounds. Its not good but it is not bad.

-Characters-

The main character, Nayu, seems like someone who should not be let out in public. She has an unhealthy fixation on underwear, which is a pretty creepy thing for a 7th grade girl to be obsessed with. Haruka and Yako become friends with her, only after accusing her of pretty much being a whore. Haruka is way too overly developed for a 7th grade girl, and it is suggested that she is lesbian. She seemed overly emotional, and would probably turn out to be one of those girls in high school that everyone pretends to like, but everyone thinks shes a bitch. Yako is pretty much your stereotypical case of napoleanic syndrome, with her small size and type A personality. Hiroko is a boy that finds himself in the "Underwear Society", and his only purpose is to set up awkward situations, and nothing more. Mizuno-sensei is pretty much clueless, and all she does is say nothing interesting and hit on Nayu's older brother. Overall these characters are boring and one dimensional, with quite a few worthless characters thrown in for good measure.

-Overall-

The whole series is just in general, uninspired, unoriginal, and most likely trying to get teenage perverts to watch and buy merchandise. I would recommend that you probably skip this one.

5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
?/10 sound
6/10 characters
6/10 overall