Recently, I have come to notice that fangirls are exactly the same as fanboys – they both like looking at pretty, albeit mindless, things. Usually, this comes with a generous measure of sexual undertone and a general lack of story development, but nothing drives this point home like Saint Beast: Kouin Jojishi Tenshitan (SB:KJT). After suffering through thirteen episodes of animated bishounen fluff, even the most rabid shounen-ai fan will waver at the lack of consistent entertainment.
Taking a long time to warm up, the show left me depressed with the lack of flirting and playful interaction between the gorgeous onscreen hunks. Instead, SB: KJT sees a deluge of main characters with two emotions – angsty and not angsty. A competition to be saint beasts (the God Zeus’ special task force) sees the flimsy plot spiral downwards, as two competitors throw a tantrum and leave heaven whilst a third becomes an angelic emo. At this point, the specially selected six essentially become Zeus’s bitches, and do whatever he commands – something that made me question if the writers had an ultimate motive in setting the story in heaven. The inevitable underlying commentary on religion poses an interesting question: does blindly following an omnipotent being without asking “why” make you a devout follower or a fool? As brave as the writers are to pose this conundrum, they unfortunately bottle out of providing a satisfactory answer.
A glimmer of potential comes from a midpoint injection of action and storyline progression; the fallen angels Lucifer and Gabriel add an interesting twist as they try to show the saint beasts the true nature of their work. Unfortunately, the show is cut off in its prime and conspiracy is brought to an abrupt halt with a hasty rundown of the future of heaven and its occupants. Even the mildly entertaining arc with Kamui the wolf-man served no other purpose than to saturate a bishounen cast.
Sadly, SB: KJT is guilty of having numerous plot lines that become entangled and result in perplexing viewing. A poorly written script doesn’t help this matter, and there are often pointless scenes where an unfunny joke sees the angels stood around sharing some hearty laughter. As mentioned in the review opening, this is a prime example of the lights being on but no-one being home, as a vacant storyline finally drags itself to an unsatisfactory close, leaving the viewer hungry for real shounen-ai action.
I found myself frequently checking the monitor to make sure I hadn’t unwittingly adjusted the sharpenss setting as certain scenes in SB: KJT apply a liberal layer of Vaseline to the screen to give a blurred holy light effect. Apart from this, the artistic style is certainly nothing to write home about; the fight scenes are hampered by awkward movements (although, running without functioning joints is very amusing), and the flowing hair looks out of place on some impossibly proportioned guys. Yes, the boys are very pretty, with a diversity to appeal to a wide range of tastes, but their atrocious costumes leave them looking more like poorly animated drag queens rather than a host of stupendously sexy angels.
Rocking out with a saccharine sweet eighties power ballad, the opening track of the show sets the low tone for the incoming audio mishmash. As well as ambient music better suited to a Japanese dating sim, the cheese-fest presents a disagreeable closing rap track, which felt completely out of place in the angelic tale. Redeeming the audio, a multitude of acclaimed seiyuu vocalise the dazzling leads. From the hyper and animalistic Gai to the powerfully masculine Zeus, the sexual undertones are enhanced by their sensuous resonance.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. If you have seen any boyish harem, you should know the roll-call by now: the intelligent one, the juvenile one, the strong-silent one – the list goes on. My tastes were impulsively drawn to the heroic hunk Judas – his protective nature and toned muscular body made me naturally weak at the knees. Unfortunately, this genre also means the introduction of personalities that grate, and the juvenile Maya was my main source of aggravation. Some people will find his childish antics endearing, but I prefer a world where men are fearlessly gallant heroes and children are seen, but not heard.
Although finishing on a low overall score due to the show’s major flaws, I want to reiterate to the fan-girls that the bishounen are lovely, salacious in fact. My advice? Stay away from this plain shounen-ai romp, and instead relish the adult fan-art that sees the saint beasts losing their halos during hedonistic boy-love.