On Earth, humans live unaware of the many gods who watch over them and help maintain a sense of balance. But one day, a very special girl named Ichiko Sakura will come face to face with one in the flesh – Momiji, the goddess of misfortune! For Ichiko is unknowingly sapping good fortune from those around her, sporting abnormal levels of beauty, intellect, athletic skill and wealth, and it's up to Momiji to help put things back into order. There's just one problem: selfish Ichiko is fully satisfied with her life, and wants nothing of the sort! Determined to keep her mojo safe from the cranky goddess's giant syringe and wide array of bad luck "devices", Ichiko now must deal with a whole host of supernatural lunatics and the fact that her new tormentor has moved in as an unwanted house guest, all the while trying her best to stay as fabulous as possible!
(Note: This is a late entry in the holiday "Secret Santa" rec exchange. I'm sticking with my usual "pros & cons" style of reviewing, but wanted to say that overall, I enjoyed this series a lot. Thanks for the recommendation!) This series is worth watching because... it's a self-described "gag" comedy that delivers on that promise with lots of laughs, but also mixes in a nice dollop of heartfelt "feels" to balance out the wackiness. The hallmark of a good "gag" comedy in anime tends to be a frenetic, over-the-top, laugh-a-minute sort of pacing, and once the setup gets rolling, Binbougami ga! definitely delivers on that score. The comedy here has a little something for everyone: the basic premise of over-the-top personalities clashing in a perpetual stalemate - Momiji can never quite defeat Ichiko's luck to complete her task, but Ichiko also can't get Momiji out of her life - provides a setup for plenty of general laughs, and then they add in plenty of other comedy favorites - pratfalls and other physical comedy, quickie sight gags (often including some REALLY clever references to other anime series), and plenty of fourth-wall-breaking. There's a little something here for everyone, here, so even if one style of humor doesn't work for you, there's always some clever sight gag or over-the-top reaction shot around the next corner to keep you laughing. But beyond the comedy, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the series has a nice amount of heart to it, as well. In the first few episodes, my one gripe with the series was how unlikeable Ichiko was - her selfishness and over-the-top lack of compassion for people around her skewed the balance so that I was 100% rooting for Momiji and not really enjoying the clash of wills between them as much as I might have... but as the series continued and they made an effort to introduce a character-growth arc for Ichiko - learning that friendship and having people around her is more important than the things that she gets from her "Luck" - the show won me over to caring about both characters equally, and that only enhanced the comedy, since it's a constant see-saw with no perfect "winner" in their conflict. The several moments where Ichiko's forced to realize that she's come to care about other people are nicely handled (for the most part) and give a show more substance than "just another gag comedy". This series is prevented from being truly "great" or "classic" by... the fact that it lacks some polish in a few areas. One is the production values. The character designs and animation are serviceable, but not particularly striking. (I spent the first few episodes feeling like Ichiko's character model, in particular, was just really bland.) And although I really did GREATLY enjoy both the comedy and "feels" elements of the show, as summarized above, there are also some missteps. In the "feels" area, the final few episodes of the series actually overplay that hand a bit, letting the "heart" elements get rather maudlin in that final story arc. It's nice that they took the time to give the show a bit of closure, but it devolves a bit into sad-sack melodrama and loses some of the "bite" that the comedy gave it. As an adult female viewer, I also was rolling my eyes quite a bit at how heavily the show relied on 'boobie' jokes and general "pervert" humor. I've been around anime long enough to know that "Ha Ha! Ichiko has Big Tits!" and "Ha Ha! Groping girls is funny!" and other "hilarious" pervert gags like this are part of the nature of the beast in anime, and the show isn't as tasteless or prurient about it as others in the genre, but the sophomoricness of that particular brand of humor WOULD cause me to think twice about recommending this to some other adult anime fans that I discuss anime with, so I felt it was worth noting as a possible downside. The Bottom Line: A tremendously funny and enjoyable series with a nice thread of emotional character growth, as long as you're not too bothered by frequent "boobie" and "pervert" gags.
What is there to say about this anime? Well...giving the fact that it's a review, I guess I should try and write something, otherwise there's no point in me doing this, now is there? Binbougami ga! is one of those animes which instantly grabbed my attention. I heard it was a parody anime and I knew I had to see it, after all Gintama is my favourite anime of all time. And that's something to point out, Binbougami ga! and Gintama share so many similarities; the humour, the references, the ability to change from humourous to heart-breaking in an instant...it's all here! The story of Binbougami ga! doesn't take all that much effort to understand, which I found good, especially for a parody anime. Ichiko SAKURA is a high school student that seems to have it all. She's incedibly attractive, she's got massive breasts, every guy waits on her every breath...her life is just amazing! That is until the God of Misfortune, Momiji, comes and gives her a visit, explaining that there are gods like her, that keep the balance on Earth. Humans are born with 'Fortune' and 'Misfortune' which both balance each other out, however, Sakura has an unatural amount of Fortune...the reason? She seems to have the ability to take people's Fortune away from them, leaving people with more Misfortune, which makes their lives a misery. Momiji comes to Earth in order to take some of her Fortune and restore her to a proper girl. Sakura, being the spoilt brat that she is, refuses, which results in a battle between her and Momiji for the remainder of the series. The great thing about Binbougami ga! is Momiji. She's an absolutely fantastic character and really stands out in the audience's mind. The fact that the majority of the humour and references come from her also makes her a brillant and memorable character. That's not to say that Sakura isn't a good character, in fact, while Momiji's character is, by far, the better of the two, Sakura's devlopment over the course of the series makes her very enjoyable to watch. As previously stated, Binbougami ga! shares many similarties to Gintama, but there are a few things different from it. For one thing, the plot is there and in full force. There's never a moment where you think "What's the story here? Why is Momiji there?" There are also more anime/manga references in here than there are real-life references, which means it's more accesible than that of Gintama, which I find is also a good thing. I must point out a fantastic reference in the first episode, where Momiji, explaining about Fortune and Misfortune, uses Goku SON to represent Fortune, while she uses Vegeta as Misfortune! It's these little references that really stick in your mind. So far, I've only really talked about the first episode and that is simply because I don't want to give too much away. The experience of going through the entire series, seeing Sakura's delveopment from a brat into a likable person is really well done. Obviously, due to the fact that Momiji is a main character (and this being a comedy), you can expect her to appear in a wide variety of disguises throughout the episodes. Though I will say, the references aren't solely limited to Momiji, there's a cool little scene that mimicks Death Note, with Momiji and Sakura drawn like the characters and behaving like them. Overall, Binbougami ga! is one of those animes that I would happily watch over and over again. The humour, the references, the character delvopment, the weirdness of the whole thing, makes it so enjoyable to watch. The only bad part...it's only 13 episodes long! Thankfully the manga is still going, here's hoping they make a season two! And I must apologise for the vagueness of this review. I just wanted to give people the jist of what the show is about and what it's like, without giving too much away, as it's a cracking experience! In fact, it's the only anime that I waited weekly for a new episode!
If you want something that is primarily for lots of laughs, give this a shot. It is incredibly funny and if I had to compare it to 1 other Anime, it would be Gintama. Some of the personalities are actually very similar too. There is some direction and story to everything. The description defines it in detail, but it's basically a game of cat and mouse with the poverty god constantly trying to come after Icichiko's happy essence in order to evenly distribute it to others. Don't come here for that though or expect much, the whole goal of said story is to make for goofy entertainment. The interactions and characters are what really stands out. The personality is pretty strong amongst each character, which contributes to the humor. Rather than describe it in words, here is a single scene from the Anime to display the level of comedy and wacky. (Note: this is an extreme scene, it's not an Anime about sex, but does step into the realm for the sake of comedy)I'll leave the fun in figuring out wtf is actually happening here. As there isn't a whole lot else to say due to it being mostly about creating laughs, I'll leave some fun in discovering things and won't detail any of the characters as I believe it to be more enjoyable to find out as it goes on. It is worth noting that the more Anime you have seen, the better, for the sake of understanding the parody aspects. Overall, its a perfect anime if you want something mainly for laughs. It does a good job at being wacky. If you have seen and enjoyed Gintama, then this is more of that in a sense. There is a background story to guide the flow of events to some extent, but don't expect much there.
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