Binbougami Ga is a comedic shounen series written by Sukeno Yoshiaki. The manga ran from 2008 to 2013. At the tail end of the manga’s run Sunrise, the studio behind Gundam, Cowboy Bebop, Code Geass & Love Live to name a few, worked on a thirteen episode anime adaptation. How well does the anime version hold up? Let’s check it out.
Sakura Ichiko is blessed with great fortune, far more than a regular human possesses. In fact, she unconsciously steals fortune from the people around her, ensuring her own good luck. In order to maintain the balance betwixt fortune & misfortune, the Gods of misfortune send Binboda Momiji to Earth. Her mission, drain Ichiko’s fortune and prevent her stealing anyone else’s. This quickly results in various schemes and shenanigans as Ichiko tries to protect her own interests and the battle between the lucky girl and the Goddess of misfortune is joined.
The biggest issue with the series is that a good portion of the humour isn’t just trite and predictable, but it’s flimsy at the best of times. We get the stereotypical perverted monk/master/priest that’s oh so generic and played out. We also get the masochistic gag character who just wants to be hit by pretty girls. The only twist to him is that he’s a dog God in this. We also get the fan-service jokes, which basically operate under the assumption that shameless fan-service isn’t shameless fan-service if it acknowledges that it’s shameless fan-service. We also get references used as jokes. This series courageously acknowledges that such series as Dragonball, Doraemon & Lupin exist. Because those are just such obscure series that the audience might have forgotten them. All without making any kind of humorous statements about them that might elevate those references to parody.
That being said, the series does have its funny moments. A lot of the competitive stuff with Ichiko & Momiji works pretty nicely, when they leave out the monk and the dog God or hurriedly toss them to the refuse bin where they belong. The series is at its best when it blurs the boundaries of Ichiko & Momiji’s relationship. Those moments where they seem more friendly and less like actual enemies. There are also some good comedic moments with Ranmaru. The more emotional scenes involving the three of them do work quite nicely at times. Aside from that, though, the more serious scenes tend to be just bland.
The characters vary quite a bit. There are some like Ichiko, Momiji & Ranmaru who are decent enough for the sake of a comedy. Then there are characters like Bobby, Momoo & the trio of girls who really hate Sakura who exist solely for one repeated, unfunny joke or to add cheap, completely unnecessary drama. Which is also the primary reason that the scenes with the three main ladies are the best in the series.
The biggest problem with the art is that it’s overly fond of fan-service. Or it would be, except that it magically doesn’t count because the series acknowledges it. Does that line of non-reasoning actually work on anyone? On the positive side, there are some good visual gags here and there and some nice visuals for some of the altercations between Ichiko & Momiji. The negative and those few positives aside, the artwork is passable. Not good, but not bad either.
The acting isn’t badly done. The biggest problem with it is that there’s a lot of exaggerated yelling. They got some skilled actresses for the leads: Uchiyama Yumi, Hanazawa Kana & Tomatsu Haruka have all given some strong performances before, but this isn’t one of the better ones for any of them. Although, in all fairness, it isn’t a bad one either. Their performances here are just kind of okay overall. There are times when they really work and there are times where they don’t. The worst performances come from Shimono Hiro & Kawahara Yoshihisa. Not because they’re bad actors but because their characters are incessantly obnoxious. The music is another aspect that greatly varies. Some of it is quite nice, I actually really liked the opening theme. Other parts of it are kind of annoying and not well done.
There are some points where Momiji and Ichiko not only seem friendly, but seem to be attracted to one another. Particularly towards the end of the series. Ranmaru also gets some female admirers, but they treat her like she’s a boy so it barely counts.
Binbougami Ga is one of those series that’s highly mixed. Every positive aspect of it is balanced out by something negative. It’s not a bad series, nor is it a good one. All in all, it’s pretty mediocre. My final rating is going to be a 5/10. Next week I’ll be looking at Kuuchuu Buranko. Until then, have a fabulous time.