Just to get it out of the way; Boobs, Butts, Mammaries, asses, sweater puppies, booty, tits, junk in the trunk.
Done laughing? Cool, now let’s talk about College girls smacking each other in the face with their breasts and bums.
A lot could be said about just how truly puerile the concept of Keijo!!!!!!!! (I will not be using the exclamation marks from now on) truly is, and I would be hard pressed not to agree with that idea.
But week after week, Keijo has decided to dismiss that idea somewhat, by having an actual story (Standard as it is) characters with actual personality (Somewhat shallow and simple, but even some personality is hard to find in fan service shows) with fight animation and choreography that could stand besides some of the best animation in the Shonen fight Genre without looking out of place. Complete with special attacks and rival characters.
The cherry on top of this insanity pie is that the Studio behind this is Xebec, who haven’t done anything I have liked the look of or thought was good since Lagrange: The Flower of Rin-ne, which had Giant Robots pulling off German Suplexes, and even then it only held my attention for one episode, the last show they produced that I actually chose to finish was Heroic Age, which was produced all the way back in 2007.
And even with that said, I didn’t and still don’t think that Heroic Age was anything special, nor was it animated very well.
The last show they actually produced that I not only watched to the end, but still think holds up really well today, is the Shaman King anime. Regardless of the 4kids dub (Or perhaps because of it) Shaman King remains one of my favourite Tournament Battle shows to this day.
But that started airing in 2001 and wrapped up production in 2002. Which is a lot of time between that and Keijo, which it seems, is shaping up to be one of my favourite shows of the season if not the year, and it isn’t because of the fan service (Well, I mean, not in the way fan service usually inspires a reaction) or because of the characters.
What keeps me coming back to this show are the fight scenes, more specifically just how well motion is used to break my disbelief about these girls being able to pull off some of these moves.
As stupid as that GIF is, and it is really fucking stupid, it illustrates several things. Firstly, these girls are fast, almost super-humanly so.Even while sliding backwards, the girl in white slams into her opponent with enough force to illustrate a stalemate. The power of each strike is also illustrated by the sonic wave being generated as the girls slam their butts into each other.
Finally it shows me that each girl is throwing their all into each strike, by having their arms moving back and forth in time with each of their strikes, doing what they can to throw more and more power into each hit.
But we’re not looking into the movement of this show, instead we’re going to look at just how well Keijo manages to illustrate the motion of it’s characters with the few still images used in episode 5: Full Auto-Cerberus.
Oh, right. The short haired girl can manifest a spectral dog focused around her butt, hence the episode title. This show is stupidly awesome.
Anyhow, this first shot here, which appears as a still for about a second, and is the first in a 3 shot slideshow of brief, second long stills and it functions mostly as set up for the next two shots, tells us firstly that Dog-Butt has charged essentially clear from the other side of the platform, as seen in the trail of water and the way the purple spirit fire falls in her wake.
The water jet she creates also translates the power of the strike, working into your head just how bad being hit by that charge.
Likewise, we can also infer the way in which our main character has dodged, based on the motion of her body, but mostly her hair, which is being pulled towards her body by her motion, implying that the flip of Main Girl is a back-flip.
And finally the proximity of her hands to her opponent implies the strike was a narrow miss. Dog-Butt’s attack is also the center of focus of the shot, implying it is the most important part of the shot.
This first image creates the tension of the sequence, in a way that seems almost effortless.
Next we cut to this second shot, which is about as equally complex (Read, not that complex really) but no less impressive.
Again Main Girl has dodged Dog-Butt, who again has dashed clear across the arena, to try and smack her butt into Main Girl’s stupid face. The placement of the characters and the rapidity of the cut between the two shots imply that this was more than likely an immediate transition out of the initial dodge.
The way Main Girl is posed is also interesting, because in an inept show without a good handle on animation, the image’s motion may simply portray that she has slid oddly out of the way, gliding across the arena on her tippy-toes. But here, we track the wake of water she has left in her wake, which is curved. Our eyes take note of how her hair is curving, and you realise she didn’t slide. Her dodge was instead a pirouette, and of course it was.
Finally something small, but probably one of the more impacting actions to take note of is that the water Dog-Butt leaves in her wake has become smaller than that first attack, implying one of two things. Either this attack isn’t as powerful as the last, or that Main Girl, and hence the audience, is starting to get a handle on it. The attack is becoming less and less threatening to all involved.
Neither girl is center frame, but instead both occupy a separate half of the screen, as equals, the camera is not looking from above or below. The tension has waned, and is almost about to break.
The last of these 3 images gives us our payoff, Dog-Butt breaking the expected action of her brutal butt-rushes, that up until this point was mostly the only attack she had been using all episode, with only slight variation here and there.
She abandons her rush, and instead swings her chest, attempting a savage right cross, the direction portrayed by the angle of the lines centered on her chest, and the motion of Main Girl’s back flip, illustrated once more by the motion of her ponytail.
She has missed by a country mile.
Main-Girl is now the furthest away from one of Dog-Butts attacks she’s been all episode long, the motion of her body conveying that dodging DB’s strikes is slowly becoming more and more effortless as time goes on.
The camera is now refocused on Dog-Butt, much as it was in the first shot, but it isn’t centered on her now. It’s centered instead on her gaze, from the complete opposite angle that the camera was at in the first shot. Eyes locked on Main Girl flying high in the sky. Nigh untouchable.
Keijo is streaming now on Crunchyroll and Funimation. Please find below some more of the stupid-awesome shots from Episode 5.