The lightness of the series brings it to an actual conclusion – and change.
What They Say:
In a very old building within the grounds of a high school, there exists a club shrouded in obscurity. Kyoya Shinomiya is coerced into joining this club, known as GJ-bu (Good Job). Here he meets . . . Based on the popular Japanese light novel, this anime series depicts the nonchalant interactions of Kyoya and the unique female characters in scenes you are sure to enjoy.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The first half of GJ Club was something that felt just a little bit odd for me, a little bit off, but also quite familiar. The experience of the small group of girls and one guy who hang out in a club room is something that many, many (too many) series have done in both manga and anime form. Some of it works well, other pieces tend to be trainwrecks in different ways. But GJ Club was the kind of show that as a whole is simply, well, there. It’s pleasant enough and the characters are well designed, the animation – whet there is of it – is detailed and fluid, making for an engaging setting overall. But it’s the kind of show that just doesn’t do enough to really make the characters real, to connect with, leaving you smiling at various aspects of it but treating it as no more than just a story, a passing of the time.
In this half of the series, we get the introduction of Tamaki, the cute green haired freshman girl who like Kyoya, ended up being kidnapped into joining the club. She’s the cute and small type like Mao, but she’s also got the voracious appetite when it comes to the cakes that she believes she was promised by becoming a member. There’s some comical moments early on as she goes on about the cakes and makes a deal with Megumi to eat a massive cake so that she can gain weight, making Megumi feel better by having someone else weigh the same as her. Of course, with the high metabolism that Tamaki has, she ends up actually losing weight in the deal, making for one distraught Megumi. Simple, cute and it has its layer of fun, but it also plays on that whole mindset of young girls wanting to be rail thin that grates on me with certain shows, this one included.
Tamaki’s presence in the series makes for a few good bits along the way as she’s kind of in the same boat as Kyoya, though she teases him just as bad as the rest of the girls do. But unlike some of them, she’s more outspoken and cutting in her words, which also leads to some situations that has her standing apart. But there are ways she’s drawn in more to things, which is a fun recurring gag throughout this half of the show. When we see Kyoya brushing Mao’s hair, it’s something that he ends up doing for most of them at one time or another, each of them reacting slightly differently, but all with a touch of blush to their cheeks over it. Tamaki is no different and because of her twin tails, he even goes so far as to remove those to brush her out. The best part though is when he gets a chance to do this to Mori, my favorite maid, as she downplays her “old woman” hair and ends up being the most intense in how she feels when his hands get on her head, both with the brush and just in the scalp massage.
The show does slowly advance things along the timeline here, which is pretty welcome since we get the early stuff in the fall and it goes until the spring period when graduation hits. Some of the material is cute in how they handle things, such as doing an indoor beach day of sorts where the girls all wear their bathing suits and play at various games, but they also go formal with yukata’s later on during it. I also really liked the couple of instances where the girls ganged up on Kyoya and did his hair and makeup against his will, only to discover that he’s quite attractive this way. And that leads to him showing off in the school girl uniform a bit. But he has his limits as well when they want him to get ultra frilly and he balks at it, not wanting to go that far. There’s a good playfulness between the characters that’s definitely appealing to watch.
I was also appreciative that the show deals with the characters across the different grade levels here and the three of them, Mao, Shion and Kirara, are all going through the graduation process as well. While there are some tender feelings being nodded towards when it comes to Mao and Kyoya, it doesn’t come out in a big way and the focus is more on the transition of the group from one president to another and the earned respect that the seniors get as they go through the graduation motions. Though we have the time spent with the cast, it’s made clear through the ending and graduation ceremony that these moments of sitting around idly, talking, playing and laugh has made some good impact on the characters and there is a good bit of meaning to it, both for those that are moving on and those that are staying. I definitely like that they bring things to a close with a graduation rather than just letting things linger, but also that the romantic angle wasn’t forced and made into something more than it means here.
In the end, GJ Club is a show about people sitting around in a club room just being themselves, quirks and all. And this group certainly has its quirks, though they’re nowhere near as outlandish as some other shows. Only Kirara really goes “over the top” with her animalistic side as even Mao and her maid are kept in check. And yes, I stupidly loved the whole maid spinning gag used throughout and how the other girls used it on occasion as well, making it all the richer in its simplicity. GJ Club has left a good impression on me while watching and the second half was a touch more enjoyable than the first since it moved along well and brought things to a conclusion. Yet, in the end, there’s not a lot of meat here to really sink your teeth into when it comes to the characters and that keeps it from having enough meaning. GJ Club is a good bit of light fun for fans of this genre, but it’s just another installment of something familiar with no challenges and no striving to be more than it is.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
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