What They Say:
Welcome to the exciting world of Keijo, the new sport craze with girl-on-girl battles between boobs and butts! On the rigorous journey to going pro, 18-year-old Nozomi Kaminashi will train hard with other talented girls at Setouchi Keijo Training School. After getting hip-whipped into shape, it’s time for these ladies to test their skills against the gluteal gladiators of their rival school.
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo while the English mix gets a 5.1 bump to it, both of which are encoded using the Dolby TrueHD lossless codec. The show works a familiar sports pattern so the mix is pretty good in moving things across the forward soundstage and presenting enough impact to the moments as needed. The 5.1 mix has a bit more bass to it but both tracks serve the material well as the action goes back and forth and there’s lots of effects and intense yelling. The smaller moments with dialogue and incidental sounds are handled well with some good placement as needed from time time and the end result is a show that while it may not stand out in a huge way to some extent it does exactly what it needs to in order to hit that right sweet spot. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2016, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs in a nine/three format and the second disc has almost thirty minutes of extras. Animated by Xebec, the show has a really great look that you get with series that deal with water and fanservice if they put enough of a budget into it like they did here. The color design is great, it works the high motions scenes really well when it comes to the attacks that the players engage in, and there are some very fluid moments of fanservice within it that delivers exactly what fans want. The encoding captures all of this really well with a solid color palette throughout it, no breaking up or noise during the high motion sequences, and a vibrancy to everything that doesn’t turn garish and simply looks great. It’s very easy to enjoy the look of this series.
The packaging for this limited edition version delivers the goods pretty well and fans of the show will definitely want to make sure they get a hold of it. THe show comes in a heavy chipboard box, but one shaped to the release so it’s not an overly big one. The box has some great artwork of the main characters in their uniforms showing off plenty of skin and swimsuits so you know what you’re getting into. The light colors draw the eye well and the expressions are the right kind of look for them. Within the box we get the oversized Blu-ray case that holds the discs for both formats on hinges and it uses four pieces of the Japanese release cover artwork of character pairings, making it easy to reverse and have what you want facing out. The set comes with some great pack-in material with an 18-month calendar included that’s basically the size of a booklet opened up. This has lots of great character artwork pairings throughout it and some group shots as it runs from February 2018 to February 2019. The set also has a booklet that includes a lot of the same material from the Japanese home video release and is all artwork, no bothersome text or anything.
The extras for this release are fun as we get a couple of the Japanese promos as well as the various clean closing sequences that it utilizes along with the clean opening. The audio commentary gives us some voice actor time but the big win for me was the inclusion of the six OVAs from the Japanese home video release. They run just over three minutes each and avoid going for an overdose of fanservice and instead factor that into it decent while dealing with some cute comedy and character moments, enhancing the show overall. It’s hard to over-fanservice by this point so I’m glad it’s actually a bit restrained.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the manga by Daichi Sorayomi, Keijo is a twelve episode anime series that aired in the fall 2016 season. The manga originally kicked off in 2012 and ran for eighteen volumes before finishing up in early 2017, having a pretty solid run overall. The anime adaptation follows the pattern of a lot of sports shows so there’s plenty familiar here but I really like that what it does is serve as a first chapter kind of story that has some real closure to it but opens it up for more animation to be produced for it. The series doesn’t try to hide its fanservice elements, and in a weird way doesn’t really overplay it either because it’s normalized within the context of the show, and it just embraces the silliness and enjoys itself. It also achieves a lot of this because it sticks to the sports structure and it has a really great visual design with some strong animation. It’s the kind of series that is very easy to mock, and there’s plenty to laugh at here, but it treats itself seriously and that goes a long way in the why it works.
The series gives us a world where in addition to the usual array of sports that are out there, we also get keijo. The premise is simple in that it’s a game where matches are held on floating platforms in large Olympic pool sized arenas that are called Land and they come in all different types, from jungle gyms to circle platforms and even two chained aircraft tied to each other. On these platforms, you get various matches where, in this series, women go at each other in singles, pairs, or other group forms against each other to essentially knock out the other players and win the match. The catch is that the weapon of choice are breasts and butts, which are trained to the extreme to do some amazing attacks. If you see clips of it, it is utterly ridiculous. In watching the promos prior to its original broadcast I was like many in just laughing at the absurdity of it. And it is absurd. But the show treats it competitively rather than as pure fanservice and a goof and that gives it the right kind of tone as you get caught up in how serious they are with it.
While the women who engage in this are young, it really has the post-high school feeling about it where it’s their main mission. They’re not attending regular classes when they go to one of the two main facilities in Japan where you can get trained in this spot and attempt to go pro at it. This is their job and their dream and they’re as focused as any other competitive sport, a ground moment that helps immensely. Within this we follow two new arrivals among many others to the Setouchi facility with Nozomi and Sayaka. Both have goals of becoming the best and have different body types to try and achieve it with and their backgrounds are different as well. Nozomi grew up poor and spent time as a gymnast while Sayaka, her best friend, spent years training in judo but always wanted to pursue this since a child, which has opened a rift with her parents. The two are very good best friends as portrayed here and never stray into truly competing with each other, instead working to achieve their goals and be supportive of the other – and others that they’re teamed up with from time to time.
What the series does is work through the training arc from any standard sports property as they get on board, tested for what they can do, a few rivalries are presented, and there’s some grumbling towards the instructors with how overpowered they are. That all culminates in the last four or so episodes focused on a “friendly” match between the East and West facilities where the Setouchi group has lost the last ten competitions they’ve had, which is really impacting their reputation. Everything is standard stuff here when you get down to it but it’s the way it’s all executed that allows it to work because it’s all treated seriously. The show is absolutely ridiculous with the attacks it employs, the powered-up breasts, butt-attacks that would make Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star envious, the combination movies, all of it. It’s beyond words in a lot of way because it’s just that far gone. But the way it’s treated like any over the top kind of action series with fighting or extreme sports gives it that wiggle room to work combined with some really great animation. Yeah, it’s sexy as hell at times and there’s a push for really derpy kinds of sexuality here and there with the training, but that layer of seriousness gets you to laugh and then really get into how it makes a difference in the match itself.
Keijo is a series that I totally understand why it draws hate and ire for a range of reasons. But at the same time, it’s a show that I think is just really solidly executed in the sports genre in all the right ways. It’s great looking, it treats itself seriously with the rules it’s established, and it plays things up for effect as most shows do, and just keeps you fully engaged. I had far more fun with this show than I expected, even its ridiculous attacks because it kept to a consistent world design and the characters all played like they could be in any number of sports series without missing a bit beyond the actual sport itself. Funimation’s release delivers this in great form with a fantastic package, a strong looking show, a solid dub, and a good deal of proper attention all around. Fans of the series will love the attention that it got here and it’ll be a great release to have on your shelf.
Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0 Language, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closings, Promos, Audio Commentary, OVAs
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Funimation
Release Date: February 6th, 2018
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.