If you’re looking for something really fun and a little inspirational this season, look no further than Cheer Danshi!!. As has been the long running trend, sport anime are never as simple and straightforward as they appear and Cheer Danshi – Cheer Boys – is no different. Under the guise of a simple anime following the antics of a male cheerleading squad there is a lot of laughs, a lot of emotion and a lot of good times.
The Story so far
The anime follows Haruki Bando and his childhood friend Kazuma Hashimoto, two first year college students at Meishiin University. Haru, born into a family of Judo martial artists, after having injured his shoulder thus taking some time away from the sport, decides to quit Judo due to his own feelings of underachievement. Kazu, understanding Haru’s struggle also quits Judo and decides that he and Haru should start an all male Cheerleading team.
Though hesitant at first Haru is quickly persuaded by Kazu’s determination and dedication to being a cheerleader as they start trying to scout members for the team. A task which turns out to be more difficult than first believed. Enter Wataru Mizoguchi, Koji Tono, Gen Hasegawa, Soichiro Suzuki and Sho Tokugawa. Each boy has a unique personality and their own motivations for joining the team, from Ton’s desire to change and be more to Gen and Ichiro wanting to be a part of a team, have some fun and impress some girls.
Together, for the first few episodes, the guys practice hard in preparation for the school festival where they would be performing publicly for the first time. Along the way they bond and it is revealed that in addition to their individual personalities and motives each of the boys have their own circumstances both fueling and hindering them. Declaring themselves the BREAKERS the boys successfully pull off their routine for the school festival and establish themselves as a legitimate cheerleading team.
Where we are now
This weeks episode picks up a little while after the school festival performance and shows that the BREAKERS team has, after their impressive debut, managed to recruit quite a few new members as well as acquire a new coach. Each of the new members has their own unique stand out personality to add to the already eclectic bunch, instantly creating new dynamics in the group.
Initially the episode progresses into the team coming together for practice after being told by Coach Takagi that their performance at the festival was “beyond bad”. During their first practice, she explains to them that they have great potential to become a top team and tells them that they are aiming for the National Cheer Championship competition in a few month. To qualify they are required to score highly in the upcoming preliminaries in 3 months and though some doubts are heard throughout the bunch, with some encouragement from newbie Ryuzo Sakuma, the team sets their mind to give it their all and make it to the championship with Kazu as the Team Captain and Sho as Drill Captain.
With training fully underway each of the newbies are put through their paces with some basics and the original 7, primarily Haru and Sho do their best to help them out. After being asked to determine the positions for each member by Coach Takagi, Sho manages to place each member with the exception of himself. When confronted by Takagi about his “running away” Sho flees the gym.
When Haru catches up to him and tries to reassure him, Sho reveals a bit of his past in which he was a cheerleader and, as a pro base, dropped his flyer and got her injured. The episode ends as, after relating to Sho’s feelings of running from a the feelings of his past, Haru finally confronts his old Judo teammates about his being a member of the BREAKERS and encouraging Sho to trust in his teammates and stop running.
The episode quite clearly signaled the beginning of the stories second arc. After the first 5 episodes placed a focus on the team being formed and proving to themselves and everyone else that it could be done, this episode quickly distinguishes itself by not only introducing a large host of central characters but also a goal for the coming episodes in the form of the National Championship.
The multitude of new characters manage miraculously not to clash or feel forced in any way. During the introduction sequence the characters a quickly shown to have their own exuberant personalities which matches up with the anime’s MO but there is no excessive emphasis placed on these characters. Most importantly the core characters who we have come to know and appreciate were not overshadowed in any way. In fact these characters were bolstered by the new additions in some cases, like Haru specifically, their characters are actually given more depth.
Though progressing into a new arc the episode maintains the anime’s continuity by picking up the loose ends from the first half of the series and reminding us that they are still important factors in these character’s lives. We are finally offered an explanation as to why Sho was so reluctant in the beginning to even join the team and then later, refused to participate in stunts.
The simple awareness of both the finer details and the bigger picture of the anime’s story is a great comfort and the continued light hearted, straight forward approach helps maintain the anime’s appeal. Next week is sure to continue in the same vain and maybe provide a few new surprises. I’ll see you then.