"Daily Lives of High School Boys plays out like a series of satirical Saturday Night Live skits, parodying every imaginable Anime cliché while still pertaining certain conventional traditions."
With a title like Daily Lives of High School Boys, it’s easy to assume that this charmingly stylish animation is just another melodramatic teen sob fest compiled of stereotypical Anime tropes and bad humor. Presuming that…would be a BIG mistake! Daily Lives of High School Boys (男子高校生の日常 Danshi Kōkōsei no Nichijō) plays out like a series of satirical Saturday Night Live skits, parodying every imaginable Anime cliché while still pertaining certain conventional traditions. In a way, it still is an Anime about high school kids and their everyday foolery, about love, romance, and friendship…but it deconstructs every trite situation with ludicrous jokes that are thoroughly unpredictable and strangely entertaining.
"There are moments of pure comedic brilliance where superb writing and excellent performances by the voice actors take center stage and it’s fascinating to see how the witty dialogue seamlessly correlates with bursts of slapstick humor."
Daily Lives of High School Boys originally started as a Japanese Manga by Yasunobu Yamauchi and was later serialized in the online magazine Gangan Online. In 2012 it was adapted into an Anime television series and was recently announced to be in production for a live action movie. Clearly, the series has a certain spark and after a few episodes...it’s easy to see the appeal. Comedy in Anime doesn’t typically have the best reputation. Culturally, Japanese humor doesn’t always align with western audiences, but Daily Lives of High School Boys is one of those rare cases where the jokes just click. The show is very self-aware and doesn’t shy away from pointing out the derivative and oftentimes-cheesy nature of many Anime series these days. There are moments of pure comedic brilliance where superb writing and excellent performances by the voice actors take center stage and it’s fascinating to see how the witty dialogue seamlessly correlates with bursts of slapstick humor.
The plot is in the title…quite literally. Every episode is a day in the protagonists’ life and the simple premise lends itself wonderfully to the short episodic nature of the show. The three main characters Tadakuni, Hidenori, and Yoshitake are a hilarious bunch and even though the episodes are short, each character gets enough screen time for their shenanigans. While the main trio carries the show wonderfully, the supporting cast is equally ecstatic… like Tadakuni’s younger hyper violent sister Mei who steals every scene she’s in or the absent minded Yassan who portrays a hilarious soap opera caricature. While you won’t get any complex character development or narrative structure, it’s not what the show is really about. It’s meant to be watched in small bursts and serves as the perfect distraction if your Anime queue is lacking good comedy.
"The included art book is equally impressive. It combines character bios/sketches and episode guides with several full-page illustrations."
The Blu-ray quality of the show is excellent. The image is crisp, clean and radiating with vivid colors perfectly accentuating the flashy animation style and playful tone of the show. When it comes to the Premium Edition packaging, NIS America doesn’t joke around. This is the kind of special edition box that you want to display on the shelf for everyone to see. The box is slickly designed and sturdy with a smooth matte surface making the cover images really pop. The included art book is equally impressive. It combines character bios/sketches and episode guides with several full-page illustrations. As someone who’s a sucker for art books, the care that went behind each page layout is very admirable.
My only complaint concerns the lack of substantial special features. While the few bonus scenes and commercials are appreciated, it would have been nice to see more compelling content like creator interviews, storyboards, or a general making of featurette. But what the special edition lacks in extra video content, it makes up for in beautiful packaging and top notch Blu-ray quality.
Daily Lives of High School Boys is an interesting show because its unique humor is so appealing, viewers that may not even like Anime should take notice. It mocks the genre…and it embraces it. It’s a wonderful mix of satire and slapstick comedy that’s thoroughly entertaining and charismatic. Don’t be fooled by the show’s misleading title; this is no cornball Anime teen drama, it’s anything but. For anyone that even remotely enjoys good Anime, this is a rare gem that deserves a place in your collection.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Review Format: Blu-ray | Running Time: 288 Minutes