After suffering from a shoulder injury, shy first-year university student Haruki Bandou gladly takes the opportunity to give up judo, failing to find happiness in the sport regardless of his family owning a dojo. He did not expect, however, that his best friend Kazuma Hashimoto would also decide to leave their university's judo club at the same time as him. Despite Haruki's protests, Kazuma already has plans for a new and revolutionary activity: a cheerleading team made up of only men. Although heavily reluctant, Haruki ends up helping his friend set up the team. Through sheer determination, and with support from their newfound club members, Haruki and Kazuma persist in founding the Breakers, the first ever all-male cheerleading team of Meishiin University, slowly making history in spite of the feminine tag attached to the sport of cheerleading and the prejudices, physical challenges, and self-doubts that inevitably follow.
Before I begin this review, props to Waseda University Shockers for giving us this anime!
Watch the link to get an idea for the anime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE7QecvR3fQ
Men doing something like cheerleading? Not unheard of but this show is the definition of male empowerment! I believe no activity should be restricted to a certain gender with this show being the beginning of countless opportunities. This a series that has the sport cheerleading under the spotlight as we follow the lives of two former judo participants who embark in this new challenge.
The main character for this show is undoubtedly Bandou Haruki, who is a college student that has the
background of being from a prestigious judo family. This is evident in the fact that his father runs a dojo/gym in their name and that his older sister Haruko has won countless titles throughout her career. He then makes the decision to abandon the sport after suffering a severe right shoulder injury preventing him from participating. His best friend Hashimoto Kazuma follows suit in his decision as they do everything together since childhood. After this life decision, they immediately pursue cheerleading for a fresh start by trying to recruit members to start a college club, which would later lead to the formation of the Breakers. Initially they were ridiculed for even trying but our two main characters never struggled and persevered dutifully by researching the basics and applying it in front of campus. This caught the eye of a certain few which led to them joining and a chain reaction ensued since then with more volunteering to join.
Now one thing that needs to be disclosed is the ridiculous pacing which is apparent when a recap is inserted 5 episodes into the broadcast. The first episodes mainly focus around 6 characters who are the initial core of the group with them being the founders. Mostly everyone is inexperienced to some degree which is shown when every member undergoes a brutal training process just to be fit performance wise. This implies that they should be naturally strong and have a good sense of balance. Mizoguchi and Toono who are one of the earliest to join struggle with this aspect, due to the fact their bodies aren’t equipped for the sport.
Haruki and Kazuma are not subject to this because they are already in good shape from their time doing judo but still encounter problems in the process. Tokugawa Shou, who is an important character later on is adamant on not joining until the group can get on his level, which is the purpose for these episodes. The group weren’t called the Breakers until afterwards when the numbers reached to around 15. As more people joined, the same process of training had to be applied for everyone to be in sync. If they had the time to make a recap episode, then surely they could’ve accommodated another episode to deal with every member settling in to the new organisation.
The characters are numerous but there is just no reason to talk about everyone, so I’ll narrow it down to the three most significant characters with them being Haruki, Kazuma and Shou. Haruki is an individual who has defected judo once he realises he cannot keep up with the strenuous workload. His shoulder injury he sustained from a grappling move has somehow led to him having a fear of heights. Yes, this is the man who fell from less than 2 metres at best has resulted in this joke of a character. This is totally unnecessary when he hangs out on his apartment’s rooftop just to socialise and is a base for further cheerleading training. It is also known that he sees his older sister Haruko with an inferiority complex despite the fact that he is a fervent supporter of her when she performs in matches. The irony being is that being the physically stronger sex doesn’t always guarantee success which is the case for our unfortunate young man. It’s not like she doesn’t have her fair share of problems…
Kazuma on the other hand is just as talented as Haruki and even exceeds him in some aspects as being a better well rounded character. Kazuma is the focal point of the Breaker’s group when he is assigned the position of captain due to being a very vocal and earnest person at heart. The man is the superglue who resolves disputes that may occur and is the regulator to preventing any infighting. As stated earlier, Kazuma is a childhood friend of Haruki which has given him the status of almost being a family member in the Bandou household. I should rephrase that; he is treated to being the equivalent of a family member which just shows you how far their friendship has come. The reason for him choosing cheerleading is simple, as both his parents were active cheerleaders in their youths but even that does not explain the sadness that lingers in his mind.
Finally, we have Tokugawa Shou who has the most difficult circumstances among the main cast. At first he was rejecting every proposal for him to join when it is known he is terrific at gymnastics. Once he is impressed with the setup and general abilities of the group, he is convinced in the direction the Breakers are heading and sort of acts as a player-coach because he is the most valued and experienced of the lot. Things change when they recruit Satsuki Takashiro to supervise their progress, only for it to not go down well with Shou who has a complicated relationship with her, which is later explained in his backstory. Despite this, he is still a team player and is ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good of the team. Even with less screen time, I find him to be a far more intriguing character compared to Haruki who comes off as one note at times.
The art style and animation is certainly subpar compared to the norm that is produced nowadays. Brains Base have had some spectacular looking shows in the past such as Baccano! And Mawaru Penguindrum only to find themselves with Endride and Cheer Danshi this year. You don’t have to be an expert to say this is reminiscent to what Studio Deen had to go through but they are making a solid comeback. The character designs are somewhat basic but are peculiar at the same time, I could never get tired at looking at the same faces. Since this is basically a sausage-fest, this should be well received by the ladies who this time have good looking characters for once! The animation is just below average as there are too many instances of poorly drawn scenes when it’s not related to cheerleading. If only the whole show could be drawn like the opening segment, then that would make me a happy man.
The sound is slightly better as there are moments where I was solely focused on the tune that played in the background over the other content. The OST has not been released for me to identify that part of the soundtrack but is usually always played at the end and gets me every time in the upcoming previews. Once again, with a cast so large you will expect top seiyuu to perform their characters with the likes of Okamoto Nobuhiko playing Kazuma perfectly. Another thing to note is that the seiyuu for Haruki who is Yonai Yuki, is completely new to me did a splendid job as he hasn’t worked on many shows.
If you’re looking for a sports anime, then look elsewhere as this is a show that may feel underwhelming in many aspects. Sure the competitive drive is there but I feel this is more of a drama-oriented show personally. It’s lacking in production values but won’t necessarily stop you from enjoying it.
GO FIGHT WIN!!!!!!!!! LET'S GOO BREAKERS!!!!!
I'm going to remember this quote forever.
Cheer danshi is clearly the most underrated anime of the summer 2016 season or possibly the entire year which I don't get it.
KEY: Break being what the characters need to accept about themselves or overcome any difficulty
Story: The story of the show.... Well there isn't any... The true story of the show is within the characters. The characters backstory is the true story of the show where we just want to get up and cheer for those boys that they need to break whatever they need to break in this cheer club.
When you look at the opening of the song. I bet you one question... How is the series gonna fit all 16 characters into the series. Well to sum up your answer They were introduce indirectly in episode 5 and in episode 5.5, yes the recap episode was not a full recap episode. It was only a recap for the first 19 mins. While the last 3 mins being ending credits and Haru explaining after their debut new members just keep coming in none stop hence in episode 6 we get to see the other 7 characters introduces into the series. That is a smart way in term of progression. Let's take something useless and make it into a plot driven episode.
Each characters have enough screen time that we just want to cheer for them. I say the characters that have the least amount of screen time is chen (Chinese dude) but since his basic purpose in the group is to improve on his Japanese. So... we don't need a lot of screen time with him. Each characters have enough character development. Like, Haru being overcoming his fear of heights and growing some balls in this cheerleading team. Ton learn to overcome his self doubts, Mizoguchi learning to use his own words and not use famous quotation,Kazu to make people smile he needs to first smile on the inside and out. Sho able to move forward in life and become their base in the cheerleading team. Gen learn to stop comparing to Ichiro and just compare to his past selves. Ichiro learn to stop showing off. Hissahi learn that people are different from him his reason to cheer is different from one another. Sakuma always think that having a small body is a problem in life as he isn't that strong but thanks to his small body he is able to a flyer. Takumi, Gen and Doh learn to be independent as their big brother is gonna leave the team. Kin though being a man must be a bad boy and cause trouble. I already talk about Chen as his basic purpose is to improve on his Japanese his getting there as he used some hard Japanese words as his confronting Domino. Takuya being a worry puss on his younger brother learn to stop worry about him as spoil him is spoiling himself. Takeru learn that to have patience and guts to actually become a real man as he is scared when the flyer fall and he isn't able to catch them on time but the flyer are even more scared as the base didn't catch them on time. But we all can thank one person the coach. Thanks to her those boys are able to grow so much.
Now when you look at it all the problem that the characters faces are all relatable. Even Haruko (Haru sister) aslo need to understand and able to break and accept that her brother doesn't want to do judo anymore. From Haru's fear of heights to Kin though that being a man must be a bad boy, We all relate to those boys
Art and animation: A lot of people did complain about being dull and the colors aren't that bright but personally it works as they used 1 thing that no other anime uses DUST. There's dust in the air, When I watch other anime I always wonder how the hell they can fire a beam of light straight without dust interrupting. The show also got an addition bonus to the characters design as they look like real human beings where they look like us. So we can't really say characters face are of model as we make some weird ass faces before in our life.
OP, ED and OST: The OP (opening song) is literally OP (over-powerful) as the characters start something new into their life as well as changing their lives one by one. Also the song is sung by luck life which also bring me to bungou stray dogs ed. Which I also love. The OST is THE OST is amazing just want me to get up and cheer for those boys. I need it... right now... The ed... is well.. cute. IS THE BREAKERS DURING A MINI PERFORMANCES... ISN'T IT CUTE?!
Enjoyment: I'm glad they decided to stick on the basics of what is cheerleading and what is a cheerleader, some moves so the characters are able to shine brighter than the sun. Unlike another sports anime that I'm gonna review next. *cough* *cough* yuri on ice *cough* *cough*.
Recommendation: Simply put watch it. Cheer danshi is the show that is able to make me laugh, smile, cry and feels as I watch my boys overcome their difficulties in this male cheerleading squad. A lot of people are actually disappointed with the ending as we didn't get to see the full performances and they didn't mention a winner but when you think about it does it matter... I mean since when cheerleading is about winning or losing?? Cheerleading is suppose to support people, motivate them and make them smile. That is the role of a cheerleader. Now for the full performances part it would make sense to place some past animated scene to see how much those boys grew both as an individual and as a group in this cheerleading team. Also, don't you guys want to know what is in their notebook?? It has been killing me what is in those notebook.
Other recommendation include the obvious pretty boys show free!! and not a sports anime... in-fact is about music to save their school love live with the same perspective of characters breaking and accepting what they need to accept about themselves.
So overall 9.6/10. Now you why not a staright 10/10?? simple, Haru x chihiro didn't happen. WHY!!! TON WHY!!! POOR HARU
You know what I love about sports anime? The way they make you want to get up dedicate your life to something as you're watching them (at least the really good ones do). "Cheer Danshi!!" does that. As I was watching it, I really found myself wanting to do EVERYTHING they were doing. I thought, "man, I want to learn how to do a handstand! I want to cartwheel!" I even felt like wanting to do planks!--which they do in order to gain that core strength they need for tumbling around everywhere and holding people up. Speaking of tumbling, that's probably the only thing I
did NOT want to do because I knew I could never. Lol.
Aside from making me want to do stuff, this show is h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. Like, laugh out loud hilarious. But wait. I have a confession.
I watched it English dubbed. (Gasp!)
So I can't speak for the original Japanese version of it. But about the way the English dialogue is written I'm 100% sure that the translations are not direct translations. They're very localized, and I say this because I'm pretty sure that Wataru didn't actually say that he has "white boy rhythm" in the Japanese dub (he really said that in the English version and I about cried laughing because of it). So, I think the localization worked in this anime's favor because it wouldn't have been anywhere near as funny as I had found it to be in English. With that being said, I recommend it be watched in English if you don't speak Japanese and English is your native language.
So humor is possibly its biggest strength. What follows would be the characters which really drive the story. The characters are very strong and distinct and I enjoyed seeing how they interacted with each other, how they had to work together as a team, and how they had to overcome their own obstacles. Each character had at least one sole obstacle they had to overcome. Unfortunately, this anime is overall very rushed, which really killed the character score. The reason is because all of a sudden, like a dozen characters popped up at once and I found myself completely overwhelmed. I'm sorry, but that is NEVER an okay thing to do--at least not in my book. No one appreciates it when you shove a million characters into the story all at once; it's confusing. It really started to feel disjointed once that happened, and I had trouble connecting with any of the newbies. halfway through, it just gets really messy which sucks because of how much I enjoyed the first half. I honestly wish they would've tried to split it into two seasons. I'm sure that would've have been better for the anime.
In all, it's a very enjoyable show that really rushed its way through at the end, but it was still enjoyable, it made me feel good, and it gave me lots of laughs.
Unlike its predecessors, Cheer Danshi has nothing that makes any sports anime enjoyable. There’s no emphasis on competition, the characters lack any serious emotional bonds with one another, and any development made is crudely washed over with trivial filler.
While the series looks promising at the beginning, it loses it’s way once millions of other characters are introduced. May as well sever any connections you had with the supporting characters at the beginning, as they are seemingly forgotten about the higher the episode numbers climb. What’s more, due to the lack of competition, you never see the characters struggle and grow through defeat and failure
– a successful, heartbreaking motif used in other sports anime. This makes the characters goal of winning nationals seem really pointless, because no one truly cares about the outcome.
Despite its downfalls, and there are many, the characters are nice to look at. A true range in hairstyles and colours helps you distinguish the characters you can’t be bothered to remember the names of.
Reasonably a lack in budget may limit the amount of animation possible, but there are barely any performances throughout all 12 episodes. Ideally an episode would be focused on mastering a particular maneuver, and the obstacles the team must overcome together. However it’s brushed over with family problems, racist jokes, and gendered clichés. The most you’ll see of anything resembling a choreographed routine comes in the form of the opening.
Though there may be sports involved, Cheer Danshi is not really a sports anime; on the other hand it also lacks any serious emotion to call it a good slice of life anime, either. Unfortunately the whole thing gets lost itself and what it aims to be. If I were younger perhaps I would have enjoyed it more, but if you’re looking for a mediocre waste of time, then Cheer Danshi may be your answer.