Kurogu had a love of kabuki theater instilled in him from a very young age thanks to his grandfather. Now, as a high school student, he desires to create his own kabuki club in order to bring an appreciation of kabuki to a wider audience. He'll find, though, that with the weight of hundreds of years of strict tradition, it's not so easy to get high schoolers interested. A rough start is not enough to deter Kurogu, and he'll work hard to inspire in others the same burning passion he feels, until the day he can put on his own performance!
This was one of those series which caught my eye when I was checking out the PVs for Spring a couple of months back. Right now, I can safely say that it has hardly disappointed me and even exceeded my expectations.
Kabukibu is a story focusing on a youngster, Kurogo, who is incredibly passionate about kabuki (classical Japanese dance-drama), as he aims to gather people to form a kabuki club, hence the title of the show. The plot is not in any way unique; it's probably not the first time you will have heard of an anime where some guy decides to form a club
and tries to persuade everyone around him to join. However, in place of the plot's simplicity, there were other areas which made the show appealing. First of those which comes to mind would be the comedy. While humor can be pretty subjective from person to person, I found myself really enjoying the comical aspect of the show. The jokes they made didn't really feel forced, most of them felt casual and really things which everyday high school students would do and say. Apart from that, it was also really interesting seeing how Kurogo goes about trying to persuade the others to join him in doing kabuki. Imagine if you were asked to participate in a club which focuses on performing a 400-year-old traditional art form which supposedly has no part to play in modern society. You'll probably decline the offer, wouldn't you? That's exactly how everyone reacted to his proposal at first. And that was just the first of his troubles. Honestly, the ending is predictable and there's nothing to hide, Kurogo was always going to be successful, but this story is about HOW he will accomplish it. That is precisely what's intriguing about the show and makes you want to watch on every week.
Another element of the show I would like to touch on is the characters. What I really love and what I feel really makes the show is the interactions between the characters. It wasn't a one-man show where one know-it-all character goes "Leave this to me, I'll carry everyone". Stuff happened. There were conflicts, some of them even somewhat unexpected, and the characters had to talk to one another in order to solve them. The characters themselves were not unique individuals per se, but together they formed one unique group of people striving towards a common goal. Although the show did not address every single character, I felt they generally did a good job for those they focused more on. The backstories were not too complex to understand, and simple enough for viewers to sympathize with the character involved. Overall, I liked the characters a lot and couldn't really bring myself to dislike any one. With regards to the seiyuus, at one glance you can see that while the cast isn't exactly star-studded, they are all adequately experienced. While it was certainly a challenge for them to try and voice lines in the kabuki style, I feel they did a great job. It actually helps that they aren't adept at kabuki lines, because after all, the characters themselves are mere amateurs, just like the cast.
Checking the synopsis of this anime out, I'm sure you'll start to wonder things like "But I'm not interested in kabuki, will I be able to get into this show?" I can safely assure you that you do not need to have any background knowledge of kabuki in order to watch this. In fact, it's quite the opposite; watching this show could be what gives you the background knowledge of kabuki instead. Of course, if you're already interested in kabuki, you're definitely going to enjoy this anime. Nevertheless, that is not a necessity. I went into this show not knowing much about kabuki (heck, I don't even know much about Japanese traditional arts), but still wound up enjoying myself watching it. Dare I say, it has even got me interested in kabuki to the extent that I would give it a try if I had the chance to.
I'd personally give this anime a 7, or at most 8... but that's just me. I hope reading this can help convince you to ignore the bad ratings and give this anime a chance, because I feel that it truly deserves more attention and love!
Kabuki-bu! I enjoyed this anime a lot more than i thought i would.
This is my first review on MAL btw... i thought i had to write something given how badly this show has been perceived by some viewers (maybe because kabuki is not this generation's thing?)
Aaaanyway! When i first started this show, i thought the story was gonna go the cheer danshi route where we hardly got any content on the actual club activity. But to my surprise, this show brought the Kabuki and it brought it really hard! i.e. absolutely well executed, enjoyable and still realistic enough. My love for the art called
"Kabuki" literally cannot be measured now thanks to Kabuki-bu!. One more reason to love Japan!
Okay lets lazily follow the usual rating system..
Story: 10. Beautiful well written story. I've seen countless of anime and this has to be one of the most well paced story I've seen. The author knows what he wants to achieve with this story and no episode is wasted in pointing that out.
Art & Sound: 10. This part really shines whenever the kids do the kabuki play. You could feel the passion they have for the art from their body movement, facial expressions, plus the costumes are hot! (Genroku era type of hot). Sounds also on point, really sets the atmosphere
Character: 10. What is more important here than character development? well you got tons of it. But what i liked the most was how dynamic the characters are, you can never get bored with them. Totally squad goals.
Enjoyment: 10. I look forward to Fridays not cos of tgif, but cos of Kabuki-bu! The show just has a way of relaxing you. What better way to unwind after a stress-filled week?
Overall: 10. I would like to use this moment to say a big thank you to the author for this beautiful story and to the production team for a well executed job. Thank you for introducing us to the world of kabuki, and for breaking it down so well so we can understand and relate. Here's hoping we get a second season!
And not to forget, if you like relaxing well-paced shows, i recommend kabuki-bu! You should totally see it! And come back to thank me XD
I decided to watch this after rewatching Chihayafuru (both seasons). So, unfortunately, I can't help but compare the two? Why?
Both MCs are obsessed with a Japanese art form that is difficult for most to understand and dedicate themselves to. It is about them trying to start a club and recruit members for people to partake in the art form. Kind of. Competitive karuta, which is what Chihayafuru is about, isn't an art per se, but it's based on Japanese poetry.
I preferred Chihayafuru much more. Here are the reasons:
STORY (7/10): Well, the synopsis and my comparison covered that.
ART (7/10): Clamp isn't known for pretty.
Which is fine because xxxHolic is one of my favorite anime. Chihayafuru is josei so...
SOUND (7/10): There's only three tracks in Kabukibu: the opening, the ending, and this one instrumental piece. All of them are great, but only three?! Okay, there was this one scene where a different piano piece was playing, but it wasn't outstanding. It's only getting a seven because and op and ed were so catchy and the one instrumental piece that was being repeated was quite moving.
CHARACTER (5/10): To continue with anime comparisons, the MC's best friend is like a mix between Kyouya and Mori-senpai from Ouran HSHC. He's taciturn, intelligent, diplomatic, and tech-savvy. I think my word count is higher than his in the anime. Two members are basically Mikorin and Kashima from Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. The one like Mikorin is a feminine male. The one like Kashima is also a female mistaken for a beautiful male and is also in Drama Club, has a fan club, and is the lead for most of the Drama Club's productions. The reluctant and arrogant character kind of reminds me of the Queen in Chihayafuru, like how she sticks her nose up at team tournaments, he believes that a kabuki club run by amateurs is insulting since he comes from a kabuki family. Overall, the supporting characters weren't too memorable. Also, it lacked a balanced focus on the characters.
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS THE MC. He's so dull! Yes, Chihaya was obsessed with karuta, and Daddy Bear, but she had character. She was an airhead in addition to being a karuta nut. Throughout the seasons, she encounters opponents who are basically her teachers. They help her grow. This MC though, I don't remember his name tbh, just cares about kabuki. He's not even good at kabuki. What the hell?
ENJOYMENT (6/10): Despite my biggest complaint, it was still interesting to learn about kabuki. The music was decent. The anime wasn't comedic so that was a let down because my favorite genre is comedy and this could have easily weaved it in.
OVERALL (6/10): To be fair, Chihayafuru had 25 eps per season so it had the chance to be fleshed out. This only had 12 episodes. Give this one a try if you're interested in kabuki. But afterward, totally watch Chihayafuru for some actual conflict and character development and a variety of good music.
Not really a master piece, but this is what I would call a hidden gem. So yes, 6-point-something MAL score is definitely less than what this show deserves.
So, the premise of the story is an optimistic boy loving something and want to spread that love by gathering member to make a team, or a school club in this case. Sounds cliche, right? Yes, even the most of the characters are the usual mix-ups: The Optimistic Guy, The Super Smart Guy, and even The 'Refuse Doing Something Because of Some Dark Issues But Ended Up Doing It' Guy.
Some people might think this is just another boring,
cliche slice-of-life. I also thought that at first. I even almost dropped it. But after watching about third of the show, after about 3-4 episodes, I started to like the characters more, started to appreciate this thing called kabuki that they're trying to explore more, started getting curious about what they'll do next. The plot doesn't really develop much more even until the very end. But I think, the interesting point of this show lies in its characters.
For the MC, we have the ever optimistic little guy, Kuro. Barely has any personality in the early episodes, I found out that he is much more a realist than I thought he was. He's so stubborn, but he knows when he needs to give up and is quick to make decisions if something doesn't go according to the plan. He also has his moments where his confidence deflates, and I realized much later that many of the characters has something 'hidden' beneath their first impression personalities.
Another thing that I like about this show is that it touched some topics that many people actually struggle in real life (such as confidence issues, femininity/masculinity issues, body image issues, abandonment from parents, people's expectations) without making it overly dramatic, and even showed that the characters themselves can overcome the problems.
All in all, yes, it's not a master piece or something. But definitely a worth watching in my opinion.