The project anthropomorphizes rice (kome in Japanese) into schoolboys. At the Kokuritsu Inaho Academy ("Rice Ear Academy," a wordplay on national schools), five new rice-inspired students attempt to supplant bread as the popular grain at the school. The new students form the "Love Rice" unit and challenge themselves to perform at the "Harvest Show" to show the delicious appeal of rice grains. The "heartwarming 'kome'dy with laughs and passion" promises to let audiences rediscover the virtues of rice ("Japan's soul food").
Do you love rice? Do you love boys? If yes, you'd better hand yourself in to the police. But before you do, you'd better watch Love Rice. It might make you reconsider your life choices.
Hinohikari is a boy who knows what he wants & what he wants is to be the HarveStar of the Harvest Show. There's just one problem: nobody likes rice any more, which is unfortunate enough when you're a rice-boy (not the car kind) but doubly so when it means the Kokuritsu Inaho Academy he attends is in danger of shutting down. Undeterred, Hinohikari will achieve his dream & save his school
the only way he knows how; by joining a cross-dressing idol unit? Okay.
Rice Boys sets out to answer the ultimate question – which is better: bread or rice? After quickly ditching the women's clothes, the newly christened Love Rice (because they love rice) prepare to do musical battle against their wheaty rivals the Yeast Kings; using as many bad puns, bland songs & homoerotic moments as it takes.
In case you weren't able to tell, Love Rice is out to promote Japanese rice (white, sticky, short grains only. None of that exotic Indian stuff here) to women. Each character is named after a specific strain & some effort is made to tie their personalities with their namesake, though it's hard to tell with rice - since it's rice. Their musical performances take place in golden paddy fields & dammit if they aren't trying their hardest to be the best rice-boys they can be so the Gourmet Girls will vote for them. It's a concept silly enough that it could have been a lot of cheesey fun.
But for a concept as silly as pretty rice-boys, Love Rice for the most part plays itself frustratingly straight. Part of this is down to the utterly uninspired production, which makes almost no effort to visually accentuate the humour & often leaves the characters looking like rough drafts rather than finished articles. But even beyond that there isn't much to it. The story is for the most part bog standard, with the bland songs doing little to improve things. It take a turn for the suitably stupid when Love Rice & the Yeast Kings set aside their differences – because at the end of the day rice & wheat are both grains - to thwart a kidnapping, but it's so rushed & disjointed that the humour is lost.
When compared to other male idol or anthropomorphic pretty boy series, Love Rice hardly measures. Unlike Sekko Boys, It doesn't do nearly enough with the ridiculousness of its core concept, relying instead of repetitive agriculture puns & Sasanishiki coughing up more white fluids than Paris Hilton. It barely manages to fill its four minute episodes, even with songs & cooking tutorials padding out the runtime, whereas Miracle Train managed to build an entire regular length series out of sexy male train stations. Or they could have gone in a completely different direction & made Love Rice about actual rice. Worked for The Nameko Families.
Instead, whatever the intentions behind its creation, Love Rice just feels like a half-arsed attempt to ride the male idol & fujoshi waves by combining “attractive” male character designs with a silly gimmick that's supposed to make you think it's just a bit of fun, so who cares? It's certainly no Pillow Boys, but there are plenty of better examples of what Love Rice is trying to do, though you might get some new meal ideas from it. Unless you really love boys...I mean rice, it can be safely ignored.
I don't know why people disliked this show so much. I genuinely had a good time watching and I don't think you could ask for much more in a show that has 12 episodes with 4 minutes each (with +- 30 seconds in the end being a recipe + credits).
Yeah, the story is really weird and doesn't make sense sometimes, but this show is obviously not supposed to be taken seriously, it's supposed to be funny and entertain you for 4 minutes. For me, it delivered that.
Visually it's pretty and the characters are cute.
It's also pretty funny and the puns
This show was an interesting experince, in many ways upon the surface it would appear similar to a great cooking manga/anime like Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou, Shinya Shokudo or Shokugeki no souma, and in terms of actual product it was similar to all three but in the worst way, the linking of the shorter charachter studies in this show were enough to retain one's attention but not enough to be engaging so it is almost an inverse of Shinya Shokudou, it lacks the requisite goofiness and identity through visual presentation to be as funny as Tonkatsu Dj Agetarou and it lacks the amazing presentation
of cooking that is present in Shokugeki no souma.
The series as a whole had one other thing in common with these other series, Passion, there was a clear effort put into making this show charming above all else, it has real heart and I think that is worth as much as I have given the show
Love Kome is not a traditional comedy: it doesn't thrive on jokes, gags/skits, or character stereotypes like most comedy series; nor does it have a "dry" sense of humour like some others. For one, it has lots of puns; but its main way of being humorous is by being extraordinarily bizarre. The story is so absurd that you will rarely think anything else other than "how the hell did anyone come up with this?!". It is also not the slightest bit self-aware: every single thing, however crazy it may seem to the viewer, makes perfect sense in the characters' minds. Together, this makes Love Kome
a very unique series, that, while I wouldn't consider it "good" in the usual sense, certainly doesn't deserve to be this ignored either.
In short, the story is about a group of five schoolboys to achieve fame in an event called the Harvest Festival, which involves different groups of (or individual) entertainers showing off their skills in so-called Harvest Shows. The catch is that the five schoolboys, and everyone else in the school, are actually anthropomorphised rice. Apart from rice, bread is also represented in the Harvest Festival; this gives rise to the show's largest conflict, which is, of course, rice versus bread.
Apart from the overarching story with the Harvest Festival, which isn't *too* absurd so far, it also shows off various problems that rice plants have to deal with in a more episodic nature: there will be some bizarre event that happens to the boys, and later it turns out that it was actually a metaphor for some disease rice plants get, or for resistance to a particular environmental parameter, or something else entirely. Here the show uses the different characters to show the differences between various strains of rice (each character belongs to a different strain and thus has different properties).
The characters are mostly male with bishounen aesthetics, and it's pretty clear that the show's target demographic isn't heterosexual men (occasionally a group of three fujo-looking women shows up and they react to something), but this fact isn't really that important in the show, and it certainly isn't sexual in nature or has any ecchi parts.
In other aspects, the show can actually be considered good: the art is surprisingly well done, and the sound, while not exceptional, isn't bad either. At the end of each episode the ending is shown, consisting of the (fairly generic) ending song set to a video of someone preparing a rice dish, different each episode, in "gif recipe" style: the working area is filmed from above and you only ever see the cook's hands while the dish's preparation is being shown significantly sped up. This way, the viewer learns about new unique rice dishes: in my opinion, this is a very nice idea and fits the theme of the show well.
I wouldn't really consider this show "slice of life" (fun fact: at time of writing, Love Kome is the second worst rated slice of life series out of 967 to have received an actual score). You won't be able to relate to this unless you are rice.
Overall, the show seems like a commercial for rice aimed at fujos. Don't let this turn you off, however: watch the show, then laugh about how bizarre it is (and if you understand enough Japanese, laugh about all the puns). You don't really have much to lose, given how each episode is only four minutes long, and in the worst case you learn some recipes for rice dishes you probably haven't known.