Parodies are always a pleasure to watch, because we know that the authors themselves aren't serious at all. "Gakuen Handsome" wonderfully parodies the vast world of Boy's Love (BL or yaoi), exaggerating everything and taking the parody to a whole new level - from the art to the non-existing plot with ridiculous situations, and even adding references to poop.
I first learned about BL parody when playing the BL parody game "Kusoge", featuring the same parody type (and ridiculously long chins) than "Gakuen Handsome".
It was so funny that I searched for more BL parodies of this type, and I stumbled upon a walkthough of one of
the "Gakuen Handsome" games by a Japanese YouTuber, and it was so good that I watched the entire thing, along with the two MVs of the official character songs that were as funny as the rest.
I was so charmed by this unique and strange... thing, that I was overjoyed when an OVA was announced.
So here is my review, though I don't really know if it can be called a review because the "Gakuen Handsome" franchise is so out of this world that it... it honestly can't be reviewed. But I'll try my best :>
[Story & Characters]
The plot of "Gakuen Handsome" parodies the undying scenario of the average naive young transfer student, entering a new school to be almost immediately surrounded by a harem of bishounen ready to die for him (thumbs up for the headmaster and his little sister pairing up to encourage him in his love life).
All the situations were very funny, and ended up with such enormous nonsense that I laughed a lot.
The characters, that remained just the way they were in the original games, are such enormous cliches that it's hilarious. The kind childhood friend, the dangerous young teacher, the serious class representative and the cold classmate, among others, were perfect in their respective roles.
"Gakuen Handsome" being... well, "Gakuen Handsome", you obviously can't expect much from this wonderful parody, and The Animation kept this same crappy Flash animation used in the previous games and MVs. The poor animation serving the non-existent plot is fully part of the enjoyment, along with the ridiculously pointy bishounen chins and the strange moves and dances that pop up for no reason at all.
Unfortunately, and at my despair, the production staff entirely recasted the voice actors, leaving behind the hilarious voice acting of the games (bye bye, Sakuya's voice that made me cry of laughter). Instead were, among others, the well-known voices of Hanae Natsuki (Kaneki Ken@Tokyo Ghoul, Arima Kousei@Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso), and Kahikara Tetsuya (Natsu Dragneel@Fairy Tail).
The new seiyuu, being pros, did an excellent job with voice acting, but I feel that they made me laughed way less than in the games, because even there the voice acting sounded so unprofessional that it was used as a parody feature.
In a way, I felt that the new cast was too professional for an unique license such as "Gakuen Handsome".
About the rest of the sound - honestly, I was so focused on wondering what I was doing with my life that I didn't pay much attention to it.
I can safely say that I laughed way more with the original games than with "Gakuen Handsome: The Animation", especially because of the cast change for the anime. But it was still great to watch, and I recommend to every anime viewer who wants to have some fun and gently make fun of the BL genre.
If you're interested in more things like this, I recommend the visual novel "Kusoge" (lit. "shitty game) <3