Nov 29, 2007
jet2r0cks (All reviews)
5 WORDS OR LESS REVIEW: Not a lot of action

As a yaoi fan girl, nothing pleases me more than a transfer student asking to be corrupted by his new school mates who are into “different extracurricular activities”. Such is not really the premise of Gakuen Heaven, but yaoi fan girls like me should know otherwise, right?

Gakuen Heaven is about Ito Keita, seemingly an ordinary, supposedly straight teenage boy, who is suddenly invited to a prestigious all-boys school named Bell Liberty Academy, or BL academy (How ominous XD). As soon as he gets there, his bishounen school mates start fawning over him because he’s cute. It’s almost like the yaoi counterpart of Strawberry Panic, if you ask me.

I like the story, I think it’s cute as a whole, but I thought there wasn’t enough material to work with. Most of the episodes dealt with Keita trying to adjust in his new school, when 3 episodes would have been enough. Also, just when it was about to end was a climax that came out of almost nowhere. I thought it didn’t fit the image of the story. Heck, Ham-ham heaven was better than that climax.

Now for the more important part – the “action”. Yaoi fan girls should know what I’m referring to. Sadly, there wasn’t enough “action” in Gakuen Heaven. Most of the “action” were fake and plain teasing. There was only one kiss throughout the whole thing, and I thought that kiss was kinda awkward and disappointing.

I have to say though, that Gakuen Heaven has a beautiful cast of bishounens. Yes, the cast is heavily dominated by men. There was only one episode with women, and they’re not even that significant, nor attractive. Not that it’s important. My favorite characters are Niwa a.k.a. King. He’s like a dashing prince that reminds me of Conrad from Kyou Kara Maoh. I also like Shunsuke’s playful nature, the impish twins, and the cute Keita.

You’d think I’ll be contented with the bevy of bishounens, but I’m not. I’m a little disappointed because there wasn’t enough differentiation between the characters. They all look almost completely alike, except for Keita, Shunsuke and the twins (probably explains why I like these characters the most). Everyone else had the same facial structure and would look the same if they had the same hairstyle. That’s just a small qualm though. Overall, visuals really look nice. I like the coloring, because a wide variety of colors were used. The illustrations and the backgrounds were all very detailed but not overwhelming to the eye.

As for the voice acting, 2 names immediately caught my attention. The first name is Jun Fukuyama, who was Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass, and Watanuki Kimihiro in xxxHOLiC, and is Ito Keita in Gakuen Heaven. What a talented guy – I almost didn’t recognize it was him since Lelouch and Watanuki have such strong voices, while Keita has such a soft, almost girly voice. The second is Takahiro Sakurai, one of my favorite male voice actors. He was Shun in Gatekeepers, and Cloud in Final Fantasy: Advent Children. In Gakuen Heaven, he is Kazuki, who’s actually my least favorite character, but at least he has a talented voice actor to back him up.

I usually wouldn’t like songs similar to the OP “School Boys”, but I really like that song. I think it’s poppy and catchy, and I even dance to it when I hear it sometimes. It’s the same for the ED, “Panorama” – I didn’t expect I would like it at all. However, I still prefer the OP since it’s more upbeat.

In the end, the story seems to be Gakuen Heaven’s weakest point. I know it may seem that yaoi fan girls are more concerned about BL when it comes to yaoi, but the story’s important too. If the story had a different, more suitable climax, I probably would have liked it more, but Gakuen Heaven was still worth watching.