Boys Be…

Genre: Romance
Format: 13 Episodes
Allegiance: WOWOW/Hal Film Maker
Director: Shimoda Masami
Vintage: 2000
Intelligence Agency Report by: Lady Sage
High school is a time of many firsts, and six friends – Kyoichi, Makoto, Yoshiyuki, Yumi, Chiharu, and Aki – are about to experience one of the most oft-discussed: first love. Kyoichi and Chiharu in particular are childhood friends whose relationship is starting to develop into something deeper. All six of them are about to learn something more about themselves – and each other.

Field Agent Report by: Lady Sage
Overall 8.00
(not an average)

It’s not uncommon for an anime to start well and suddenly descend into the depths of mediocrity midway through. It is less common, however, for one to start out as mediocre and cliché as can be and still manage to turn itself around. Boys Be… is such an anime. The first half runs the gamut of shounen romance archetypes without a trace of originality, but after the midway point, it suddenly becomes as true-to-life as a shounen romance ever has been.

For the first half of the series, the romances are rather implausible and silly, and the characters are hackneyed shounen stereotypes. The animation is mediocre with truly painful digital panning. The eyecatch sequences just made me want to stab my eyes out. The character designs are actually pretty nice, and all the girls aren’t necessarily drop-dead gorgeous (gasp!). However, the characters do tend to look awkward from certain angles.

Once the series reaches the halfway point, however, take everything I just said and throw it all out. The two halves of Boys Be… could easily be separate series. The romances become very sweet and true-to-life, as do the characters. The digital panning has disappeared, and the eyecatches have been toned down. Instead of concentrating on fan service and high school male wish fulfillment, Boys Be… concentrates on catching adolescent love at its most poignant.

One element is consistently amazing from beginning to end: the music. Throughout the entire series, the music never fails to disappoint. The opening and ending themes in particular are gorgeous romance songs in the vein of Ai Yori Aoshi’s themes. The seiyuu are also excellent – the final episode showcases Hayashibara Megumi at her absolute best.

I almost gave up on Boys Be…, but I’m truly glad I decided to stick it out. If you can forgive a truly mediocre first half, Boys Be… is certainly worth the watch.