This essay will be split up for easy reading and will be released over a couple of days.
Keijo!!!!!!!! is the ongoing 2013 manga series recently adapted into a 12 episode anime. Also using the subtitle Hip Whip Girl, the series follows Kaminashi Nozomi and friends through their lives in the gambling sport Keijo, where athletes fight atop a buoy platform using only their breasts and ass. By it’s elevator pitch alone, the series entices images of mud wrestling and fanservice. 130 translated chapters in, however, it’s proven to be greater than the sum of its parts.
Over the course of four parts, I’ll be touching on four main themes that separates Keijo!!!!!!!! from other traditional anime and why I believe it is empowering to women.
Part 4: The fanservice goes from traditional to unsightly and that’s a good thing
Let’s be honest. As much as I like Keijo!!!!!!!! its pretty fanservice-y. The premise is cute girls, in bathing suits, fighting each other with their breasts and asses. It’s a comedy-satire sports series, but there are numerous ass shots, lots of cleavage, and that one anime-trope of falling on a girl and grabbing her boob, but yuri style.
All that said, it works.
Following the premise, there are going to be ass shots – because those asses are attacking. There are going to be shots of a girls breasts, because she’s going to pistol whip someone with them. That’s just how this series is.
Out of all the manga and anime I’ve consumed, this is the best fanservice I’ve seen. It’s not patronizing. It’s not gross. It works because it is so important to the plot.
That said, as the series continue the fanservice stops being ‘cute girls and their bodies’ and starts being ‘JoJo villains and their stand powers.’
I believe this relates more to the satire than anything else.
Chapter 76, in a battle between schools, two athletes go head to head. One attack used is “Piper Driver” in which the breasts are twisted to ridiculous points and then released to act as drills. Chapter 105, a character grabs another character’s breast with their ass and does a pile driver. Chapter 119, perhaps the craziest of the bunch, in which a character’s breasts enlarge and then they’re used like whips to attack in a move called the ‘Boob Copter.’
I’ll admit, a good number of attacks elicit sexual tones. One character stimulates another’s boobs in the climatic school-versus-school arch of the anime finale. One ‘villain’ uses minute vibration as attacks (e.g. shaking them money makers, but deadlier). Case in point; the poster-child move of the series, the Vacuum Ass Canon, almost always shreds the opponent’s swimsuit.
But let’s put a pin in those for a second.
As Keijo!!!!!!!! progresses, the fanservice starts to be the joke. I know I’m not the targeted male audience, but I’m pretty sure ass cheeks that can break bones or boobs the length of arms aren’t sexy (well, maybe the first one. People got kinks).
I really like the absurdity of it all. Keijo!!!!!!!! takes inherently sexual objects and literally weaponizes them. Body parts that are typically soft are, for some, hard as rock. There are easily more asses than not in this series that can give you a concussion.
I can tell the series, though it showcases T&A a lot, is really doing it for the comedy. There’s one panel where a character is hanging from a wooden beam by their ass. That tells me two things; that character has serious glute muscles, and this manga is crazy.
Turning to the explicit sexual moves, I really can’t defend this. It makes some sense – in a series about fighting with your boobs and ass, why not have a move that stimulates an opponents nipples? What redeems it, however, is the characters pride in their body. In a lot of anime, a girl will typically be embarrassed when their breasts are exposed or fondled. That doesn’t happen in Keijo!!!!!!!!. The girls, because of the sport, sometimes expose themselves and they aren’t shy about it.
In one instance, a character uses the top of her swimsuit to counteract the trick of their opponent. Sayaka’s special move is K-Acceleration, in which she rides her bottom up so far she sometimes rips her suit, bearing her ass to the world. There isn’t time to be shy – these girls have a match to win!
That’s what I really admire about these girls. They take pride in themselves and their sport. It’s not a joke to them – even though the story presented to us is a fantastic satire.
As I’ve said before, this isn’t an entry level anime and it certainly shouldn’t be used as body-positive media or shown in a Women’s Study class, but Keijo!!!!!!!! as its merits in feminism. It’s message is similar to Galko-chan: girls are as interested in sexual material as men. Girls are free to admire their breasts, the asses of others, etc etc because it’s normal.
It’s also important to mention the unsexy/unsightly fanservice, such as ‘Boob Copter’ such as (believe it or not) a character using her farts as hallucinogenics, are also really empowering.
Every girl has something she’s self-conscious about. So these instances of women using their unique body parts to their advantage is admirable! Do you have droopy breasts? Is your ass uncomfortably boney? Use that as your special move! Even body type doesn’t matter; large small, tall or short. Every girl has a chance in Keijo.
Let’s wrap things up in Part 5: Concluding thoughts