This essay has been split up for easy reading and has been released over a series of posts.
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. 140 translated chapters in, however, it’s proven to be greater than the sum of its parts.
It isn’t easy to defend a series where every chapter focuses on a character’s boobs, butt, or both. As a fan of anime for over a decade now, I’ve never enjoyed male-focused fanservice. I find it intrusive, cliché, and pandering. Sometimes it’s outright turned me off a series. Out of the three female friends I’ve turned onto Keijo!!!!!!!!, however, all have come back to tell me how enjoying they found it.
Although written by a man, Keijo!!!!!!!! depicts woman rather respectively. It takes the overused tropes and renews them into, dare I say, admirable moments.
Over the course of four parts, I discussed four themes that I believe separates Keijo!!!!!!!!! from other traditional anime and why I believe it is empowering to women. I think I’ve made my point, but let’s wrap things up and talk about the unfortunate cancelling of the series.
Part 5: Concluding Thoughts
As the years have progressed, I’ve watched fewer and fewer anime, but have read more and more manga. The industry is messed up, there are even a few series that depict so much, so I’ve come to realize it’s better to read than watch.
Anime, for the last couple of years, has been plagued by high school battle shows and ridiculous light-novel adaptations. Even the supposed ‘gems’ of recent (like KonoSuba) have bored me terribly. I’m sick of cute girls doing cute things. I’m tired of teenage boys getting into wacky high jinks and inadvertently harassing women. What’s left for the anime fan like me?
And many others like Jojo, FMA, Attack on Titan, One Piece, Kobayashi, Yuri on Ice!!, etc. But I’m sure you can see the similarities between those series I just listed. They are more than their character design and animation. It’s about the story! The adventure! The mystery! The character development! That’s what I want out of an anime – out of any story, and Keijo!!!!!!!! has that.
News recently broke that the series is going to be cancelled because of the anime’s poor sales. Then some more news broke that that was a mistranslation, and the series is ending at the choice of the mangaka. It’s confusing, but so long as we get a proper ending and the mangaka is happy, I’m happy.
It was a hell of a shock, as this all happened April 22nd. At first, it was assumed it would be a very abrupt ending, but the scanlations are about 30 chapters behind. The most recent chapter, as of writing this, is 143, and I can see the end in sight. Unfortunate, as a few chapters earlier I was thinking exactly the opposite.
I understand that not every series can be One Piece or Naruto and go on for 20 years. As much as I like it, Keijo!!!!!!!! does not have 20 years worth of content. You can only make so many ass jokes.
I think the series will have a strange legacy. There’s a joke in the western anime community of ‘X saved anime.’ It was used with Kill la Kill, One Punch Man, and (somewhat halfheartedly) Keijo!!!!!!!!. It certainly didn’t save anything, but the anime about wrestling with boobs and butts really shook things up.
As we’ve discussed, it as so many unique attributes unseen in anime/manga. A female-only main cast; a sports story about a fictional sport; an apt satire of the genre; weaponizing female bodies; and so on and so on.
I want more of this. I want female casts of ADULT women being competent. And not stuff along the lines of New Game. I want fanservice that isn’t insulting – kind of a tall order, but Keijo!!!!!!!! pulled it off so, can’t be that hard. I WANT NO ROMANCE.
I’m still in shock at that. The amount of anime with female main characters that is STRICTLY romance is ridiculous. I understand that those genres sell to women, but CMON PEOPLE. GIVE US A LITTLE MORE RESPECT.
As much as it pains me, I don’t think we’ll get another series as special as this for a long time. I think, for the most part, we’ll be Mai Ball derivatives.
So long as I’m around, however, I’ll keep promoting the absurdity that is Keijo!!!!!!!!