I was in a sports mood and stumbled upon this anime by accident, but maybe Kaichuu! wasn’t the best pick for pride month. Or maybe it was actually the best pick? It depends on how you look at these things.
Kaichuu! is an anime ostensibly about archery, based on a little-known but long-running manga by one Yuuki Hayashi. Tachikawa Tetsuya is a high school freshman determined to become a master at archery, in order to succeed his grandfather’s unique style. However, the school’s resident archery club is led by a boastful tyrant, who is more interested in mocking his students than in teaching them. Fortunately, there is a new rising star in the archery club, looking to put this senpai in his place. Unfortunately, it is the flamboyant cross-dresser Gonzaburou Sasaki.
Gon has it all. Elegance, beauty, charisma, and cuteness, but they also have a penis and that deeply unsettles Tachikawa. Most of the early episodes is about teenagers being incredibly awkward about their genderqueer classmate. The translation frequently employs slurs that may be the result of amateurs translating Japanese, but are also not wholly unbelievable given the teenage cast.
However, Gon quickly earns respect around the school for their righteous mindset and unbeatable archery skills. And even Tachikawa—the object of Gon’s affection—begins to feel a budding attraction to the cute cross-dresser.
The mix of high school archery and LGBT themes is certainly appealing. I don’t even really mind the offensive language being used or how its characters are initially very close-minded towards Gon. My main problem is that this ONA is just too darn tiny. 4 episodes of a few minutes each is nothing, especially when a bunch of it goes to meta jokes about how cool it is that the manga is finally getting an adaptation.
It feels like little more than a promo for the manga that Kaichuu! originates from, which is a problem because nobody bothered to translate the darn thing. This leaves the Kaichuu! anime as little more than a few, short glimpses into a story. You leap from plot point to plot point with little cohesion or grasp of how much time passes between. That’s not very satisfying to watch on its own and mostly just served to annoy me because I can’t get the full story.
You can get a few laughs from it and Gon is super cute, but try not to get too invested when you watch it. That is, unless you can read Japanese and can somehow acquire the original manga.