Yuri Anime: Candy Boy, End of Season Review, Guest Review by Mara

May 12th, 2009

I have asked you, my readership, to supply reviews of various things from time to time. Last weekend, I expressed a desire to have a review by someone who enjoyed Candy Boy. It is now my genuine pleasure to welcome Guest Reviewer Mara for today’s opinion. Everyone, please give Mara your attention and support! Yay~ /applause/

It was short.

It was pretty.

It was adorable.

Those were my reasons for watching the first episode of Candy Boy, and really all anyone needed to have a reason to watch it. Sisters Kanade and Yukino (apparently twins) both are enrolled in the same art school and live in the same dorm. The ONA covers a misunderstanding that barely threatens their relationship for less than a week.

As it was a small piece of promotional material it was animated surprisingly well with shaded expressive characters and shots taken from interesting angles. Part of this was to save money not having to animate so much movement; instead we are shown close-ups of held hands, someone’s eyes or the perspiration on a glass that gives us a taste of the mood underneath the dialogue in a given scene.

Now, apparently, this became famous enough that a web-release series was considered viable and we then got another seven episodes, of approximately the same length, with slightly less of the money saving camera work that I loved so much.

But the story moved along in its own ineffectual way. Everything was still pretty just not as much now. They had a bit more money but did not lengthen the episodes much; so not much can be conveyed even in the third and forth two -part episodes or the twenty minute finale.

As far as the Yuri in this series goes the producers played it far too safe considering the target market. Looked at arms length you could say: ‘Well, they’re just very close sisters.’ This is irritating when it was clearly the relationship between these two characters that made the one-off promo a seven-episode series. Thus the relationship became the anime equivalent of talking about something without ever truly examining it. This was a wasted opportunity in my opinion, but at the same time you cannot ask for the world from a small seven episode ONA.

Despite all that, I really enjoyed the interaction between all the characters. A four-character cast shown in snapshots of a few minutes feels rounded due to a pleasant blend of cliché and enjoyably tender moments between each individual over the course of the series.

Ratings:

Art – 10
Story – 6
Characters – 7
Yuri – 7
Service – 10

Overall – 8

As someone who was definitely the target market for Candy Boy I found it very enjoyable, often anticipating another episode of inconsequential cute fluff.

Again, my thanks for this review. And not just because it provides me with a day off! lol I appreciate perspectives that are not my own. In fact, as of right now, I am officially stating this:

Wanted: Guest Reviews for Okazu.

I am looking for people to review the following series:

Mariaholic
Koihime Musou OVA
Queen’s Blade (when the season ends)

If you enjoyed these series, and would like to tell people about them, then please shoot me an email. I can only pick one person per series – and should I get more than one submission, I apologize in advance for any inconvenience. Once I give you the go ahead – then go ahead and write your review! You can read my Okazu Guest Review Guidelines for some guidance on what I’m looking for – or if you have a great idea you want to review but aren’t sure what I want in a review.

I look forward to receiving your guest reviews!

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18 Responses

  1. Candy says:

    I love Candy boy. It’s so fun and sweet and wonderful fluff.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Though I know it’s pointless to say so, I object to this new trend of guest reviews.

    I come to Okazu to read your, Erica’s, thoughts on Yuri. While I realize you are very busy and that guest reviews alleviate your backlog, it seems contradictory to have a blog where we end up hearing other people’s opinions instead of yours.

    Especially when, as it seems, you are farming out those titles for which you have less-than-cordial feelings. Effort to save yourself from having to address them is understandable, but I personally feel that your (usually justified) criticism of such needs to be heard quite as much as your praise for quality works.

    As it is, guest reviews of that kind smack of placating the fandom, something you are quite rightly not known for. :P

    P.S. This does not for a moment mean that Mara’s and other guest reviewers’ opinions are not valid and appreciated. They are. Nevertheless, they are not what I come here to read.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i love candy boy! and i know that producers are always teasing with the relashionship but…
    SPOILER
    in the end they kiss, well, episode 7
    SPOILER END

    and we’re going to have episode 8 for the DVD ^^

  4. Anonymous says:

    and i forgot, someone have to do Maria+holic review oWo it was awesome! and it’s Yuri

  5. @Anonymous – I’ve always had guests review series I have no intention of reviewing, this is not new. Almost everything Sean has reviewed over the years has been a series I had no intention of watching or reading in the first place.

    My views on this series are well-known. My opinion has not changed. I still think the series was dull, little more than a visual novel in which absolutely *nothing* happened, and Sakuya filming between Kana’s legs disgusted me.

    In fact, the entire process by which fans of this series have convinced themselves that it was good fascinates me. I read this review and thought – wow, this is no kind of positive review at all. Mara says that the series was short, skimpily animated and had next to no Yuri – exactly what I saw. And yet, Mara liked it. I think it’s worth having someone express that.

  6. Mara says:

    “and we’re going to have episode 8 for the DVD”

    Yay. I hope it is set after episode seven rather than an EX episode.

    “…little more than a visual novel in which absolutely *nothing* happened…”

    I must know what you base that on. You must have played some odd visual novels.

  7. CBanana says:

    I agree with Erica in a way. Not a lot happens in Candy Boy. The fact that episodes are short and that I’m not as turned off by incest as Erica has allowed me to continue with the series.

    What probably warmed up to the series is the subtext dealing with some of the consequences of Kanade and Yukino’s relationship. For instance, when they go back home and they find their younger sister Shizuka upset and resentful about their relationship while Shizuka is also trying to balance that against how much she actually does care about her sisters. There’s also the instance where they get some seemingly hurtful signs posted outside their door and in the next episode they’re looking for a new place to move.

    Of course, maybe I’m just seeing plot where there is none. ;p

  8. @Mara – I meant the art. It appears to me to be little more than stills, with the occasional small bit of animation.

    @CBanana – Incest does not turn me off…I merely find it to be irrelevant. The story would make a lot more sense to me if they were roommates, not sisters. As a zOMG exciting, forbidden love, I think its a rather uninteresting plot complication that adds nothing.

  9. CBanana says:

    @ Erica – Congratulations, you’ve succeeded in confusing me. :)

    I guess what could really help me understand it for me is if you explained how you’ve perceived the incest angles in other pieces of fiction (like Simoun for instance).

    I’m grasping at straws here but I take it your issue is not with the fact that Kanade and Yukino are sisters but with the fact that the sister issue isn’t handled at all. So in other words, you don’t like that they introduce a plot complication they have no real intention of examining.

    I apologize if I’m coming off as a little nosy. It’s just that my picture of your personality is filled with contradictions and I’d enjoy your reviews more if I understood the reviewer more. :)

    I know personally speaking, that I am a little squicked by the incest issue and while I’m willing to let Kanade and Yukino entertain me, I’m not willing to ship them.

  10. @CBanana – In short, Yuri-cest is, IMHO, simply uninteresting.

    For many people it heightens the “forbidden love” feeling of a relationship. As an actual lesbian, I don’t much see what’s “forbidden” about women loving women, and the “forbidden” thing is not what ‘m looking for at all in Yuri. I like to see romances between two women who like each other. Plain and simple.

    If Yukino and Kana were roommates, for many people, the forbidden aspect – and therefore the titillation – would be gone. In my opinion, the story would still be dull. Dullness was, in fact, what I had against Candy Boy. Not incest. It think it was one of the most *boring* stories I’ve ever wasted time with, beaten out only by the live-action version of Blue. If the story had been between unrelated roommates it still would have bored me. But it would have at least been plausible.

    I have the same opinion of the Simoun use of sisters. I shrug. Okay, whatever. It’s…just a plot complcation. A not terribly plausible one.

  11. Mara says:

    I’ve noticed an odd trend.

    I ask one group of people: “Why don’t you like candy boy?”

    And they say: “Because nothing happens.”

    I ask a different group: “Why do you like candy boy?”

    They reply: “Because of all the stuff that happens.”

    Both groups from my small perspective seem to sight the same scenes in their explanation so I wonder why there is such a difference in opinion.

  12. Reading your comments here for this post, Erica, it seems that all you needed to do was string them together and voila–you have yourself an end of season review for Candy Boy.

    While your guest reviewer did do a pretty good job at being indifferent (being a fan but not resorting to fangirling over it), I do agree with Anon in which they say we come here to read *your* opinion. I love reading what you have to say about these shows, even if I don’t necessarily agree.

    Anyway, your comments are very enlightening and amusing!

    And aw :( You won’t be ripping Maria Holic apart yourself? It seems that it’d be perfect for you to review, since it (supposedly) parodies Yuri and you’re pretty much the Yuri guru here.

  13. @Denominator – I have already reviewed Mariaholic. Thank you, and Anonymous, for saying that you come here for my opinions. I appreciate that, truly.

    My opinions on Candy Boy, Mariaholic and Queen’s Blade have been published and are there in print for you to see. Nothing has changed. I think it’s fair to provide other points of view when I’d merely be restating my original opinion.

  14. Oh, was it an end of season review for Maria Holic? I try to follow all your posts, and I did read one that you wrote on Maria Holic and you said you didn’t enjoy it because sadism = not funny.

    I’ll go check again!

    But honestly, you want someone to tell you that Maria Holic was good? Wait for the LFB. None, and absolutely no woman I have asked has enjoyed this series. So your opinion actually has a lot of support about it being absolutely awful. If anything, it manages to take the amount of emotional and psychological abuse you’d find in a hentai and apply it loosely to a “fun, absorbing, black humour comedy about cross-dressing and Yuri!!!”

    It saddens me to think that a parody of the genre of Yuri was made by people who seem to apparently hate it.

    As for your original review of Candy Boy, it was completely uneventful. But I think the problem with it is what it tries to be. Were it simply marketting itself as a slice of life anime about two sisters, then by golly, it would have been great. The overall series has this excellent atmosphere and a whole lot of “nothing” happening in it that suits that genre perfectly well. In fact, the best episode was honestly the one where they returned home and had a falling out with the younger sister. That was some real, emotional stuff there.

    But alas. Whether it is actually or is just perceived as a romance is where its weakness lies. Some may argue that it’s just about two people who love one another just… being themselves. No love confessions, no sex, no kisses, no sexuality or anything. But that’s the problem. So much of it DOESN’T happen that we’re (at least the we who don’t see two girls being within five feet of one another as being a Yuri couple) left to wonder if there’s ANYTHING between these two.

    As a Yuri romance, it totally doesn’t pay off. It probably should have called itself a Yuri slice of life and worked with that genre.

  15. @The Denominator – My review was only beginning of season.

    When my opinion has not changed over the course of a series I see no reason why *not* to present a completely different opinion.

  16. ArcaJ says:

    I think Candy Boy came along at just the right time for me. I was stressed out and needed a little harmless fluff. It was like a Yuri Hime one-shot got animated. (only without the MASSIVE amounts of angst)

    The issue with Yukino and Kanade being sisters was almost an afterthought. There’s no real drama attached to it, and barely any mention of it. In fact, the only reason I can think the writers made them sisters is to give them a history of always being together. Not the smartest story decision, but nobody’s accusing this series of even trying to be smart. ^_^

    In summation, Candy Boy is cute, fluffy, not too smart, but brief enough to be charming instead of annoying.

    ::HUGS::

    Arca Jeth

  17. anime fan says:

    Personally I just loved Candy Boy. IMHO the voices and the character styles were perfect and very interesting. The interactions between the sisters are just super cute. As for nothing happens, well it’s just a sweet & fluffy anime with some delicious siscest, how hot is that :)

  18. CH Makoto says:

    I’m aware I’m a little late, but I liked the series way more than I should have considering the lack of length and minimal exploration of the more Yuri aspects.

    One real plus though. I got the Kanade and Yukino figures when they came out (loved them btw). The 12-year-old daughter of my best friend saw them and asked about them. I felt no hesitation in letting her watch the series, even if it did lead to some awkward questions for my friend.

    Sail on Kana and Yuki.

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