Back in August 2013 I wrote an article about the sporting series Free! – Iwatobi Swim Club (No. 17), a series that is not so much appreciated for the sport, but for the attractiveness of the male characters, and its homoerotic undertones. Indeed I mentioned that some reviewers thought that Free! could be the gayest cartoon ever made not to feature anyone who is actually gay. At the start of this year though a new anime began which I can confidentially say has usurped Free!
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! is a parody of the “magical girl” genre of anime, mocking aspects of series like Sailor Moon (No. 63) and Puella Magi Madoka Magica (No. 4). The main aspect of the show is that this contains magical boys rather than girls, but other than that it still features all the standard magical girl tropes such as long transformation sequences, strange speeches and unusual acting.
The story begins with two third-year high school students; bespectacled Atsushi Kinugawa and lazy En Yufuin from Binan High School for boys. While relaxing in a bathhouse they find their bathing disturbed by a strange talking alien creature that looks like a pink wombat. The wombat insists that Atsushi and En have to save the world with the power of love, but before he can explain anymore he flees the bathhouse, chased by the bathhouse owner’s son Yumoto Hakone: a first-year at Binan with an extreme love of cuddling cute creatures.
In school the next day, Atsushi and En are shocked to find their homeroom teacher, Mr. Tawarayama, carry the pink wombat under his arm. They try to flee them, but the wombat, controlling the teacher chases after the boys. But the wombat himself is chased by Yumoto who wants more hugs. Atsushi and En eventually make it to the relative safety of their school club, which consists of people who don’t really do anything and jokingly calls itself the “Earth Defense Club”. The other members are two second-year students: Ryu Zaou, who loves flirting with girls (not that he’s ever seen with any girls); and Io Naruko, who loves making money on the stock market.
However, the four cannot escape from the wombat, who in turn cannot escape from Yumoto and his relentless cuddling. The wombat explains his purpose to the five boys, including why he is being accompanied by a teacher: which is simply because Mr. Tawarayama fell down the stairs and ended up in almost death-like state. The wombat has to stay with Mr. Tawarayama otherwise the teacher would start to decompose.
The wombat gives each of the boys some special bracelets called “Lovracelets”, but before he can explain their function a bizarre monster starts attacking the school. The five boys attempt to stop the monster, which leads to a series of bizarre events. First, they find themselves making odd poses and uncontrollably making embarrassing statements about love to the monster. Then they end up kissing their Lovracelets while saying the phrase “Love Making”, which causes them to transform into a super-powered magical form known as the “Battle Lovers”, complete with rather camp costumes.
They successfully defeat the monster using the wombat’s guidance but are unaware of the cause. It is revealed to the viewer that the three boys on Binan’s student council – Kinshiro Kusatsu, Ibushi Arima and Akoya Gero – are actually members of the “Conquest Club”, who plan to conquer the Earth assisted by an alien green hedgehog named Lord Zundar. The series sees the Earth Defence Club battling monsters created by the Conquest Club.
When it comes to writing about this series, let’s be honest and start by saying that there is an element of homosexuality running throughout the series. The premise, the plot, the dialogue, the costume design – everything about it screams “gay”. One episode even features the club visiting a beach which is revealed to be full of really hunky men, except for one barman who is wearing make-up and in a harness. Even the Earth Defense Club suspect of some possible gay behaviour amongst each other.
However, there is more to Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! than that. It is actually a very funny series. All the parodying works, but you do not have to watch man magical girl series to enjoy it. You can just laugh at the surreal situations the characters find themselves in. Indeed, the main characters themselves are a big draw, themselves parodying many of the typical boy student tropes you see in anime. It is reminiscent of a show like Ouran High School Host Club (No. 3).
This show is funny and entertaining in its own right. Any extra thoughts you have about what the Earth Defense Club are a personal bonus.
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! is streamed on the website Crunchyroll.