(This review was previously posted on another blog. It is my own work, I own the rights to this piece.)
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
Anime series: 12 episodes
Manga: 1 volume
Genre: Parody, magical boy, action, slice of life.
Streaming Service: Crunchyroll
Disclaimer: This article only covers season 1. The other seasons will be covered in other reviews)
Have you ever sat around and though why isn’t there a magical girl anime series but with BOYS? If you have, I know I did, this series was a semi-answer to yours and my prayers!
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! is an actual magical boy anime series! What I mean is, these five guys actually transform and get uniforms suited for guys! Yes, it’s a parody, but beggars can’t be choosers here!! In some series that are labeled as magical boy, they aren’t exactly what I would call a magical boy series. Unlike what you would imagine in magical girl series in typical magical boy series, or series labeled as magical boy, don’t necessarily have three or more guys in a group who transform and become hero magical squads like Sailor Moon and the Sailor Scouts or The Mew Mews from Tokyo Mew Mew. The guy would be a solo act in a group of other girls, end up transforming and wearing a uniform or battle gear for a girl, or transforming into a girl altogether. The key tip here is that the guy either becomes one of the girls in some way or is grouped with other girls.
There is one anime, Star Driver, which has elements of a magical boy anime. Takuto Tsunashi, the main hero and character, does transform into Ginga Bishonen or Galactic Pretty Boy; with new hair and battle gear suited for a guy, however the series focuses more on mecha and action so the focus isn’t on him being able to transform and use his power which eliminates it from being a true magical boy anime even though it’s close. I know, I know…I’m splitting hairs, but I’m a snob. Sue me! (Not really, we’re in a pandemic.)
That is what sets Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! apart from other series that are classed as magical boy. The series focuses on guys who gained magical powers and transform as a solid group; there isn’t a distraction like mechas or something Sci-Fi, it’s just about them using their abilities to fight evil. This short series is about five high school boys who receive their powers from an outer space creature disguised as a pink wombat. The wombat tells them that they are Princes of Love in charge of saving the world from an evil presence that wants to make the world a loveless place. As the Battle Lovers they use their elemental powers and love to conquer the monsters that are “evil emotions,” such as vanity and self-loathing, personified. The humans are fellow students from their high school who were turned evil by the Caerula Adamas, a trio of student council members who are led by an evil creature disguised as a green hedgehog.
The selling point of this anime, besides being about magical boys, is that it is a parody of the magical girl genre. It takes overdone yet iconic elements from popular magical series such as: mysterious animals that can talk and give powers, a super cute and upbeat leader of the group, elaborate transformation sequences, group catchphrases, an overwhelming sense of justice and love and combine that with four guys (En, Atsushi, Io, & Ryu) who are semi-reluctant to even be in the group and one hyper active boy (Yumoto) who loves being a super hero.
What’s refreshing about this anime is how real the guys can be when it comes to transforming and fighting monsters. With the exception of Yumoto, the leader, the rest of the group can sometimes be wishy-washy on wanting to actually fight and sometimes leave it up to Yumoto to do a lot of the work. They even complain about their battle regalia and hope no one sees them in their “ridiculous” outfits.
The only drawback, which is also what makes this series great, is that it’s a parody. Being a parody, not much is taken seriously. The plot is solid but not as deep as it could be. Each episode is simple and straight to the point; no complexity and cut and dry with humor. There is a way to be a parody and still add some depth. The character development only stays on the surface. The Battle Lovers in their regular lives do go through personal struggles and what they learn does help define them as individuals, but I always felt like there could be more to it. When comparing to other notable magical girl series, there is always a reason why the girls are whatever element or princess they are; past lives, genetic modification, family heirloom, something! With the Battle Lovers, there is no real connection to why they got whatever element or what “kingdom” they’re a prince of. Even their Battle Lover names aren’t cohesive in my opinion; two are colors, one is a plant, one is chemical element, and one is possibly a Roman virgin goddess.
But the odd names of the Battle Lover princes are an example of what this series is. It’s meant to be funny and take not-so-subtle jabs at the magical girl genre. It shows that a series of magical boys is possible to do without relying heavily on the need for girls to be involved. This series is supposed to be lighthearted and funny with some action and it delivers.
4.1 Transformation sequences out of 5