Sometimes, an anime generates a lot hype. That hype will be furthered along with an incredible opening that gets passed around so much that memes are made about it (I’m looking at you Zhongli). Then, you realize all of this halfway through the season and decide that you will check it out once it’s done airing… and that’s what I’ve done with Paripi KoumeiOr, better known asYa Boy Kongming. Is it able to live up the hype?
There are many references. Romance of the Three KingdomsYou don’t have to be a part of this show, but it is possible! If you’re not familiar with it, that’s fine because the show does a good job explaining a lot of that stuff. What is it actually all about?
Zhuge (Kongming), the Chinese war strategist, has fallen ill and is on the brink of death. As he draws his final breath, Zhuge Liang (Kongming), a Chinese war strategist, wishes that he could be born in the next life in a free world. He is then transported 1,800 years in the future to Shibuya, Japan. Here, he’s dragged to a Halloween party at the BB Lounge where he meets Eiko, a girl who once thought about taking her own life but got saved by music. She dreams of becoming a singer and she is determined to fulfill her dream. Kongming is moved by her voice and decides to help her reach her goal by using ancient Chinese war strategies.
That’s about the gist of the story but it doesn’t stop with Eiko. We also learn about Kabetaijin our main character, and his struggles to become a rapper. The back half of the program focuses on Nanami Kuon’s story and how Eiko and she became rivals.
I have to say… for a girl that’s designed to look like a tomboy, she doesn’t seem to be that way. She’s not brash or flirtatious like you would expect one to be. Instead, she just seems like a normal teenage girl that’s in love with music… except… she’s not a teenager (at least I assume because she does freely drink alcohol in this show.) Although she is energetic and fun at times, she also has her insecurities. There is an arc where she had to find her true voice and her reason for singing and even though she acts as if it’s a pain, it’s artificially exaggerated by being up against a clock where she only has so much time to get 100,000 likes on a video otherwise she won’t be accepted to a huge festival to perform, thus ruining her big break. Despite being under intense pressure, she manages to persevere and even learns a lot about herself. It’s an example of forced character development done right!
It is impossible not to mention the title character. The romance of the Three Kingdoms aside, Kongming simply feels extremely fortunate and grateful to have been given another chance at life. When he realized his wish had been granted to him, he knew he wanted to do the same for others. He is open to music when he meets Eiko. While many would think a romance would brew between the two of them, it doesn’t. Kongming just wants to keep being the skilled tactician he is known for, and to demonstrate his talents in the modern age. While some of his methods may be questionable or sketchy, especially when he disappears from a few of them, he is loyal and trustworthy. He is calm and collected and you can trust him. I recall watching a YouTube video on a Japanese chef named Motokichi, and one of his comments described Kongming perfectly. “I have never met this man but I trust him with my life.”
While I combined his name above, the show does the same when they refer to him by his rapper stage name; however, it’s really two separate names. Kabe is a very likeable character you want to hug. As a result, he suffers from an acute stomach ulcer. Instead of feeling confident after winning rap battle after another, he loses his confidence. He passes out from stomach pain after his latest win. After Kongming discovers that he is a talented rapper, he encourages him to return to rapping. Kabe embarks on a deep soul search and finds his passion again. He is timid and unsure about himself, just like Eiko. It was wonderful to watch him slowly regain his confidence.
Nanami is a street musician with an incredible voice. The police confront her and ask for her street permit. In Japan, it is required to perform on the streets. When she doesn’t have one, Eiko comes to the rescue as Kongming provided one to her. This is where they began to share a love for music and singing. Nanami enjoys performing together and wishes her life was simpler. There’s more to this story but it goes into spoiler territory. Nanami is a wonderful character. She’s a girl who struggles to live the life she desires. You can tell that others are dictating her path for her and it’s killing her passion but meeting Eiko clearly reignites it!
Kobayashi, the owner
I don’t think he ever got a first name but he doesn’t need one. He’s the owner of BB Lounge, and acts almost as a guardian to Eiko. He is a true believer in her and gave Kongming a job because he loves Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Yeah… they really used that as the reason Kobayashi hired Kongming. He has at least someone with whom he can share his passion. You can’t get a better Kongming than the real thing.
Art & Animation
The artwork was outstanding, the characters were unique and stood out. Even side characters that usually remain in the background are easily recognizable (such as the unnamed “Eiko’s Fan” character).
Animation-wise, this is a musical anime so you would expect a bit higher budget during some of the performances and that’s exactly what you got. It is annoying at times, however, because they often over-animate characters, which I find unnatural. Sadly, Paripi Koumei suffers from that just a bit… especially in the early episodes when Eiko is playing her guitar in her room. When they’re up on stage with a bunch of flashing lights, it works just a little bit better.
CGI was used in some areas and while it does stick out a little bit, it’s not jarring nor does it look so out of place that it makes you question your choice to watch the show. In other words, it didn’t a good enough job at attempting to blend in.
What about the sound? You should have a great soundtrack because this anime is musical. Well… before we go and sing its praises (pun intended), the songs (or song in this case) is good but I kind of got tired of hearing the same one over and over again. Although Underworld and Dreamer felt refreshing, the repetitive songs were just too much.
What didn’t get tiring to hear was that OP! Yeah… I’m sure you’d love for me to dissect it and fanboy over it but I won’t. Just trust me that it’s a banger and an easy contender for OP of the Year.
It was a remarkable show that achieved so much with so few resources. What I mean by that is the show didn’t have a deep and layered plot with complex undertones or any major twists and turns. It told the story of a girl who wanted to be a singer and her ancient Chinese strategist manager who employed ancient war techniques to help her rise to the top of the music world…
…except she didn’t reach the top yet! I hope this gives us hope for a second season. There is no way P.A. can do that. Works cannot produce a show as good as this and leave it unfinished. While the synopsis might seem a bit too vague for some, people started to notice the opening and began to watch reaction videos online.
It was a huge success and I watched all 12 episodes in one go. I didn’t even stop to look at the time or see how many are left. It was simple, had a few laughs when it was necessary, fleshed out the characters and made them care, used a banging (albeit repetitive!) soundtrack, combined animation and art almost seamlessly and left me wanting more.
Basically, this had all of the markers of a great anime but I can’t give it a perfect score because of some of the minor flaws that were aforementioned. Had it spiced things up a bit more in the music department and extended this run to 25 episodes to see the story through to its conclusion (or at least conclude what was already established during this first season), then maybe it would have gotten that 5/5 from me, because the show was that good and the hype, wasn’t just a meme.
However, it still deserves a solid rating of 4.5/5. If you’ve slept on this show, then wake the hell up and go watch it.
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Until next time…
Paripi Kumei (Ya Boy Kongming), is an extraordinary artist who mixes animation, music, character development and story into 12 episodes. You will want more. The OP was a powerful tool that drove viewers to the show. Many thought it would be a slapstick meme.
- A simple story
- You are made to care for characters
- Fantastic soundtrack
- Animation and artwork that is stunning
- Feels like a story is not finished
- Some of the insert tracks were excessively used.