A while ago, I called Cheer Boys!! my most anticipated series of the summer. It turns out that I may have been right. It just took six episodes to realize it.

Toshi’s Most Anticipated Summer Anime

When Cheer Boys!!–the story of a newly formed all-male cheerleading group–began, my reaction was initially lackluster. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the series. There just didn’t seem to be anything that stood out to me. It felt like your average “form a team and try something new” sort of story. It wasn’t until episode five, when the characters came together, overcame their insecurities, and managed to do their first big set performance, that I saw something that made it feel like the series was genuinely doing something interesting.

The following episode, episode 5.5, was a recap episode. While it may seem strange for a series to do a recap episode only six episodes in, this actually makes sense. As we find out in episode seven, due to the rousing performance of the cheerleading team (the Breakers) they have had an influx of recruits. Something like ten or so students join the cast along with a new coach, elevating the existing members to a sort of semi-veteran status. There is something of a tonal change in the story, making the episode five performance the perfect breaking point to take a minute and review what has been going on.

It was in this recap episode that I realized that Cheer Boys!! was far more interesting and engaging than I had initially believed. Seeing all the events that led up to the performance at an accelerated rate brought to the foreground all the issues and baggage that the individual members of the Breakers were carrying when they joined the group. For some reason, I had overlooked a lot of the underlying hurdles that each of the characters were trying to overcome. Perhaps it was due to my week-to-week viewing schedule. Maybe I would have noticed these things more readily if I have binged the first five episodes all at once. Maybe not.

Either way, watching the recap episode was a massive eye-opener for me–something I don’t think I have ever experienced watching a recap episode. It made me feel like both a genius and an idiot: A genius for recognizing that Cheer Boys!! would be a really good series before watching it, and an idiot for not realizing that it really was good series when first watching it.

Now I am relieved that, yes, I did make a good call, and I don’t have to be afraid of being laughed at. I’m also even more invested in the story as it moves into its second half.

Let’s go Breakers!

Go! Fight! Win!

Cheer Boys!! can be viewed with English subtitles on FUNimation and AnimeLab (AU/ZN).

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