Trekking the Teenage Wasteland: Remembering Chio's School Road

The Summer 2018 Revival continues with a look at a comedy about a game-obsessed girl with no chill IRL

Paul Chapman (@gooberzilla) struggling in the jaws of a life-sized model hippo.

 

School's out for the summer, but in anime, as in our hearts, class is always in session. And so we here at “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog” are taking a slightly academic turn with our latest entry in the Summer 2018 Revival, a look back at some of the special shows from the previous summer season.

 

“Class” takes on a completely different meaning when you're talking about TV anime adaptations based on seinen manga, and this week, we'll be keeping it classy as we remember the slightly below average antics of an otherwise ordinary (?) high school girl in Chio's School Road.

 

 

What's Chio's School Road?

 

Based on the seinen manga by Tadataka Kawasaki, Chio's School Road is a 2018 TV anime with direction by Takayuki Inagaki and animation production by Diomedéa. Crunchyroll describes the series as follows:

 

Miyamo Chio, a first-year at the completely ordinary high school Samejima Academy. Chio just wants to get through her school life without standing out too much, but for some reason, all kinds of obstacles await her along the path she takes to school. Her long-time friend Nonomura Manana, who's trying to quit being an otaku; the flawless Hosokawa Yuki, who occupies the top caste in the school; and lots of nameless people about town find themselves in Chio's path as she employs the (useless) techniques she's acquired from her Western video games in her daily efforts to get to school.

 

Chio is too cool to look at imaginary explosions after defeating her opponents in an impromptu Kabbadi match.

 

While much of the action of Chio's School Road takes place during the main character's commute to and from high school each day, the comedy ranges from the social to the scatological, with the common element being Chio's perspective (and problem-solving strategies) growing increasing poisoned by marathon sessions of popular Western video games.

 

Influenced by too many acrobatic video game assassins, Chio attempts to parkour onto a roof along her morning commute to school.

 

I Was a Teenage Buffoon.

 

Comedy is hard, and anime comedy is doubly difficult, because Japanese-style humor doesn't always translate to foreign audiences, but Chio's School Road succeeds in crossing the international laugh boundaries by tapping into an experience that is largely universal: being a complete bonehead as an adolescent.

 

So many of Chio's nonsensical antics (such as staying up way too late playing video games, practicing close-quarters combat moves on her friends, or parkouring around the neighborhood like her digital heroes) ring true to me, because I myself did similarly foolish things when I was young and impressionable and way too eager to apply behaviors from my favorite hobbies to real life.

 

 

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemas?

 

Despite its humorous exaggerations, another way that Chio's School Road captures the teenage experience is through how it tackles (sometimes quite literally) the social aspects of growing up. For example, while Chio and Manana are the closest of friends, the series correctly implies that sometimes being friends includes back-biting, jockeying for social position, and playing mean-spirited pranks.

 

Chio's School Road also takes great pains to convey how awkward, shallow, and absurd teen romance can be, especially through the exploits of former delinquent Andou. Who among us hasn't done embarrassing things in an effort to impress someone to whom we're attracted? Let those with no sin among you cast the first high-kick “kabedon”.

 

Chio grimaces in embarrassment while her best friend, Manana, prepares to take advantage of the situation.

 

Rude, Crude, and Dangerous to Know.

 

A word of warning: as a work of low-brow entertainment, Chio's School Road pushes the boundaries of good taste. The jokes often contain vulgar humor, and the series is bristling with fanservice of the “panty shot” variety. One of the supporting characters, Madoka Kushitori, is both a bosomy caricature and also a “predatory lesbian” stereotype who practices the Indian full-contact sport of Kabbadi as an excuse to grope other girls. If crude humor doesn't appeal to you, you may wish to steer clear.

 

In an effort to avoid a potentially socially awkward situation, Chio dives headlong into a pile of trash.

 

Take the Long Way Home.

 

Crunchyroll currently streams Chio's School Road in 73 territories around the world, and the series is available in the original Japanese with subtitles in English, Latin American Spanish, and Portuguese. Chio's School Road is available on Bluray in North America from Crunchyroll and Funimation, and an English language version of the original manga is published by Yen Press.

 

Raucous, rude, and strangely authentic, Chio's School Road is a great fit for fans both of high profile Western video games and the R-Rated teen comedies of yore. If you're in the mood for video game references served alongside raunchy humor, and if the series is available in your area, please consider taking a trip along Chio's School Road.

 

Evoking her online persona, Bloody Butterfly, Chio perches on the fallen motorcycle belonging to Andou, a delinquent in a biker gang.

 

Thanks once again for joining us for this most recent installment of the Summer 2018 Revival by “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”. Be sure to tune in next time when we take a deep dive inside the human body for a fun and educational look at what makes us tick.

 

Is there a series in Crunchyroll's catalog that you think needs some more love and attention? Please send in your suggestions via e-mail to [email protected] or post a Tweet to @gooberzilla. Your pick could inspire the next installment of “Cruising the Crunchy-Catalog”!

 

Hime poses for a Crunchyroll ad banner.

 

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Paul Chapman is the host of The Greatest Movie EVER! Podcast and GME! Anime Fun Time.


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