Kawagoe Boys Sing! -Now or Never- – Episode 1

By: Cy Catwell October 11, 20230 Comments
Haruo conducting an orchestra.

Content Warning: Partial underage nudity

What’s it about? Former choirboy Tenshi love to sing but can barely manage a single Do-Re-Mi when it comes to doing so in front of people. So instead of singing to his heart’s content, Tenshi decides to live a simpler life. That is until he meets Haruo, a former conductor who’s looking to set up an award-winning boys choir…

Well AniFam, I’m back in my element: namely, I’m covering boys singing. My fields are overflowing with plenty, the cold, PNW days are less chilly. I feel a sense of energy, even. That’s because I’m reviewing Kawagoe Boys Sing! -Now or Never- (Hereafter Kawagoe Boys Sing): this season’s brightest star in the “boys sing songs” sky, especially since it’s not idols, but a high school choir. It’s a nice twist and hey, there’s even a Black student in the OP, so like…that’s gotta be a good sign for future episodes.

But is Kawagoe Boys Sing! -Now or Never- enough to keep sustaining me? Is it enough to refill my music meter? Read on, AniFam, because we’re about to talk about some singing boys.

Tenshi watches an all-boy's choir perform with awe.

Episode 1, “On the Set,” starts off with a moody, powerful rendition of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by a boy with the voice of an angel: a boy who’s singing in his closet because he can only sing when he’s alone. This is, of course, the titular Tenshi, but he’s not the sole focus of this story. There’s also Haruo, a cocky young man whose career seems to be coming to an end: that is, until he gets an offer to work for a high school in the wake of him upending–really, screwing up–his chances in Japan.

Together, Tenshi and Haruo form the heart of this premiere that does a lot of foundational work to get viewers invested in a taste of the plethora of singing boys to come, all with the underlying goal of Haruo rising back to conductorial fame while…having to teach a bunch of amateurs well enough to get them first place in a national competition. Let the antics ensue!

The boys practice getting the group in sync.

Kawagoe Boys Sing is alright. It’s perfectly mid animation and perfectly okay music: nothing is ugly, but nothing stands out, and at times, the animation looks a bit off model, though it never lasts for long. That said, I hope the latter will change in the near future, especially since this show is about an all-male choir and will otherwise flop without decent voices. That’s not to say the VAs aren’t good: it’s just to say that there’s not enough evidence that the plot has the singing chops to actually sustain itself.

I wish I could say more, but Kawagoe Boys Sing is kind of remarkable in that there’s not a lot to say. It’s mostly antics in the premiere with very little singing. A shame, really, because the appeal of this series is the choir. I know the gang’s gotta come together, but…I don’t know, everything just felt so tepid. And unfortunately, what we do get feels more like idol music than what I expect from a high school choir. That dissonance is really strikes a sour note too, making this premiere feel confused on what it’s even trying to do.

Haruo and his new gaggle of choir members get sprayed by an angry civet.

When it comes down to it, Kawagoe Boys Sing is just okay: I’ll probably watch just to see what happens, largely because I want to see Haruo stop showing his ass and become a more well-rounded adult instead of the asshole he is right now. I also want to see Tenshi become a capable public singer since it’s clear he’s got potential within this story. Right now, both are pretty uninteresting characters, but it’s just the beginning: there’s more than enough time for things to develop into something more complex.

That said, I don’t know if this star will shine bright: it’s filling a niche for sure, especially as an anime-original franchise, but…it’s just kind of okay. The premiere never really shines nor is memorable, but maybe that’s me underestimating things. Maybe this show will grow on me like Spring 2021’s BACKFLIP did: maybe it’ll charm me with its ragtag gang of high schoolers. In the end, I think that’s enough to keep me here, so long as the story goes from gags and goofiness to having some actual substance.

About the Author : Cy Catwell

Cy Catwell is a Queer Blerd journalist and JP-EN translation & localization editor with a passion for idols, citypop, visual novels, and the iyashikei/healing anime genre.

You can follow their work as a professional Blerd at Backlit Pixels, get snapshots of their out of office life on Instagram at @pixelatedrhapsody, and follow them on their Twitter at @pixelatedlenses.

Read more articles from Cy Catwell

We Need Your Help!

We’re dedicated to paying our contributors and staff members fairly for their work—but we can’t do it alone.

You can become a patron for as little as $1 a month, and every single penny goes to the people and services that keep Anime Feminist running. Please help us pay more people to make great content!

Comments are open! Please read our comments policy before joining the conversation and contact us if you have any problems.

%d bloggers like this: