Boys Be is a thirteen episode seinen anime
directed by Shimoda Masami, who is also responsible for Saber Marionette J
and Ai Yori Aoshi.
Released in 2000, it chronicles the lives of a small group of high school friends in the town of Otowanomori. The name comes from William S. Clark, a president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College (later to become the University of Massachusetts), who was in Japan in 1876 to help set up an agricultural school which would later become Hokkaido University. He is still widely remembered by his parting words to his students: "Boys, be ambitious."
While never mentioned in the anime, this quote does play a small part in the first chapter of the manga, and serves as a theme for the series as a whole--almost every episode features one of the boys unsure of what to do, having to gather the courage to resolve the conflict presented in the episode. Since this is a seinen drama, almost every episode involves their interactions (or, in some cases, lack thereof) with the opposite sex.
While it gives each supporting character their respective spotlights, the show is mainly concerned with the relationship between childhood friends Kyoichi, an aspiring artist, and Chiharu, a talented track runner.
Unfortunately this show is not currently licensed by any American company, the only complete english translation available is by fansub.
Suzumura Kenichi Kanzaki Kyoichi
Ishida Akira Kurumizawa Makoto
Ishikawa Hideo Kenjou Yoshihiko
Murai Kazusa Nitta Chiharu
Shiratori Yuri Mizutani Aki
Nagasawa Miki Kazama Yumi
- Episode 1, "Cherry Blossoms"
Kyoichi and Chiharu are childhood friends who have begun to grow apart as they get older. Kyoichi begins to realize he loves Chiharu, but just as he is gather courage to confess he finds out she has a crush on her senpai in the athletics club. Their friendship is restored at the end of the episode when she tells him that he wasn't interested.
- Episode 2, "Memorial Essence"
Makoto is the school skirt-chaser. He has spent a good portion of his free time building a database on every girl in the school. After an unfortunate scooter accident, he is hospitalized with a broken leg and promptly falls in love with the lovely young nurse who attends to him.
After many unsuccessful attempts to gain her affection, she tells him that she cares for him but must forego a relationship to pursue her medical career.
- Episode 3, "After Kiss"
Kenjou accidentaly hits a baseball into the school library. While searching for the ball, he catches a girl who loses her balance on a stool. She gives him a kiss as thanks, and afterward Kenjou can't get her out of his mind. Unfortunately, she doesn't show up in the library again. He finds himself returning to the library every day, reading various manga to pass the time. His friends become confused as he tells each of them a recounting of his experience embellished in the style of whatever manga he had been reading. They finally find out that the girl was an exchange student from France and has returned to her homeland.
- Episode 4, "Bitter Sweet Rain"
Ueno is an aspiring photographer. Aki is his would-be girlfriend. Unfortunately, Ueno can't seem to take a hint. A character study of Ueno enjoying Aki's friendship, and Aki's unending frustration with Ueno.
- Episode 5, "Feeling Blue"
Kyoichi and Makoto leave for a working vacation by the sea at a restaurant owned by Chiharu's cousin. Kyoichi tries to convince Chiharu to come, but she gets mad at him for trying to make her miss her upcoming competition. Unfortunately, Chiharu's cousin is a real taskmaster.
- Episode 6, "Baseball Lovers"
Kenjou is the star baseball player at school. When he shows up, that is. He meets a girl named Horikawa whose infectuous love for baseball rekindles his enthusiasm. She dreams of playing at Koushien, a huge high school baseball tournement. Girls aren't allowed to play at Koushien but the coaches are too chicken to tell her, leaving that up to Kenjou. When Kenjou's arm is injured, preventing him from playing in time for Koushien, Horikawa takes it upon herself to cheer him up.
- Episode 7, "Wind Bell"
While Kyoichi and Makoto are at the sea, Chiharu is busy training. When she gets lost in the woods one day, a mysterious stranger named Yuki helps her out. One day she trips and injures her ankle, forcing her to take time off. By chance she runs into Yuki again, who provides a convenient outlet for her depression. Yuki drops her off at the station to meet Kyoichi, and Chiharu makes the mistake of giving him a goodbye kiss, which Kyoichi sees as he arrives.
- Episode 8, "Swallow"
Kyoichi meets the fiery-tempered Sayama at school and, being disillusioned with Chiharu, starts spending time with her. Sayama is a talented singer and Kyoichi helps her gather the courage to audition for a band from Osaka.
- Episode 9, "Leaves"
Makoto is at it again, this time with a secret weapon: computer software that will find his perfect match. It pairs him with Kawai Erika, a beautiful and intelligent sophomore. Fortunately, Yumi from his class is a friend of hers but she will only agree to set them up if Makoto meets her standards.
- Episode 10, "Solitary Cross"
Kyoichi starts working part-time at a small video rental store. When he discovers his coworker Yokota is also a classmate in his art class, they quickly become friends. When Kyoichi finds out Yokota wants to confess his love to a girl he has been painting portraits of, he convices him to go through with it no matter how it turns out. Kyoichi doesn't want Yokota to be in the same situations as himself. When he is turned down, Yokota finds he is no longer lonely at all and leaves to pursue a career as a professional artist.
- Episode 11, "First Snowfall"
It's Christmas Eve at Otowanomori, also the first snowfall of the year. Kenjou is becoming puzzled why Horikawa keeps calling him for no apparent reason. While walking through town, he runs into the pop idol Mori Jyunna--litterally. When people start to recognize her and make a scene, she makes a hasty retreat pretending Kenjou is her manager. He ends up traipsing all over town with her since she decided to take a day off and have fun, but doesn't know her way around. Kenjou begins to undestand Horikawa's motivations, and when Jyunna is finally reunited with her boyfriend--who she has been trying to find all day--he decides to take the initiative.
- Episode 12, "End to Beginning" (note: was misspelled as "Bigining" on the show)
The year 2000 is nearing its end, and Otowanamori is preparing for the turn of the millennium. Kyoichi and Chiharu finally begin talking again, the old familiarity between them slowly overcoming the awkwardness. There is a rumor going around that any couple who is together when the new millennium begins will find eternal happiness. Horikawa mentions this to Kenjou and they decide to be together on New Year's Eve. She also tells Chiharu, who becomes thoughtful. Meanwhile Makoto has heard a different version, that any couple together that night would inevitably split up. He and Yumi decide to spend the evening apart for that reason, and he tells Kyoichi about it as well. Kyoichi spends the night avoiding Chiharu, only to run into her by accident during the last seconds of the countdown--to her relief and his own horror. He runs off, leaving her a bit confused.
- Episode 13, "Let it Be"
Kyoichi decides to take a vacation in Hokkaido to clear his head. He leaves the airport just in time to see his bus leaving, also running into a girl as well. She helps him up and offers to give him a ride. The two of them hit it off, and she offers to be his guide to Hokkaido and give him a place to stay. Kyoichi begins sketching the beautiful lanscapes of Hokkaido while trying not to be too distracted by the wild and unpredictable antics of his guide, who happens to be named Chiharu. When she recounts the experience of her recent breakup with her boyfriend, Kyoichi begins to understand how the lack of communication between himself and the Chiharu back home has hurt their relationship. He returns home to set things straight with her.