As the episode begins, we are introduced to Tenshi Dei, whose first name means “angel” in Japanese, while his surname means “God” in Latin. Tenshi, though, doesn’t look as imposing as this name suggests. In fact, he’s just a timid boy who used to sing in a church choir when he was little, and in time he has grown so insecure that now he only sings in his insonorized cabin, where the soundproofing keeps his voice from escaping into the world. Thankfully, at school he can rely on the friendship of Ei-chan, the robust guy from the swimming club, and Shuji, the cool natural leader girls always confess to. Without their support, he wouldn’t survive the crazy antics of Haruo Hibiki, the disgraced conductor who lacks people skills and forcefully recruits them all into a choir without seeming to understand their objections. You see, he is the grandson of the director of the Academy, and grandmother is insisting that he create a magnificent choir from scratch. If he does, she will put in a good word for him and the world of Japanese orchestra music will be open to him again. But when the chips are down, will he be able to get Tenshi to sing?
Kawagoe Boys Sing has a lot going for it, but I’m not sure if it’s enough. On the good side, it has done quite a lot of worldbuilding in a single episode. The characters and their relationships feel convincing, and the small artsy moments, particularly the choir songs and the OP, are pretty remarkable. The story jumps right in, with Tenshi doing wonders with his voice, and soon after, a scene with a professional choir gives you a clear idea of what he aspires to. Tenshi’s friends feel distinct and potentially interesting. I even like the skunk. And when the actual practice begins, the magic is there. At University, I was in a church choir with some friends, and watching this, I recognized the humor, the slightly odd dynamic, and the moments of harmony. What is the problem then? Well, in concept, I am a fan of Haruo. His potential arc of becoming a mentor as Tenshi becomes an artist is a great idea and makes them dramatic foils for one another. But in execution, he is a very egotistical and rude character who acts in very inappropriate ways, and this spoils much of the fun for me. Because of him, I don’t laugh when the show wants me to. So, will I continue? With him being such a big part of the story, I’m not really sure. But perhaps I’ll give it another episode.
Kawagoe Boys Sing can be streamed on Crunchyroll.