The basic premise of Punch Line centers on a young boy who gains an incredible burst of strength when he sees a girl’s panties, and based on that description, I don’t think it would be unfair to assume that the show is nothing more than a fun and silly fanservice fueled action comedy.
Punch Line may draw the viewer in with its bright colors, cute girls and dizzying array of sexy panty designs, but it does this in order to present a narrative that I found to be both surprisingly deep and genuinely poignant.
Punch Line starts with our main man Yuta as a passenger on a bus currently being held hostage. The day is eventually saved by a cute and stylish idol superhero named Strange Juice. She easily dispatches the bus thugs, but is caught off guard by a mysterious figure.Yuta, panicking at the pack of the bus, experiences a sudden surge of power upon seeing the panties of a girl named Rabura.
Yuta then proceeds to tackle Strange Juice’s captor out of the bus, only to find his spirit forced out of his body. The plot that follows is one involving a now disembodied Yuta experiencing time travel, learning more about his housemates, and rediscovering the secrets of his past and the reason he has panty fueled super powers in the first place.
The primary cast of Punch Line comes in at six characters, namely, Yuta, the spirit cat Chiranosuke, Narugino (not so secretly known as Strange Juice), her sidekick Meikan, the antisocial Ito and the ghost whisperer Rabura.
Yuta is a protagonist I can really get behind. He’s almost always a man of action, and very proactive as opposed to reactive. He’s a hero in every sense of the word, and does his best to protect all of the girls. His seiyuu, Marina Inoue also sounds phenomenal in her portrayal of the character, though I was initially convinced he was voiced by Yuko Sanpei, Boruto Uzumaki’s seiyuu.
In many ways, Yuta has to be a very strong character on his own due to the fact that he doesn’t directly interact with the girls for a good part of the show, seeing as how he’s a spirit and everything. In the case of the girls, I found them to have genuine chemistry and a fun group dynamic. The bond between the girls is so effective that it was given actual plot significance, as their connection with each other is vital to stopping the looming threat of the world being destroyed.
Punch Line’s animation is slick and lively, but I’m especially fond of the art style. It has all of the bright colors and soft edges that I adore in other works such as Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, and pretty much everything ever done by Tyson Hesse of Sonic Mania fame. Having such solid animation really helps bring to life the personalities of Punch Line’s main cast, as well as the handful of action scenes that the show gives us.
Punch Line delivered on everything it promised in spades. For as ridiculous as Yuta’s powers are, the fanservice shown off is really well done. There weren’t really any shots I found to be distasteful (as far as fanservice in general is concerned anyway), and some of the moments that were played for laughs came across genuinely funny.
Each of the girls has a super solid and unique personality, and with the exception of maybe Narugino, I wouldn’t say any of them can be pinned with a specific anime girl trope. This is one of the rare instances where I don’t think that there is a clear candidate for best girl, as I think the case could be made for any of them to win (though I’d probably go with Rabura, she got the most laughs out of me).
The actions scenes are somewhat few and far between, but each of them is extremely well structured and choreographed, and the characters on display definitely feel like they have some weight to them.
Above all else, I have to give Punch Line credit for being a genuine surprise. I went in expecting a fanservice action comedy, and I would’ve been totally fine with that. But the show went above and beyond with its engaging narrative and characters, and both of these aspects did a great job of keeping me invested in the show.