Hello there. This is review forty two. I’ll be reviewing the last anime of the Spring line up so far. I’ll be closing the Winter lineup now because all the anime in that season is now over. The anime now is Medaka Box. An anime that was adapted from a manga by Nisio Isin. He is the creator of Bakemonogatari and Katanagari. Those are two very unique anime. Is Medaka Box unique too?
It’s twelve episodes and well, this was personally a great surprise for me. Let’s read on.
The newly elected Student Council President Medaka Kurokami created a new way for her to help students. She had the idea for a suggestion box where people can submit problems that need to be solved. She and her best friend Zenkichi helps students with their requests no matter how peculiar they are. They are involved with stuff from saving puppies to fighting the clubs of the school to even endangering their lives. This little suggestion box will certainly make their lives more interesting.
Taking the Pants Off
Now I’ve seen some bloggers excitedly review some of the episodes of this show when it was airing and I noticed no one followed through to its conclusion. It was one of the hyped up anime of Spring 2012. People suddenly dropped the anime mid-way. The reviews on MAL were all manga fans that saw the anime. It was odd because this anime is extremely good. Perhaps not as good as the manga, I bet, but it was able to keep me hook up until the very end.
Here’s the interesting about the anime. It was of the School genre for the first half with some Comedy, Ecchi and a little bit of Action. It suddenly had Sports element and, in the end, wandered on the Shounen genre. That’s six genres that would easily make the anime a convoluted mess but it didn’t. The story was so precise that all the six genres balanced out well. Don’t get me wrong, I am reviewing the anime and not the manga. You’re reading this wandering if you should try the anime and my answer is yes. Try it, you’ll love it.
The anime had a pretty intriguing first episode. The Hakoniwa Academy recently had a new Student Council president and she garnered 98% of the votes. Medaka Kurokami is perfect in every sense of the word. She is smart, athletic and a beauty. She is so perfect that 2% of the school population, those that didn’t vote for her, hated her. Her childhood friend, Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, agrees. She is so perfect that she doesn’t know what it’s like to fail. She doesn’t know how to be like all the normal people around her. She always tries to be the best and she talks down to people. Zenkichi also knows that she is genuine and caring. As student council president, she promises to solve all the problems of the student body no matter how small. All they have to do is submit a request in a small suggestion box.
Zenkichi seems to be the only person that Medaka cares about and he often finds himself worrying about her. He isn’t an official member of the student council but he is forced to be one since he cares about Medaka a lot.
I hated Medaka at first simply because of the notion that she is perfect. There is no character development for someone perfect and the first half of the anime was mostly carried by Zenkichi and his friend, Hansode Shiranui. Medaka would seemingly know all the answers and she gives these lame speeches that inspire the person she is lecturing. A bunch of punks became kendo students because Medaka accepted a request and intervened. The major attraction of the show is convincing the viewers to like Medaka as the episodes progress.
The first half of the anime is about the Student Council accepting requests and Zenkichi would always find himself in weird situations. We meet some characters that are involved with the request and after the situation become clear, Medaka would swoop in and resolve the problem. She is perfect and I was worried how the anime would go from here. Well majority of the episodes involve someone belonging in the 2% who do not share Medaka’s ideals or simply hates her. She has this belief that everyone is good but something happened to them that turned them bad. She believes that violence is wrong. It was all clichéd things.
I thought the minor characters would be one shot characters, they would only appear once, but they keep coming back to the story as regulars as the anime progresses. They’re really effective minor characters that elevate the main characters effectively. They specially elevate Medaka who appears one dimensional at first but somehow manages to be rounded.
Most of the requests Medaka accepts involves a club of the school. Some are sports clubs and the members are often eccentric characters who challenge Medaka’s belief. The anime downplays some of it’s elements on these requests and focuses on some sports. There are some pretty serious moments during the bouts too but the anime never get technical on it. On some of the interesting request, they also meet some unique characters that become part of the student council. They provided variety and the more they interact with each other, the more they become likeable.
At the second half of the anime, the characters get to develop some more. Both minor and main was able to shine as they are presented in the episodes. More importantly, Medaka becomes likeable and she was able to be endearing. She was just a nuisance at first, honestly. After some episodes, it becomes relevant that she is the glue holding the anime together. Some of the other characters carry the anime though but she was the special thing that makes the anime unique.
The second half became Shounen and it was a bit of a stretch but it fits in with the plot. The disciplinary committee of the school was the one that challenged Medaka’s ideals and they were pretty rabid in proving their point. They believe that rules should be employed for people to be happy. They believe that justice cannot be carried out with using force. They share the opposite ideals of Medaka who believes that force isn’t needed to make people happy.
Medaka was the sole focus at the last episodes of the anime and they finally talk about Medaka in depth. It was brilliant formats having the viewers see bits and pieces of her personality so they would pay more attention to the finale. It was an action packed second half that was a bit different from the first half but the anime was slowly building to it. It was heading to a Shounen direction especially after the Sports episodes. Thankfully the plot was never compromised and it was the perfect climax for the anime.
It even had a very Shounen villain who is a completely dick. He loves giving speeches of his ideals that was obviously wrong but he touts it like it was the only thing important. It was great because I never expected a villain in the anime. I certainly didn’t expect one that was so annoying and cheap. He was always cheating and he never plays fair. He would always have this stupid grin in his face and you just want Medaka to slap the taste right out of his mouth. He was a very awesome villain indeed.
The anime was really great because the story was never confusing and the pacing was really easy to follow despite all the different elements. There were no boring moments because while the story is focused on the other characters, it manages to slip in some comedy and ecchi. There is such a great balance to the anime because with all of its competing genres, it just takes one bad episode to ruin the anime. I don’t understand why people hated the anime. Yeah, the manga was better. Yada yada yada. The anime was great too. It’s always one of the biggest hurdles of a manga adapted anime. Some devoted manga fan will always be disappointed with the anime. I certainly believe that the manga was better but take the anime for what it is and stop comparing it to the manga. You’ll like the anime much better that way.
Sight and Sound
The animation was pretty normal. It didn’t stand out but it didn’t ruin the anime too. Gainax kinda restrained their selves a bit here but there was enough quality animation to move the anime along. The character design is generic. They’re the same archetypes we’ve seen in other anime. I mean, a forceful and energetic student council president? A small cute character with an annoying voice? Their generic but the interactions between the generic characters did carry the anime on more than one occasion.
The background of the anime didn’t stand out as well. If you’ve seen some School anime genre then you’ll see the same here. I was a bit disappointed that the uniforms where very plain too. I wish they atleast made a tune up on the clothes, geez.
The opening song was generic. It’s your typical jpop opening song but it did fit in the anime nicely. Also, after a couple of listening to, it grows on you. The opening sequence did have some spoilers. They had some of the characters that only appeared on the second half, appear mere seconds in the opening sequence. You were anticipating their appearance which will dampen the experience a bit.
The ending song was much better. It had a lot of spoilers too but it was a nice medley that was reflecting some of the simple moments of the anime. The spoilers were an eyesore though. It did sum the anime up so as you progress in the anime, it was more like “Look, I remember that.” Kind of experience.
6/10 “A Comedy, Ecchi, School, Shounen, Sports and an Action anime. Aren’t you curious?”
The anime is great. The story is paced well and the characters were full of life. Medaka was an interesting character. Just how perfect is she? It’s definitely a wonderful experience. I recommend it.