This is review number one hundred and twenty four. It’s part of the Fall 2012 lineup and the first review of the year. This is the second season of Medaka Box and its twelve episodes long. I enjoyed the first season a lot and I am so excited to see this new one. More Medaka and Shiranui can’t be bad for you. My review of the first one was my 42nd review and I can’t believe I’ve reached this far. Anyways, let’s read on.
The second season starts where the first season ended in the aftermath of Medaka’s fight with Myouri Unzen and the Disciplinary Committee. Unzen was injured so badly that he had to rest and the Principal revealed to Medaka that she needs to replace Unzen in the ongoing project he was participating with called Flask Plan. The Flask Plan is a project involving other people just like Unzen and Medaka dubbed as “Abnormals”. The Flask Plan is an evil experiment designed to hurt the people of Sandbox Academy. Medaka declined and then declared that she will put an end to this destructive plan. It’s easier said than done when the 13 participants of the project can go toe-to-toe with Medaka and can even beat her.
Taking the Pants Off
I did not expect Medaka Box to get another season because the first season was pretty sweet. It ended on a high note and the enigma that was Medaka won in the end. I think back on the first season and I remember a lot of complain over the fact that the anime started out as a Comedy then ended as a Shounen anime. I still defend it to this day because the anime was leading up to it. It was meant to go Shounen and I’m glad it did. I did wonder what the second season holds. They added “Abnormal” in the title so that’s pretty intriguing. I don’t care about the abnormal part though because I can once again see Medaka in all her perfect glory and Shiranui in all her gluttonous glory. I think this season was needed though because it finally showed Medaka Box’s true skin and surprise to everyone, it’s Shounen.
Medaka Box Abnormal isn’t like the first season. As I said before, this was very Shounen as oppose to the Comedy aspects of the first season. Think of it like the first season is the appetizer and the second season is rightfully, the main course. In the span of twelve episodes, you’ll see so many fights that would rival any shounen anime that stretches its episode number to oblivion. The second season didn’t play around, it presented the story as soon as the anime got rolling and it was just so exciting. The plot is about Medaka causing more hell storm after defeating Unzen. After discovering the evil intentions of the flask plan, she decided to break through their hideout and beat the crap out of them. Medaka didn’t go alone though as the rest of the Student Council was right behind her. It’s a simple plot set up. Medaka enters the hideout 13 floors deep and at each floor a character battle against one of the baddies. The typical Shounen set up soon ensues. There are some talking involved after every punch, some appropriately placed flashbacks, the spectators chiming in on the fight and an awesome conclusion. Given the fact that every character is unique, it adds a lot of intrigue when someone like Medaka goes up against someone who can kick her face in without breaking a sweat.
The anime dived further on Medaka. During the first season, one question was never answered. “Why is Medaka so perfect?” The second season finally tried to tackle that question. The anime presented people called “Abnormal” who are essentially the same as Medaka. They are born different and gifted with extraordinary abilities. It’s like they have super powers and that separates them from normal people. They go far beyond the realm of what normal people with normal limits can do. The anime presented six of them who possess truly powerful abilities and they go up against Medaka in the anime. It wasn’t really that big of shock to learn that Medaka wasn’t normal but the biggest surprise of the anime was revealing what kind of super power Medaka has. Can you take a guess? I’m sure whatever you’re thinking, it doesn’t cover what she actually can do.
The old characters are all here and they got some pretty awesome character development. The student council members all got a piece of spotlight while Medaka plows through the Flask Plan. I really admire how the second season fleshes out the characters. We see a lot of flashbacks concerning the characters that dived deeper into their personality. It was nicely incorporated in the fight scenes and it makes it a lot deeper. Majority of the characters explore why they hang around Medaka. Everyone’s reason gets explored. Kikaijima, Akune and Zenkichi’s reason as why they continue being around Medaka is revealed and its gives us a better insight into the characters. We also get some Medaka flashbacks which were pretty interesting. I was a bit surprised they tried to unveil the enigma surrounding Medaka and it’s probably one of the best reasons to watch the second season. Medaka was creepy when she was a child. Zenkichi’s reason why he manages to be around Medaka despite being normal was also pretty nicely explained. There’s so much the anime done in twelve episodes I wouldn’t think they would tackle and we’re not even talking about the new characters yet.
There are a lot of new characters in this anime. Majority of them was people that Medaka fights as part of dismantling the Flask Plan. The group of Abnormals is a pretty impressive bunch. All of them stand out in one way or another. Part of their interesting personality was thanks to the Shounen aspect of the anime. I remember Unzen from the first season. He was brash, arrogant and a massive dick that you want to cave his skull. The main bad guy in the anime, Oudo Miyakonojou, is even better. He believes that he is a king and that everyone is below him. Seriously, he talks like this: “Hey you!!! You have my permission to tell me where the medaka box is” and it’s so awesome. He just oozes villainous air that you can’t help but enjoy every scene he is in. The rest of the baddies are impressively done and it’s thanks to them that the “Abnormals” are given some deserved spotlight. The bad guys have one thing in common; they all have unique superpowers like Medaka but they think differently than her. She loves to help people while the other super powered freaks have grown to hate or think they above humans. As each bad guy is explored, we see the other side of the coin when it comes to the Abnormals and we also see just how special Medaka is.
The other character introduced in the anime is Medaka’s big brother. It was another surprise that took me aback. I once again didn’t expect the anime go this route. They are surely making sure every veil around Medaka is knocked down. With her brother’s appearance, another plot point is introduced: Medaka’s family dynamic. You’re curious too, right? Medaka was just this perfect girl in the first season so seeing her interact with her family and seeing her flashbacks was the perfect treat for viewers. Medaka’s story before she became student council president is pretty interesting and this was once again, nicely incorporated in the story.
This second season is strictly Shounen but I want to point out that this is how a Shounen anime should be. It’s action packed, respectful of the characters, direct and to the point with no time to dilly dally, no freaking sub plots during important fight scenes and it has an incredibly thought out pacing. Shounen anime nowadays has declined in quality for a variety of reasons but Medaka Box Abnormal holds true that the genre can still be done intelligently and it can produce quality action in a short number of episodes.
The twists and surprises in the anime are also pretty nicely done. Some of the plot twists and big reveals are things you’ll never see coming. When you think the anime is straight laced, it throws a massive twist that changes the complexion of the entire series. The biggest surprise though is the ending. That’s all I have to say about that one. This is a very amazing anime and I urge everyone to try it.
Sight and Sound
Character design is a definite stand out. The bad guys specially have some unique designs to them. I personally love this girl whose head is wrapped in bandage with a knife stuck to her head. Seriously, it’s pretty awesome. The rest of the characters have some unique design to them. It’s once again thanks to the Shounen aspect of the anime. They all have some pretty flashy hair and their outfit reflects their personality. The variety of looks across the characters and their unique costumes makes the characters easy stand out in the anime. The old characters look good as well. Certainly not as flashy as the new characters but they go Shounen during their flashbacks. They sport some flashy hair and unique costumes as well.
The fight scenes are outstanding. I was jumping out of my seat every time something big happens in the anime. Majority of the fight scenes involve some talking but when the characters go to work, you will definitely enjoy it. The action is pretty smooth and the effects during the fight scenes are nicely incorporated. There some flying debris, nice addition of blood, and typical destroyed places when the characters fight. The animation is pretty great as well. It’s easy to follow and it’s very clear. The punches and kicks are pretty accurate. The nice display of muscle movements during fights is pretty noticeable. The fight scenes are pretty varied depending on the characters style. There is the typical head bashing brawl type of fights, there are fights with guns and other weapons, there is a technical style with submission holds incorporated and then there is the over the top Son Goku must destroy half of the world to save it type of fights as well.
The anime’s OP is “BELIEVE” by Minami Kuribayashi. It’s a nice song that reflects the soft side of the anime. I suck at explaining songs but it’s an OK song. It has a steady pace to it but nothing that really pops. The OP sequence features all the characters but also has some spoiler to it. The relation of the characters and the faces of the masked characters revealed in the OP was a deal breaker. The big twist is also in the OP sequence, geez.
The anime’s ED is “Shugoshin PARADOX” by Aki Misato. It’s another OK song. It doesn’t really stand out but I guess the Aki’s voice is pretty nice. It has a nice subtle quality to it. The ED sequence features the main characters in still poses. It’s pretty nice.
8/10 “This is a strong Shounen anime. It’s a definite must watch.”
The second season of Medaka Box is amazing. All of its components really shined and the way it developed the characters was outstanding. It easily outmatched the first season of the anime. I highly recommend it.