Updated Thoughts on Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (1st Season)

Yeah. I overrated the shit out of this title.

When I first watched Baka-Test, I was impressed with two things: animation and effort. It’s so upbeat, so zany and fun that it almost seems like there’s more to this title than meets the eye. When in reality, there isn’t.

Baka-Test has stupid logic, repetitive jokes, cardboard characters, a plot that conveniently provides room for a lot of fan service, and gets old fairly quickly.

One of the most irritating things about this title is that I used to have Sakamoto Yuuji among my favorite characters. Re-watching this, I cringe. Sakamoto is an okay character. He has some depth to him, but is ultimately just the buddy/rival character to Akihisa, the main character. Speaking of Akihisa, he’s subject to most of the jokes in this show. He’s an idiot. Prepare to hear and see that for thirteen straight episodes as three women (one is his sister) and a guy fawn over him from a distance. Actually, it isn’t even from a distance. This anime is very not-subtle. But it’s okay! Akihisa will never figure it out because he’s an idiot!

Something else that should be noted is that this series is a parody. The characters, the stupid shounen logic, the random shout-outs to other popular anime series, they all exemplify Baka-Test’s parody nature. But is that enough to excuse all of it? Perhaps. Looking at it from one perspective, this show is a great example of trying to showcase what you could get away with with genres such as shounen, comedy, and harem. On the other hand, it’s stupid. I like to go in-between. It’s humorous at times, but they went too far in many different cases.

The art style of this series is really gorgeous. I have a lot of respect for Silver Link for this one title alone. The amount of effort it must have took to produce even a single episode of this show is mind-boggling. There’s more to this show than there is in eight episodes of Lucky Star. The characters move in ways most anime don’t see. A professional wrestling match in the form of school life. The characters are vibrant and colorful. The only ones who aren’t are the teachers and background characters. It’s like staring at a bowl of Lucky Charms. It’s really impressive. If more anime were like this, I’d probably still enjoy watching anime.

Some jokes are funny. Some aren’t. I remember chuckling at the line “I’ve come here to teach you because you’re all retarded.” That was fairly funny. However, the words “retarded” and “faggot” are thrown around more in number than Peyton Manning’s pass attempts. This is another thing I didn’t care for about this title: try-hard humor. Nearly every second is a joke, whether it be about Akihisa being an idiot, Yuuji being whipped, Hideyoshi being a girl, or Kyouta having nose bleeds from peeping up girls’ skirts. The same jokes circulate over and over and over and over. It gets tiresome for someone like me, who’s seen this already and is tired of anime’s shit.

The only break from the humor is with the battle system the synopsis is known for. In this series, one can summon little beasts that battle each other, with their power levels being determined by the sumonee’s test scores. How this is all implemented and regulated is through the use of “latest technology.” That’s code for “bullshit.” The level of seriousness skyrockets when the battles take place between students of different classes. However, with all of the fan service and zany jokes that kept fisting your eye sockets beforehand, it’s hard to really take it seriously. So, you don’t. You take it all as a joke. You are watching a twenty-four minute joke. Thirteen times over.

The score I have for the show currently is far more subjective than objective. Objectively, this show is above-average fan service fodder. The amount of effort that’s shown through its humor and desire to entertain shines through with bold colors. This is certainly an anime that fits the phrase “turning off your brain.” If you think about anything that happens in this show, you will probably become depressed with your own lack of creativity. Or perhaps, you’ll be induced into an unfathomable rage. A rage that stems from being entertained by the same thing that entertains inexperienced vermin the world over. I know I didn’t, because I once was that inexperienced vermin. That little piece in me gave me the ability to rate this show more than it probably should have. Congratulations, inner vermin.

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