Updated Thoughts on Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (2nd Season and Matsuri OVA)

(2nd Season)

Does this deserve a third season?

Yes. Absolutely.

The source material has ended, so why not? It would be deserving of such a spirited anime to wrap up on a high note. Then again, I have yet to finish the light novel as of my typing this, so I’m not sure if the previous statement is correct.

The second season of Baka-Test is better than the first season. How much better? Very, very little. Tremendously little. Like the size of a baby ant. Why is it better? I’ll tell you.

The first season was very tedious with its jokes. It would constantly bombard the viewer with a vast array of zany situations and off-the-wall humor. It’s enough to leave even the biggest anime junkie tired. Well, maybe not the biggest. It also had a little bit of serious “battle-strategy” to it. It had serious moments, however these moments played off the random and illogical atmosphere the show created for itself.

The second season plays out a tad different. This season does absolutely nothing with its plot. There are no major wars between classes. Instead, we are given more fan service and the same non-stop insanity that the first season harbored so well. That is, until the last few episodes.

It’s almost as if the second season had given up on the shenanigans and decided that it was time to develop the characters. Now, how do you develop characters that are archetypal in nature? Very carefully. Baka-Test may not come up with the best choices for how to develop its characters, but it comes off as genuine in the long run, and enjoyable all the same. Although, one giant complaint is that they focus too much on characters who have a potential love interest. The most interesting episodes later on were the ones involving the past relationships of some of the male and female pairings. However, this transition from wacky to serious may turn many off. It probably would have for me, had I not seen this before until now.

The characters remain largely the same. They have one trait, and that’s pretty much it. During the second half of this season, particular characters get more development than others. As I mentioned above, these characters are all male/female pairings. Yuuji and Kirishima, Akihisa and Shimada, and Akihisa and Himeji. If there’s potential to induce romantic tension, Baka-Test will manipulate that shit until it’s dead. Is it meant to be insightful? Is it meant to be impactful? Probably.

The art has cooled down for this season. It doesn’t try as hard to be as in-your-face this time around. This is both a blessing and a curse. It makes Baka-Test less entertaining, and starts to show how trivial and bland the plots of the show are. However, the overexcessive expressions and mannerisms that plagued the first season’s time slots were debilitating on their own. In terms of overall design, nothing really changed much. Perhaps the characters got brighter. I didn’t really care to try and notice.

Thinking about it more, I may have been wrong to say that this season was better. It’s just better in certain regards. Both seasons of this show are obnoxiously showy, and have enough parody fluff to make you excuse its fallacies. The first season had a more carefree nature. The second season tries somewhat to distance itself from its roots. The success of this transition is hard to place concretely. It really all depends on the viewer’s subjective taste. I personally preferred the first season, until the last few episodes of season two showed themselves. The first season was consistently batshit, while the second took its time to show its underlying nature.


Spirited battle-shounen fodder.

Entry #12: Goshuushou-sama Ninomiya-kun

It’s so bad. It’s so unbelievably bad. I can’t even put it properly into words. I’ll do the best I can!

Y’know what I love? When anime uses its plot as an excuse for fan service. I love it. I absolutely love it. Y’know what I love more? When they abandon the plot completely. Fantastic.

Y’know what I love about the characters in this show? Nothing. Y’know how I would kill each and every one of the characters in the show? Slowly. Y’know what’s original about these characters? Nothing. Y’wanna know how to describe these characters? Copy/paste the characters from Tayutama and give them different names and slightly different appearances. Y’wanna know how effective these characters are in evoking emotion from the audience? About as effective as ground-type moves against flying types.

Y’wanna know how the art is? Copy/paste Tayutama.

Y’wanna know what I think about this anime? It’s shit. It’s absolute shit. There is no doubt. There is no hesitation. It’s complete garbage. It’s a waste of money. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of human ability. It’s a toxin, a poison, a scourge. Viewer discretion is advised for every conceivable reason. There’s no turning back.

Personal Score: F

Critical Score: F

No Game No Life Review

It’s not uncommon for one to wish themselves out of a certain situation. Whether it be from an instinctual desire for a grander lifestyle or the pursuit of happiness, one’s desires vary from person to person. This may also be what appeals to many who are fans of roleplaying or out of body experiences. The desire for what one cannot have has driven many to madness, and this topic has been used by many forms of entertainment over the years. What No Game No Life does with this topic is shows what can be accomplished when the main character takes what he has learned and applies it to a world devoid of impossibilities. And when it comes to a world of impossibilities, there’s no one better qualified to conquer it than those who follow their head instead of their heart. Actually, it probably wouldn’t matter either way.

To accurately pinpoint exactly what No Game No Life is, one could describe it as two siblings trying to overthrow the god of a fantasy world after beating him in a game of chess. But overthrowing a god is no easy task. Firstly, they must overthrow the entire world. Whether taking over the fantasy world will even accomplish their goal is based on a presumption the main character conceived. But he’s never been wrong once since entering the fantasy world, so it’d be better to go along with it. The presumptions of anything logically possible play into this world of impossibilities. No Game No Life makes it clear early on that anything worth thinking about doesn’t belong in the games played in the fantasy world. Games can be won through ridiculous means. The games that are played are all conveniently geared towards the main characters’ strengths. With each and every game, the characters inch closer and closer to their goal of overtaking a god. Despite everything, No Game No Life’s progression is very straightforward. It doesn’t try to take itself beyond the stars and it doesn’t try to meddle in any unnecessary sub-plots. Most attention is dedicated to one singular mission, as stated above.

As one of the rules of the fantasy world, the denizens of said world must have fun and play games together. At its core, No Game No Life is just fun and games. When the characters aren’t plotting for world domination, they’re making jokes and pop culture references. The attempts at comedy during the course of the series are mostly reliant on exaggerated reactions and gratuitous fan service. While they can produce a snicker at times, it mostly feels like a cheap trick more than anything. The fan service usually comes at the expense of the female members of the cast, as a majority of the cast is, indeed, female. Whether it be from the results of a game or a part of the games themselves, it’s safe to say that clothing will be removed in some fashion or another. The balance between silly and serious tends to lean more towards silly more often than not. This doesn’t harm the validity of the plot much, as the plot is hard to take seriously regardless.

It doesn’t take a veteran to be able to recognize the faults within the characters. With almost each and every character, there’s something off about either their presentation or personality, something that goes deeper than how it appears. With a character such as Sora, the main character and only male among the main cast, you get a lanky, angsty kid who’s supposedly too smart to appreciate his own world, so he does whatever he can to entertain himself. Once in the fantasy world, he quickly applies the rules to his situation and takes full advantage of them with one fell swoop. With every challenge, he dominates the opponent with the arrogance of a true king. By being nothing special socially, he acquires the admiration of all of his suitors without even trying, yet was unpopular in the real world. This implies that he could be the world’s greatest human being, he just didn’t care to put in the effort in his original life. Every quality of his character screams of a self-insert and moans of wish fulfillment. They combat this by giving him faults, like being a pervert or being unable to handle the outside world. But by doing this, they’re making him all the more perfect. No one is perfect, so let’s make him pseudo-perfect. It’s perfectly despicable.

Other members of the major cast aren’t as loathsome as Sora, but still fall under the category of cliche or fan service, especially Sora’s sister, Shiro. She’s small, cute, quiet, and has an abnormal hair color. She also has an insatiable appetite for her brother’s affection. All of these traits were manufactured especially for moe. And the icing on the cake is that she’s adopted, so her desire for her brother’s affection is excused, but still unwelcome. Shiro is essentially walking fan service. Stephanie Dola, the klutz, is one of two major characters born in the fantasy world. She is constantly teased for lacking the intelligence that all other characters share, despite being fairly intelligent in other matters. She is the source of most of the comedy and the fan service in the show, which makes her role within the show feel more shallow. As a character, she contributes little and goes nowhere in terms of growth, making her little more than a stock character. The last of the major characters is Jibril, a fairy-like creature who’s thirst for knowledge is as creepy as Sora’s expressions. She’s more useful than Stephanie, and has a more likable personality, too. Of all the characters, she feels the most human, despite not being human. And as a member of the female race, she’s subject to more fan service than one could ask for. Whether this matters is strictly based on the individual viewer’s taste.

The first thing that was apparent with No Game No Life was its style of presentation. The artwork is reminiscent of Kamisami no Anai Nichiyoubi, whose creamy atmosphere created an effect of dreary depression and bubbly optimism. No Game No Life’s art style is similar to a degree, as the brightness is on par with the sun’s rays. The palette of color seemed to favor those with a calming, yet alluring power. Purple, maroon, light blue, and dark red are the colors that stand out most while watching this title, and their combination makes for a stunning outcome. Unfortunately, this type of presentation can be a little overbearing at times, as the lighting can sometimes make the characters blend in with the background or appear a tad too bright. The animation itself is one to be praised. It’s charming, efficient, and bold; three things that can make an average anime look fantastic.

If anything, No Game No Life is interesting. The plot isn’t anything as spectacular as it presents it and the characters are atrociously written, but it at least looks like a modern epic. The characters may be flat, but their interactions are humorous at times, granted they aren’t playing games. Regardless of all of the flaws, it’s entertaining to the highest degree, granted those who view it aren’t too cynical. It has the qualities to succeed, it just uses them through means of popularity rather than quality. If anything, if one doesn’t care to continue viewing No Game No Life, they can imagine themselves in a world outside of their grasp, similar to those within the series. It wouldn’t hurt.

Entry #11: Speed Grapher (Spoilers, Explicit)


I always announce it just like that.

It’s an interesting show… once it hits episode fifteen. Everything before that made it so hard to watch. It literally took everything I had not to drop this by episode ten. It was just so bland. Everything was solved in a single episode, the characters are boring, and the artwork is not pleasant to look at.

I like to compare the execution of the plot of this anime to Mega Man. You encounter a bad guy. You defeat him. Level Complete. Next boss. This is the formula for the first half of the series. Enemy after enemy after enemy comes out of the woods to kill off our main character, Saiga, only to fail at the last second, usually through means of fallacies or cliches. You don’t know a lot about these enemies other than they’re insane and are willing to work for their own twisted desires. It just seems like mundane game.

The plot actually becomes interesting during the second half of the show, when the past of Suitenguu is revealed. The big plan starts unwinding and everything doesn’t just feel like a level in Mega Man anymore. It feels like all the ends are coming together in a huge, end of the world-like fashion. It certainly made the show more entrancing… but it was still illogical nonetheless.

I’m not sure how I feel about the ending. Nothing is really solved. It’s just an obligatory “happy ending” at face value… when nothing of the world is really known. It seems to skip time to some degree. How long? I don’t know. It seems like everything’s okay… but why is it okay? Japan’s bankrupt… right? All of the corrupt people are dead, right? So, what happens from there? You’re just going to leave this unexplained, anime? Right.

Speaking of corrupt people, why is it that every person with power is corrupt? What is the likelihood of every person with some sort of signature power being corrupt enough to be willing to let things be corrupt? It doesn’t make sense to me. There has to be SOMEONE in power who isn’t corrupt! These hundreds of people are all corrupt. And for what? Sex? Sex really does control everything, according to this anime. Money? But what do you do with money? According to this anime, you spend it on membership fees to a club that allows you to indulge in disgusting sexual fetishes. So, once again, sex. Wow. Real deep.

All of the characters are boring. Except Suitenguu. His back story actually made me pity him. An actual emotion arose in me! That scene when he meets his sister again for the first time in several years? Heart-breaking. Though, in my case, it’s more like saddening. For the record, I have a sister. MY OPINION IS BIASED. DON’T LISTEN TO ME.

The main character is horribly dull at first… then he becomes just dull. He’s the signature “DO WHAT’S RIGHT BECAUSE IT’S RIGHT” protagonist that you see in every story. The difference? He’s in his thirties. SO DIFFERENT! The female protagonist, Kagura, gets the silver medal for most underdeveloped character in this show. She literally doesn’t have a personality, and doesn’t really show any side effects to being raised in what is basically isolation. She’s also completely and totally generous and willing to sacrifice her life for anyone, despite the shit she’s put up with… and she’s fifteen. She’s horribly unrealistic. But the gold medal goes to some bitch whose name I can’t recall. She’s a psychotic stalker who wants the main character’s dick (and gets it) through any means possible (sleep rape, anyone?). Nothing of her background is explained. Her desire for the main character is unexplained. She’s just there. And crazy. Just a terrible anime in regards to character building, except Suitenguu… maybe.

The art is shitty. It’s really hard to see any of these characters as “appealing,” especially when you compare them to the concept art. Kagura’s hair sometimes looks like seaweed. Some of the actions these characters make look robotic. And the action scenes? Barely exist. Where this anime truly shines is making the characters look disgusting. And seeing as this show includes humans who can shapeshift into monsters and weird taboo shit, it’s safe to say Speed Grapher gets an A+ in that department. I still can’t get over how radically different the style of animation is from the concept art… it’s truly disappointing.

A rather bland viewing. Speed Grapher gets interesting during the second half, but the plotholes only get bigger and more varied. The characters are stocked and shipped. The art is not very appealing. The ending is devoid of reason. What is the appeal to this show? Suitenguu. He’s actually something! He’s not something at first, but he becomes a something! Watch it just for him! Err, well, the doctor isn’t terrible, either. Mmm. It’s just an all-around “ehh” show.

Personal Score: C

Critical Score: C-