Updated Thoughts on Seitokai Yakuindomo (1st Season)

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Do you like sex jokes? No? Then what the hell are you doing here? Close the tab!

Seitokai Yakuindomo is a series I first viewed during the dawn of the first Summer of Anime back in 2012. It’s been a very, very long time coming, so I was looking forward to what I would think of it the second time around. Turns out, it holds up surprisingly well, considering the entire premise is all one will get out of it. While some sexual imagery in the form of unclothed women is presented from time to time, the most explicit content this anime presents is through dialogue and subtle visual manipulation. Censors block out a good chunk of what they’re saying, but if the subtitles are any indication, this is among the most raunchy anime I have ever seen.

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Be warned, Seitokai Yakuindomo very rarely holds back on being blunt, with things such as sex and any sort of variation of it, vibrators, chastity belts, vulgar terms (cock, blowjob, tits), and implications of pedophilia (through means of an older female teacher, so it’s not as bad…?) being fair game with its type of humor. The anime’s atmosphere never implicates anything being said should be taken seriously, which while is fine, still holds some pretty heavy subject matter. Thoughts of sterilizing sexual promiscuity and borderline illegal behavior never came to light while watching this series, but I could understand someone being “triggered” by the things being played with. I realize I make this series sound a little intimidating; rest assured that it’s only for the most sensitive types, as most of it is just blatantly hypersexual for the sake of being hypersexual.

To some degree, this manner of honest sexual prowess from Japan’s youth, coupled with the fact that the most sexual-minded characters are among the student council, responsible for keeping the youth in check, makes the series rather unique. As stated above, a lot of the vulgarity is through dialogue and subtle manipulation, not outright showing characters fuck each other with strap-ons. It’s a strange combination of the slice-of-life flicks that endear with the struggles of common youth and hardcore ecchi that only mean to serve the viewer’s hormones. Of course, in a realistic setting as an ordinary high school student council, the type of exaggerations of hardcore ecchi aren’t possible, so they compromise by making the dirtiness spew from the characters’ mouths, and occasionally their actions. High schools in Japan are fairly strict, so why not compensate the lack of panty shots with talk of finding split ends among their pubic hair?

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Aside from sex jokes, the basic foundation of comedy in Seitokai Yakuindomo is the “Straight Man” set-up. One characters makes a ridiculous statement, while another reacts in a realistic manner. The most immature student council members talk of masturbation, while the male lead reacts with aghast. I’ve seen various series where this set-up works, though here it leaves a lot to be desired, as it’s very rarely funny. Part of this lies on the one typically playing the straight man, Tsuda, the male lead. There’s very little enthusiasm in his responses, which only better implements how little personality he has. His presence among the cast isn’t by any means intolerable, just that he doesn’t liven up the show with his own brand of character. Times like this I wish there was a male lead similar to the type of one in Seitokai no Ichizon. Seeing as the anime is based off of a 4-koma, there are quite a few jokes packed into each episode, similarly to Nichijou, so the chances at humor are fairly high, even if most are crowded in misses.

Characters themselves fall within the type of depth predicated by their interest in sexual activities. There are characters who provide the sex jokes and those that react to them as straight men. And then there is Suzu, whose only defining trait is that she has a height complex and is constantly being treated like a kid, much to her chagrin. Despite this, she is best girl and anyone who disagrees can duke it out with me on the playground. There is an overwhelming superiority in the number of characters who provides sex jokes compared to those who don’t. There are characters who salivate over others in strange ways, prey upon the desires of younger men, take pictures of lewd material for profit, create vibrators, even SANTA CLAUS can’t escape his horny tendencies through this series! In a way, the more characters that are introduced, the more one-dimensional this series becomes, as the scenarios become more predictable as characters behave within their one joke.

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It’s a series better served if not taken seriously. It’s a parody of sorts, with occasional references and carpet-pulling of expectations playing a key part in its enthusiasm. Character development is a foreign concept. There is development between characters, though whether it’s well implemented or not isn’t really the focus the series wants to show. Much like Nichijou again, in fact, the series is quite subtle in any and all terms of character development, interaction, and purpose of inner conflict. The real “point” is decent fun and comedy. Fortunately, if one is tired of the squeaky-clean environment of anime comedy, Seitokai Yakuindomo is sure to blow your load.

While not an amazing show, I find it almost ironic that I once rated this lower than the likes of Hidan no Aria and Infinite Stratos. (God, was I young!) Hell, when I was implementing my scores from my disheveled notebooks into my MyAnimeList account for the first time, I looked at my score for Seitokai Yakuindomo and thought to myself, “Really? Why did I dislike it so much?” The nostalgia laced with this series (as with most series I viewed in 2012) allowed me to think fondly of it despite my grievances, and now in 2017, with three-hundred more anime under the lid, I can say that there was good reason for it. Not an immediate recommendation, but I can guarantee it’ll be a wild one night stand for those in the mood for it.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Updated Thoughts on Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

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I remember high school. It was pretty good. Not a lot of drama. Met my first girlfriend. Made a few friends. Got along with my teachers. A quiet, normal, if not dull high school life. A fine time to laze my days away worrying little about my future. Looking back, I’d actually change quite a bit, but it’s not something I dwell on often as I’m not a fan of “what-if’s.” Something I didn’t do in high school was watch anime, and seeing Daily Lives of High School Boys took me back to those days when I would sit back and stare at the classmates around me as they enjoyed the youth they were destined to soil. What? I watch people. It’s fun.

It’s been five years since then. A lot has changed for me since then. I’ve developed a lot of characteristics I hope to carry with me until death, and my craft as a critic has progressed further than I could’ve imagined coming out of high school. I’ve seen over three-hundred anime titles, ranging from a variety of genres and lengths, and in that span I’ve learned a few things about what I expect out of shows and what typically makes me enjoy the experience. I’ve said many times in the past that I don’t really find anime funny, compensating for the worth of entertainment when it comes to comedy anime. Daily Lives, as it turns out, is different… at first.

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One of the key issues I have with comedy anime is consistency, something that most very well lack. It’s not like I’ve never laughed at anime; I’ve laughed at quite a few. With as little as I laugh overall, it’s hard to label any anime in particular as “funny.” I like variety, wordplay, slapstick, exaggerated expressions, and a spice of cleverness that makes me surprised by the outcome of a scenario. Daily Lives is a refreshing dose of something different, but as different as it is, it becomes common when the same is shown with every passing scene. There is variety here, with a number of different expressions and platforms for comedy, but there is a consistent theme that makes the jokes easy to decipher. It doesn’t help when they play with ongoing jokes with little difference between them.

The only exclusion to this is with Yassan, the “Literary Girl,” as I feel her meek behavior is ripe for comedic value.

A friend of mine mentioned to me that he didn’t care for this sort of “self-insert, awkward” style of comedy that Daily Lives employs. Re-watching it again, I can definitely see this perspective. Many of the jokes within the series is that of an uncomfortable silence or reaction from characters involved in a misunderstanding. Some find this funny, I find it funny in the most extreme cases. I laughed a few times within the first couple episodes of this series. As the episodes piled on, I began to slowly tilt my head onto my palm and count the seconds before each boring skit was over, so that I may find potential in the next. Whether coincidental of not, the second half of the series felt a lot more blended in its brand of comedy than the first half. There’s a scene where Tadakuni, one of three characters among the main group, makes a comment about how he’s appearing less and less as the series goes on. Almost ironically, the best scenes in the show involve him.

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Tadakuni is an interesting character in the sense that he’s the most “normal” among the boys of the show. Very rarely does he show himself to be random or idiotic, usually handling the straight man duties. Still, he has enough character to distinguish himself as someone not just “normal.” Many of the others, whether occasionally or primarily, service the comedy by being incredibly self-aware or totally loony. Without the balance that a Tadakuni character has, there’s nothing to really stop the constant assault of random, kooky, bizarre humor that either doesn’t make sense or comes across as awkwardly obnoxious. This may very well be why I didn’t care for the second half of the series… at all.

There’s also this relatable highlighting of girls constantly stereotyping boys for being rough, uncivilized animals only to have them act more so than said boys. Unfortunately, I feel this is hammered on far too thick to be seen as anything other than antagonistic. There’s a short skit at the end of each episode after the first few called “High School Girls Are Funky,” where female versions of the main male trio do things that contradict the stereotype that girls are soft, princess-like, and intelligent. It would be one thing if they simply acted unlike their gender, but instead they behave like entitled harpies, pestering anyone and anything that fell within their sight. I get the joke, they’re acting absurdly, but this is pushing the boundaries of why the third girl of the group, the one most like Tadakuni, would even willingly hang out with them. They’re unlikable characters hiding behind the guise of parody in unfunny segments that are focused on far too often.

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Many would compare this series to Nichijou, as both have a focus on defying expectations and being far more goofy than need-be. While I feel Nichijou is, overall, funnier, I also feel its a better series due to the chemistry of the characters. Daily Lives has a nice chemistry among certain groups of characters, however the line between genuine bonds and comedic partnership shrinks with time. By series’ end, one who wasn’t entranced by the comedy will likely hold a feeling of listlessness that makes them question whether the series was truly worth investing in. Some of this could play into something I’ve begun to (perhaps unfairly) expect out of comedy anime: character development. I don’t want Clannad types of character development. Just somethingDaily Lives has very, very little, oftentimes foregoing character individuality for the sake of bombarding the viewer with the same randomness that makes the characters feel less real. Nichijou had a little. Plenty of other comedy anime have some. Developing characters based on what kind of joke they’re normally associated with doesn’t really cut it.

Something I will praise is the insurmountable dedication to animation. Many of the jokes at play here would not come close to working should it not have splendid timing dedicated to the reactions. Character gags implementing a serious(ly stupid) aura are highlighted by darkness surrounding the eyes of the characters, usually signifying emotional trauma. Bodily fluids have a surprising amount of screentime, as spit and snot are occasionally jokes to break the mood. There’s a nice normality to the expressions combined with the ridiculousness of the mindset. I suppose those who enjoy absurdity being taken seriously will get a strong kick out of its humor, though I hope they enjoy it for long spurts. Characters are (intentionally) distinguishable based on hair and various accessories to their person, which are made for laughs on occasion. Everything feels very intentional, like a minefield of different ways to explore the craft of awkward/random comedy. The one complaint I have is that a lot of characters look exactly the same. Face-wise, that is. Boys look like girls, girls look like boys. Similar eyes, similar facial structure. It all kind of blends in unnecessarily.

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If the success of a re-watch were measured in beneficial difference in rating, Daily Lives would be a tremendous flop. I didn’t enjoy the series nearly as much as I did the first time, and now even has a sandy texture to the creamy surface. There’s a lot to improve on in the series that I don’t believe the mangaka cared to change—most of which involved in the favoritism of their characters. Zany trumps normal, or so one could infer by the ending half of the anime adaptation. It leaves a lot to be desired from the potential of the cast as human beings rather than caricatures. If only it offered a semblance of wit to the themes presented along with the characters to make this daily life of high school boys all the more fulfilling.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Updated Thoughts on Hanasaku Iroha

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To those who have read my entries in the past, consider who I am as a reviewer; what I look for, what I expect from a series. What I consider to be good and bad. What kinds of things do you think I would be fond of? Over four years ago, during my first Summer of Anime, I watched a series called Hanasaku Iroha, and it turned into one of my favorites from the Summer. It held a 9/10 on my anime list for so long and has the distinction of one of the only anime to make me (nearly) cry. I was a softer critic then, so it was easy to predict that my score for it would go down after a re-watch, but how much so, exactly?

One major difference with the show that I never anticipated going into it for the second time is that the first half is rather dull. I found myself bored for good portions of the first ten episodes or so, evidenced by my constant distractions from outside sources while watching. It’s a series that sacrifices a lot of initial entertainment to set up intricacies between characters and symbolism with the story’s development later on. Hanasaku Iroha is an anime more accustomed to patient watchers, with those more willing to watch things with instant gratification like KonoSubaFLCL, or otherwise wishing the initial episodes would move faster.

They say “Good things come to those who wait” for a reason. With the set-up out of the way and the characters and their motivations more in the spotlight, the show becomes all the more insightful and impactful. It even manages to make something as uneventful as working into something to cherish. I’m not talking in the same vein as Working!!, which uses the restaurant more as a setting for humor than anything else, but in a sense that your job and the people who work with you can shape your expectations and goals over time. There’s a lot of little hints and nods to characters opening up, shutting others out, and speaking their minds without speaking at all. It’s nice to see an anime not be so blunt about every little change in emotion or self-respect, much like one would see from a series with characters lamenting about their angst in long, drawn-out monologues.

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Unfortunately, Hanasaku Iroha isn’t exactly the most fluid series when dealing with subtlety. While it’s not going to have a character crying out text every episode, it does have its fair share of emotional spiels and obvious reveals. Some of the issue with this is the use of oblivious characters, like our main character, Ohana, and Tohru, an object of another character’s affections. Their inability to see things under the surface leads to these emotional, overdramatic arguments that people their age (16 and 19(?)) should be able to see, making me believe the anime feels as though the viewer can’t see it, either. There’s an episode that follows the home life of a character that isn’t focused on very much on her own named Nako. Near the end of the episode, the writing flat outs tells exactly what she’s feeling from a development that occurred earlier on. I know how she feels, anime. I’m not ten. I can read the atmosphere.

One of the strongest factors of the show both then and now are the characters that make it up. A lot of attention is put forth in examining the psyche of those who are put into the line of fire to help others or themselves. It gives room for development and growth over the course of the series, and it shows tremendously by its end. I nearly cried four years ago due to the inevitable falling point of the story, where every character is directly involved, changing their lives forever. I wouldn’t have felt that sense of longing and loneliness had I not cared for them. It still holds, too, though not to the point where I’m beside myself, crying at the bittersweet finale. I really enjoy how these characters grow from beginning to end, giving weight to their actions and making their quirks all the more charming when called back on. The incorporation of humor and very slight fan service makes the homely feeling of the bond between the large cast of characters all the more flexible and realistic (and sexy?).

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There is a bit of favoritism when it comes to the development of characters, as is necessary for a series so heavy in roster. There is an attempt, I could say, to make every character stand out to some extent. Some are noticeable, while others are left to wither in the void of emptiness where no one will remember then. Mr. Ren, the perverted author guy, and to a degree, Tohru and Beanman, don’t really have much going for them and are never focused on for more than an episode’s length or show much exposure to their inner mannerisms. I only include Tohru because he felt more like a tool for a romantic triangle than anything else. Ohana, Madam Manager, Minko, and Enishi are the characters that one will likely enjoy both on an entertainment and genuine level, with Nako, Yuina, and Tomoe looking on from the corner of the room.

Focusing on a family business for a storyline can arise many a different plot. However much matters due to these episodic developments is subjective, though I’d argue that it doesn’t really turn important until the second half of the series. The first half is more showcasing Ohana’s situation and her getting acclimated to it, along with some ongoing romantic struggles with a boy back home (which is almost never engaging). The situations that arise within the first half of the series has this air of laid-back-ness and silliness that does well enough to make the characters react accordingly (or creatively), but appears more fluff than tough. Hanasaku Iroha strikes best when it has time to prepare; that timeframe is about twelve episodes, when things begin to travel into hostile territory. It works well on its own, but also uses the characters’ charms to highlight the situation in an almost glorified way. The drama present between romantic circles doesn’t seem big in hindsight, but it feels a lot bigger due to what they represent to the characters. The same can be said about the decisions that are made with even bigger consequences.

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I may have said this before, I don’t recall, but Hanasaku Iroha was one of the most beautiful anime I had seen up to that point in 2012. Its animation, sleekness, style, and emphasis on lighting and brightness makes it almost like a work of art. Well, a masterpiece, anyway. It still holds up tremendously now, though one can definitely tell this was made in 2011 and not in 2016. It has a tremendous amount of effort put into many of the most trivial scenes that it almost feels like I’m watching a film. There are occasions where shortcuts are taken and far-away shots look a little less admirable. There are times when a little too much gloss makes the canvas a little too shiny. Even so, it is still a great looking anime with a a penchant for making the most trivial things all the more glistening. The fan service is muy caliente, too. Really like how characters all look different, though the younger females all look quite similar in the facial department. Think Tomoe’s pretty cute. I’d marry her.

I would still consider Hanasaku Iroha a success and an enjoyable watch even after all these years. It doesn’t have the same emotional firepower that it once had, seeing as my brain requires more from stories now-a-days, nor does it have the same impact on my ambitions to work at a homestyle bed and breakfast. However, there is something I got out of this re-watch that I hadn’t before, and that was the emphasis on putting one’s happiness before others, which serves as a plot point more than once for multiple characters. It’s cliché, but so long as the characters feel like real people, it goes a long way for a calm-toned drama in the long run. Wait for the magnets to click, ’cause once they do, you may feel as though you’ve spent a weekend at Kissuiso without realizing it, and the memories attached are more than warm enough to keep you at ease.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Quick Updated Thoughts on Binbougami ga!

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It’s nice to know that after so many years (roughly three and a half), an anime can still hold its own. Binbougami ga! was something I watched about a month after my first Summer of Anime, so the nostalgia factor was heavily apparent upon my re-watch of it. The nice thing was that the nostalgia didn’t necessarily carry the show, but rather the show itself carried the show, which is how it should be, right? I’m starting to spout common sense like its nonsense. It had that same appeal it had when I first watched it; something that’s fairly rare upon re-watches. It managed to surprise me all over again with its high-spirited energy and dedication to entertain. Almost along the same vein as something from Studio Trigger or old Gainax titles, Binbougami ga! is memorable and enjoyable due to its own glorified spectacle.

The characters are the soul embodiment of this trait. Each one, while their development varies depending on the person, has a distinct position. Not one character can be viewed as “unimportant,” despite how silly they may be portrayed. It’s this level of importance and participation that makes the characters likable (or unlikable) despite their one-sided personalities. Those characters who do receive development throughout the show do a good job of showing that they’ve grown, or at least trying to grow. There are layers to pick off from this show, whether it be through the plotline or the character’s lines, that can spark appeal with most people. The animation is also a good supporter of this, too. The reactions of the characters and the overall brightness of the show and the antics included shine brightly upon those who choose to view it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s one of my favorite anime to look at, but it doesn’t hurt its case with its animation and style.

That’s not to say the show doesn’t have issues. Like with most parody-genre anime, the logic behind the plot devices, characters, and whatever else is predictably ridiculous. I found myself impressed by how convoluted and hollow the issues of some of the characters’ background were, and how easily they were resolved. Breaking the rules of reality and human capability are also abundant within Binbougami ga!, which may serve for the sake of comedy, also leaves those looking for deeper meaning and wit tilting their heads. The serious scenes felt almost comedic to me, as I didn’t feel enough empathy for the characters and their relationship towards each other. It’s a tricky objective to blend serious and stupid together without feeling forced. Binbougami ga! falls prey to this, just as many others have.

A testament to vibrant enthusiasm and unfiltered energy. Binbougami ga! is a treat for those looking for the “turn off the brain and watch” comedy flick. Still, it has enough of a bite to its writing to leave those expecting shit to shrug their shoulders in defeat.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Quick Updated Thoughts on Zero no Tsukaima

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General disclaimer: This entry is only concerning the first season.

For those already aware, my feelings towards this show aren’t pretty. However, those feeling were founded upon watching it back in mid-2012 when my critical thinking skills regarding anime titles were still in their infancy. Re-watching it with more of a level head and far more experience packed inside my draining cranium, the sentiment is mixed. Zero no Tsukaima is an interesting show. It has an interesting premise and paints the world that the characters reside in well enough to make the viewer interested. It’s easy to be absorbed into a show like this for fans of fantasy and what-not, that of which I am. The animation and overall design suits this purpose well and makes it hard not to look over a show like this on its surface.

So it has its appeal, but nothing beneath it could hold up as well as any intrigue one could have going into it. The characters vary between miserably archetypal and downright imbecilic. They show little of what’s underneath, and if they do, it’s what any like-minded person would do within their situation. So aside from being relatable in difficult or stressful situations, the character cast is otherwise dull. The biggest growth among characters concerns the two main characters, Saito and Louise, which is unfortunate because they’re so incredibly unlikable. Saito is stock main shounen hero times infinity, with an extra sprinkle of absurd retardation that rivals that of the male lead from Infinite Stratos.  Louise is stock female tsundere voiced by Rie Kugimiya who gets jealous and upset by things Saito does when she could easily appease herself by doing something as unthinkable as basic communication.

The humor is based around clichés, the plotlines are based around clichés, and the overall experience is nothing new to the anime spectrum, though perhaps it may have been somewhat new at its time (originally published as a light novel in 2004). It’s worth watching to kick off an anime-watching hobby, but it’s hardly recommendable to seasoned veterans. The best I can say is that it’s enjoyably dumb.

To give it more valued credit, it started better than it ended.

The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.

Updated Thoughts on CubexCursedxCurious (Through Nine Episodes) (Spoilers?)

This is essentially Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Asagi, except with a more narrow set of cast members. By narrow, I mean there’s one guy and the rest are female. I wonder why that is.

CxCxC has a lot going for it. I found myself genuinely fond of the times when it’s being carefree and slice-of-life-ish. Do not mistake that for when it’s being fan service-y and moe-ish. That’s a completely different thing. What I’m referring to are the times when Fear, the “cube girl,” is trying to assimilate into the environment around her, and ends up fucking shit up. Or when the main cast are competing against each other in food tasting contests. Or when male lead and “cow udders” are talking about their past. This show becomes bearable when it shows these scenes. It’s unbearable without them.

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The biggest issue with CxCxC is a similar issue I have with Itsuka Tenma: I don’t care about what’s happening. It doesn’t provide any information as to what’s happening or why it’s happening or how things are the way they are when the show begins. The villains are evil because they are, save one girl who had her parents killed because of the cursed items (shown RIGHT before her death, nice cop-out). By the way, this show is all about curses and cursed items and voodoo and whatever else. However, one thing it doesn’t do is explain how they work. Fear is able to generate these giant weapons out of nowhere and seems to overpower anyone (after a bit of ineptitude, not cliche at all). There’s mention of her being a tool to murder, but what does it matter? Why does any of the things that happen in this anime matter? It has no direction. Things and plot points seem to pop up out of nowhere and suddenly we’re supposed to care about them for two to three episodes straight. Before the filler, of course.

One can definitely tell that this is a light novel adaptation. It’s plastered to the brim with fan service and moe-styled characters, and dark and edgy plotlines that try to masquerade as mature and serious. Without any proper motivation or information to back up anything that happens, these plotlines come across as superficial or cringeworthy. Dark for the sake of being dark. It’s not interesting. It’s not gripping. It’s a fad.

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As I mentioned before, when the characters weren’t spouting dramatic nonsense or turning into weapons of murder, this series was fairly decent. The characters are better suited in an environment that matches their core essence, which is certainly not dark and edgy. When one tries to combine moe and edgy, they get Itsuka Tenma. And CxCxC. It’s a fine line to try and make characters likable as human beings. But when one tries to make them likable as human beings when they aren’t even human beings, yet act like human beings, it gives the author motivation to treat them as dolls to entertain the audience. I won’t go as far as to say that the author didn’t care about their characters… actually, yes I will. I don’t think the author cared about their characters.

Characters:

Male lead.
Loli tsundere.
Jealous childhood friend.
Kuudere-perfect school friend.
Comic relief friends (who are rarely shown).
Cheerful loli childhood friend.
Women with revealing clothing.

Humor:

Fear is an idiot.
Male lead is a hentai-baka!!!
Bouncy boobies.
Every character is so god damn cute let’s dress them up as maids and Chinese dresses and catgirls!!!
Anything under the dictionary definition of “cliche.”

Basically, this show is shit because no one cares about what’s happening. Magic is happening. Cool. People say curses are bad. That’s nice. We need to suck the life energy out of random humans. Okay. Blood and gore. So mature. Attempts at psychological torture. We need to care first. Male lead is a pervert. Seen it before. Far, far too many times.

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

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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.

(OVA)

Spirited battle-shounen fodder.

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 faggots the world over. I know I didn’t, because I once was that inexperienced faggot. That little piece in me gave me the ability to rate this show more than it probably should have. Congratulations, inner faggot.