Anime: Kujibiki Unbalance
"The kujibiki is fact. The kujibiki is fate." "And the kujibiki is final." Kujibiki Unbalance
and Ritsuko Kettenkrad
, Kujibiki Unbalance
originally started as a Show Within a Show
. It is an intentional conglomeration
of every anime genre
that the producers could cram in. Clips of it were animated for the original Genshiken
series, and three complete episodes — the first episode, a Clip Show
, and the second-to-last episode — were produced as an Omake
on the Genshiken
DVDs. They proved to be so wildly popular that the series was produced as its own standalone anime
series, which aired in the Fall 2006 season.
The series follows a slate of four candidates for the Absurdly Powerful Student Council
at an Elaborate University High
. The school where the action is set has an unusual tradition: both the admissions test and the student council elections are chosen by lottery ("kujibiki
" in Japanese). At the beginning of each year, the entire student body is divided into slates of candidates, who compete with each other through an enormous Tournament Arc
of wacky Cooking Duel
competitions. Naturally, there's a Love Dodecahedron
at work, including a Childhood Marriage Promise
between the protagonist and the current Student Council President
The remade series, this time a complete one, is similar, but with a different art style, different group of candidates and a different setup for them to succeed. Rather than many groups competing, the next student council has already been decided, but in order to prove themselves worthy they must complete tasks put to them by the current council. These range from finding the last missing member in the first episode, to things like protecting the president from a bomb threat
(and that's just the second
episode). The DVDs of the remade series, in a role reversal, contain 3 OVA episodes of Genshiken
It has now been released as a manga too, with a bonus section... where the remaining Genshiken
members discuss the new manga.
Compare with Getsumen To Heiki Mina
, another defictionalized Show Within a Show
Provides examples of:
- Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Taken to an extreme and lampshaded. The group chosen by the Kujibiki have powers and prestige comparable to a national government.
- Adaptation Species Change: In the OVA, Alex is a human character. In the TV series, he's a dog (and also the current student council secretary).
- Against the Setting Sun
- Aliens and Monsters
- Alpha Bitch: Renko.
- Ancient Tradition: the Kujibiki.
- Anime Theme Song: (the opening credits are frighteningly catchy; the ending credits are a scream)
- Aspect Montage
- Audible Sharpness
- Big Eater
- Bottomless Magazines
- But Not Too Foreign: Ritsuko Kubel Kettenkrad: half-German, half-Japanese.
- Cherry Blossoms: Seen in the first episodes of both the OAV and TV series.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Chihiro and Ritsuko, though Ritsuko pretends not to remember.
- Chop Sockey
- Cliff Hanger: (episode 25; thanks to it not being a real show, this ends up being a No Ending)
- Cloudcuckoolander: Tokino, both versions, just in different ways.
- Cooking Duel: The original idea was an entire series of Cooking Duels.
- Crash-Into Hello
- Cute Witch
- Defictionalization: When the concept was made into a Twelve-Episode Anime and a Manga.
- The Ditz: Tokino
- Dunno What's Going On But...: Chihiro, oh so much.
- Elaborate University High: Rikkyuin Academy.
- Emotionless Girl: Ritsuko at first, and to a lesser extent her assistants.
- Erotic Eating
- Face Fault
- Flexible Tourney Rules: This is pretty much how Chihiro and crew are able to win their challenges.
- Gainaxing: (they win a web site Cooking Duel this way.)
- Genki Girl: (Both Tokinos, but particularly the 2nd one.)
- The Glomp
- Grand Finale: (or at least the setup for one)
- Grave Marking Scene: (for both Chihiro and Ritsuko.)
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl
- Hidden Eyes: Ritsuko some of the time.
- Hot for Student
- The Idiot from Osaka
- Idiot Hair: Nearly everyone in the OVA.
- Idol Singer: (completely subverted: the scene with Tokino singing karaoke is one of the funniest moments recorded on film)
- Innocent Innuendo
- Instant Web Hit: See the Gainaxing entry above.
- Ki Attacks: Koyuki, in the TV series.
- Kid Samurai
- Limited Wardrobe: Partly justified since most of the series (OAV and TV) more or less take place at school.
- Little Miss Snarker: Renko
- Love Triangle: (particularly the re-imagined version)
- Magical Girl
- Manga Effects
- Medieval European Fantasy
- Miracle Rally
- Mouth Cam
- The Neidermeyer
- Noblewoman's Laugh: Renko, oh so much.
- No Time To Think
- The Ojou
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You
- Ordinary High-School Student: Chihiro
- OVA: (in real life)
- Parental Abandonment: We never see anyone's parents, and it's pretty clear that Chihiro just lives with his older sister.
- Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Episode 25 (3) has the main characters giving up on the Kujibiki and going their separate ways, before reuniting by the end.
- Post-Episode Trailer: (Notably, they only bothered animating any scenes for the trailer at the end of episode 1 - the other episodes have a generic animation of the characters and a live-action scene of Ritsuko's helmet on the beach.)
- Quivering Eyes
- Recap Episode: Most of the second OVA episode.
- The Rival: In the OVA, Renko is this to the new council.
- RPG Mechanics Verse: Including explicitly "HP" and "MP".
- Sad Times Montage
- Serious Business: ("The kujibiki is absolute.")
- Shorttank: Renko.
- Single-Stroke Battle
- Slapstick Knows No Gender
- Snow Means Love
- Student Council President: Ritsuko (departing) and Chihiro (incoming).
- The Sweat Drop
- Team Spirit
- 10-Minute Retirement
- Thundering Herd
- Tournament Arc: The entire point of the OAV episodes.
- Transformation Sequence: Yamada gets these, especially in the TV series.
- True Companions: The Rikkyuin student Council is expected to be this.
- Two-Teacher School
- The Unwanted Harem: Chihiro is the only boy in the incoming council, and the outgoing council he has to deal with is all girls. Plus there's his sister.
- Whoopi Epiphany Speech
- Widget Series: An Absurdly Powerful Student Council that has to battle supernatural forces and ninjas? Yeah, this qualifies.
- Yakuza: One of the foes in the TV series.
- Zettai Ryouiki: (Tokino, barely)
Tropes from the 2006 series:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Koyuki's brother has one, which he uses to slice off Izumi's goggles in episode 10 with.
- Action Girl: Izumi Tachibana, and Komaki, Koyuki's sister who's the chef at the restaurant they regularly visit.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Kasumi, the vice-president. While Ritsuko is aloof by duty, she seems to be so by nature.
- Ascended Extra: Renko and Koyuki
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Renko delivers one to Tokino in episode 5, and Ritsuko does one to the vice president in episode 10.
- Authority Equals Ass Kicking: The current vice president is able to stop Renko's out of control mouse trap robot with one flick of her finger.
- Bait and Switch: See Genre Shift below.
- Berserk Button: Don't threaten or try to hurt Chihiro in front of Koyuki, whether you're a Badass Ninja, or a powerful alien robot. Just don't.
- Born Lucky: Tokino's quirk in this version. Chihiro, in contrast, is known for his terrible luck.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Koyuki.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Chihiro's sister makes it all too clear that she wants to do this with him, often giving him The Glomp, and even sneaking into his bed while he's asleep and attempting to molest him. And although she's supposed to be older, her small size makes her seem like his younger sister.
- Butt Monkey: Yamada towards Renko.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Tokino believes this is one of the problems between Chihiro and Ritsuko. Tokino herself finally confesses to Chihiro at the end of episode 8.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Chihiro's sister Shinobu. She hates seeing other girls around him, especially Tokina.
- Yamada acts this way towards Renko in episode 9 when the latter creates some more robots. Ironically, said robots were intended to help Yamada, but she takes it the wrong way, and feels Renko is trying to replace her.
- Contrived Coincidence: When Koyuki was trying to get a scoop for the newspaper club, she wanted him to cover her having psychic abilities as the story. And just as she does that, a UFO lands, and a giant robot attacks them, conveniently giving her a chance to show her powers to him, as well as provide an even more awesome story to cover.
- Cursed with Awesome: Koyuki's ESP, which allows her to teleport, as well as move objects without touching them. She feels alienated because of said power, until Chihiro tells her otherwise.
- Cyborg: Yamada. It's never made explicit exactly what modifications Renko made to her, and it's treated as something of an Unusually Uninteresting Sight, with nobody finding it especially strange that Yamada can be rebuilt into various vehicles.
- Deconstruction: Of the original OVA.
- Defusing the Tyke Bomb: Chihiro does this for Koyuki.
- The Determinator: Chihiro manages to make his way through the attack being used on him in episode 10 by a mind controlled Koyuki, who's being manipulated by her brother to attack them.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: After the love potion fails to have the desired effect for Shinobu, she stomps on back of the other teacher who made the potion. He doesn't seem to mind it.
- Drives Like Crazy: Chihiro's sister, who manages to avoid an incoming car by going on two wheels while driving alongside the bus he's riding on.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Yamada does this after thinking that Renko's going to replace her.
- Drunk on Milk: Although Yamada ends up drinking milk instead. She even hiccups after drinking around 17 bottles.
- Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Koyuki displays them in episode 10.
- Elevator School: Played straight with Koyuki. But the name is played with when Chihiro and Tokino are wandering around and taking an elevator to various floors at the school, such as an aquarium and a bowling alley.
- Expy: Chihiro in the 2006 series bears an uncanny resemblance to Negi Springfield; considering that the series is said to be created by "Yuu Kuroki" (an obvious dig at Ken Akamatsu), this may not be coincidental.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: For the US releases of the DVDs, each volume's title is a reference to a different anime: "No Need for Chihiro", "Love Rikkyoin", and "The Melancholy of Ritsuko Kettenkrad". Appropriate given the series' origin.
- Also, in the show itself, each episode's title is a fortune ("Xth Lot/Kuji") , with a number of points at the end.
- Fanservice: YMMV on Renko in an unexpected Ms. Fanservice role (with gratuitous Panty Shots and all).
- Foreshadowing: In episode 9, Yamada mentions how Renko can cook, clean, shampoo, and condition all by herself after she's been "replaced" by other robots. Turns out that Renko built said robots to help with shampooing and conditioning.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Renko invents some really weird things, but they usually turn out to be useful for whatever situation they're in at the time.
- Genre Shift: The show starts off all goofy and silly until episode 5. Where the series then turns into a dramedy with very few funny moments.
- Heroic BSOD: The main characters suffer through these at various points in the show. They usually snap out of it shortly afterwards, except in episode 11.
- Hot-Blooded: Renko often seems a bit too overexcited about almost any situation she's in.
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Koyuki at first, until Chihiro talks to her about her "abilities".
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Invoked by Tokino in episode 12, when she tearfully tells Ritsuko that Chihiro loves her, and that she's the only one that can snap him out of his current Heroic BSOD. Ritsuko herself does it a few moments later largely by going overseas to study, partly because she wants to learn more, and partly so she's not in Tokino's way.
- Loophole Abuse: Koyuki's a candidate for the student council despite being an elementary school student, because she grabbed the lot. "The kujibiki is final."
- Love Epiphany: Tokino realizes this in episode 8, by Ritsuko's fiance who points out that that's what the funny feeling in her chest is when she sees Chihiro dancing with Ritsuko.
- Love Hurts: Tokino doesn't seem very happy when she sees Chihiro walking Ritsuko with an umbrella to her car in episode 4 in the rain. She later has the same feeling when Ritsuko takes him as her dance partner in episode 8.
- Love Is in the Air: Chihiro's sister Shinobu creates a Love Potion to win the affections of her brother; an accident has the potion cause this effect centering on either Shinobu herself (in the anime) or Chihiro (in the manga).
- Mad Scientist: Renko
- Meganekko: Komaki, although she takes them off when she's in ninja mode.
- Mobile-Suit Human: A large alien that lands near campus is revealed to be two tiny aliens.
- The Mole: This version's Izumi. She doesn't have the goggles, but is still a tough tomboy. And still on the side of the good guys.
- Mythology Gag: Several elements from the original series reappear in different forms, such as the aliens (who become friendly in their second appearance), Alex (now the Student Council secretary and a dog) and Renko's dumb muscle (now a pair of robots she creates).
- The Napoleon: Renko (in both versions, but this one even has a gag about it).
- Nice Guy: Chihiro, and Ritsuko's fiance, surprisingly enough. Unlike other shows of this type where said fiance's are usually JerkAsses, he's the one who allows Chihiro and Tokino into Ritsuko's private birthday party, he doesn't get jealous or angry when Ritsuko dances with Chihiro, and he kindly points out that Tokino's unease at seeing her two friends so close is her own feelings towards Chihiro surfacing.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: While Shinobu isn't a bad guy per se, in episode 3 Chihiro and the others are having no luck whatsoever trying to find the missing panda, despite their traps. Meanwhile, Shinobu had one of the other teachers create a Love Potion for her to use on Chihiro. It turns out the potion worked a little too well. Soon Tokino and several dozen students, along with the missing panda and some zoo animals, begin chasing after Shinobu while she tries to escape. She later loses the potion, and unintentionally causes the two pandas to fall in love, thus solving Chihiro's initial dilemma, along with Tokino, still under the effects of the potion, giving Chihiro a kiss.
- Ninja: In this version, Komaki.
- Non-Singing Voice: Averted in the dub. That actually is Lisa Ortiz singing Kita Sakaba.
- Oh, Crap: The aliens have this look when they run into Koyuki.
- On the Next: Even the new KujiUn is still a Show Within a Show, as the characters from Genshiken are discussing the show's progress over the previews.
- The Other Darrin: Everyone is recast, with one exception. Kaoruko Yamada.
- Completely flipped in the English dub, where every character retains their voice actor from the OVA's, with one exception. The odd one out? Ritsuko.note
- Poisonous Friend: Vice-President Kisaragi
- Power Glows: Koyuki's hair glows whenever she uses her powers.
- Psychic Powers: Koyuki.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Yamada, to the point where many people didn't even know she was a cyborg.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Chihiro does this briefly in episode 10, but then reveals he's still the same guy to Koyuki.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: When Koyuki is kidnapped in episode 10, Chihiro and the others are told not to do anything about it, as the current student council was trying to resolve the situation. However, their first plan didn't exactly go very well either, so Chihiro, Tokino, and Renko all decide to rescue Koyuki themselves. They finish the job just as the student council's Plan B kicked in, and a lot of guards arrive at the building.
- Secret Keeper: When Chihiro finds out about Koyuki's powers, he promises not to reveal it to anyone, as he feels doing so would cause more trouble than its worth, and doesn't want to ruin their friendship.
- Serious Business: The school has such a reputation that there are spies all over, as well as assassins and even an army of guards.
- Shrinking Violet: Koyuki, who's often hiding behind Chihiro.
- The Power of Friendship: Used a few times, once on Renko in episode 5, later on Izumi in episode 7, and then on Koyuki in episode 10.
- The Reveal: When everyone finds out Komaki is really Koyuki's Cool Big Sis rather than her mother, and that she's also a guard for the current student council.
- Ten Minutes in the Closet: When there's tension between Tokino and Chihiro, Renko invents some sort of washing machine funhouse and traps the two in there. It doesn't really work, but it was a good attempt.
- 10-Minute Retirement: Chihiro at the end of #11.
- They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Deliberately invoked, as lampshaded by one of the next episode previews.
- Token Mini-Moe: Koyuki
- True Companions: Chihiro, Tokino, and Renko all rush to save a kidnapped and mind controlled Koyuki from her brother who turned to evil in episode 10. Chihiro also uses The Power of Friendship to snap Koyuki out of her mind control.
- Twelve-Episode Anime
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Ritsuko towards Chihiro, and Tokino feels like one at times.
- Umbrella of Togetherness: In episode 4, Chihiro offers to take Ritsuko towards her car with the umbrella she loaned to him and Tokino, as she still has to walk a bit in the rain to get to the car picking her up. Tokino seems uneasy when she sees him doing this with Ritsuko.
- Unrequited Love: After Tokino confesses her feelings to him, Chihiro seems a little uneasy around her when they're alone. Both Chihiro and Ritsuko seem to feel this way towards each other as well, although Ritsuko being in an Arranged Marriage doesn't help matters.
- Wham Line: Tokino gives one to Chihiro at the end of episode 8 when she gives a Love Confession to him.
- Chihiro gives one to his friends at the end of episode 11 when he says he's thinking about giving up the student council president candidate position.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Ritsuko. She does not allow herself to show kindness or indecisiveness as a requirement of the office. In the end she is glad to leave the position for her successors.