This is a review that my club wrote for my school. So please consider that as you wonder why I don't say anything too explicit or obscene. And please also consider that as you sigh with boredom as I keep going on and on with the explanation of anime.
Nowadays, in both manga and anime, it’s becoming exceedingly common to factor in three common denominators: fan service (usually for the males, although there will be some eye-candy thrown in for the chicks), faux high-browed concepts, and- everyone, please, don’t gasp- perfect female protagonists. Throughout media, women are either demeaned as the lowlife scum of the universe, are nonexistent, or are placed on pedestals. In Japanese animation media, it seems as if there’s an ongoing trend of women being praised as, literally, goddesses. At first, it’s gratifying. Women are finally getting the credentials that they deserve. But then it gets annoying, to the point where you don’t believe that they’re women. In fact, I’m starting to come up with a theory that females don’t actually exist in the world of anime- they’re actually supercomputers implanted into faux-silicone bodies that are only shaped to have the appearance of a hot chick.
But pushing aside this feminazi rant, let’s dive deep into the first episode of Medaka Box. It’s a new manga, later turned anime that’s been eating up the forums as of late. At first, it’s viewed as one of those romantic-comedy, slice-of-life animes with quirky characters, stylized action sequences, and…well, we’re all high-schoolers, so I figure that it’s not as inappropriate for me to say boobs. Yeah, that’s right, it‘s another anime with panty-shots and cleavage. It doesn’t help much that our perfect female protagonist of the series is also an exhibitionist who shows no shame in stripping in front of her childhood friend- who also happens to be a male.
The first thing that the episode starts off with are jiggling boobies. There’s nothing like some mammary to get the audience interested, right? It’s not like we haven’t seen that before. Now, there’s some similarities that I’ve picked up on as I’ve examined the titular character Medaka. Medaka’s introduced as the student council president of her school- and she’s perfect at everything. Sports, academics, looks- she’s got it. She’s even got a charismatic, even forceful personality to boot. And you know who else has those personality traits?
The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is a famous, notoriously genre-busting anime that gives you a godly (hahaha, did you get my pun?) experience. It’s filled to the brim with tropes and clichés, but the way that it parodies and lampshades them is an overall enjoyable experience. The main character, Haruhi, is also some kind of a leader- albeit, she’s the leader of something more downscale: her SOS Brigade, a club that specializes in sniffing out the supernatural. Oh, god, the irony…
Anyway, Haruhi’s good at everything too. And she also possesses a charismatic, yet forceful personality. What’s even stranger is that they both don’t mind stripping in front of guys. Again, I comment back on the ongoing trend of perfect female protagonist. You just know that if they’re good at everything, they’re also going to be charismatic and overbearing.
As my fellow reviewer Chris T. so eloquently snarks, “It’s obviously a fan service anime- agh!” That was the point in which Medaka decides to shove her breasts into the camera again.
The other reviewer, Kevin P., while covering his eyes, comments, “I’d like to draw some pants on her.”
Yeah, I agree.
As much as the graphics are well-drawn, I don’t think I want to know exactly how well-drawn Medaka’s panties are.
But here’s what might subvert about the assumption of this being a typical fan-service laden high-school comedy: the opening. It changes from the typical, shiny opening of a mock-ecchi to an epic action sequence in which the characters actually look like they might be in danger. So is there more to this anime than one suspects?
And then we cut to the actual episode. “She can speak so eloquently!” An adorable, blue-haired…thing squeaks. The thing has no discernable gender. It may look like a little girl, but you NEVER can be sure in anime. Even its name, Shiranui Hansode, doesn’t give us much clues.
We’re then introduced to Medaka’s (nicknamed Madame President by the thing) childhood friend Zenkichi. He’s tall, skinny as a weed, and his hair’s blond and spiky. If anything, he looks like a thug with a bad whack-job.
Zenkichi commences to snark about how Medaka actually sucks as a president, gets all hot and flustered (OMG that’s what she said) about how much he hates her- and BAAAM. Speak of the devil, it’s Madame President!
I just love how the thing cracks up as Madame President starts dragging away Zenkichi by his collar- to her EVIL OFFICE OF DOOOOOOOM…in which she then decides to strip to her panties. Ah, what a lovely thing to see.
Cue the horrified stares and jaw-drops of me, Chris, and Kevin.
Oh, and guess what? There also happens to be a scene from Haruhi Suzumiya in which Haruhi drags her very unwilling love interest, Kyon, by the collar. What’s next? Is Madame President going to hold the world in the tips of her fingertips or something? If you’re going to rip off a popular anime, then you might as well do it completely.
So we get some flashbacks of Medaka’s speech, in which we find out that Medaka supports a very loose version of No Child Left Behind. She wants to help everyone- and she’s gonna start with leaving a box for someone to leave a letter in. But hey, it’s better than just obsessing over some guy like the millions of other animes out there, so we’ll accept her heavy-handed, innate goodness of heart.
The scene then shows us the background. There’s luscious trees, huge, magnificent buildings, and even little streets. It’s like a little city in a college- or, as Chris says: “The school’s a huge college city campus.”
You got that right, bro. I bet that the whole place even outranks Harvard in well-maintenance. Medaka’s speech must’ve proved to be very powerful and persuasive. Almost immediately, there’s a first letter complaining about a bunch of droopy-eyed thugs taking over some kendo dojo. And then the screen pans to Zenkichi stepping dramatically into the dojo and confronting the thugs.
The leader of the thugs, some dude that looks eerily like a blond Kamina from Teppen Gurann Lagenn, obviously refuses to back off. And cue Medaka stepping out from behind Zenkichi and wielding a bamboo blade. And, of course, her considerable cleavage. Really, does she have to dress provocatively during her mission to help the student body?
Medaka then decides to show the audience her hardcore awesomeness by- whoa. She jumps on the back of the thugs’ legs via inertia and gives them all a good whooping. Then she turns SUPER-SAIYAN…and then…and then…oh no, now she’s apparently GOD. Remember what I said earlier about holding the world in her hands? Well, she’s doing it. Yeah, obey her. NOW.
Remember kids- when you’re praying, you now have to end it with “In Medaka’s name we pray, amen.” Got it? (no, don’t, I was kidding).
While Medaka’s giving both us and the thugs a wonderful speech about…I don’t know, there was just so much morals that I really couldn’t concentrate…but whatever! Let’s now focus on Zenkichi’s flashbacks! Yippee!
There’s this backstory about how chibi-Zenkichi used to be a wimp compared to chibi-Medaka. In the photo, Zenkichi’s totally KAWAAI DESU-NE and Medaka looks completely hardcore for a child under ten. Zenkichi starts praising Medaka for being a hardcore and simultaneously starts emo-ing about how he was always second fiddle to her.
And then the scene changes to the cafeteria. We see the thing again, and it’s next to a pile of big bowls. It’s now apparently some kind of parasprite. It starts talking to Zenkichi about…um, relationships, I guess?…and WHOA. The thing’s aiming skills are apparently better than Katniss Everdeen’s. Did you see her shoot that trash into the trash can? Dude, that takes skill. Just for that, I’m gonna stop being mean and actually give it a name and an assumed gender: Shiranui, female.
We then pan to Medaka and Zenkichi having a conversation about the thugs. Medaka is apparently an accomplished stalker and knows all their names. I guess she could’ve asked, but considering later episodes, I really doubt that. The one thing I’ll give her credit for is her reason of not wanting to lump humans into numbers and statistics. That’s actually a pretty great message.
And then- oh, no. Zenkichi starts emo-ing again about how he’s so weak and un-awesome next to Medaka. He also reveals his childhood crush on her- which, if this anime’s gonna get even more clichéd, he still has. And then…uh, speak of the devil, is that her on top of a clock tower?
Wait, she’s gone- whoa, guys, PEDO-BEAR came! He’s somehow mistaken Zenkichi for Shiranui, and now he’s abducting him for some good, hot harassme- just kidding. Instead, it’s a creepy-looking, bespectacled swordsman with a bad hair day. His green hair is testimony to his shower-water going wrong. His name’s Hyuuga, by the way.
And then we cut to a scene where Medaka acts coldly to her stalker, Shiranui. In this scene, Shiranui displays a disturbing knowledge of Hyuuga and turns out to be even more of a stalker than Medaka. SHE KNOWS EVERYTHING. Medaka, meanwhile, just sends her a death glare that rivals even Ichigo Kurosaki’s.
And now, let’s cut to the interactions between Hyuuga and Zenkichi! Our intrepid male protagonist wakes up in a dojo, feeling all woozy-
Whoa, wait a minute…shouldn’t he have brain damage right now? I mean, it’s got to have been over five minutes since he’s regained consciousness…but whatever. Instead, we get to see Hyuuga beating the stuffing out of all the converted thugs WITH HIS EPIC SWORD SKILLS. Their leader, the Histugaya-lookalike, decides to confess his love for the goddess Medaka, and then decides to rage-charge. He fails and slumps to the ground in defeat. Then Hyuuga says some stupid, typical-villain stuff, which makes Zenkichi PMS levels rise- and BAAAAAM. Zenkichi K Os Hyuuga via FALCON PUNCH.
So I guess that even though Zenkichi should be really sluggish from his concussion, he’s still hardcore enough to beat up what apparently seems to be a master swordsman.
Hyuuga’s character is kind of clichéd, with his “I WAS ISOLATED ‘CUZ NOBODY UNDERSTOOD ME BOOHOO SO NOW I’M GONNA BEAT UP EVERYONE ‘CUZ THAT’S HOW I ROLL” backstory. But as stupid as our villain is, he’s enjoyably hammy and he doesn’t incur much wrath from me…although it’s quite different for Zenkichi. Dang, look at that glare.
So, the episode wraps up with Medaka being extremely happy with her first mission as a student council president. She’s glad that she set some thugs straight, converted a bloodthirsty would-be student-killer into a somewhat benevolent kendo-mentor, and made a loyal council member out of Zenkichi. Zenkichi, to his horror, realizes that he’s still in love with Medaka and commences to use an otaku-term incorrectly.
How the heck did you get the idea that you’re Tsundere for her? YOU’RE NOT EVEN DENYING YOUR FEELINGS, DANG IT. STOP MISUSING THE LANGUAGE OF THE OTAKUS, YOU NOOB. But then again, this could be a translation fail, so I guess I’ll just let it pass.
Chris and Kevin, however, didn’t quite understand my rage and tried to shush me in time to hear Medaka say something about wanting to cover the entire ground of her college-city with flowers. For every child that she successfully helps, she wants to plant a flower. And then the ending starts to turn into some kind of flower festival.
For a first episode, it’s interesting. It has its hilarious bits, its over-exaggerated hamminess, and moments of deep insight. Although it’s shaping up to be a typical “quirky” high school comedy, it’s turning out to be a highly enjoyable one that I wouldn’t mind wasting my time on.
Its music is the generic ware that you can here in other animes, but it’s easy to listen to. Its graphics and art are highly stylized, shiny, and angular. It’s not anything groundbreaking, but it’s extremely attractive. The animation is nice, easily, and it flows- although it’s choppy in some parts. The action and the dialogue are evenly matched, and the pace is nicely set. It feels refreshing for no particular reason.
Although Medaka is like an expy of Haruhi Suzumiya- and I daresay that she looks a LOT like Konata from Lucky Star, her speeches are surprisingly insightful. Her preachiness is also very interesting, and I’ve love to know her reasons of why she decided to embark on a life of justice and ambition. I also heard that it’s later justified on why she’s so annoyingly perfect. So all in all, Medaka’s looking pretty good. Her lackeys, Zenkichi and Shiranui, are wonderfully over-the-top and entertain the audience sufficiently. But who cares?
(WAIT OMG MEDAKA ALSO KIND OF RESEMBLES KANAME FROM FULL METAL PANIC. OH I GET IT...KANAME IZUMI = KONATA IZUMI. AAAAAAAARGH WMGWMGWMG)<—-I so didn't put this on the review for school.
Chris thinks: - Medaka, ever heard the meaning of CLOTHING? - interested in watching more episodes - freaked out when she became “God” Kevin thinks: - Shiranui-chan’s SOOOOO CUUUUTE. - Medaka, don’t you ever trip over your own hair? - opening song’s soooooo FLOWERY :D
And that’s it for the Tuna Sandwich Reviews! Thanks for wasting your time with us!