Posted by psgels on 26 March 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews

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Every season comes with its surprises. The summer-season last year had Night Head Genesis and Chevalier, the fall-season had Bakumatsu Kikansetsu Irohanihoheto and Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club, and winter-season had Manabi Straight. I normally tend to dislike school-based slice-of-life series, and okay, the series wasn’t awesome, perfect, stunning or extremely heart-warming. But I still have to say that I had a good time watching this series.

The thing that immediately strikes about this anime is its energy. Seldomly I’ve encountered an anime which almost sparkles with its energetic characters. The unique art style, the great animation and the perfectly fitting soundtrack turned this into one of the few slice-of-life series which actually caught my interest.

Another strong point of this anime is how it quite easily breaks a lot of stereotypes that have been plaguing other school-based anime oh so often. The most striking is the student-council president: Manabi, the main character of this anime. Up till now, a student-council president either was an arrogant but rather stupid bitch who likes to abuse his/her students or a perfect human (you know, the rich, smart, talented, high-classed and uberpopular one). Manabi Straight finally puts a human being in the seat of the student-council president, someone who loves her school, and wants to keep it alive.

Not only Manabi, but also the four other main characters felt very refreshing. Usually, in a show of this nature, the story usually revolves around two characters, while you can replace the other main ones with paper bags and still not notice any difference in the story. Manabi Straight makes sure that each of the five heroines has a significant role in the story. Sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious. Also, even though Manabi is the main character, and the central person in the story, she doesn’t necessarily get more screen-time than the others. Mikan and Mei get just as much airtime as Manabi, while the other two also are quite present.

Okay, so the anime is not going to go down as the “best anime ever” anytime soon. At times, the drama was a bit too forced, and the ending was a bit cheap. And okay, for a show which is supposed to take place in 2035, the only thing we got to see to illustrate this were strange-looking gadgets. I still enjoyed the unique parts in this one. I liked the quirky humour which showed up once in a while a lot. The animation was excellent and full of creativity, I hope it’ll set a standard for future anime to work towards. It’s a show, perfect for a light watch, but don’t expect anything amazing.

4 Responses

  1. omo says:

    I thought the entire series was amazing, and for a feel-good show it ended so well that it blew my expectation away (even if it followed what I thought it would do almost to a tee).

    It is something that sets standard for the future. Not the next Evangelion, but it’s going to be one of my personal all time favorites.

  2. Cos says:

    I also loved this anime, it was so fresh.In fact every episode succeeded in its mission of bringing a little hapiness and that may be the best thing to have.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    My main point with the ending was when Mikan returned from America. A few years have passed, though the character-designs remained the same. I would have loved to see the different girls when they grew up.

    Still, this was a great series, and I really hope it has set new standards for future anime.

  4. omo says:

    The ending was jarring even before Mikan stepped off onto the plane. She’s just way chibi compared to the people who were walking past her. It’s just so odd.

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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:21 AM)
    All thats left now is macross 7.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:20 AM)
    However this one begged to go on for more than just five episodes, come on now and it had the franchises penchant for weak villains. It doesn’t get me as emotional as do you remember love does, the characters of Macross plus were more likeable. Still its a step above Macross II and I at least had fun with it on an action level.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 07:17 AM)
    Thats Macross zero completed then, it was great to see the background arc/plot for this franchise, the pace is tight and the action is arguably the most immersive, well done of the Macross universe along with Frontier.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:33 AM)
    While Tatami Galaxy and Ping Pong were definitely sharp I felt that Kemonozume and Kaiba were more inventive.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:30 AM)
    Aye,it was the visual style of the film being so different from the norm that drew me in. Still out of Yuaasa’s stuff I found myself more taken with tatami galaxy.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:22 AM)
    I think creatively the anime industry has plateaued a bit by now, where we see more derivative stuff and there has a formed an almost universal “anime style” which hinders non-traditional voyeurism.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:18 AM)
    I love the tonal whiplash that the story goes thru and the then-impressive-and-new visuals. Both 4°C and Hifana take queues from the Kansai art and the underground graffiti styles that prospered in Japan after the 70’s. Parallel to the postmodern movement in the Western world, the new wave was more expressive than fine and you see its heavy influence on the manga and anime industry.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:14 AM)
    @Bam: It is at the last stretch on the film where it is at its strongest visually in my opinion.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:10 AM)
    @Bam: For only 100 minutes it did a decent enough job on its protaganist in any case.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Feb 24. 2015 04:02 AM)
    Mindgame is amazing. It is as unorthodox as they come but not really pretentious. It’s pretty humble and does have an actual message and proper story arc, so it’s definitely not just random for random’s sake. The industry needs more Yuasa.

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