Posted by psgels on 22 June 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

If you’re wondering what’s up with the delays: well, right at the busiest time of the season for me (Thursday when the series start to end and I have to write reviews for all of them) my laptop decided that it didn’t like internet anymore, and I’ve been running around trying to get to fix it.

Anyway, Medaka Box: there are exceptions, but in general I tend to dislike shounen jump adaptations: they’re too long, too dragged out, and almost always are badly paced. Whether Medaka Box will also fall into these pitfalls is hard to say at this point because this first season is only 12 episodes long and a second season is on its way that’s supposed to be about the meat of the real series, but on the other hand this was awfully close to an entire season dedicated to introductions.

So here is the premise: Medaka is perfect at everything. Very often this is is a bad thing, but the unique thing about Medaka Box is that it realizes this, embraces it and plays with it. What does it mean to be perfect? Is it really possible to be perfect? What about the people around you? It’s these questions that make Medaka Box worth watching, and make it more than just your average shounen jump series that are all about fighting.

The problem with this series is the way in which it’s set up. This first season consists mostly of episodes that in terms of premise aren’t that different from Sket Dance: someone has a problem and the lead cast solves it, and that someone gets added to the cast of characters. These arcs try to be interesting, and they do their best to outline the backstories of the characters they focus on, leading up to some sort of character-development at the end. But ultimately they end up rather boring.

It’s a combination of the way in which all these stories are meant to just be introductions, along with how most characters are pretty shallow when they first appear, added on a formula that the series sticks to a little too eagerly. Most of the characters only get interesting after their introduction arcs when they aren’t the main focus.

So why do I still consider Medaka Box worth watching? Well, there is one particularly epic arc in the second half of the series that does let go of all these formulas and shows the series completely changing genres and making great use of the build-up of the earlier duller episodes, both in terms of its characters and its themes. This was where the series really starts toying with shounen conventions and subverting them. This really was interesting and shows a lot of the potential that could possibly be within the second season.

So yeah, let me get back on this one. I mean, the original manga is written by NisiOisin, a guy who is infamous for wasting ungodly amounts of time, but I can’t deny that when he gets down to business he can write some very interesting stuff; even the dull episodes did have interesting ideas behind them. And the energetic Gainax behind the wheel does balance out with his dialogue more than what I’ve usually seen from his adaptations.

Storytelling: 7,5/10 – A season of introductions. It’s building up right and all, but there is only one arc that really makes use of it. That arc is excellent though.
Characters: 7,5/10 – Again, Medaka Box has good characters that do play around with shounen tropes, but it doesn’t use them enough. Yet.
Production-Values: 8/10 – The animation in this series is inconsistent: there are times in which you’ll be wondering what happened to Gainax’s usual animation. The points where it does show itself though make up for it.
Setting: 8,5/10 – This series has really – < interesting ideas and concepts, waiting to be fully explored in the second season.

Suggestions:
[C]
Heroic Age
Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin

3 Responses

  1. starry says:

    79/100 is a bit too kind for this series. The only real interesting part was the last arc near the end. Otherwise it was boring and trite.

  2. troy says:

    The thing about this series is that the manga was due to be cancelled when they were sticking to the first formula, then the genre shift kicked in (right around said last ark of the Anime), and it soon became popular enough to warrant an Anime adaptation. Somehow someone didn’t get the memo and decided that wasting an entire season on the content that nearly got the series CANCELLED in the first place.

    • Andmeuths says:

      QFT.

      They should have started with the Unzen Arc, because three quarters of the First Season was filler worthy to the extreme.

      Or OVA fodder.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:57 AM)
    There was some quasi-shounen-ai thing, set in a school that involved satanism…I can’t remember the title for the life of me.
  • reaLjustified
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:57 AM)
    @Mike Still waiting on someone to pick up Yaoyorozu.
  • Mike
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:53 AM)
    @Kaiser I’ll bet, I mentioned Kusunoki and she happens to be a great example of never being able to fully escape her shoujo influences.
  • Mike
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:50 AM)
    I’m with you on the artist avatars in particular, I recall even Kusunoki Kei having a male avatar at one point.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:50 AM)
    Hmm remembering now Kitagawa shou is a male author who started out doing shoujo, even admits his seinen works have influences.
  • reaLjustified
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:48 AM)
    It’ll break a lot of young hearts…which is why I find Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-Kun so funny.
  • reaLjustified
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:46 AM)
    @Mike DAMN. They have to be archived in Margaret’s office. Time to break in.
    @Kaiser I can name a ton, but it gets confusing when they like to use pen names and male avatars.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:44 AM)
    @Mike: The author of dengeki daisy was often mistaken for a man.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:43 AM)
    @Mario: I checked out that April extraordinary world flick, I like steampunk as a setting, it was a fun watch and I liked the art and animation style. Can’t speak for the french voice acting but the English dub was fine.
  • Mike
    (Sunday, Jul 24. 2016 04:43 AM)
    @Kaiser I feel bad for Tanaka Meca, people toss her name about whenever they discuss male shojo writers.

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