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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CHANGE USERNAME
SuperMario
I haven’t watched the latest one yet but isn’t it a bit too... quick?
SuperMario
What the hell? Only one episode and BF already wiped out 3 bad men?
Kaiser-Eoghan
Unrelated, but I wish more ecchi/hentai genuinely tried to mix in emotions and sensuality even into the more fetishist stuff. I like everything to be y'know sad and stuff.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Seeing that bastard get it in banana fish is so satisfying.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I still wish this show had 24 episodes.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't think there's enough time for Shoko's arc though and this episode was rushed.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*in bunny-senpai
Kaiser-Eoghan
Oh my God I wanna save the sister bunny-sepai =<
Anonymous3196773
All 3 of BF devil trio are out :) Now we have to deal with Foxx as final boss though? Not sure about that
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I enjoyed what I read of gunsmith cats but I've only read parts of it, not the whole thing, I also saw its prototype riding bean which was schlocky fun.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: I'm honestly not sure. But I'll say this, wasn't there some campaign to get a new gunsmith cats anime out?
Animosh
I wonder where they're going with Yut Lung though. I expected Ash to kill him in a mad fury over what happened to Eiji, but his conversation with Blanca (about finding love instead of being ruled by anger and hatred) suggests that some kind of redemption may lie in store for him.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan How is it compared to Gunsmith Cats?
Animosh
I knew Banana Fish wouldn't go through with Eiji's death. But hey, at least it looks like Golzine is finally dead! Although I really wish someone with more of a history with him had done the deed. Or you know, someone with some actual personality. Foxx is such a lame blend of villain tropes I wish he would die already. If he really ends up as the final boss of the series I'd be pretty disappointed
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: Its possibly because its so old. As for myself I've only seen the first series and read a few volumes of the manga, what I followed was largely episodic.
Vonter
@Kaiser-Eoghan - It isn't as heavily marketed, I wasn't aware there were that many. It's this a niche series?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Vonter: There are several films live action and animated and three anime series based on it.
Vonter
The new City Hunter movie looks great. It seems to have buddy cop vibe. Were there only OVAs or did this manga ever got a TV series? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRFrmaZa1OY
Animosh
Oh right, that makes sense. Heh.
Lenlo
Ha, you merged his names.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Ah, that is the curse of watching an episode a week, forgetting things like that, can't believe I couldn't remember that.
Animosh
Eh, Kurahara. Where did I even get that name from.
Animosh
@Lenlo: he's a reporter. He's one of the people interviewing Fujioka in episode 7 (or more precisely, he's watching him being interviewed). He also seems to notice Kakeharu then.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Lenlo: Or maybe a washed up former runner from years ago?
Lenlo
Im sad Kaze Fui has a 3 week break, but cant wait for January now. As for the guy at the end, I want to say he is probably a reporter of some kind? Kurahara was a good runner in highschool and seemingly quit, yet is now running for a no-name team. Thats a scoop
Kaiser-Eoghan
It was pretty tense actually.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I didn't cry during that scene in made in abyss, you know the one where riko freaks out, the arm scene. But it was somewhat stressful.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I haven't come across ojisama to neko. Perhaps I'll read a few chapters of it.
Amagi
Hope they will do a first season of it by turning it into a 5 minute anime now. I mean it has an old man who tries to be the best father for his pet and it has a CAT, what else does a series need to be successful in the age of the internet?
Amagi
I didn't know Ojisama to Neko was a hit. The series is so cute that every harmless piece of seriousness makes you feel like crying, it's pretty good but didn't expect it to be popular. Seems like it sells around 350k copies.
Amagi
There are so many movies or anime that kill tons of characters and throw in even more tons of cry scene and I am still unable to feel anything.
Amagi
MIA showed that it is always about how you depict a death scene and not so much about what's actually happening. I usually want to be sad whenever I am supposed to feel sad but it doesn't work. I had to cry during the MiA scene though even though it was "just" about some kind of pet, because that character lost her humanity long ago and suffered, so death was actually a good thing here. But still.
Anonymous3189472
I guess we'll have to wait three weeks for the second cour to find out.
Anonymous3189472
I really wonder who that guy at the end was though. He seems to have some beef with Kakeru judging by that look.
Anonymous3189472
Man, seems like the next episode of Kaze ga won't air until January 8. I was really getting invested in their continued training, even through rough weather this episode.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Although definitely different and admire it for that, the stage like aesthetic of dogville didn't work for me. He did do comedies though such as boss of it all, the idiots and some of Kingdom .
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I always thought he could have fleshed out the first half of melancholia more, but it really gets going in the second when she really starts re-lapsing, I loved that part.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You gave dancer in the dark 4 stars though.
SuperMario
My favorites are Breaking the Waves (although I do need to rewatch it), and Melancholia (mostly because there's a hint of hope at the end). Dancer in the Dark is so stupid I freaking hate it. Dogville, AntiChrist are depressing and Shia Labeouf and the ending kill Nympho for me
SuperMario
@Kaiser: can't wait to see the House that Jack Built, although no release date here yet. Lars Von Trier is like depressing drugs. His stuffs are goddamn depressing
SuperMario
@Kaiser: she was like "omg MARIO, you're serious crying while watching a TV show?" well, she invaded my privacy and still had the guts to say that huh?
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Matt Dillon is great in it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Also, I saw the new Von Trier film, the horror one House that Jack built, its an acid black farce comedy that never takes away from the darker elements of it or the violence, even if it isn't as violent as people are saying. I loved it, even if it went off on tangents sometimes. My favourites by him are this, boss of it all, dancer in the dark and especially antichrist.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*their
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: What was there reaction out of curiousity?
SuperMario
*Catch me right at the act
Kaiser-Eoghan
And visually it is immersive.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Made in abyss does depend currently on what its second season will deliver and it does start out in a way that you kind of need to make it passed the first few episodes to really get into it. But it flows better than the manga and THAT scene in the middle and Nanachi's backstory elevate the series to a higher level.
Kaiser-Eoghan
BabyMario as in like super Mario world 2 =O
Kaiser-Eoghan
=O BabyMario
SuperMario
True (shameful) story: when I watched the finale of Made in Abyss, my housemate opened the door to ask me sth and she saw me sobbing like a baby
Lenlo
Made in Abyss was really damn good
Sash
I just recently watched Made in Abyss.... and i cried real hard. I was worried that this story was going down the loli route at first... but how this show frightened me... and how it pulled at my heartstrings at the end.
Amagi
Also being immortal would meant that I finally had enough time to finish all the games and series I am interested in.
Amagi
@Kaiser: the hate against immortality is overrated, I would totally be okay with observing history for centuries.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: yeah, it’s supposed to be the final one that closes the whole franchise
Kaiser-Eoghan
Theres going to be another euphonium movie next year.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I say sit back and just let it wash over you if you get on board with its slow rhythm.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The soundtrack is pretty understated aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also quite naturalistic in how it uses/animates movements/body language.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I do wish that it went further than baiting the audience though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*is in
Kaiser-Eoghan
I watched liz and the bluebird, the storybook segements give the film a certain magical feel to it, even if they feel obvious and on the nose, what this film achieves if in its silent, quiet and visual exposition rather than spoken words, its also more sensitive and low key than Euphonium.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Gah, one of the gutting things about being into historical stuff or stuff about things that happened decades ago, is that I'll never be a direct witness to it as it happened. It'll never hit me as someone who lived through it. I having all the fun second hand.
SuperMario
Thanks, Amagi. They look pretty cool
Amagi
Why would I waste my time watching other people shopping or working. Not to mention that the scripted part turns everything worse than it usually is by shoving in terrible cringy moments everywhere to.. don't know. Entertain(?) the audience or something.
Amagi
I mean unless you want info dumps you watch fiction and you watch that because it makes you indirectly experience adventures you can't have in real life. Even when fiction is down to earth it's usually about special situations like the MC becoming a professional runner like in Kaze ga or something.
Amagi
@Kaiser: Me neither, especially because it seems to be the exact opposite of the reason why people consume media, and therefore fiction, in the first place.
Amagi
They probably used these in Irozuko because they look like're part of some J-RPG town.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I never really understood why reality television ever became a thing or how someone could give it any form of attention.
Amagi
Seems like they even have a wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trullo
Amagi
@SuperMario: It's some specific type of house that only exist in Apulia. https://cdn.getyourguide.com/img/tour_img-437617-146.jpg - the whole historic disctrict looks like that
Amagi
I shouldn't use so many brackets.
SuperMario
Trulli? What does that mean?
SuperMario
We have all kinds of international film festivals here. I watched Roma in the Latin Film Festival. Yeah that aspect I mus say that I feel lucky
Amagi
There are Trulli in one scene of this week's Irozuko (after they entered that painting), how funny. I just visited this city (Alberobello) last month.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: You are lucky, Roma gets a one day limited release here for one time.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: Just imagine going to the west of Ireland and asking them about the internet.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Yes there are people turning up to the one art cinema we actually have. But Ireland is not a good place to be in general if you are a film/anime/gaming fan.
Kaiser-Eoghan
lol this country is incapable of giving a proper wide/long cinema release to anything that might even be considered slight non-mainstream.
SuperMario
*week-long
SuperMario
Well, we have a week-log screening here and I already lament how undeserving these films have. Guess I should be more appreciate now I know that other countries have 1-day screening only
Kaiser-Eoghan
I wonder if anyone started out in the light novel industry as a stepping stone before moving on to real book writing. I also wonder how easy it is to get published.
Anonymous3183156
Progressive is good from what I heard since he went back to his older material from a more mature outlook. Ordinal Scale is decent too coming from the same matured Kawahara.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Sometimes there are re-showings, some cinemas will play Akira for the billionth time for example.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I imagine seeing scenes like that being recorded in the recording booth would look quite strange.
Anonymous3183156
Apparently, he even apologized to the voice actress for being subjected to voice a rape scene, so I guess even he has deep regrets about it. The LN doesn't have any more moments like this so I guess he matured a lot.
Amagi
@Anon: The problem is that he was still a teen when he wrote Alicization, he just edited it a bit later. But I also wish he would have cut this scene, it's always so forced and feels so stupid.
Amagi
Pancreas has no subs yet AFAIK
Anonymous3183156
Ugh, ep10 of Alicinization reminded me why I disliked SAO so much years ago. I assume Kawahara still had some nasty tendencies in him when writing Alicinization despite being past his edgy teenage phase.
Amagi
@Kaiser: It's the same here too. One day screenings and that's it. I also believe that anime are made for everyone it's just that the West (save for France and Italy maybe) doesn't give anime a chance. They are sure people would never care so they rather die or air the same awful scripted reality show for the 5th time rather than try showing anime that could appeal to adults like Monster.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The anon might want to watch that though, a torrent of it recently got uploaded.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also Let me eat your pancreas wasn't shown here. But it was shown in Australia.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Although there are some films that America gets that we don't, the Heavens feel, the Madoka movies and Nanoha reflection showed in America but not here.
Amagi
@SuperMario: That would be great.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Anime films seem to appeal to normies aswell.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I saw an older woman in my screening of Maquia and talked to her after it and she liked it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Again, I don't know about elsewhere, but what surprised me was the amount of people who are seeing these in the audience who don't actually come off as anime fans and probably aren't.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I'm genuinely surprised that my country would actually even go that far to even show them.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I don't know about all the other countries that get showings for these anime films, but here its a one day only thing each time one comes out.
SuperMario
Reviewig anime movies/ making posts about them might be something I can do in the future
SuperMario
@amagi: anime movies are somethingn I wanna raise more awareness as well. Normally each year there are 4,5 solid anime films out there, but like you said they’re hardly discussed
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've never heard of UFO no natsu.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I felt bad for the little girl in grave of the fireflies, the boy was already caught up though in "muhfascistempire is goat tier" for me to care about him as much as her.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The Air movie was more focused, better paced and visually directed with more panache than the show.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: I have gone to almost every anime screening since the early 2000s and continue to.
Amagi
And many have barely any sort of advertising so I only notice them coincidentally by seeing a thread on /a/ or because I see some screenshot somewhere.
Amagi
Speaking of it there are so many great anime movies every year but nobody ever talks about them because the fans are split between those who see the screenings (that happen randomly depending on the country) and those who watch it a year later on their PC.
Amagi
I also found Hotori sad but it's ages old and I never met anyone who cared about it besides myself. Also, Hanbun no Tsuki and UFO no natsu although these were 6 part ova. Colourful probably too and the Key movies. I actually like all these movies like Air or Clannad but I didn't like the series that much.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think ultimately its the patience some of these sad films are made with that allows then to eventually land their effect.
SuperWooper
It takes a while to get to that point, though.
SuperWooper
"The Wind Rises" is pretty damn sad.
SuperMario
Well, Grave of Fireflies hands down. or Your Lie in April if you don't mind TV show
Amagi
Then basically everything from Shinkai for example.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Anon: You may need to let us now what type of drama you're into, are you okay with highly melodramatic stories?
Anonymous3180985
if so anybody have any good sad anime movies?
Anonymous3180985
anybody here?
Amagi
The more we approach xmas time the more it rains in my city. Like every year.
Amagi
Didn't know that guess I try this someday I love this setting.
Kaiser-Eoghan
The most recent thing I've watched dealing with a created/artificial/virtual world was an old German mini series called World on a wire by Rainer Fassbinder.
Amagi
Wonder about the consequences these last scenes in Gridman will have.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I finally got around to Aki Kaurasamaki's films, watched I hired a contract killer, I like dry, sad bastard black humour like that and even when it wasn't being amusing I enjoyed the whole quirky tone throughout it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I decided to watch season 2 of sound euphonium before getting to liz and the bluebird. I would like to see more of this. I guess I liked Asuka's arc.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I think bloom into you has stood out in how its dealt with Nanami's insecurities and backstory, found myself liking that one side character Sayaka more. There will be an arc where they do some kind of play which compliments/links in well with nanami's character.
Animosh
But yeah, I agree the series has great character writing. In hindsight, it's kind of a shame you picked Irozuku over Bloom into You. It had a great premiere and some stunning scenes, but the characters are so incredibly droll that there's just not much to write about. They're both slow burns, but Bloom into You gives you much more to think about.
Animosh
So I think the crossing the line thing is ambiguous between your interpretation and Yuu's subconscious fear that if she initiates things, displays her affection towards Nanami (and a passionate kiss that Yuu initiates certainly seems to qualify), then that will be the end of things. Actually, it's probably a bit of both.
Animosh
@SuperMario: I think Yuu is also aware that Nanami does not want Yuu to fall in love with her (I mean, it's hard not to after that death stare). And as a result she can never initiate things, because showing affection would undermine the whole reason Nanami fell in love with her. And Yuu obviously does not want this relationship to end.
Anonymous3177625
Did uh that really happen in BF? Probably not, but dang if that really was the case then stuff got real
SuperMario
@Animosh: the thing is Yuu takes the special attraction from Nanami for granted, and her mode is that she “doesn’t hate” it. She doesn’t hate it when she spends time alone with Nanami, she doesn’t hate it when they kiss. So for Yuu, when Nanami askes her to actively do it, it’a the first time Yuu feels like she’s crossing the line. Some really great character writing there
Anonymous3175137
It boils down to a female-targeted version of those moe shows that I don't care about all that much. Just replace the cute girls with hot boys.
Anonymous3175137
Compared to Katsugeki, where it tried to sell the series as something more than just a mobile adaptation and tried to court non-fans, here I got exactly what I expected; something safe and predictable, and catering exclusively to fans. So I got nothing out of it.
Anonymous3175137
Is there some sort of moe equivalent for male characters? Because this show probably counts as one. otoh, my feelings towards it are like most CGDCT anime: indifference.
Anonymous3175137
I think the oddest thing I did regarding anime this year was how I sat through both season of Touken Ranbu Hanamaru (including the one that aired earlier this winter), and didn't claw my eyes out when it's basically an unfortunate mix of a mobile game adaptation and a CBDCT show mixed in with some action segments to show that it's not just a pure estrogen-fest.
Animosh
I should also note that I don't relate to her in every way. I understand her difficulties with falling in love, but for me the problem is more that my view on love is too negative, and as a result I'm hesitant about taking the "leap of faith" that any relationship requires. Love is messy, and may well get you hurt, so it's easier to observe things from a distance, like Maki for example.
Animosh
Oh Yuu is definitely frustrating to watch. Her idealized conception of love prevents her from seeing what is obvious to everyone watching: that she's slowly developing feelings for Touko. And when those feelings evidently turn into love, instead of seeing them for what they are, she's in denial and insists that her feelings aren't special enough to be called "love". It's frustrating.
SuperMario
Then again, I can't really say why Bloom into You works for me now, but kept me in a distance in their first few episodes. It's slow-burn, and when you think back to it, not a lot has been happening. But I feel they haven't made any wrong step yet
SuperMario
Can't say I relate to Yuu thou. She's the kind of character that in real life I would find really frustrated, and I know many of my friends behave that way. That just to further demonstrates how real these characters can be. Even the side characters, Sayaka and the lesbian adult couple work well for me.
SuperMario
@Aminosh: it took awhile for me to fully embrace Bloom into You (I say about episode 5,6) but I agree it's getting very solid now. it reminds me of Scums Wish as well, mainly because how twisted romance can be
Animosh
I'm also worried it won't end in a satisfying way, since the manga is still ongoing. But otherwise I quite like it. It has its problems, but if you go into it with the right expectations (slow pacing, complex and flawed characters that make for an unusual love story, with more focus on the characters' psychological issues than their sexuality) there's a lot to enjoy.
Animosh
My only major complaint is that its characters can feel rather artificial sometimes. Touko in particular is a victim of this. She's such a weird bundle of complexes that she can be hard to relate to. Maybe it'll be better explained later on, but the whole idea of falling in love with another person because you think she'll be incapable of reciprocating it ... it's weird.
Animosh
I particularly like Yuu. I can empathize with her difficulties with falling in love, and I like her arc of slowly "blooming into" liking another person. It feels natural and earned. And like in SSSS.Gridman, the direction is surprisingly strong, and as a result it mostly nails its key moments (the river confrontation, the shed starting shot, etc).
Animosh
I finally caught up with Bloom into You, and it really surpassed my expectations. It kind of reminds me of Scum's Wish, with how flawed its characters are, and how selfish and unreasonable they can be. But like in Scum's Wish, instead of condemning the characters for their flaws, we're given the background to understand them, and they're not used for forced melodrama but sympathetically explored.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Amagi: Are the Tezuka Buddha movies really that bad? I'll probably try the manga soon.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Also, it'd be cool if we could get long ova adaptations again.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'd be happy to get more anime set outside of Japan. I also wouldn't mind seeing some anime based off western material.
Lenlo
Gotta say, I wasnt expecting that from Banana Fish this week. I hope its not a fake out, because if it isnt this ending could be great. I love sad endings
Kaiser-Eoghan
Bunny-girl made me watch a horrible idol segment. Then I forgave it because the end of the episode was well executed melodrama.
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Welcome one and all, to the most wholesome episode of Kaze Fui yet. This week Prince and Kurahara finally connect, Hana cooks dinner and a track meet comes to a curious end. Lets jump in! Kaze Fui continues strong this week, not content to sit back and simply milk Haiji’s condition. No, instead of spending […]

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