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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  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:26 AM)
    What do you think?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 10:25 AM)
    I met a French art student in a bar tonight, and after getting into Hugo and Notre-Dame de Paris, he suggested a more faithful French theater production of it. He believed that this is a much better portrayal of the conflicted priestly character of Frollo, and specifically offered this Hellfire-esque song sang by the talented Daniel Lavoie as evidence:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5St9zF849o
  • SuperMario
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 08:22 AM)
    @Kaiser: haha. If this film indeed was made I’ll be the first one on the line to watch it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:32 AM)
    @Mario: This made me laugh far more than it should have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kno3xDw27bY
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:30 AM)
    Anybody else seen Jungle Book yet?
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:25 AM)
    @Kaiser: I see. Look retro, so I might actually enjoy.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:24 AM)
    I don’t wanna hyperbolize, so I admit that some of the Disney/Marvel stuff has ingenuity to it. Guardians and even Antman had their moments of disarming charm, and genuine sentiment from the cast and crew, that made it special and not just another superhero flick.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, May 5. 2016 06:22 AM)
    @Aidan: Marvel movies feel like a very nice amusement park ride- they are always fun, but the return diminishes after successive exposure. Everything in the movies, from the fights, to the dialogue, and plot is incredibly formulatic. You just don’t get the same effect when you know what’s coming.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:05 PM)
    @Bam: Actually let me rephrase
    I meant that you will like: http://letterboxd.com/film/the-company-of-wolves/
    Because it is fairyrale inspired
    Because you liked brotherhood of the wolf and tale of tales.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, May 4. 2016 06:02 PM)
    @Bam: I meant tale of tales =)
    @Mario: My usual ratings are ***/***1/2 rating and ****
    Generally that indicates a film is kind good/good or great.

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