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.|