Posted 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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  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:11 AM)
    I’ll disappear now; going back to the game.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:10 AM)
    @Bam Kk, will do so after I’ve caught up on Walking Dead. I feel like I could get an adventure game streak going.
  • Yuko
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:08 AM)
    Talk about a learning curve. I thought Surgeon Simulator had a pretty big learning curve…
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:08 AM)
    @K-off: no I hated that game.
    You should play the first episode of A Wolf Among Us tho,that game just sells itself ;)
    I never once read Fables neither, so not a fanbiase involved neither.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:06 AM)
    You’re right, the niche IS really fine tuned. I spent hours looking at YouTube tutorials and shit =o
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:04 AM)
    I honestly still don’t know what to expect from TellTale, but I have high hopes…
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:03 AM)
    @Bam I’m guessing you liked Telltale’s Jurassic Park?
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:03 AM)
    @K-off: Don’t get me wrong, I heard good things about it, but flight simulators just aren’t my thing. It seems to have a slow learning curve as well, which might be the thing keeping it niche.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:00 AM)
    @Emma: if you have access to any type of computer right now then there really isn’t any excuse left not to, as it has aged very gracefully. The heavy noir jazz-fueled adventure in a 1950s south American land of the dead never really gets old and just oozes with style, witty dialogue and tons of charm. A timeless masterpiece of the medium by far.
  • Yuko
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:59 AM)
    @K-Off God damn, that sounds like hell.

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