Posted by psgels on 5 January 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews

Poor Medaka Box. Its second season had the worst timing imaginable. Here’s the thing: for the past few years, me and Shounen Jump Adaptations didn’t have the best relationship. Sure, there was the occasional gem with Level E, but most series got on my nerves like no other by taking so many ages to actually get somewhere. There are so many of these adaptation that are paced out too long in order to keep the story going in their constant fear of getting cancelled. The first season of Medaka Box actually took advantage of that by actually doing something interesting within the first 13 episodes. It didn’t take ages to change and move somewhere. There was variety.

And then the past autumn season happened. And the juggernauts of Hunter x Hunter and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure came and challenged just about every boundary of the shounen genre, showing among the best of what Shounen Jump has to offer. And Medaka Box tried to air is second season alongside those two. Yeah, it paled in comparison, unfortunately.

The first season of Medaka Box was a generic school series that at a certain point goes over 9000. The second season is different, though: it consists out of a collection of fights between people with all sorts of powers. You can see that a lot of thought was put into these powers, how they work and how they can be beaten. It goes further than most shounen fighting series do, and you can see that the series has quite a bit of fun in analyzing all of these powers along with their stories. And that’s about all this series does.

The problem with this series, like most other nisiOisin’s works, is that the balance is lost. The problem is that this series spends so much time and focus at talking and explaining how all these powers work, that it forgets to put focus on the rest. This show aims to break some traditions of the shounen jump genre with how elaborate these powers, but at the same time it also falls in the same pitfalls by having way too many characters pointlessly talking and analyzing the fight.

And the fights themselves… it’s not like they are of the kind that remain interesting for 12 episodes. The first season had novelty: the characters did other things than just fighting. Here, they don’t and it becomes obvious that Gainax didn’t put their top people on this series: for their standards, the animation is rather bland, and feels too much like they directly copied and pasted manga panels and moved a few things here and there, that ends up looking a bit bland.

Then here is another thing: the characters of this series have their wrong priorities.I mean, this series understands that characters need to have back-stories, and those stories are indeed often insightful and all. The show is not good at all at fleshing out its characters, though: most characters jus have one or two sides to them. They’re not fun to watch because all of them are defined by their powers and backstories, instead of their actions, if that makes any sense.

I am indeed a tsundere for nisiOisin: up till now despite my annoyances of him, I have watched every adaptation of his that came out so far, because I do think that he is a talented writer. The tsun in me though is starting to win terrain because of how unbalanced all of his stories are. I really care about the big picture how all the small pieces are used together. I’m missing that a lot with his series due to the obsessive focus he puts on his dialogue and Medaka Box is the same: it had some very interesting ideas. But did I enjoy myself for the most part with this series? Well, only the final two episodes really ended up catching my attention to be honest, but they did not succeed in making up for the rest of the episodes, especially because this season was supposed to be the part where the story really started, and to be honest I prefer the variety of the first season over the second.

Storytelling: 7.5/10 – Lots of dialogue that is well-written, but also gets in the way of the rest of the show.
Characters: 7/10 – They’re not interesting, they have backgrounds, but aren’t fleshed out enough.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Gainax does a decent job. Nothing outstanding, but nothing bad either.
Setting: 8/10 – Lots of interesting ideas being explored. Not interesting enough to really lift the series to a higher level, though.

Suggestions:
Law of Ueki << This show is pretty much Medaka Box if it did focus on actually being fun. Yes, this my favorite comedy ever. That's a big difference there...
- Hunter X Hunter
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

10 Responses

  1. Merctrack says:

    The thing with Medaka Box is that it started as a sort of episodic school story, then suffered in the ratings and tried to be a faux Jojo (around this arc), then decided it didn’t care and tried to be a parody of a faux Jojo (post this arc).

    Nishio is a well-noted Jojo fan (he actually wrote a novel based on DIO, though it was universally panned as a “fanfic”), but I don’t think he’s really suited its style. He copies all of the superficial elements of it (the superpowers, the crazy characters, etc) but while Jojo’s charm is in how seriously it takes itself at times, Nishio’s is in the fact that he doesn’t take anything he writes seriously at all.

  2. Cytl says:

    Medaka Boxis right now one of my favorites ongoing manga series but there were times (mostly those that were adapted in these two seasons) that I seriously hated the series, the characters and the school-life to action genre shifting (as today I’m not even sure why I didn’t drop it back then). When reading again all this arcs I’ve become more lenient towards them, probably because of how much I love the recent ones, but I have to agree with Psgels review about the characters being really shallow and to be honest their skills weren’t even that interesting.
    Actually I only watched the last episode of S2 because it wasn’t in the manga but it had all the feeling of the ongoing Medaka Box. One episode was all it took for Kumagawa and Ashin’in to have more interesting personalities than the earlier Medaka and Zenkichi.
    A third season wouldn’t excite me that much but I would probably watch it, because the minus arc is when the series starts to take the right route: abilities go all out in weirdness and actually crazy personalities (instead of just quirky or with tragic pasts) appear. Again, all of this mostly thanks to Kumagawa.

  3. Jalapeno Bagel says:

    I think the score is good, perhaps a bit too high in the overall scheme of things. Although I preferred this arc over the first, it really was lackluster in comparison to other series and Gainax’s lukewarm animation didn’t really help. Some of your critiques I don’t agree with, although that’s mainly because they do actually get addressed further on in the series.

    On the topic of you being tsundere for Nisio, I think I’ve come to enjoy his style simply because even though its a long, seemingly uneventful journey to get to the end, the end usually has some sort of a bang that pulls everything in together. So it confuses me a bit to hear you say that you don’t get a big picture with small pieces working together in his series (Medaka Box excluded as I think the big picture still hasn’t been reached even in the manga).

    • Cytl says:

      In my opinion for Medaka Box the big picture is already into play with the near-equal, the jet black wedding and the secret Shiranui arc. But this may be a misconception from my part considering how the previous arcs were so disperse.

      • Jalapeno Bagel says:

        @Cytl

        I think it’s on its way, but it hasn’t actually all come together yet. imo, rather than just a deconstruction, I always thought the series was more of a character study on Medaka and with her past, we’re finally starting to get the last pieces.

        • Cytl says:

          Now that you mentiont it, yeah you’re right. Near the end of all those arcs I’ve felt as if the series were about to the over, yet each arc after the previous shows some new concept using pieces that I hadn’t even considered before.

          • Jalapeno Bagel says:

            I’ve had the same thoughts. And it is a jump manga. who knows, maybe things are just getting started lol.

  4. Clinton says:

    While this season was just ok mainly. The next part with Kumagawa is were Medaka Box grew the beard (For real) becoming an excellent series.

  5. Generic Commentarist says:

    Am I the only one who found the “Good Loser Kumagawa” episode better than the rest of the series? The character is a psycho, the power is plain absurd… it was great.

  6. Clarste says:

    For the record, the characters are literally defined by their powers, or rather their powers represent their characters. This is actually a large part of the point of the series. Naze actually mentioned it in the series already, with her theory that abnormalities come from the personality. Much later on they start using the word “skill” and “personality” interchangeably as if we were supposed to have known this all along. Medaka IS The End, and Kumagawa IS All Fiction. So… that’s entirely intentional. It’s probably best to think of Abnormal powers as an exaggerated extension of their personality.

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:35 AM)
    Its a bit long and gets kind of fillerly/draggy in the middle
    But I enjoy it enough to see myself putting it on my favourites list, its unpredictable, evolving and addicting. I’d recommended it strongly.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:33 AM)
    The artwork still looks good today and hasn’t aged badly.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:32 AM)
    There are also alot of stories going on at once. Theres stuff about politics, rascism, epidemics, rogue AI in there too.
    Hopefully the author can tie it all together.
    My issues with it so far I guess would be that I suppose it gets a bit overwhelming at times, it can be a little disjointed in parts, I would like a greater expansion of all it brings up/has on its plate. But as it is its a cool action flick manga that has at least some heart and brains to it.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:27 AM)
    It delivers well enough on the character backstories, has a solid emotional core, finds room for cyberpunk, war, espionage, I don’t even mind the gangster stuff, the world is interesting and theres always plenty going on and theres never a shortage of gorehound action/violence far away. Ontop of that it can call itself good enough to stand among appleseed, ghost in the shell and blame/biomega.
  • Emma
    (Thursday, Jul 2. 2015 12:20 AM)
    Currently up to volume 11 of Eden its an endless world. And, given that I’ve been so long at this anime/manga thing its not often enough that I find something that can still blow me away. But this manga is like a narcotic I can’t get off and I’m genuinely impressed with it. I even started BUYing the volumes.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 04:54 PM)
    Speculating is very hard with the current state of things
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 04:53 PM)
    I’m looking forward to how it’ll unravel.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 03:21 PM)
    @Bam, I was thinking of 8/10 too. The extra 0.5 is out of bias.
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 11:52 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: just look at Yukinon. She has major problems to get over before she can consider a relationship with anyone. In the end Haruno was right: she relies on Hachiman too heavily and it isn’t good. If anything they need space to let her disentangle her emotions and find solid ground to her life.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 10:42 AM)
    Now time to watch Fate/Zero and see what the fuss was all about.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 11

It’s quite the coincidence that both shows I am covering have decided to use their last episodes to make up for the season’s shortcomings. This will be a short post as while action packed episodes are great to watch, they make it hard to bring up topics to talk about. Guana look to be imitating […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 24

Now this is more like it. Well as they say, better late than never and this was at least the best moment to bring back the quality. All I ask is where this was three episodes ago which it could have made all the difference in the world. Admittedly this episode has made me a […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 10

Unfortunately this wasn’t the time for Izana to become an ace pilot though she did at least show some ingenuity in her escape from gauna. Instead the spotlight falls once again to Tsugumi and Tanikaze. A lot of the fight scenes before the challenger appeared was to shown that Tsugumi and Tanikaze have great teamwork […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 23

Sometimes it’s hard being a veteran anime fan and a huge Fate Franchise fan. I sit down to watch the latest episode of this series and I want to shut up the cynical critic in the back of my brain pointing out everything that is wrong with this episode. But as events I adored from […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 9

Though the majority of the episode was of the same antics I have been complaining about in previous episodes, it’s nice to see Sidonia get back to what it does best. Dire situations and sci-fi mecha action. Izana being pushed into the role of scouting with a new weapon has to be the best path […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 22

A fairly uneventful episode this week.In some ways for me that’s good as it allows me to go into detail about the nature of the ever so popular CGI dolpins. But first let’s speak about what happened. Our three heroes had a strategy meeting discussing how to deal with Gilgamesh and the grail while all […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 8

I think something is wrong when I consider a protagonist from a movie these characters are watching a more compelling lead than our current one. I was surprised when starting the episode to see a sudden rise in visual quality only for it to turn out to be a movie within an anime. Actually I […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 21

I am not happy. To say I was disappointed in this episode would be an understatement. I am, to be frank, angry. So much so that I have to admit something that I really don’t want to admit. For you see from what has been shown of the second cour so far I would deem […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 7

Moral of the story, if you build a death star planet destroying ray then you better make sure that it’s not sentient. Though it seems that the dangers of using such weaponry are lost on Kobayashi as even one wiping out the testing facility and a hefty number of people isn’t enough of a red […]

Latest Reviews

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]