Title: Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!
Summary: Second season of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu
Review: One of my favorite anime comedies of all time that had my sides hurting and left it difficult to breathe between the spurts of laughter. At least that is what I would be saying if this was season one. Season two turned out to be my biggest disappointment for the Summer season. It not only let me down in respect to my expectations, it was probably one of my LEAST favorite series I watched last season. How could something that was once so amazing, so funny, and so brilliantly done let me down? Well let’s start this review and get the ball rolling on this bash post.
The art style for Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni wasn’t bad. Actually it was quite good. I’m surprised the artistic style they headed toward considering it is meant to be a comedy. Many comedy stick with simplistic art (with the exception of Level-E) that allows them to utilize funny facial expressions and over-the-top reactions. Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni took a different approach and focused more on slap-stick humor and silly dialogue. They did have their moments of funny expressions, but they often took the opposite approach of having an overly serious face for a very non-serious conversation. Got to say, that gag got me every time. They did a lot of quick scene flashes, especially when it came to tiny bits of fan service. A quick flash to a girl’s chest or slowly lifting skirt. Often the scene would been matched with rainbow hue and polka dot backgrounds. I would say that the anime did an exceptional job moving away from the comedic norm and taking a different approach on art. They took a chance and did a great job holding it all together. Sadly the art wasn’t matched with an equally good story.
The story for the second season was far from good. It seems as though they took the same gags from season one and overplayed them far too many times. In season one and the OVA I found the series funny because they always managed to keep up with new skits and any repetition was done in class. However, the anime soon became about how perverted Akihisa and Yuuji were; which was obviously mixed in a “we are doing this for a legitimate reason” story. At first it was funny, and I cracked a grin, but it started to get really old. It seemed to me that half the episode was spent watching Akihisa and Yuuji being punished by Mizuki, Shouko, and Minami. Of course the female-but-not Hideyoshi was safe from harm. Although the gag was humorous at first, it started getting old after the fourth, fifth, and hundredth time. Looking back at the first season I kind of wonder where it all went? The magical humor, the great gags and quick laughs seemed to have played a vanishing trick. A comedy that actually was doing well with a minor story attachment. One with a minor romance side-plot that kept things at least a little interesting. A minor romance side-plot that should have stayed as such. The second season was mostly about the relationships between Akihisa and his two female followers. I’m a big fan of romance anime, love them through and through. I’ve watched the good, the bad, and the ugly. Each had their merits and each had their flaws. However, when I pick up the second season to a comedy I don’t look for any sort of romance. I don’t attempt to find the hidden meaning behind their words or backstories. I’m certainly not looking for any actual development. I pick up a comedy for the laughs and the laughs alone. That being said, the romance between Yuuji and is overly attached psuedo-wife Shouko was perfectly acceptable. Why you may ask? Because to me that was a gag. It also didn’t cause awkward drama and the creators made the whole thing to be funny. The second season of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu seemed like it had far more drama or deep storyline development then there should ever be in a comedy. So what is the reason I have such an strong dislike toward such a story change… because nothing happens. I don’t know if anyone notices, but in a comedy generally any sort of romance between a blockhead and two girls ends up reverting everything back to day one. Hate to be a spoiler but despite all that happened, it never really matters in the end. It’s as though they take you through this semi-funny, awkward, drama-esk, love story only to bring it to a stand still at the end of the day. The series also decided to take a breather from the present and show you clips of the past. For example, when Akihisa and Minami first met. I actually really enjoyed that episode because it just gave a little show of how they became such good friends. I find nothing wrong with adding more information about characters even in a comedy. It’s what happened after that episode that had me questioning what genre I was watching. My suggestion? Stick with what your good at and leave the drama of romance to another series. The couple episodes of pure comedy were a nice relief from all the bits of drama. They also managed to bring in a lot of side characters and throw them more into the spotlight. I think one of the series’ saving graces was the ending. Even though I’ve ranted about nothing every happening in the end, the ending gives me hope that the series has finished this phase of romance and will move back to comedy in a (hopefully) season three.
The soundtrack for Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu wasn’t bad. I’m a bigger fan of the first season (yet again) but that isn’t to see the opening and ending of season two were disappointing. The opening was your typical J-pop with some great animations. The vector art for the opening was a nice touch and mixed with some colorfully tasteful backgrounds. The ending was pretty good too. I was humming it from time to time as its catchy tune got stuck in my head. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the romance they did place lot of good background music to fit the mood. So for that I give them props. At least they took a shot at making the series more involved.
Final statements: As a fan of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu’s comedy I wasn’t a fan of season two. There were a couple episodes that reminded me of the good ol’ days, but most of them just disappointed me. I strongly hope that if a season three comes out they will go back to their old ways of season one. For any fans of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu this is a low priority watch.