First Impresssions: Medaka Box Episode 1 Synopsis and Review

And the first anime of the season which I’ll be covering, Medaka Box. It’s about Kurokami Medaka’s endeavors as the student council president, one of which is answering to the requests put in the student council suggestion box.

I was pretty excited for this one, mainly because this would be Gainax’s anime of the season. I also have  read part of the manga so I kinda know what to expect, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good thing since I know this isn’t going to be your regular student council president story. Bad since I know there’s going to be a lot of technical terms and that became the reason why I quit reading half way. I hope Gainax handles that part well.

Synopsis

Medaka declares her intention to take on the problems of the student body as student council president.

Medaka kidnaps her childhood friend Zenkichi.

Brings him to the student council office. Strips down to her underwear and discusses her first assignment as student council president.

She’s asked to clear the kendo dojo of the punks that are occupying it.

Medaka and Zenkichi confront the punks (whose leader resembles Kamina).

Medaka promises to discipline the punks and turn them into proper kendo students.

Next day, Zenkichi visits Medaka at the dojo and gets shocked to find that Medaka has tidied up the whole place.

He thinks Medaka is wasting her efforts and doubts the delinquents would return.

They do.

Zenkichi walks away only to get assaulted from behind.

Zenkichi’s assailant, Hyuga, was the one who requested Medaka to clear the dojo.

He didn’t count on Medaka to reform the punks and turn them into a proper kendo club.

He trashes the former punks.

Zenkichi comes to the rescue and Gigaton punches Hyuga.

Hyuga limps away defeated. He vows revenge but finds Medaka right behind him.

Turns out she had a second assignment which was to take care of Hyuga.

Hyuga is reformed and joins the former punks to form a proper kendo club.

Medaka places two flower-pots in the student council office. For every request from the student body she accomplishes, she’ll add a flower-pot to the office.

The episode ends with Zenkichi declaring to help Medaka and turn the entire school into a flower field.

Review:

I commend the show for doing so much in their first episode. While most anime first episodes only have main character introductions and exposition of the story’s setting, Medaka box did that, established the main character’s goal from the get-go, and finished one of the minor stories. All in one episode. This also became sort of problem. With so much stuffed into a twenty-minute episode, a lot of details were forced to be left out. It never showed how Medaka reformed those punks. It just skipped scene to the next day. The whole Zenkichi versus Hyuga fight scene only had Zenkichi deliver one punch. Was that one punch enough to bruise Hyuga’s entire body and bend his glasses? For some reason, it felt like the producers left out the more action packed scenes for a reason. Instead, we, the viewers, get several different moments where Zenkichi is complaining about how perfect Medaka is. She’s annoyingly perfect and Zenkichi’s lines do a good job of making that known. He just didn’t have to repeat himself so many times. The fanservice of this episode, I feel, was placed strategically on the more boring scenes where the characters just talk. Probably to keep us interested even during the dull points of the show. That is just ingenious use of fanservice! The characters perfectly portray their manga counterpart. Medaka is zealeous and preachy. Zenkichi is a mix of “apathetic anti-hero”, “hot-blooded action hero”, and “internal monologue-ing every man”. The characters were also very over-the-top when it was their time to shine. I didn’t screencap it, but when Medaka was confronting the delinquents, she exploded with white light that destroyed the dojo, ascended into the heavens, and became a divine being just to tell the delinquents her plan to reform them. It still wasn’t the action I was looking for, but it was flashy and entertaining to watch. As for production values, the animation seemed less than Gainax standard. These are the guys who made Evangelion and Gurren Lagann, which are practically in the godlike level of the mecha genre. For some reason Medaka Box reminds me of a less cutesy Baka to Test. While the animation is unimpressive, the music on the other hand, was quite grand. So grand, it didn’t fit the atmosphere of high school life at all. It sounded more fitting for a fantasy adventure setting because of it’s steady, orchestral style. Overall, it was a decent opener for the series. It set the pace and the wacky style the show’s gonna present itself in. The story doesn’t seem to present a conflict yet but hey, first episode, I’ll cut it some slack.

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