Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (バカとテストと召喚獣)

All posts tagged Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (バカとテストと召喚獣)

The main protagonist and his SLR-toting sidekick. Both of them are perverted and are the best characters in this anime.

The third review in the audition to choose the first winner of the ‘Anime of the Year 2010’ title will be for Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, which on the surface is very similar to the previous anime reviewed here Mayoi Neko Overrun!, therefore comparisons between these two 2010 anime titles is inevitable.

A fair description of his classmates, and to a lesser extent, his schoolmates too.

Due to unforeseen circumstances with a busty naïve maiden during the placement exam that took place at the start of the school year, our dumb-ass main protagonist was assigned into the 2nd year F(ail) class. There he meets again with the said maiden and predictably, he fell in love with her. But the class also consists of many dumbasses just like him, and they are of little help when it comes to the school’s unique event: Examination Summoning Battle or ESB (abbreviated this way from now on), which can be used to raise the class’ status.

This anime starts very strongly with its very unique and seemingly promising storyline, up until maybe 3 or 4 episodes. When the whole class was banned for 3 months from participating in the ESB event, this anime started to peter out slowly towards the ending. Then the two-phase ending arc starts at episode 11 and this anime accelerates full-throttle onwards and downwards into the chasm of mediocrity.

The ending of this anime is even worse than the crappy ending Mayoi Neko Overrun! has. It was even more retarded than the main protagonist himself. Despite the regression that happened after this anime’s strong start, the pacing of this anime is pretty much spotless before the ending. Then this anime do the reverse of what Evangelion 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone has done: sharply increasing the pacing of the presentation dramatically by cramming more ESB events in the ending arc (more ESB events than the previous 10 episodes combined). Plus, the final ESB event is very stupidly retardedly and maddeningly predictable. You can see how it will end from a million miles away, and if you don’t, then the main protagonist is smarter than you.

Whoever wrote the ending is either running out of ideas or purposely tried to insult the viewers’ intelligence. I suspect it was the latter. I really do. Honest! And it doesn’t even provide a smooth transition towards the already-announced second season!

While the general storyline itself is just average (albeit a little bit better than the one in Mayoi Neko Overrun!), some of the subplots are great. This anime is a better harem and comedy than Mayoi Neko Overrun, but similarly crap in romance department. Some of the potential relationships in this anime are not pursued in more detail though, such as the relationship between the main protagonist and his Class A boyfriend (picture below). This anime needs more episodes, and I hope the second season will provide more of them so that the various subplots can be explored more.

The main protagonist's boyfriend!

The low episode count combined with larger characters cast than Mayoi Neko Overrun! ensures that character developments are less than optimal than it should be. This anime is a case where the rate of development is proportionate to the amount of airtime that a character got, with some exceptions. One of the best characters in this anime is the main protagonist, which is a given due to his airtime. But an exception should be given to another interesting character in this anime, which is the camera-toting pervert. He is simply awesome (like the silent handphone-toting character in Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series) even with far less focus on his character.

This anime also made references to other anime/manga/TV shows/games ranging from Gundam to Dragon Quest. Of course, it wasn’t as much as the rapid-fire Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series though.

Yet another The Scream painting spoof in Japanese anime.

Character Design:-
Character designs in this anime is excellent, especially for its non-female characters. It is not to say that female character designs are bad (they are better than the ones in Initial D or Hayate no Gotoku for instance) but the male character designs are on another level. One glaring exception is the main protagonist, but I will overlook this one because the others are awesome. That bishounen character who has a twin sister in Class A is definitely the best of them all, overly so. A positive aspect for this anime. Better than Mayoi Neko Overrun! and even Arakawa Under The Crazy Bridge.

And I’ll even ignore that severe lack of black hairs in this anime too. Bishies trap is awesome!

Above is our hot-blooded main protagonist favorite food that he likes to 'eat'.

Voice Acting:-
In general, voice acting in this anime is good but not great, better than Mayoi Neko Overrun! too. There are no outstanding voice acting gig(s) in this anime, and in this part, this anime is inferior to Mayoi Neko Overrun!

A complete opposite compared to Mayoi Neko Overrun!, only the 2nd ED theme is not good. Everything else, from the OST all the way to the 1st OP/ED themes are good. A positive aspect for this anime.

Epilepsy Attack! Japan need to stop using this regressive animation technique sharpish! Did all 2010 titles uses this technique?

I’m slapping the STOP THAT BLURRY ANIMATION TECHNIQUE NOW! tag and docked one point from this anime’s final score. Click on that category link and scroll down to previous reviews under this category to see why this category exists. This technique are only used in fast-paced scenes though, just like Mayoi Neko Overrun and unlike Arakawa Under The Bridge.

Meanwhile, animation quality in this anime is good, even in fast-paced scenes (ignoring the said technique above). Choreography in this anime is just average though. The directing, while not perfect, do experiment with some rarely-used presentation methods.

A storytelling technique more common in the Western world literature than in Japanese manga/anime.

7 out of 10.
The next anime that will will be reviewed is the long-delayed final season of Nodame Cantabile. I particularly choose this one hoping that the aforementioned animation technique above is not present in it. The first two installments doesn’t have it, therefore I’m praying that the third one is also the same.

The unbreakable friendship between these two like-minded best characters in this anime is the cornerstone of the storyline.