Sunday, August 19, 2012

Anime review: "Seitokai Yakuindomo"

After finishing "Daily Lives of High-School Boys" several weeks ago, I noticed several comments recommending "Seitokai Yakuindomo" to those who liked the former. They also warned that it was an anime with high amount of sexual jokes, some of them pretty heavy, so it was not appropriate for those easily offended. Since there are currently no other anime I have set my eyes upon (except "Hyouge Mono", but nobody is doing the translation!!!), I decided to give it a try.

Identically to "Daily Lives of High-School Boys", "Seitokai Yakuindomo" is anime composing of several scenes/sketches per episode, something apparently called 4-koma style. Here we follow Tsuda Takatoshi who is just entering a high-school. The school he picked (because it was closest) was until this year all-girls school, so he is one of few boys there. On the first day he is selected by a presumptuous President of Student Council to be a new member, which will define the rest of his first-year. The Council consists of three other girls: President Amakusa Shino (presumptuous and full of misconceptions about boys), Secretary Schichijou Aria (rich and ditzy, fond of perverted jokes) and Treasurer Hagimura Suzu (genius trapped in a child's body).

There is no real plot, but the show has some form of time-continuity, and we follow our characters in whole-years school events: exams, excursion, sport-festival, art-festival. There is also the unavoidable trip to beach with overnight stay at the hot-springs. The jokes are heavy (they include talks about sexual toys, extreme sex, bondage...), but they stay jokes - they are neither crass nor erotic. This is not ecchi anime, and there is almost none fanservices. The jokes cleverly originate between girl's misconceptions about teen boys (who are seen as masturbating perverted freaks), intentional shameless desire to make Tsuda uncomfortable (he is pretty normal - actually a bit too reserved for a rare boy in girl-school) and some originally perverted streaks of few characters (Shino is obsessed with bondage, Aria owns several vibrators...). But there is nothing explicit in this series, and most jokes are presented orally (no pun intended). Oh, yes, there is also a lot of slapstick and pun-based jokes.

Whether you will find these jokes funny depends mostly on yourself. I found jokes funny, but not much. I think that authors intended the jokes to be more shocking, so I you are not easily shocked by sexual content, these jokes lose much of their impact. Still, there are some genuinely funny jokes, and it is always funny to see Tsuda's antics focused on Shino.

Interesting, there is even some innocent romance in this series. I actually got warmed up to the characters toward the end. Except the main four characters, there are some half a dozen supporting characters, like Hata (member of newspaper club that likes to take improper pictures to sell them on the Internet), Igarashi (female member of Discipline Comity that is chronically scared of boys), Naruko (teacher attracted to younger males)...

The graphical side of the anime is not impressive. Design of characters is especially generic and bland, but I appreciate it that they are not in the school uniform all the time and possess more than one set of clothes. There is some nice OP and ED. Music in between is intentionally made sleazy. There are 12 episodes total, but there are two more sequels with few more OVAs.

But in the end, "Seitokai Yukaindomo" is not really an anime to recommend. There are funnier high-school comedies out there ("School Rumble" for example). And for the jokes the work you would have to be not easily offended, but easily shocked by the sexual content at the same time. But on the other hand, if you like high-school comedies and don't have anything other to watch, this is not a bad anime.

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