Monday, August 29, 2011

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! - 08

[FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_04.12_[2011.08.28_20.49.44] [FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_04.46_[2011.08.28_20.50.31] [FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_05.09_[2011.08.28_20.50.54]

There’s no question that Baka-Test upped the ante big time in terms of seriousness this week.  But here’s my question – did it have any right to?

Don’t get me wrong – I’ll take an episode like this any day over the sadistic crap that’s characterized most of this season.  But I really wonder if it isn’t asking too much of the audience to play to such a low common denominator for seven weeks, then expect us to come along when you try to pitch a moving story about Minami’s transition back to Japan.  Are we supposed to pretend those seven episodes never happened?  And what are we to do with the information we were given this week?  Is it supposed to paint Minami in a favorable light?  More to the point, as far as I’m concerned, is this – if Yoshi was so kind to her and so important in making her feel better when she moved back, what kind of person does that make Minami for physically abusing and generally torturing him for the last year?

There’s one more question that’s even uglier than that one – what are we to think if we go right back to the basic pattern of Minami abusing Aki – and the girls generally being sadistic psychopaths – next week, or for the rest of the season?  Are we then supposed to forget this episode ever happened?  It’s always been a reality of Baka-Test that Akihisa was way, way too nice to have the shit happen to him that happened to him – but during the course of the first season the sadistic elements were under control, and there was a sense of the whole class banding together against a greater foe.  This season has been an orgy of abysmal behavior on the part of all the girls, Minami included.  I’m not sure if I can take this episode remotely seriously, in that light.

If this ep has been the season premiere, I’m sure I would have felt differently.  It was good, in many ways – certainly Oonuma Shin at his SHAFT-iest (in a good way).  Honestly, the direction could have come straight from the EF series, which Shin directed for SHAFT.  I enjoyed the claustrophobic effect he was able to create around Minami during her first day at school, and the panic in her mind when she simply couldn’t keep up with Aki’s Japanese. I enjoyed the introductions of all the major characters, and I enjoyed how totally in character it was for Aki to screw up and try to talk to Minami in French when she couldn’t handle his Japanese.  In a vacuum, it was a very well-done and enjoyable episode – but TV series, unlike most movies and many OVAs, don’t exist in a vacuum.  They exist in the context of what came before and what will follow.  And that’s why I have a real problem accepting this episode of Baka-Test at face value.

The big question for me now (this will be on your test) is will we see a new Minami, behaving like the girl in this episode might had she not gone bad?  Or is she going to revert to the same character who did everything she could over the first seven episodes of this season?  Frankly, baka or not, Akihisa is way too good for that Minami.  In fact, all of the guys on this show are too good for all of the girls, based on those seven episodes.  If that’s all a bad memory now and the reset button has been hit, I won’t say it’s well and good – I can’t just forget those two months – but it’s sure better than the alternative.  If things just go back to the way they have been as if this ep never happened, I’ll be even more pissed off at B-T than I was before.

[FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_10.19_[2011.08.28_20.56.34] [FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_10.45_[2011.08.28_20.57.00] [FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_12.23_[2011.08.28_20.58.38]
[FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_16.20_[2011.08.28_21.02.36] [FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_20.21_[2011.08.28_21.06.36] [FFFpeeps] Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni! 08 [720p] (AnimeDragon).mkv_snapshot_21.58_[2011.08.28_21.08.13]


11 comments:

  1. Finally!! This is the sort of episode that made me a fan of Baka Test in the first place. A well place comedy of how Akihisa wear sailor uniform and a touching story of how he tried to befriend Minami. This is what good comedy about, it give you a laugh but at the end of day slip in some seriousness into the storyline.

    Of course, the only problem I will have with this series is stated in Enzo post. Frankly I really wish they don't suddenly make Minami go back to the psychopathic abusing combo with Himeji. Regarding to the weak story up until this point, I could forgive them if they are doing it to save the best bit on the 2nd half of the series.

    Let's us all crossed our fingers that B-T will continue it's quality.

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  2. Well, since the previous episode ended with Minami kissing Akisa, and now we get this touching back story, I dare hope that we will see a new direction for the remaining episodes..

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  3. @Enzo: Guys too good for the girls. What about Musturi? I may be wrong but I definietly see Green Hair X Mutsuri. And there is one girl who is saving grace. No, not Hideyoshi, Kazuki. I'll become a lolli anyday if I have Yanderes and stalkers as my...
    Please, just please don't make the next episode be crap. Law of relativity. After this high level episode, it is easy for anything to become crap. But still, please NO CRAP next episode. Please please please.
    Sorry Enzo, i guess i was pleading the wrong person.

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  4. Deaf, you know if you've read my posts - I already I was shipping Aki with the grade-schooler because she was the only one who wasn't a psychotic!

    As for Kazuki, I loved her but even she caught the sadist bug too much this season (though I was glad she wasn't the blackmailer). There's no question she's sweet on Voyeur, though, and that's probably my favorite pairing in the show at this point.

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  5. This season doesn't really have much of Summoned Beasts compared to the last season, which is disappointing for sure. Yet I hesitate to say that we viewers have been mislead about this season.

    First, the opening and ending sequences of the show reflect what we have seen so far. Summoned Beasts do not appear in either sequence, and for the most part, they do not play a large part in this season. What is seen in the opening and ending is the romantic conflicts of Akihisa and Yuuji. The ending also clearly indicates that a large part of the season is sexual tension, as you can see the kanji for "man" and "woman" clashing into eachother. Eventually the symbol for "man" is used to propel pumpkin carriage that the female cast is in. We have been warned.

    Second, I hope we haven't forgotten a huge plot point about the summoned beast battles that determine who gets what class facilities. The battles that we have seen in the first season where class F joins together to fight for better conditions are limited to one wage of war every three months. I suppose three months hasn't past yet since the last battle, and I do not know if the tournament in the OVAs count. So that is probably the reason why we aren't seeing the same material from the first season.

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  6. @Enzo: Erm, I'm wrong it is not Kazuki but Hazuki. And Hazuki is not a blackmailer. Or sadist. Mix up?
    P.S. So it is not a joke? You are on the Hazuki boat?

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  7. Sorry, typo - Hazuki. And yes, as I said, she's not the blackmailer - but I think her sadism level was way up this season. Not at the Himeji/Minami/Shoujo level, but more than last year.

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  8. Where was Himeji in this episode? Was she in another class? Although, I am guessing she wasn't included in this flashback story, because she would have helped Minami and thus lessen Minami's troubles.

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  9. I don't get how cute girls in anime have no friends? Is it like than in real life in Japan? Do they have bad personalities? Are they too self-conscious and shy? Who wouldn't want to be friends with an exchange student as cute as Minami?

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  10. Well, to be fair, she did say "Shut up, you disgusting pigs!" when they tried to make friends with her...

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  11. I just have to comment your review for this episode because I have to say thank you very much. Thank you very much for not dropping this show, because otherwise I probably would have never seen this episode, as I am not watching Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni, only reading your reviews.

    I liked the first season, but more the first part and your reviews from the second season didn’t look too promising, so I didn’t watch this one.

    As you said the episode worked really well in a vacuum. I really like the direction of the ef series and watching this episode which felt a lot like a crossover was just beautiful. The introduction of the characters (with Minami writing on the board visible the whole time),the portraying of her problems of understanding the language and so much more.

    The only problem I now have is that I want more.

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