Posts Tagged ‘seitokai no ichizon’
Student Council’s Discretion
At Hekiyo Private High School, located in Hokkaido, the student body is represented by five… let’s say able students who are chosen almost entirely by popularity vote. Sitting as president is the child like loli Kurimu Sakuano and assisting her are the game and BL obsessed Mafuyu, her sporty tsundere sister Minatsu and the quiet but unexpectedly dangerous Chizuru. Sitting in the fifth chair is the only male member of the student council, H-game obsessed Ken Sugisaki, who earned his way in by raising his grades from the lowest in school to the highest and wants to make the student council into his harem. Parodying themselves, other series and other genres along the way, the series follows the daily meetings of the members which involve absolutely nothing accomplished.
Good and the BadI honestly never thought that anyone would pick this series up but Crunchyroll did. And while I hate to start my review off with a statement that sounds more like a closing argument: this is one of the best parody series of the last few years. Completely self aware and constantly challenging many of the conventions of modern anime that this series would normally be relying on, this is a comedy series for the fans who want to laugh at the absurd in anime.
For me, what makes a parody series work is when it’s able to take elements of other series and integrate it into its own story seamlessly. Student Council’s Discretion takes that idea, plays around with it a bit and then runs with it further than anything else I’ve seen. Covering the easy steps, it’s not afraid to throw out the odd and obscure references for the audience to recognize and laugh at along the way. No series is safe but Strike Witches, Hell Girl and Ashita no Joe are just a few of the references fans will see thrown into the story in ways that many will never see coming.
But SCD is a parody series that is more than throwing in a bunch of short references to other series. This is a series that takes the genre to its limits with inside jokes, a willingness to break the fourth wall and disprove the idea that characters have to look a certain way to act a certain way. Opening the series, the first episode begins with a table discussion featuring the characters trying to decide what type of anime they want to be. Starting the series with a meta discussion completely caught me off guard but seeing that right away set me up for exactly the type of smart humor that this series should be known for.
Throughout 12 episodes, SCD continues its bend towards the irreverent by continually creating stories within the plot putting its characters into new situations. One of the most memorable (and brilliant in my mind) moments came from an episode involving the student council trying to come up with a skit idea for the festival. Being that all they can agree upon is that it should be heartbreaking, the series takes a turn towards the serious and presents each heartbreaking idea. Suddenly the serious Chizuru looks the same but is a ditzy best friend, the perverted Sugisaki is a sweet guy who is being dumped (and then abused throughout various endings). Periodically, SCD changes things around and makes the audience see the characters in a whole new way before reverting back. This is the writing that challenges what the audience thinks it knows about these characters while still laughing at constantly seeing something new.
With these changes occurring seemingly at random, you would think that it would be hard to tell who the characters really are. Ironically though, that point is never an issue specifically because of how 2D these characters are and remain all the way through to the end. Yes, I am praising this series because its characters are flat and do not grow. Early on, SCD does a really good job of introducing the characters and their basic personalities. Everyone has their own characteristics which make them stand out from the others. But once you learn their personalities, the times when new wrinkles to their foundation are pretty far between.
That isn’t to indicate that these characters never change at all. As I mentioned, there are many times when the series takes a sudden, very serious road. Sometimes these are purely just for a fantasy joke but sometimes it’s a real chance for the audience to see hidden sides to the characters. They can heartfelt, emotional and yes, touching. Really though, even after you see these moments it’s not as though anyone will ever undergo a moment of incredible cathartic growth… and that’s a good thing. This is not a deep series and while these characters are sweet and funny, trying to squeeze in a meaningful lesson or moment of cathartic growth would have just been extraneous.
Sometimes though SCD can become a little too clever for its own good which is where it starts to show small cracks. While audiences in Japan may have been able to keep up with this series, this will not always be an easy series for English audiences to follow. At times the humor will be firmly rooted in Japanese culture, language and history and at those points many viewers will be lost at sea without a clue. When President Kirimu tries to prove that she’s smarter than the grade schooler who is visiting, there is a long list of questions about Japanese history that she is obviously getting wrong in some small, subtle way. I couldn’t tell you what exactly she was getting wrong but I know that a joke was being made! To watch this series is to realize that sometimes you’re going to hear something and it’s going to completely fly over your head.
The thing you have to be impressed with is that when Shuhei Kamimura sat down to work on this series, he wasn’t creating music for just a parody comedy. He was creating music for a comedy, a serious drama, a school romance, an action series, a super saiyan series and still more. Every single time this series went into a new genre, Kamimura had to follow with his score and did a great job in the process.
Composing strong themes to match the different genres, where I was most impressed were in the quiet moments when almost nothing was happening. The main theme of these times is a soft electronic jazz tune put over a walking techno beat (the same theme that plays during the second eye catch of each episode). Despite being such a simple piece with only a couple of layers to it, this one piece is a constantly integral part of scenes that conveys a feeling simple friendship and relaxation. Even when the series starts to get serious, Kamimura is there again with a range of soft piano melodies which support the girls (and sometimes Sugisaki) in their rare quiet and vulnerable moments.
Earlier I mentioned that sometimes this can be incredibly difficult to watch but this isn’t always the fault of the series. Throughout the episodes, there are a number of mistakes with the subtitles which could turn a really fun series into an annoyance very quickly. I noticed in multiple episodes typos throughout the subtitles and sometimes entire lines of dialogue which weren’t even subtitled at all. Other times the subtitles would appear on screen so quickly that multiple backtracks had to take place to make sure that nothing important was missed. Seriously, I’ve seen average quality fansubs which had higher subtitle consistency than this series.
As it is a parody series, there is a certain level of experience that one should have in order to get the most appreciation for the jokes and humor. If you are an anime fan who has been around the block a few times, this series is cleverly written and easily one of the most consistently funny titles of the last few years. If you want a smart parody comedy that is willing to go WAY outside of the box, you should really be setting aside time for this series. When it was first released I thought it would be forgotten forever, thank you Crunchyroll for giving it some new life!
Once upon a time I bet there were people who were absolutely committed to watching every series that Crunchyroll had to offer. And now I bet that if there were any of those people left, the rate of series being added to Crunchyroll lately must at least have those few remaining souls curled up in a corner shaking.
Two more series were added to streaming site Crunchyroll from completely opposite directions; the 2009 parody comedy Seitokai no Ichizon (translated as Student Council’s Discretion) and the 2006 supernatural action romance Demonbane. So very excited about both of these series!
In Student Council’s Discretion, the series takes place almost entirely in one small room where the Hekiyou Academy student council holds their meetings. The student council is made up of four girls and only one male; a student named Ken Sugisaki who is only there because he managed to become valedictorian of the student body and earned the right. Good thing his only intention is to turn the other girls into his own personal harem. Produced by Studio Deen, this was another overlooked title of 2009 that too many people missed out on. Just be warned that this is another series that will test your recent anime knowledge with its silly in jokes.
The second series to be added is the slightly older title from Viewworks (Someday’s Dreamers and a little OVA based on the video game Armored Core) called Demonbane. Released in 2006, the series follows a private detective in Arkham City. When he’s hired to find a magic book, he also finds a girl with the ability to awaken a giant mech. After the two form a contract, they are forced to fight of an enemy called the Black Lodge. It’s actually good timing for this series to get added as Nitro+ and JAST USA are on the verge of making it relevant again with the release of the Demonbane eroge (NSFW) sometime next year.
As has been usual, both series are now available in their entirety to premium subscribers to users in North America, South America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Middle East and Africa. Free stream users in those regions will be able to watch the first 3 episodes now with 3 additional episodes being added weekly.
I’m glad that Crunchyroll have finally added an Android app because the number of series that are getting added to the ‘Need to watch at some point’ pile is getting pretty stupidly ridiculous.
Full press release below the cut
Starting pretty much the same way I believe every episode is going to begin, episode one of Seitokai no Ichizon starts within a meeting of the Heikyo Academy student council. Made up of four cute girls and a perverted guy who’s only in as a perk of being valedictorian, the first episode is broken into two parts. In the first half of the episode, around eleven minutes of conversation revolving around anime, eroge, visual novels and harem endings as valedictorian Sugisaki exclaims his quest to obtain the harem ending with the girls of the student council. Moving into a minor story in the second half, the student council is given an actual task to accomplish but no one wants the pervert’s help to get things done.
Technically the new season has started whether you’re ready or not. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of shows waiting to pull in a new audience which brings us to today’s trailer roundup. Jumping into things today is a happy day for Inuyasha fans. With Viz announcing that they will be simulcasting the new season, it was only a matter of time before an English trailer was posted. Luckily it only took days (especially since the series premieres on Sunday). Starting with the official website, YTV has posted a 30 second trailer promoting the final season while Viz has posted an 85 second English subtitled trailer on their official Shonen Sunday site. The final season will cover the last 21 issues of the manga and premieres Sunday in both Japan and the US. I openly admit that I’ve never been an Inuyasha fan but one of my coworkers is making it kind of fun to tease her with the latest information about it.
The second series to get a trailer today belongs to Seitokai no Ichizon which has gotten a second 15 second trailer on the official website (click ニュース below the main image). It’s filled entirely with character art which is boring yes but there are a couple of moments of censored upskirt shots which I suppose one could call redeeming. The series itself premieres this Friday.
Two new promos have gone up for two upcoming shows with the first being from gender change action series, Kampfer, from the same guy who brought us Maburaho. Streaming directly from the TBS website, the new two minute trailer introduces the cast and characters while showing off a bit of the action. Since first hearing about this series I’ve been pretty iffy about the story. Seeing this new promo pretty much confirms the worst of my fears. We’ll see after it actually premieres but eh, excited is not the word I’d use to describe how I feel about watching it. The series premieres Thursday October 1st.
The summer season of 2009 is interesting on the surface in quite a few different ways. Only a little less than 40 titles will be released from June to August. That number includes specials, OVAs and movies being released which contrasts against at least 30 TV premieres last summer alone.
In terms of content, this is a summer of dreams for fans of manga based stories with up to eight series being adapted from a manga, though that number goes past a dozen when you factor in light, visual and traditional novels as well. Only two series are based off eroge this season but sequels and continuations are alive and well taking up 10 titles of their own.
In terms of studio activity, Madhouse and Studio DEEN are easily the most active of the season with three releases each. On the Madhouse queue are a TV series, a special and a movie while Studio DEEN will be releasing two television series and a series of web shorts. JC Staff and SHAFT aren’t far behind them though with two releases each and a wealth of others filling out the crowd with one each. One studio will even be making their debut their season with GoHands taking a shot at the eroge adaptation ‘Princess Lover‘.
So enough with the introductions, (with apologies to Gia of AnimeVice for adapting her preview style a bit) listed below the cut are as many of the releases that I could find information for. I have tried to make this listing as complete as possible with my resources but I’m not perfect. If you see any missing titles, feel free to drop me a line in the comments and I’ll make sure to get them added.
Titles are listed by premiere dates and will be continuously edited throughout June. Keep checking back for updates as new premiere dates are listed, previews are written and finally to read all the latest reviews as the new series premiere!