Thursday, 5 April 2012

Medaka Box - Episode 1

With an innate ability to be good at... well, pretty much anything really, it isn't a huge surprise to find Medaka Kurokami crowned the new student council president at her school, Hakoniwa Academy - a perfect starting point for new spring season shounen manga adaptation Medaka Box.

However, Medaka's big promise to gain that presidency by an incredible margin (winning 98% of the votes, as this episode is fond of reminding us) is a hugely ambitious one - a vow to solve the problems of any student within the academy at any time, no matter what that worry or issue might be.  Dragged into this project is Medaka's hapless childhood friend Zenkichi Hitoyoshi, who seems to be rather the apple of her eye even if he can't quite see it for himself, perhaps blinded by his own soft centre when it comes to Medaka.

No sooner has the new president taken up residency than she finds herself tasked with her first duty - clearing a bunch of delinquents who have made themselves at home within the school's kendo club building.  With some rather fearsome kendo moves of her own and an overwhelming sense of superiority, setting this bunch of aggressive types straight proves to be no problem for her - but what of the student who requested her help in the first place?  There's more to this scenario than meets the eye, but thanks to Hitoyoshi and a little help from Medaka on account of the second request to drop into her suggestion box, all's well that ends well.  Except for Hitoyoshi perhaps, who finds himself offering to officially become part of the student council.

After growing in status markedly in recent years and starting this year by opening our eyes to the full gamut of uses for a toothbrush, it's now time for Nisio Isin's attempt at trying his hand at shounen manga to hit the small screen.  As opening episodes go this was decent enough if unspectacular for the most part - there were some small but notable moments which are hallmarks of the kind of dialogue and humour he's best known and most loved for, and Medaka and Hitoyoshi's characters both work almost surprisingly well in their respective roles.  It's too early to pick holes in the show's plot, with this warm-up instalment feeling a little rushed in places and clumsy in others, but the premise is in place for a show that could be pretty fun for the most part provided Gainax can find harmony between its visuals and reams of dialogue, which again occasionally threatened to become jarring on occasion.  Still, at least it can't be as dumb and boring as SKET Dance's early episodes, right?

No comments: