Thursday, 26 April 2012

Medaka Box - Episode 4

It's prodigies against hard workers as we kick off this week's Medaka Box - at least, that's how things line up in the mind of judo club president Nekomi.

In the hope of snagging Hitoyoshi, and using Akune's love of Medaka to her advantage, we're all set for an epic judo match to decide whether Hitoyoshi can continue to serve our student council president or switch places with and join the judo club.  Given his talents, Akune is given something of a handicap in this match, with a requirement to score ten points before his rival manages to score one.  As Nekomi and Medaka discuss the finer points of who or what a prodigy might be from the sidelines, things take a rather predictable turn in the match itself, with Akune looking to win out easily - he has, however, failed to calculate the potency of Medaka's secret weapon...

As a result, Hitoyoshi gets to keep his place alongside Medaka, while Akune finds himself kicked out of the judo club, leaving him free to join the student council himself and continue his fruitless pursuit of Medaka.  He's given an early chance to impress too, as the tomboyish Yatsushiro comes to the council in the hope of having someone write a love letter for her on account of her appalling handwriting.  When Akune's literal evaluation of this request fails to please Medaka, he (and Yatsushiro to boot) have to take a rather more long-winded and thoughtful approach to the entire affair.

While it would be unfair to categorise this week's episode of Medaka Box as "dull", it wasn't all that far from it - the end of its judo-based story arc was hugely predictable and the second half of the episode frittered away a potentially interesting side character in Yatsushiro to do.... well, nothing of any particular interest to be honest.  There's simply nothing captivating about the show at this juncture - Medaka herself isn't exact the most likeable of titular characters, Akune is rather annoying and Hitoyoshi is a decent guy but nothing to write home about.  It's becoming really hard to fathom exactly what Medaka Box wants to be - its story arcs aren't interesting enough to work in their own right, but there's very little in the way of comedy or anything else to supplement it.  At the moment I'm persevering with the series simply on account of tales about how the manga changes and shifts its priorities hugely further down the line, but it's becoming a harder slog to do so by the week.

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