Medaka Box – 04

Naked sparkling pretty boy? Why not!

So who else is excited to see the resolution of the cliffhanger from last week? Okay, me neither. I mean, I guess a lot’s supposed to be on the line, but we already know that neither Zenkichi nor Akune will be going away anytime soon. And if the action animation is anything like the last episode’s, it won’t be particularly fun to watch.

Confidence is certainly something these 2 don’t lack.

Looks like the show will be sticking with the 2 segment format. The first half saw the continuation of the previous episode, Akune and Zenkichi dueling to determine whether or not they switch roles. Medaka gladly accepts this challenge for Zenkichi, saying that while she will never demand that he not lose, she will also never accept a student council officer backing down from a challenge. Since Akune is the “prince” of the judo club, he is given a severe handicap, needing 10 wins before Zenkichi gets 1. Still, he pretty easily takes him down 9 times.

While watching the duel, Nekomi explains to Medaka why she wants the trade to happen: she hates prodigies with natural talent like Medaka or Akune, while she loves those who put in “hard work and effort” for their accomplishments, like Zenkichi and herself. That’s also the spirit of the judo club. Medaka retorts that she never once believed that she was a prodigy or anything more than anyone else.

Admittedly very, very cute.

With the score 9-0, Medaka suddenly and uncharacteristically cheers on Zenkichi, giving him an abrupt push to use some fairly advanced technique to beat Akune. So no exchange occurs… except Nekomi kicks out Akune anyway and tells him to join the student council to keep chasing Medaka (oh, and she hasn’t given up on Zenkichi either – probably her real motive for this move). So now we’ve got a 3rd member of the student council, Kouki Akune the secretary.

Thank god those flowers are there, or else we might see something inappropriate!

The 2nd half sees Akune taking on his first request, writing out a love letter for Yatsushiro, a very boyish and awkward girl who is ashamed of her handwriting. She actually wanted Medaka to write for her as she was famous for her penmanship, but Medaka quickly delegated to Akune who is also known for his penmanship. So Akune writes one for her, not just physically writing but actually coming up with the content by himself. Medaka tells him that he failed, that he completely missed the point of the love letter. So back to the drawing board for Akune who now decides to force help Yatsushiro write the love letter by herself, giving her books to teach and food and guidance as she works on her penmanship for a week. In the end she manages to get it written and give it to her crush, and Medaka is satisfied and proud of Akune.

So cute! Only a fool would refuse. Also, she could probably beat you up.

Simple jokes are the best

I don’t know how you keep your figure, Shiranui, but I do know I want to take you out to dinner sometime.

I guess these students are used to anything, with Medaka as student council prez.

Another character card. Again, that same blood type.

I liked this episode somewhat better than the last. But one major problem this show continues to have is the poor visual quality. The duel in the first half was barely animated, with too many stills that lingered for too long. Too clearly there to fill up time without having to actually show movement. Studios like Deen (Sankarea) and Silver Link (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) have used the innovations in low budget animation over the past half decade (owing much to Shaft, I must admit) effectively to make impressive looking shows, but it seems Gainax is stuck in the old mindset of using the well tread shortcuts, resulting in something that is too obviously suffering from a low budget. I mean, in the 2nd half, they didn’t even show anyone’s handwriting, when that was a major component of the story!

I’ll admit I enjoy the character designs for the most part. It took me a while to warm up to them, but I like the harsh angles on Medaka and Zenkichi. Medaka’s costumes have been nice, such as her sleeveless uniform this episode (though it obviously doesn’t hold a candle to the doggirl suit). There have been many sporty girls in this show so far, and I think Yatsushiro this episode had the best design. The visible black tights at her shoulders was a departure from the bike shorts (“spats”) we usually see for characters like her but managed to convey the same feeling. And the bandage on one cheek was a nice touch. I noticed that she got a title card, with that same blood type as every other character who got that treatment. I hope that’s a sign that we’ll see more of her. Her confession face was adorable.

Really, the design and posture tell us so much about this character.

Positive development in the story is that we got a 3rd student council officer this week (hey that reminds me: 3rd Seitokai Yakuindomo (“Student Council Officers”) OVA episode this week!), and one who’s been quite a lot fun to watch at times. He makes for a good combo with Zenkichi, and it’s definitely a lot of fun hearing Waver or Kazehaya act as the pompous pretty boy. I admit to laughing when he appeared naked in the student council room. Same gag as Medaka’s from the first episode, with the censoring done without need, evidenced by the mirror. But how come Medaka didn’t sneak up on anyone this week?

That seems to be about the best thing that Medaka Box has going for it right now: short and sweet running gags. A shame we didn’t see Medaka sneaking up on someone again this episode, though we did see more of Shiranui’s insane eating habits. Still, that girl has been almost absent in the past 2 episodes to the show’s detriment. If this wasn’t a long-running manga, I’d be more interested in the contents of the conversation between Nekomi and Medaka in the first half; the whole effort vs. talent dichotomy is a subject I do enjoy seeing explored. I’m sure it’ll keep coming back, but without a clear endgame like, say, a light novel or a completed series of 12 light novels, I’m worried it’s not going to tie back together for a neat and satisfying finish that Nisio is good at. In absence of that, I want actual exploration of the topic instead of Medaka just retreading the same points.


A whole host of new characters. That’s generally been a good thing for this show so far.


A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
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8 Responses to “Medaka Box – 04”

  1. Andmeuths says:

    Actually, it’s my opinion that the first stories of Medaka Box should be presented in “Sketch” quick gags, because really, there’s no reason for a cohesive narrative in light of the rest of the manga. All the first few stories do is to set down some expectations about characterizations, and some threads for development and exploration – from an in manga perspective.

    It also mystifies me why they are being so faithful if indeed, Gainax has only One Cour to play around with.Unless of course, a Second cour has already been greenlighted. I’d imagine if there’s indeed a split Cour, with a Second Cour, that Second series will be hailed as the most drastically improved sequel ever, since the manga swings to the meat of the plot, and adopt a coherent narrative after the first Two Arcs.

    By the way, we are just about to enter the Second Arc manga-wise, in the anime adaptation for the information of anime viewers.

    On your point about Shaft style visual shortcuts:
    Since Nisio Isin wrote the Monogatari series, I’d imagine that that’s another plus in favor for Medaka Box to employ shaft style techniques. Even in an action manga like Medaka Box, Nisio is still infamous for his walls of texts.

    The lack of a clear “endgame”,is because Medaka Box would soon go through a Premise altering genre shift. To say anymore will be spoilerish, but I think most people’s problems with the last half of this Cour of Medaka Box will be intrinsically tied in to the fact that this seems to be a One Cour Series.

    Worst still, a One Cour Series covering material that in a conventional manga of Medaka Box real genre will be condemned as boring filler. So, most of those who might subscribe and hang on because of those Slice of Life and Rom-Com undertones to Medaka Box would be in for a very strong dose of cognitive dissonance, I’d imagine, come to genre shift. And when it comes it late in the anime adaptation (while very early, from the overall plot), that’s where the limitations of the anime medium come into play.

    Indeed, the poor adaptation of the fighting scenes actually makes me fear for what happens when Medaka Box hits the main story, since Action scenes are going to be more critical here.

    Ultimately, this, I fear will be judged by anime viewers presuming that this is an Anime Original as one of Nisio Isin’s weakest works. Unfortunately, I have to concur, since the adapters have the misfortune of adapting of what’s arguably the poorest and most deceptive parts of Medaka Box.

    Now, as for whether Shaft or another studio adopting a similar animating ethos might be better, well, I am reminded about the butchery of the Negima adaptation. Mind you, both of these stories share very similar traits, in one very critical regard: they change their genre at a point that would be quite late from the One Cour Anime adaptation perspective that pre-dominates of late. (In Negima’s case, it’s Two Cour, if I recall correctly.)

    Which is why fans of the Medaka Box manga are warning that One Cour, especially a very mindlessly faithful One Cour adaptation is insufficient for Medaka Box.

    The Gainax label of course helps alot. And I am going to suspect that those who are watching Medaka Box because of Gainax “infamous” reputation for mind-screws and over the topness might actually love the genre shift. Though I might be being optimistic here.

    My biggest beef of all though? Medaka’s VA is too meek.

    • lvlln says:

      I’ve heard Aki Toyosaki criticized a lot for her Medaka. As one familiar with the manga, did you have another type of voice in mind, or perhaps another voice actor who would’ve worked better? So far I don’t have a problem with it. Though. Emiri Kato is the one who’s knocking it out of the park in this show with Shiranui.

      I really wonder what they’re thinking with this adaptation. If the manga takes a sharp turn pretty late, are they planning on making this a long-runner? I guess that could work, but that still doesn’t excuse spending too much time on the boring parts and animating it so poorly.

      • Andmeuths says:

        Something closer to Haruhi’s voice, or at the very least, Yuri from Angel Beats, since Medaka fits that general character archetype, only imagine these characters in a balls to the wall Shounen Action Manga that Medaka Box would hopefully slide into in the anime adaptation towards the end of the Cour, assuming that Gainax doesn’t screw things up. The problem is, Aki Toyosaki’s Voice Acting for Medaka sounds like a Yui Hirasawa being forced to project a commanding, decisive voice at gunpoint. But still, manga readers would have to wait till the end of the Cour to fully decide. It’s worth noting we’ve not yet seen Medaka truly angry yet, and Aki Toyosaki’s performance during those scenes are going to be decisive.

        And the other problem is that the general Slice of Life undertones of the first half of Medaka Box so far is giving me the ugly impression that the producers are not reading ahead. Or, they don’t plan to go far with Medaka Box.

        • lvlln says:

          I’d be worried about making Medaka seem too much like a Haruhi clone, given how much of one she is already. A similar voice would get too close for comfort, even if I think Aya Hirano would be talented enough to pull her off incredibly. Obviously I don’t know the developments coming up with respect to her character and if this is appropriate for it, but I like hearing Yui-trying-to-be-commanding in Medaka.

  2. wantei says:

    Medaka always amuses me to no end!! XD

  3. Foshizzel says:

    Oh man Madaka’s moe face was killer! Ahahah

    Sorry the gif idea didn’t work out for your post! I have a lot to learn it seems in terms of gif making T____T Anyway great episode I liked the side character this week <3

    • lvlln says:

      Thanks a lot for giving me a hand with the gif. I wasn’t sure where to host it, since imgur has a 2MB filesize limit…

      • Foshizzel says:

        OOooh! Yeah I just used my link from my Twitpic page and went to Insert image – URL – and uploaded from that, but I need to find a way to shrink them more…

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