Well, it sure didn’t take long for Medaka Box Abnormal to get back to its season 1 form. Gainax truly is a shell of its former self if this is the best they can produce. The episode had enough silly parts that I didn’t regret watching it, but the low visual quality and the overly video gamey setup made this episode a disappointment compared to the 1st 2 of the season.
Just like in the previous episode, Abnormal continued to be fun when it went over the top. Meta humor can be very hit-or-miss, and Oudo’s explanation of how he appeared to be disobeying gravity standing on the wall was a hit. A nice touch being that the explanation did not make him seem any less badass. Akune reminded us of his own badassery in the 2nd half with a performance that would have made Simon the Digger proud. It may be dumb, but I do admire that he would prefer to club the door a million times over entering a PIN a million times, just to make a statement. Filling out the student council was Kikaijima, whose return and perpetual blush and embarrassment were quite welcome.
Kikaijima’s sonar producing ability is insane in a good way.
But it still suffered from horrible animation, both technically and artistically. Zenkichi’s kick of Oudo wasn’t quite as insanely long as in the previous episode, but it was still far too extended and very ugly. I was grateful that the training was completely skipped over, but it should have been supplanted by a proper fight scene, instead of one 5-second-long kick followed by a bunch of talking. The plot development is also getting more and more stupid and convoluted, with the Flask Plan turning into a full-on 13-level challenge tower (basement). It’s not even attempting at trying to write the action into the story, instead tossing the main characters into artificially constructed challenges, like a video game. That was alright when Nisio made it an integral part of the story as in Katanagatari, but this is clumsily hammered in there. Given how quickly things can happen in this show – it completely averted the needless training, after all – there’s reason to remain positive, but this is not a positive development.
I was pleased to see conversation of discussion about talent vs. effort take center stage yet again, with the reveal that the Flask Plan’s goal is to create a genius potion (with Oudo’s more odious plan being to sabotage the Plan for world domination). I’ve long said that Medaka’s perfect self is Medaka Box‘s biggest asset (I don’t mean assets), as her unique capabilities provide a nice jumping off point for exploring different worldviews relating to potential, talent, and hard work and guts. Medaka is a good person to a fault, to the point that she actually appears condescending due to how good she assumes others can be. Her position that a genius potion shouldn’t exist is an easy one for her to take, but not as much for someone who can only achieve a small fraction of what she can despite many times the effort. Of course, almost all media will depict “achievement through hard work” as being superior to “achievement through talent,” as it is more fair and just, though depending on how cynical the work is, it doesn’t always win. It provided for some nice cheesy-enough-to-be-good moments when Akune came to Zenkichi’s aid with, “Then all you have to do is try one million different PINs” as the solution for a presumed Normal like Zenkichi to overcome the barrier.
Abnormal has been significantly better than the first season, but it has steadily gotten worse each episode. I must admit that this is a guilty pleasure of mine at this point; it’s not a so-bad-it’s-good show like Guilty Crown or Sword Art Online; it’s just plain bad. But I can’t help but stick around due to my love of the characters and the performances of their voice actors.
Thanks as always to Fosh for providing the captions!
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