Seitokai no Ichizon – 01
「駄弁る生徒会」 (Daberu Seitokai)
“Chattering Student Council”
There appears to be quite a bit of buzz going on the Internet waves regarding this new series. I’ve been putting it off, but I guess it warrants its own post after all.
As luck would have it, I’ve been “fortunate” enough to have someone bringing all the chatter in the anime-websphere to my attention since I never really visit forums and such myself. With regards to anime, I like to decide for myself what I want to watch and not be influenced by what others are saying. That, and the fact that things can get pretty ugly in anime forum discussions much like they do here at times. So from that small blurp, all I wanted to get across is that my opinions here are rarely outside-influenced — I like what I like, I don’t what I don’t. I just tend to like more than I dislike. Nothing new right? For Seitokai no Ichizon though, I’d like to make that clear upfront. It somehow feels like you can get burned at the stake for saying something about this series one way or another.
As many of you probably know, Patrik wasn’t a big fan of the light novel that this anime adaptation is based on. From his review of it, I was actually keen on seeing the anime since it sounded like something I might enjoy. For a comedy series, the character descriptions alone put it in a good light. As for the descriptions themselves, I’ll take an excerpt from his post. “These five [characters] are: student council president Sakurano Kurimu (cute loli type), secretary Akaba Chizuru (cool beauty type), vice-president Shiina Minatsu (sporty tomboy type), accountant Shiina Mafuyu (sweet and shy type), and finally the guy who’s decided they will all be part of his harem — vice-president Sugisaki Ken (perverted otaku protagonist).”
The four girls are voiced by new, upcoming, female seiyuus, whereas Ken is voiced by Kondou Takashi who has a bit more experience than the rest. They all do a really good job playing the personalities for their particular role, with Takashi leading the forefront with his take on the openly-perverted, sole male member of the student council. Aside from that, the girls also perform the opening and ending themes so it looks like they’re getting thrown into character songs already (for better or worse). In short, the characters are interesting and amiable, and the seiyuus play the roles well (meaning you should expect them in upcoming shows). The character designs I’m not too big on for proportional reasons, but they’re actually done by the same person who did Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka‘s — one Horii Kumi. (You could’ve fooled me though.)
Under the direction of Satou Takuya, whose work includes Ichigo Mashimaro (which I loved), Seitokai no Ichizon really has a lot going for it. However, the first episode had me on the fence about the series going forward even in light of all the upside mentioned above. To be fair, I knew there would be a lot of meta-jokes and references to other series. In addition to poking fun at themselves, they also made mention of Lucky Star, Suzumiya Haruhi, Kuroshitsuji, Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Evolution (ick), Higurashi, and Umineko among various others. There was also a predominant gag around eroge (and otaku lingo in general) since Ken wants to make the student council his very own harem. That’s all fine and dandy; I can appreciate it all for what it is. The jokes were funny at times, not so much at others, but that’s how comedy in general tends to play out, so I wouldn’t knock the series for that.
On the other side of the fence, I see this series as a stand-up comedic routine that takes place in one room with four girls and one guy. If these type of jokes are indeed the selling point of the series, they’ll probably grow old on me fairly quickly. I enjoy my comedy series very much, but I need some sort of plot to tie things together regardless of how sparse it may be. Whether this is a guy who transforms into a girl and has to compete in random battles or a guy who’s deathly allergic to cats but has to help them, I need something there even if it’s over-the-top gimmicky. The idea of a bunch of characters chatting away in a room about anything and everything under the sun and referring to anything and everything that’s been popular in the anime world (surprisingly) isn’t gimmicky to me. That said, who knows… the anime may show some progress in Ken’s harem-making process or one of the girls will geniunely fall for him. From the sound of the light novel though, I don’t see that happening.
When watching an anime series, it’s always cool when they add easter egg references that are neat if you notice them, but don’t heavily impact your enjoyment if you don’t. Evidently though, that’s the niche this series is going for, so I would imagine that it can impact your enjoyment a fair bit. Even then, my objective side still thinks it’s fine if you don’t get all the references since I never really got all of the ones in Hayate no Gotoku! either. That said, it’s hard (if not impossible) to farily judge this or any series on its first episode alone, so I’ll need to check out a few more before I can decide if it’s something I want to continue watching. At this point, I’m wary that the jokes will grow old on me, but various anime series have surprised me when I least expect it so maybe this one will too.
* Just for the record, I actually watched this episode several times in an attempt to be objective as possible — a few times in Japanese and even once with subs to see if it comes off differently in English. (It didn’t.)