「ゴーラ学園I」 (Goura Gakuen I)
“Gola Academy I”
A new arc means new characters, but as of now this cast doesn’t really mean much or makes me care. We now have all sorts of paranormal and supernatural going on here, all at what may be one of the last schools in the world–Gola Academy. It’s almost like a page out of Rosario+Vampire where everyone has their own special paranormal ability, only rather than hereditary gain, God bestowed it upon them in response to their wishes. Sounds interesting so far, right? First zombies, now everything else supernatural (and Railgun). Why not. Normally it would be an interesting concept to explore in a world abandoned by God, yet the entire premise seems to be passing at a swifter than swift rate. Stop show! Wait! I need to learn about all these characters before the–oh, they’re escaping already.
Though we do get a picture painted as to why they’d want to leave–forced digging for an adult’s personal gain under the guise of reformation is something you’d see out of the novel Holes–it’s a hastily drawn picture without much beauty or thought put into it. More time is spent on fanservice than developing any semblance of character motivations or personalities. We are introduced to a large cast of characters and their basic abilities, but no time is spent, or is even available, to develop the human side of these characters, something that’s played an important role in defining the morality of the show. Right now, Kaminai is filled with a largely generic cast of schoolchildren trying to escape a supposedly cruel institution, attempting to cover all the bases but sufficiently covering none in the process.
One such base that is severely lacking is Ai’s supposed ignorance about how a school should work. Theoretically, her comedic ignorance about not knowing anything about how a proper school should make sense, but unfortunately the execution to convince us of that is lackluster. Something about Ai irritated me this episode, not just because she’s lucks out on basically every situation, but also that her reactions to certain situations seems so forced. Apparently to her, a bunch of people in intimidating black suits who whisk you away from the people who care for you are apparently part of what makes a school a school in Ai’s eyes, or so she deduced. I understand that Hampney’s words were to be misunderstood, but really? I suppose given her context she’d believe Hampney, but it all comes off as a forced baka-moment to me. The pieces are strung way too strangely and awkwardly by Ai to make the plot seem cohesive, and as such one spends less time thinking about the world-building she’s supposed to be creating with her ignorance, and more time thinking about why Ai can be this blissfully unaware.
Frankly, I don’t have much hope for this arc, even though it does have some new elements to spice up the mix. It seems that this arc will be more character-driven rather than setting-driven–which basically means the show will focus less on what it does well and more on what it’s been failing to do, with Ai–the main suspect–as the central target. I am holding out for next episode though, as the preview indicates that once again, Ai’s beliefs will be shaken up by a sad turn of events, and as a result enhance our understanding of the world. Also, hopefully we get to see what our ghost character has to do with what’s possibly Ai’s mother. As long as this arc doesn’t morph into a side-show of “superhero kids fighting off evil!“, I’ll be able to find something good to say in these next few episodes.