「青春プレリュード」 (Seishun Pureryūdo)
In my general overview of Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku in the season preview, I noted that it was cut from similar stock as MEKAKUCITY ACTORS. That’s not an exactly flattering pedigree by anime terms, less the rockstar father and more the embarrassing alcoholic uncle, but just because MEKAKUCITY ACTORS turned out to be mediocre doesn’t mean it wasn’t, on the whole, an interesting exercise. Music video to anime! Sure, it went through a light novel and a manga along the way, but it’s still fundamentally about turning relatively abstract ideas into a cohesive narrative. That’s at least a bit different from the various other adaptations we regularly get in anime.
Of course, the question begged is whether Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku is actually all that similar to MEKAKUCITY ACTORS in practice, and superficially there is of course the entire premise about teenagers with unique powers, etc, etc. But on other levels, I’m not sure if the two will end up in comparable places, mostly because I’m still not exactly sure what Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku actually is. So for those of you who didn’t watch MEKAKUCITY ACTORS and felt alienated for the last paragraph and a half, no worries! We’re going to ignore it from now and just try to figure out what manner of beast Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku is.
Ichinomiya Eruna (Kimura Juri) is certainly quite the character. Seemingly not being able to decide whether she wants to be a goofy shounen lead, a dating sim protagonist, or a magical girl, she has opted to play all of them at once. Not that there’s necessarily much of a difference between any of those these days; just look over at Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha playing in the very same season. Frankly, if you’re the designated hero in an anime chances are you’re going to be a teen with some kind of hidden potential with which you LETS FIGHTING with, no matter your slight genre variation. And we know Eruna’s the hero because she wears the scarf. Scarves are the symbols of heroes! Yeah!
Being the hero and presumably important, this first episode does a great deal to endear us to Eruna, as the story moves almost entirely from her perspective, and she is expected to carry more or less the entire show. Normally, all the introductions and exposition of pilot episodes risk bogging down the pacing, but Eruna provides enough entertainment to fill in the quiet spaces and then some. No development seems dull when there’s a crazy lesbian to go hyperactive over it. I didn’t think I’d like her very much after reading a bit of the manga to write the preview, since she’s basically basically just the perverted idiot archetype that we’ve seen time and again, but Eruna manages to go enough over-the-top to make me laugh. Of course, I still don’t know why she’s special or whether she’ll ever have a motivation beyond swooning for the damsel (Oonishi Saori), but at least I like her, and am interested in finding out more.
The setting, Mikagura Gakuen, is harder to pin down than our protagonist. For one thing, I’m not actually sure about the level of fantasy this show is operating on, because we never really get a sense of how fantastical Mikagura Private Academy is compared to the rest of the world. Eruna’s overactive imagination and unique perspective blurs reality and make-believe to desensitise viewers to the oddities of the academy, but you’d think someone else would have spoken up about their whacky education unless this was par for the course. The uniform is not uniform, chemical weapons are deployed on campus, and one of their teachers is a flying-cat-mascot-thing (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu). At least, you’d think one student would have complained about the school’s criminal mistreatment of their fiduciary charges. Nope. It starts to make me look like the strange one. Apparently, everyone had the cool curriculum except for me.
We’re likely not supposed to think about it very hard, for if we were to get overly serious about the details, we surely wouldn’t last. Just consider the clubs and their representative powers, which are thematic to the point of silliness. The Art Club uses palettes as options Gradius style to throw paint bombs, the Calligraphy Club has a giant brush, the Gardening Club grows triffids and the, er, Impractical Agriculture Club wields an oversized scythe. The themes let us pin them down on first sight, and their powers aren’t even the most comical anime has to offer. The farce and frivolities, though, does clash with the cold open, in which our protagonist’s alleged love interest gets nuked by someone from apparently either the Photography Club or the Ophthalmology Club. Do the battles ever become serious business? Or was it just an action-teaser with no context? I guess we’ll find out, and until then we’ll just wonder whether people brooding enigmatically at their window is foreshadowing or if they’re just admiring the glass-work.
There’s a lot of things that Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku could be at this point—comedy, drama, action, romance, or all of the above—and just from this episode I can’t really tell what its goals are. But it looked pretty good, was paced fairly evenly, and most importantly was fun, so one doesn’t feel like they need to immediately find out. I don’t know if I want to be covering this show on a weekly basis, especially if Funimation is going to make things difficult, but I’ll give it another episode, at least, to see if it can maintain its energy. I’ll see you all again next week.
Full-length images: 12, 26, 27, 37, ED 01.
ED: 「放課後ストライド」 (Houkagu Stride) by 木村珠莉 (Kimura Juri as Ichinomiya Eruna)
cool character designs, humor, AND Lesbians? sign me up!
Heh, your words for the intro/flavor text before the jump made me think “Sucker Punch.” Looks like a fun, over-the-top anime, though I doubt I’ll remember/care to rewatch it after the season is over (unless it does something really noteworthy to set itself apart).
We will never see a gay MALE protag in a show like this one. Just saying.
As far as traditional gender roles go, Eruna is basically a guy in a skirt anyway. But a rambunctiously gay man as the protagonist? I can at least imagine it.
Why do I think those people thumbs-upping this comment are missing your point? At least I hope they’re doing it for the right reason.
That’s an interesting point. I wondered for a moment if I would enjoy watching something like that unfold, and I guess it depends. One reason I stay away from yaoi is how ridiculous some of the romances can be (Read a couple before), but ultimately that might be through a lens colored by societal norms.
However, if it was as wacky as this, I just might give it a shot.
Everything is a matter of money. If there were as many anime fans who’d like to watch it shounen-ai as there are to watch it shoujo-ai, we surely would.
I think this is the pleasant surprise of the season. Eruna’s a fun ball of energy. And she really likes girls. I mean, REALLY likes them.
The story is ridiculous and silly, and for now, I guess we’ll have to see where it goes. But definitely worth watching for Eruna.
Some excerpts from the recent interview for this show I found interesting about what to expect in regards to her perversion levels. There’s tidbits from her Shirobako role and I’m definitely looking forward to these yuri delusion sequences of hers.
Show Spoiler ▼
Seems like Maria Holic with less edge but more fighting. I quite liked the first episode and I hope they can keep it up.
“Let’s become so close that people misunderstand us!”
How old is the source material? I’m very surprised about the line about gay marriage(or at least lesbian) not being allowed (but marrying your cousin is), I thought the law changed some years ago. Otherwise quite good, though I get the feeling, the love life of Eruna will be played for laughs, but maybe with the other girl from her club it will indeed played with in a serious fashion.
The situation in japan is a bit weird. Same-sex marriage is currently not legal in japan because their constitution declares that “Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes[…]”.
There is a law that allows japanese to marry same-sex foreigners in their countries if same-sex marriage is legal there. If you’ve ever seen/read a scene in a yuri anime/manga where characters declare that they will fly to such a country and get married there, that is often actually a misinterpretation of this law, as this law only allows marriage if one of the partners actually comes from the country they want to marry in.
However in recent years there have been a few decisions that seem to lean towards making same-sex marriage possible in Japan.
Also, the Japanese government doesn’t recognize foreign same-sex marriages – it merely stopped impeding them.
Japan is fairly liberal on gay rights compared to most Asian countries, but same-sex marriage is indeed still illegal here. There’s movement in that direction (like there is in America) but there are strong elements in the LDP that still oppose it, and (like there is in America) there’s still quite a lot of homophobia. Especially in rural areas.
The law changed in Shibuya a few days ago. Shibuya is the first place where same-sex couples can get a certificate. See: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32130599
The certificates, unfortunately, have no legal power and do not equate to marriage, though I suppose they represent a certain amount of moral authority, and that’s worth something. Curiously, I suspect that this minimal level of authority would be enough to get it struck down in court, if it were challenged. At least it would make for interesting constitutional law, if it were to happen.
I’m very surprised that this anime can make you debate bout LGBT marriages. O.O
If no one gives Eruna her requisite nickname of “Erona” by the end of this series, I’m gonna cry.
Catchy ending theme, btw.
They were singing all the way through it. Like, nonstop. I really liked it as well.
The World God Only Knows meets the high school club battle system from Kill La Kill, starring a raging lesbian that sleeps on the floor from yet another music video series.
I’m not even mad. Why did something this brilliant in concept at least take so long to get an anime adaptation.
Sorry to say but I rather watch the Mekaku anime.
Reason 1: SHAFT is so good in catching audience attention with their avant-garde visuals.
Reason 2: Story is so-so, but is less weird than Mikagura.
Reason 3: There are no over-the-top female characters, which makes Mekaku a tolerable watch.
I’ll read the next episode’s review to see if it’s worth seeing clubs using supernatural powers and if MC girl stop being such a pervert to girls. It creeps me out watching this episode that barely pay my attention to her…
Thank Goc it’s nothing like Mekaku, but while I enjoyed the premiere I’m awash in the same uncertainties you are.
Passerby, I don’t suppose you know of the classic US sitcom Green Acres – and the theory that the entire thing is actually the delusional fantasy of the insane main character?
Alas, I don’t watch much TV and miss out on most US sitcoms. My theory, though, is that unless the psychological aspect is played very deliberately, if the viewer is actively looking for a conclusion that is essentially similar to ‘it was all a dream’, then perhaps something has been done wrong.
I didn’t think about it at the time, but it kind of makes a strange sort of sense that this could be a delusion. One thing I noticed that seemed off was when Eruna gave the maid the nickname Kurumi because she thought she was cool, then when Kurumi turned up later as the homeroom teacher her introduction revealed her actual name really was Kurumi.
I noticed the coincidence, but I couldn’t tell if the maid was just playing along or if Eruna had precognitive powers. I suspect that the flying-cat-thing will never be called anything but Bimi, though.
Or even ‘better’, it could pull a “Shutter Island”-esque twist on us, reveal that Eruna had already destroyed the world and everyone in and all that we’re seeing now is a delusion created by her mind to escape the insufferable reality of what she’d done.
Now that would be totally weird. Weirder than Mekaku…o.O
I did not expect to enjoy this episode at all yet as I watched the show I kept smiling and laughing. This episode was a lot of fun to watch and I have much higher expectations for this series then when I started. Looking forward to the next episode.
Call me a stiff-neck, but I’m absolutely not a fan of Yaoi or Shoujo-Ai. Eruna, however, seems to make things work because she’s just over the top when it comes to cute girls and her reactions, be it with her love for women or other things, are great. She’s entertaining and it feels natural, as seemingly haphazardly the different personality archetypes were placed into her. Kudos to Kimura Jun for voice her so well and bringing out the wacky flavor.
The fantasy setting, though, feels quite iffy. There are no mechanics to be had yet so it might be early to judge, but I have some kind of feeling that some of it requires leaving one’s expectations and part of his/her brains outside while you watch the show. I do like how colorful the scenes turn out to be when the fighting went on. Good fun.
I’d agree Eruna practically stole the entire show in the first episode. Not a bad thing, but it does make me wonder how interesting the other characters will be. Seisa is more or less still a mystery (other than the fact she just trolled Eruna into doing something she didn’t want to) and the other characters pale in comparison to Eruna.
Fun pilot episode with relatively quick yet satisfactory pacing. 3 Episode Rule is now in effect for this one.
Based on the collection of the Last Note collection of songs It makes sense !
The anime is based off the Last Note songs
Characters and Their song from THE OST Last Note / The songs fit them . I hope they get played!
Eruna Ichinomiya / “Hōkago Stride”After-School Stride Track 11
Seisa Mikagura / “Esoragoto Spiral” Fabrication Spiral Track 4
Otone Fujishiro / “Sekirara Candy” Unreserved Candy Track Track 7
Himi Yasaka / “Uchōten Vivace” Ecstatic Vivace Track 3
Shigure Ninomiya / “Kakushinteki Heroism” Innovative Heroism Track 10
Yuto Akama / “Mukiryoku Coup d’état” Lethargic Coup d’état Track 6
Kyoma Kuzuryu / “Garakuta Innocence” Trashy Innocence Track 2
Sadamatsu Minatogawa / “Hanafubuki Reflect” Reflection of a Cherry Blossom Shower Track 5
Asuhi Imizu / “Izayoi Seeing” Seeing A Sixteen Day Moon Track Track 8
Bimii / “Fujōri Roulette” Irrational Roulette Track Track 9
I didn’t like the character designs compared to the originals, but the story seems to have much more potential than Mekakucity Actors.
Source material: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLqu8uAXO8s
You would think the pink girl is the heroine in a reverse harem…
Myamori, yuri, Last note. ED ~ im on board
When I saw the trailer I think Shigure is a teacher.
I can’t wait for the second episode. Because the new character on the preview (twin-tail girl) is voiced by Ari Ozawa (Sakura Chiyo from GSNK)!