The premise of Medaka Box is simple, the student council must complete any request put before it via the “Suggestion Box”. However, such a seemingly innocent enough premise can quickly take a turn for the funniest, or the worst, when some of the requests turn out to be a little more than expected. This means that the show can go from an action series, to a comedy and even to something more sinister within the span of a few episodes. The Anime series is animated by Gainax, and based off of the Manga series by Nisio Isin, so you know that you’re definitely in for a strange, yet interesting, ride.
In Medaka Box, the student council initially starts off as one, just Medaka, the head of the student council. However, as the series’ progresses, Medaka meets new potential candidates from the student councils deeds of goodwill and the cast gradually grows because of this. This includes her childhood friend, Zenkiichi, that becomes her general duties person, a Kendo prodigy, Koicki, that has a pretty good rank as the secretary and a treasurer, Mogana, that believes in money above all else. It is this completely different cast of characters that make this show worth watching. Not only because of the interactions between each other, but also their interactions with other characters throughout the show. For example, Zenkiichi’s friendship with the strange, yet hyperactive, Shiranui. She seems like a comic relief character, but her personality goes against Zenkiichi’s majorly that the friendship is so strange, but you can’t help but find it enjoyable.
At first, Medaka Box seems like it is one of those series where it is pretty much a small group of characters doing a small group of character things in a whacky way kind of show. Like Haruhi, for example. However, as the show progresses, you see more and more hints of a dark underside to this unique high school that culminates into a strange arc that rattles the very feel of the show to its core. And it’s with this particular story that the show really gets to become really interesting, just to end leaving you wanting to know more!
Medaka Box, as a series, is animated by Gainax, which means that the animation is top quality with a lot of attention being paid to the character designs and the environment as a whole. In fact, we’d say that only a studio like Gainax could carry this rather bizarre series visually, considering the studios penchant for the odd themes and pretty girls. They also like to make their characters instantly recognisable, but also good enough to have on a shelf for merchandising reasons, so you know that, visually speaking, each of the characters in this show will be quite interesting to look at. Even if they wear a similar uniform, they still each have their own quirks to it, which becomes a problem for them at one point in the series, at the very least.
As a series, it can’t help but entertain the audience. This is likely to be in part due to the original manga being written by Nisio, the same person that penned the -monogatari series of novels, and as such, certainly carries his interesting style of writing and plot directions. As you can imagine, Gainax and Nisio mixing is surely a recipe for some outrageous oddity, and Medaka Box certainly delivers on that. Take Medaka herself as an example: she is a character that just loves everybody and everything at her school. Not so much in a way that would cause her to want to fall in love with everybody, but more of in a way that is more Jesus-like. This kind of character is certainly interesting to watch, especially when you add on top of that she’s pretty much the best at everything as well. However, she does have her quirks, like having animals be absolutely afraid of her, and also having an odd mixture of masculine and feminine personality some of the time.
When it comes to the audio in Medaka Box, you can’t help but enjoy the little background tunes, or the sound effects that play during certain sequences. Like when Medaka is Dashing! for example. The sound doesn’t really become too in the way or anything, but it certainly helps the atmosphere. However, unlike most shows, I can’t really complain about the dubbing in Medaka Box too much. Like, it fits, it’s not quite as good as the Japanese, but it isn’t exactly terrible. However, it seems to not quite carry the same feel as the Japanese dub. It was still enjoyable though.
The most surprising thing to us about Medaka Box was how the show had different artists do a picture for the cuts in the episode. Do you know those cards that specify the middle of an episode, like an ad break or something? Those things. They had different artists draw something for each cut out, which was something pretty cool. It was fairly enjoyable seeing different artists take on the characters and come up with something original for each one.
Overall, Medaka Box is an interesting and strange series with a lot of quirky moments and characters. If you’re a fan of Nisio, Gainax, fun, Anime, the manga, quirk, interesting concepts or even life itself, you’d probably enjoy Medaka Box. Oddly, the title of the series is the least odd thing about it. A must-have for the collection.
Medaka Box is released by Hanabee here in Australia. The dub was done by Sentai Filmworks in the US with Hanabee licensing their distribution here. It can be found on the Hanabee website for ~$65. We reviewed the series on Blu-Ray Disc. Image pilfered from Random Curiosity.