Final Review: Medaka Box Abnormal

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless otherwise noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Medaka Box Abnormal is yet another sequel this past anime season. It is the direct continuation of Spring 2012’s Medaka Box. As it is a direct sequel, this will be more of a follow-up review. Medaka Box Abnormal premiered during the Fall 2012 anime season and like its prequel, it was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll and licensed by Sentai Filmworks. You can find a review of the first series here.

Medaka Box Abnormal is a direct follow up to its prequel and unlike its predecessor, it jumps right into the next arc’s action. Rather than dawdling on member gathering or mindless Medaka fanservice, the series immediately introduces the next arc’s antagonist, i.e. members of Class 13 and the Flask Plan. Story wise, it is much better than the previous series due to more interesting action as well as who Medaka and the members of class 13 really are. The plot does seem to take shortcuts in the middle of the series where it only fights/introduces a handful of the Class 13 members along with a number of deus ex moments. However it is also nice to see a number of returning antagonists (i.e. Team Loser) and that the show doesn’t just discard them after one use. The biggest highlight of course is the entry of Good Loser Kumagawa, which I’m sure many manga fans have been anticipating since the beginning of season 2 when he was shown in the OP video sequence. The final episode leaves a nice cliffhanger for a potential sequel given the introduction of Kumagawa, which if some of you may recall is Medaka’s worst “rival.”

Art has generally remained the same from season 1 but animation wise has improved dramatically. The show finally shows what GAINAX has always been capable of, particularly in all the fights. It’s probably the best animation work I’ve seen from GAINAX since Gurren Lagann.

OP is fantastic this time by Minami Kuribayashi and arguably one of this season’s better anime themes. ED is also another step up as well from last season; this time by Aki Misato instead of Aki Toyosaki. Background music remains average while sound effects are very good. Seiyuu is the same as before.

Enjoyment? It’s a fantastic show if you’re blowing through it in one go given the rapid build up and execution. In terms of week by week, it occasionally leaves some cliffhanger, but if you’ve read the manga, there really are no surprises given how close the anime follows the source.

Overall, Medaka Box Abnormal is a solid follow up. While Kumagawa only appeared for really only one episode, the finale leaves significant opportunity for the series to continue as events are mostly uphill from here. The show, however, remains non groundbreaking and will likely only be enjoyed by Nisio Isin fans. It’s got a few ridiculous moments at times but that alone isn’t enough to make a true mainstream shounen title. It tries to be unconventional but at the same time it continues to fall in the same traps that conventional titles do.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (1/1): Picks up right where season 1 leaves off. Good action start.
  • Character Personalities (1/1): The cast is psychopathic as usual. Medaka becomes even more ridiculous as the series goes on.
  • Character Development (1/2): Medaka’s and Zenkichi’s past are revealed far more this time around. Shallow antagonists
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1/2): Protagonist cast remains small. Antagonist grows really large with little screen time.
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): Middle is a bit slow. Ending and climax fight feels a tad rushed.
  • Reasonable/Plausible (1/2):  This is Medaka Kurokami we’re talking about…she can do anything meaning everything is insanely possible meaning there is no such thing as reason in this show. It does not have to make logical sense. As for plausiblity… sure why not? It is just the “student council” anyways.
  • Conclusion (1/1): Kumagawa enough said
  • Total: 6.5/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1/2): Bland and boring. Some nice details from time to time though.
  • Character Designs (1/2): Interesting but poor art style. Stays somewhat faithful to the manga material but doesn’t make the characters feel crazy enough. They look more like delinquents across the board if anything else.
  • Fluidity (2/2): Those action scenes are great and filled with fantastic detail.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Big step up between the two different seasons
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (2/2): A massive jump in quality by GAINAX. I guess GAINAX still really knows when to shine when they want to.
  • Total: 8/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (2.5/3): Love the OP theme. ED theme is decent too.
  • Background Music (1/2): Same as season 1
  • Sound Effects (2/2): Same as season 1
  • Seiyuu (2/3): Same as season 1.
  • Total: 7.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (2/2): Medaka’s random antics are more amusing than ever. Kumagawa.
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (1/2): Cliffhangers are still weak on a weekly basis. More enjoyable than season 1 though.
  • Presentation: (1/2): Non-stop action from beginning to end. A bit rushed at parts. Shallow developments and introduction of new characters
  • Re-watchable (0.5/1): Potentially rewatchable depending on a third season as we will see Kumagawa finally take on a larger role.
  • Recommendation (1/2): Nisio Isin fans should watch this title. It’s atypical Nisio Isin but at the same time typical.
  • Value (0.5/1): Not a groundbreaking shounen action title. Season 2 pulls together season 1 and gives it s some value now. Season 2 is likely underrated given all the haters beating down the prequel
  • Total: 6/10

Preliminary Score: 7/10

Final Score: 7/10

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