First Impressions: Seitokai Yakuindomo*


School girls make smutty jokes, season two

It's been almost four years since the original Seitokai Yakuindomo, an anime that aired back when I was still studying at university. This particular anime was shown in one of the societies I was attending, among several others. Getting together with other anime fans to watch and praise/slam shows together was a good departure from reading books and writing essays, so you could say that comedies in particular were quite sought after. 

That's not to say each and every show was gobbled up and enjoyed, but for the most part I'd like to think that it was easy to forgive the rough edges. Seitokai Yakuindomo was one of those shows we were all to willing to forgive, because hey, it's pretty easy to get some laughs out of a room full of sleep-deprived guys with good old toilet humour. And that's what you're going to be in for if you decide to try out the sequel, denoted by it's strategic (read: silly) use of an asterisk. 

But here's to old times! I was more than a little curious to see if I'd still enjoy the formula now that I'm in the scary real world, full-time job, new-found taste for coffee and all. Oh boy...[Editor's Note: Wait. You started drinking coffee AFTER college? How can this be?]

In the previous series, Tsuda Takatoshi had just started his first year at Ousai Academy, which up until that year had been a girls-only school. Oddly enough, the overwhelming proportion of females to males wasn't his reason for attending; he picked it only because of how close it was to home. However, he soon realizes that he has made a terrible mistake when he discovers that he is one of only a few male students attending. To make matter worse, the female students have become very comfortable having candid and, err, intimate discussions that would otherwise never be conducted in the presence of a male. 

Obviously the odd premise is just to explain how Tsuda can be around so many girls all of the time, but it also allows the show to do away with more or less any other male characters. With the protagonist actually uninterested in the perverse happenings in the school, it passes the jokes over to the female students, who are ready with quite the variety of dick jokes and other related lowbrow humor. This is Seitokai Yakuindomo's most distinguishing feature: have the girls make the sex jokes and use Tsuda for the down-to-Earth reactions.

But therein lies the problem; this show is the sex jokes and potty-mouth humour. I guess you could say that it's a comedy show above everything else, because there's no attempt at progression or an overarching plot. It's just a showcase of the odd situations that the students of Ousai Academy get into. If you looking for anything other than that, then there really is nothing here for you. This direction stems largely from the original manga, as the 4-panel style comes through incredibly clear. 

Here's the formula: A conversation will be initiated by either Tsuda, or one of the few female characters that isn't making the jokes. There may even be a little banter from someone else that stays true to the topic of that particular conversation. There will then be a comment from one of the other female characters, usually either student council president Amakusa Shino or her friend Shichijou Aria, which just derails the conversation and makes a joke of it. Rinse and repeat. Don't get me wrong, this is by far not the only manga/anime that takes this approach, but if you don't enjoy this particular type of humor, there's really nothing here for you. It's just joke after joke until the twenty minutes or so are up.

Oddly, it seems that Seitokai Yakuindomo* is trying out a few new things for this season, notably with its excessive use of 3D models. A lot of the backgrounds students are in fact animated models, but whether this is in an attempt to make the scenes look busier, for laughs or for budget reasons, it's not so clear. I don't think it's the latter, as there was a very well-animated scene involving a judo fight. This involved a girl countering a judo throw by spinning around her opponents body and trapping her in an arm lock (see this), which didn't lend itself to a specific gag. It was all rather odd, because I think I enjoyed myself more in the thirty seconds of that fight than in the rest of the show, just because it was completely unexpected that so much effort went into something so random.

But all in all, there's very little I can say. It really comes down to your sense of humor as to whether you'll enjoy this show or not, so give the first episode a whirl and decide based on that. As for me, I think my sense of humor has changed in the last few years; I wasn't enjoying most of it, so I won't be watching the next episode. However, if you still get laughs from the original season, I'm sure you'll enjoy yourself with this.

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Chris Walden
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