Random Rant: Medaka Box is Awesome!

Introduction

Hello and welcome. Today we’ll have a little talk about Medaka Box. This anime has two seasons of 12 episodes each and falls into the genres of action, comedy, ecchi, martial arts, and school life. Our protagonist is Medaka Kurokami, the lively and beautiful president of the student council. She’s not only loving, gorgeous, and a good leader; she’s also an excellent martial artist. Her one major flaw is her self-righteousness, which she even acknowledges at one point.

Medaka and her friends on the student council fill the requests of students, which are written down and put into the “Medaka Box.” Why go out of their way to take so many requests? Because Medaka wants more than anything to help others. Medaka Box is an exciting anime with lots of action and some fanservice. Honestly, I have no idea why it isn’t more popular. But to try understanding why, I will list some pros and cons of the show. I thought this would be better as a rant than a series review. Note: I personally love Medaka Box, so I may be a bit biased even if I’m trying to be fair. Bear with me.


Pros and Cons

Con: Production Weaknesses

I love Medaka, so I wanted to get the difficult stuff over with first. There are several weaknesses of quality in this anime, including poor character development for most of the supporting cast. The members of the student council such as Zenkichi and Akune are developed decently enough, but other interesting characters are largely left out. This is especially true in season 2. There are way too many enemy characters that, instead of having personalities, just have one weird quirk or trait. I would have loved more interesting villains as well as more detail about the side characters. Still, considering the amount of action and the number of characters, it’s about average quality development for a short series.

Another weakness is that the plot is a little awkward and somewhat formulaic. The first season was much better with creative plot progression, but the second season was basically one fight per episode and then onto the next challenger. For season one, the problem was that the Myouri arc in the last three episodes didn’t seem to fit in too smoothly with the previous episodes. It’s a little awkward. However, I think the stories for both seasons are good overall. Every plot has a few problems. Honestly I was being really critical here just because I’m trying to be fair.


Pro: Excellent Fights

As I mentioned in the introduction, Medaka Box is a high-action anime. I really enjoy watching the fight scenes in both seasons. They were exciting and empowering. Shounen fans should eat this right up. Though I don’t consider Medaka a shounen anime per se, it has a similar feeling of powerful people pitted against each other, with the main characters becoming stronger with progress. The fights feature some superhuman abilities sometimes, but also martial arts. It’s always a pleasure for me to see martial arts in anime.


Con: No Realism

There is a stark lack of realism in Medaka Box. That’s not really a problem for me most of the time, so clearly I’m grasping at straws to think of cons. But I guess there are some people who expect at least a certain level of realism in anime. In that case, Medaka box will probably be annoying. Characters can survive almost anything. Serious injuries heal quickly. The physical abilities of the characters are exaggerated, and their weapons and special moves can be a little absurd. If you compare this anime to something like The God of Highschool, it’s less supernatural, but it’s also less realistic with wounds and blood.


Pro: Positivity

One of the greatest pros of Medaka Box is its overall positivity. There’s some amusing comedy here and there. Classic themes like friendship, cooperation, and individual value appear in this anime, too. Beyond that, there’s something I can’t quite describe; there is a kind of positive mood in this show’s atmosphere or tone. It feels heartening. If you compare it to the recent martial arts anime God of Highschool, the friendships and positive themes are much deeper and don’t feel forced in Medaka Box. The upbeat air of this anime is a big part of what keeps making revisit it.


Con: Lower Budget Art

Another potential con is the art/animation in Medaka box. It isn’t especially aesthetically pleasing or detailed, but instead is stylized a particular way. The art reminds me of a comic book (which I like). Although I think the action scenes are well-animated, I’m not a very good judge of that. All I can really tell with my abilities is that the art/animation was made on a lower budget. But consider that Medaka Box was not a high budget production, and that more time was spent on fast fight scenes than character detail. You wouldn’t be unhappy with it, unless you dislike the stylization, or only watch high budget anime series.


Pro: Strong, unusual Female Lead

The #1 strength of Medaka Box is its protagonist. If Medaka hadn’t been the boisterous woman she is, the show would have lost half its value. For me, in fact, I wouldn’t even like Medaka Box if the main character was a typical male shounen hero; in that case it’s no different from a dozen other shounen anime with martial arts. But Medaka is her wonderful self. I adore seeing a character like her in an anime.

I just can’t stress enough the awesomeness of anime that feature a unique and confident female lead. Not only are main female characters rare; when they do appear, they are often poorly written. Not so with Medaka. She has so many good qualities; not just things like being strong, but also, being loving and empathetic. Medaka isn’t perfect, and she’d be lost without her friends. But even her imperfections are fascinating to me. The character of Medaka is what makes this show shine.


Neutral: Fanservice

Whether fanservice is a pro or con depends on your opinion as well as the particular examples of fanservice. For me, I might have different opinions on each series. I dislike many ecchi shows because of being shallow or having ethically problematic elements. But I love a few ecchi shows like Kill la Kill or Darling in The Franxx. When it comes to Medaka, I don’t have any real issue with the fanservice, which is mostly of Medaka herself by the way. It’s pretty mild for ecchi, focusing on boob shots, cleavage, skirt shots, and swimsuits. This one is up to you. Pro or con?


Conclusions

To me, the pros here outweigh the cons. The last pro in particular is the most powerful, in my opinion. What about you? While the purpose of this anime rant is to applaud Medaka Box as my favorite lower budget fighting show, I’m also interested in reader opinions. Have you seen Medaka Box, and what kind of impression did it leave? If you haven’t seen the anime, do you think you would watch it given the pros and cons that you read about? If you have any thoughts, please drop a comment! That’s it for today, so thanks for reading!


PATREON

One comment

  1. Hmm. Interesting. I went back in my blog and reread what I wrote in 2012. I thought I had dropped the show after a three-episode trial – but it turns out that I watched the first 4 episodes (to finish a story arc) – then dropped the series. Maybe I’ll have to revisit this series – but it won’t happen soon as I have a backlog of better shows yet to watch.

    What I wrote after episode 2: “There was a time when Gainax was my favorite studio – back in the days of Gunbuster, FLCL, and Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou. (And can you say, Evangelion?) But the best directors are gone, and today Gainax is a shadow of its former self. Gainax used to be cutting edge; now it’s just ordinary. There was nothing special about the art, direction, music, seiyuu, or writing for Medaka Box. These episodes weren’t totally bad – they simply didn’t have the edge and dazzle of shows from Shaft and KyoAni. This series is OK filler, but with my time constraints, I probably won’t follow this show.”

    Liked by 1 person

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