Last year, I discovered a fun, albeit dumb, little series called Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu. While not a grand masterpiece, it was highly entertaining and easy to watch, so when series two was released I was looking forward to more of the same idiotic fun, battles and nosebleeds. Sadly, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni became little more than another example of when sequels suck.
In no uncertain terms, the plotline’s quality has dropped since series one – and considering its predecessor wasn’t exactly epic, that’s saying something. The “Exam Summoning Battle” system forms the core and central hook of Baka Test’s first season, yet instead of serving as the anime’s linchpin, it can barely be found here. Much to its detriment, Ni has demoted the ESB to little more than a background gimmick to facilitate cheap laughs. By removing any competitive aspect the show’s various “battles” lose all purpose, and with no particular overarching plot, this season feels like thirteen episodes of filler. Where the first season creates a solid narrative around the system – having the idiotic underdogs of Class 2-F attempting to best the genius students of 2-A – Ni decides to see how many ridiculous and perverted situations it can get its hapless protagonists into and relegates the battles to mere facilitators in the boys’ many dubious antics.
Unfortunately, Ni also plummets into the trap which ruins many other series: it relies on the same tired gags to get laughs. This season depends more on its characters than any attempt at plotline, but when the cast remains static the small scope of jokes fails to make up for missing narrative. Elements such as Hideyoshi’s effeminate nature, Mizuki’s toxic cooking and Shouko’s sinister stalker-like obsession with Yuuji were previously amusing, but have restricted mileage, and they rapidly wear themselves out in this time around. So while the boys’ idiotic capers can still raise a smile (particularly when coupled with a smack down from Tetsujin), certain jokes get far too repetitive. For example, episodes five to seven make up a short arc where Akihisa et al attempt to unmask a blackmailer, which they must do by tying to peek into the girls’ bath. Though it still has odd amusing moments, after three episodes of the exact same joke, the novelty wears a bit thin, something that unfortunately spills over into the other ten installments.
Baka Test’s visuals are by far its strongest element. The dynamic nosebleeds and various battle stages remain as impressive as ever, as do the odd changes in colour palette and style for comedic effect. The pencil sketch-like shots of the various protagonists giving “serious advice” look gorgeous (even if they’ve been overused and now don’t quite have the same impact as before). Meanwhile psychedelic edge effects to denote a frenzied scream prove just as humorous as the standard blue wibbly lines of GLOOOOM!
With the same seiyuu reprising their roles for series two, Ni’s vocal cast performs just as admirably as they did during the first season. Muttsurini’s nasal inflections remain as creepy as ever, while Akihisa’s cheerfully dumb voice continues to make him endearing rather than just plain irritating or moronic. For me, however, the star of the vocal show is Kenjiro Tsuda’s deadpan narration. Certainly, the straight-laced delivery (which almost borders on the disinterested) of his lines adds a decent serving of humour to proceedings, or at the very least will make you grin.
If you’re going to build a series around characters then you need to do something worthwhile with them, not let them stagnate in a fetid pool of their own overused quirks and hope that a bit of nostalgia will save the day. This season relies on its cast to drive the show, and as such Ni needed to bring something impressive to the table; sadly, it didn’t. The characters personalities are the same as they were in the prequel, and they don’t develop in any way during the course of this series. Every individual has their designated oddities and they stick to them like a barnacle on a fifty-year-old fishing boat. That being said, the series does place more focus on depicting the characters’ pasts and the “love triangle” between Akihisa, Mizuki and Minami. Sadly, this has little impact on their behaviour, doesn’t move the story forward and in the case of Yuuji and Shouko’s flashback episode, blatantly refuses to even attempt to make you laugh.
While not a ground-breaking anime, season one of Baka Test managed to strike the right balance between its central themes and entertaining humour. Sadly, while it does still have its moments, Ni decides that pervier = funnier and instead of a well-rounded comedy series, it’s all idiots, no tests and only a handful of summoned beings.
A lot of times, the second season is not really as good as the first one but not here. Everything is just the same fun as the first season and it doesn’t really get old at all. Some jokes are played off but they put it a little different so it feels new. Some of it actually becomes even funnier because of Yoshii’s sister playing more of a role in it.
Again, the show follows the characters and actually doesn’t really have much of the avatar battles that I would have liked to see more of. I feel that they sort of skipped out a bit on the battles again. If the name has summon the beasts in it, wouldn’t you think that they would have more of the beasts in it instead of a romantic comedy?
The episodes do have a lot more about romance and what the characters are feeling to one another to a point you think it would end up having an explosive ending that would shock you. I can’t tell you if it does because of spoilers but it’s what I felt around the 5th episode. Other then that, pretty much the same as the first season with every once in a while having battles. I guess the one thing that seems different is that there is a lack of main story that the first had with them trying to help Mizuki by getting better items. This one has more of a by episode comedy skit sort of style to the story that can get from really strange to just a average day in the park.
There is one character that does make a bit more of an appearance in this sequel then in the first, Aiko Kudou. Surprisingly I like her being brought in and being sort of the rival of Kouta in a sense. She teases him so much that I have a small feeling that she likes him a bit more then she lets on to prove even a pervert can be loveable if stupid enough. Ok… so I’m making a small exaggeration but it gives us another romance train to look at. Before this, the only romance trains we had going was Yoshii’s triangle with Mizuki and Minami and then Yuuji’s problems with Shouko. To have a bit of different love train going on does keep the show refreshing.
Now if only we could get an actual girl for Hideyoshi… of course I know that probably will never happen because the writers are having way to much fun with the idea that Hideyoshi being mistaken for a girl all the time. If this was real life I would feel very sorry for him but as its not, the yoai lover in me screams for that idea.
Now do you have to watch the OVA before the second series? No but you will miss so many things if you don’t they do occasionally talk about what happened during them.
The Animation is the same as before though they do a lot more pastel scenes then before. It doesn’t bother me much since the comedy kept me laughing. I am also not really happy about how Hideyoshi keeps talking in a Shakespearian tone. I liked the way he spoke in the English version instead. The ‘thou’ and ‘aren’t’ just bother me and make me feel like I’m reading Romeo and Juliet, not watching a Japanese comedy.
The music is just as good as the first again, a rather good beat although I don’t know if I would put it on a ipod. It can get a little annoying to listen to it over and over again. The ending song isn’t really that special, pretty much blends together with all the other pop songs that are used in anime. This isn’t dubbed so the voices kind of made me cringe a little. Some of the girls voices just felt a little two high pitched.
Had no real expectations going in when I started watching this anime however within the first few episodes I began to love it, although it may not be the most unique concept ever it was defiantly a change from what I normally watch and was exactly what I was looking for - A funny anime which a alright story line with fun/unique characters. Really enjoy this anime and to all the people hesitant on whether to watch this or not I would defiantly recommend if the kind of anime you're looking for the fun-comedy type. (Does have other genres to it however the comedy of it appealed to me more then the rest)
Pretty much sums 'Baka to Test to Shokanjuu' up! This show has had me in the biggest stitches an anime has ever given me!! If you have seen Gintama, then trust me when I say this as a hardcore fan.. Bako to Test IS FUNNIER than Gintama!! Not even in little places, just all the way through the episodes it will have you laughing! It's also got that perfect touch of drama to it when it needs as well, for all those love, slice of life anime lovers.
The story is well.. still undecided what it is anymore, haha! You will find that it has a rocky storyline and drifts to and from it when it wants, I feel it makes up for that by just being dangerously funny all the time!
Seriously watch this anime if you want a good good laugh!
Critic’s Log - Earthdate: August 17, 2013. Review #55: Baka and Test: Summon The Beasts II
If there is an anime that I end up not liking while I’m in the middle of it. It’s not a chore for me to watch the rest of it. It’s a test. A test to see if I can last long while I’m watching an anime I don’t like before I drop it. I just finished an anime that was quite a test. That anime is Baka and Test - Summon the Beasts II.
Yoshii Akihisa is now in his third year in Highschool, and his misadventures continue with his best friend Yūji, his childhood friend Mizuki, and his other friends in Highschool. Akihisa, however, is enrolled in a rather unique highschool. In Fumizuki Academy, all of the students are given avatars with fighting abilities whose power reflects the student's academic success. With their avatars by their side, our characters explore deeper into what it means to be a friend and how they treat each other and why. While Shoko, the school's #1 student, endlessly tries to woo Yūji. Minami and Mizuki try to capture the romantic attention of the oblivious Akihisa.
To be technical, this is a Silver Link production and the animation is okay in this show, but this show uses a lot of animation shortcuts, either it’s recycled animation or cheap animation effects. This might have been in the first season of Baka and Test and I might have overlooked it at that time. Sue me. But the point is that I do have something to gripe when it comes to the animation. My big complaint with the animation is the over-usage of a “polka-dot” effect. I remembered when I reviewed Ef: A Tale of Memories and there was a visual gimmick that was thrown in quite often in the show. Well, Shin Oonuma directed both seasons of Baka and Test and maybe these “visual gimmicks” are part of his style I guess.
Dear Shin Oonuma,
I know you’re trying to be unique, but you should not overuse certain visual gimmicks because it gets tiresome to watch after a while.
The animation isn’t perfect and I didn’t expect it to be, but it looks alright I guess.
As far as Music goes, Nijine composes the music for the second season of Baka and Test and the music is decent, but nothing too special. I really don’t have much to say about it. The opening is ok, and the closing theme isn't special. That's all I can say about the music.
When it comes to voice acting, It’s pretty much the same from Season 1, so I won’t go into much detail about it. The Japanese cast is alright in this show, but I listened to bits and pieces of the English Dub of Season 2 and all I can say is that the dub could have been better. It may be extremely fitting to watch this Subbed because of the settings, but if you want to watch this Dubbed, be my guest. Just go with what you prefer.
As far as characters go, this was a slight disappointment. The characters did make the show funny at times in the first season, what is a slight disappointment is that they are not funny at all in this second season, and they also didn’t develop as much.
The biggest lowpoint for me is the plot. Katsuhiko Takayama is responsible for the composition in the writing department. He also was involved in Ef: A Tale of Memories and Ef: A Tale of Melodies which the story to both seasons of that show could have been better. But Season 2 of Baka and Test suffers from being too different than the first Season. It is also slow to begin with as well. I will give the show some credit that there are a couple episodes that were nice to see. But what made Baka and Test a decent viewing is that it was a comedy with a little Slice of Life in it. In this second season, There's more Slice of Life in it and rarely is it funny. When it tries to be funny. Certain gags are overdone and it just isn't funny after a while. Some of the jokes from Season 1 remain and this season was just hard to get a good laugh from. The show picks up a little halfway, but it is boring half the time. It also all leads down to an ending that is kinda stupid. If you liked Baka and Test, Feel free to give this second season a try. But I can tell you that it is quite a test to watch.
Baka and Test - Summon The Beasts II is available from Funimation.
With all that said, Baka and Test Season 2 is not as funny as Season 1, but there are a couple of nice episodes that involve interesting backstories, but Season 2 suffers from lack of comedy, animation shortcuts, and a lack of character development that would have been needed (save for the ones that did get backstories). This should only be viewed for those that like Baka and Test or for those that are viewer completionists that have seen the first season of Baka and Test.
I give Baka and Test - Summon The Beasts II a 4.9 out of 10. it is NOT REALLY GOOD!
Feel free to leave a comment.
Also, this will be on the test.