If you were to take anime as art reflecting the real world you would figure Japanese high schools to be places full of huge breasted girls, oblivious guys who don’t realize that six girls want to pork him, and you’d probably get the idea that Japanese high school kids get nosebleeds upon seeing the cleavage of a woman. These are not actually true as Japanese high schools are not much better than any other high schools and the only reason anime treats high school as a place of fun, violence, tits, and more tits is because it makes high school a much more exciting place than it actually is.
Baka and Test reflects the real world almost as well as the Jersey Shore. It is in fact so opposite of the real world it is probably a mirror dimension. The high school is a place of tests, tests, and more tests. Upon entrance, you take a test that decides what class you will be in, A through F. F is of course the idiots and A is the nerds. F students have to deal with crappy wooden tables and pillows while A gets personal desks, lounge chairs, tables, a refreshment bar, and a giant ass wall of television screens. Our hero is Yoshi, a complete idiot who has a friend in Himeji, a very smart girl who wound up in the F class for getting sick and leaving during the placement test, thus giving her a zero. Together with their friends in the class they battle their way to the top through the use of avatars. Everyone in the school has one that has stats dependent on how well they do on tests in various subjects. Thus, the higher the grade, the harder their avatars hit. It’s pretty much a school version of a JRPG where instead of health potions, students run to take recovery tests during battles to regain lost hit points. It’s a rather smart idea I must say and actually works out kind of well. I don’t think watching people compare test scores and take tests has been this exciting.
This plot of the underdogs taking on the big guys is of course a cliché but works perfectly well here due to the peppering of strange and eclectic characters that ultimately lends this series the comedy aspect it should be known for. The plot is both downright ridiculous and hilarious and while there is not a lot of plot to go around, there is enough to add some semi-serious bits in throughout.
There are a couple of problems with the plot. There is a lot of romance being thrown around and it doesn’t really go anywhere. A love letter by a certain character is never given to another certain character despite this love letter being a main point of the plot. Another thing I found was I don’t understand the science behind an avatar being hurt and Yoshi feeling it. Nobody else can feel their avatar’s being hurt, only Yoshi can because of his terrible scores, but it still seems nonsensical. But that’s just a tiny complaint that shouldn’t even matter considering I’m watching a show to laugh, not get a deep, engaging, realistic plot.
And I did laugh, and so will you. This show is replete with sexual humor that may turn some people away but when an anime uses Apocalypse Now Redux in a joke, I think it deserves a cookie. On top of that was a random cameo by Miku Hatsune (whose back is turned in Class B) and it also references other anime. Yes, it does have lots of tits. And as I’ve previously stated, tits do not a good joke make. This anime somehow made me laugh at tits. That’s right. I laughed at boob jokes. I didn’t laugh at the constant use of Himeji’s breasts and Yoshi’s sister’s breasts as some form of fan service I guess, but I did laugh at Shimada’s constantly comparing her breasts to Himeji’s and being jealous. The overabundance of boobies also spills over into how characters act, which creates a particularly silly character but we’ll talk about him in a moment.
The animation is nothing fantastic. It has this look as if it were a colored-in manga but it’s not a style I found particularly appealing. The dots everywhere and the sometimes rather dull colors made it seem like an older anime, maybe 2005-ish. The animation also seemed rather lackluster in the fight scenes where a lot of the time we see an overhead view with little circles representing the characters instead of watching the characters actually fight. While this is not a huge issue, I feel as if the animators were lazy when producing these segments.
Sound quality is actually good. I committed high treason and watched the dub which turned out to be rather pleasant. None of the voices were grating and I felt that it actually kept the integrity of the original script without taking away any of the funny bits. Now the opening and closing on the other hand are another matter altogether. The opening is lame and basic and could have been tacked onto anything. The ending is meh, not bad but not particularly good.
The characters are what make this show what it is. Yoshi is the oblivious idiot, a character archetypical of the genre but hilarious nonetheless. Himeji has big boobs and about as little personality as one would expect from the love interest. Shimada is the hot-headed and overly violent girl who does not like her tiny boobs being made fun of. She likes Yoshi, as does Himeji though they never fight over him. They seem to be a unified effort all the time. The problem with Shimada is the fact that another girl is in love with her and is stalking the crap out of her. The same can actually be said of Yoshi who is being teased by a gay guy from Class A a lot of times.
Class representative of class F, Sakamoto is in a contract with the representative of A, Kirishima. Kirishima wants to marry him and does everything she can to be with him while Sakamoto wants nothing to do with it leading to some hilarious moments.
Hideyoshi is quite possibly one of the most interesting and hilarious characters of the show. A guy who looks like a girl but constantly dresses like a girl for whatever reason. The girls are jealous of how hot he is as a girl and the guys all seem to find him attractive as well. This leads to utter confusion half the time and while Hideyoshi’s character is never explained (why does he dress like a girl if he wants to be treated as a guy?) he still provides enough hilarious moments to make that question void.
Finally, Kouta is a hentai who takes pictures of everyone’s boobs and panties and is constantly dying of nosebleeds. He has started a book on the boobs of all the girls in the school. He is utterly hilarious.
And we can’t forget Iron Man, the remedial class teacher. When a student dies during a battle with their avatars Iron Man swoops in like a superhero and takes them to remedial classes. This guy is freaking great.
There’s also Yoshi’s sister who seems to want to have sex with him. I won’t explain any further because the anime doesn’t either.
What else is there to say about this show? It made me laugh every episode and while it may feel a little inconsistent at times (the semi-serious episodes and the flat out comedy episodes aren’t mixed together proportionally) it still is one of the most entertaining comedy anime I’ve seen. Sure it doesn’t wrap up tightly, sure it doesn’t have an amazing story, but who cares? It’s freaking hilarious. The characters are not all original but all together make a memorable group of idiots. The action isn’t real well done but is negated by the absolutely laugh out loud writing. There are lots of jiggly boobies for all the fan boys but also a lot of jokes concerning both American and Japanese culture.
It’s a fun ride that a fan of comedy anime may want to take if he or she hasn’t already. I found it to be more entertaining then it should be, but loved it all the more for that.
I’m giving Baka and Test a 7/10