33 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Medaka Box episode 1

Gainax X Nisioisin, OMG totally going to be the best anime evar!!!

One of the complaints I’ve heard about Medaka Box from manga readers was that Medaka herself is annoyingly perfect, to the point that she becomes dull and irritating to watch. I can certainly see that happening once the story moves a bit further, but I have to admit there is a certain appeal in watching a character so extreme in their abilities that they warp the entire world around them. It’s for a similar reason I loved watching Tokuchi Toua from One Outs. There wasn’t a whole lot of depth to his character, but watching everyone be overawed by his abilities was hugely entertaining. Medaka has an element of that to her. The best parts of this episode were the ridiculous visual metaphors of her cradling the earth as she towered over the delinquents.

I wish the show used more of those visual metaphors though. The post-Imaishi Gainax does seem to be taking several cues from Shaft, with the polka dot background textures and some other pieces of artistry. But they don’t do it enough to make the show actively visually interesting to watch. It’s clear that the character of Medaka is meant to be the draw, but the way they draw you into watching more of her is the rather crude method of focusing constantly on her knockers. Whenever she takes a step forward, turns around, makes a pose, whatever, the camera zooms straight in on those humongous wads of fat plonked on her chest. I mean sure, I like boobs, but the method is incredibly lazy. It’s hardly particularly subtle when they make Medaka strip down to her underwear within 5 minutes of the anime starting.

But the most damning part of the anime is the writing. This is Nisioisin, so I was expecting it to be wordy and fully of his usual nonsense wordplay, but there was none of that. Asides from playing anime tropes to larger, more extreme levels in the case of the school as large as a town and Medaka wearing several armbands, there was barely any examples of Nisioisin’s usual writing at all. The shounen speeches were dull and stereotypical. The main character’s attempts to act a Kyon just came off as rather pathetic. You could call Nisioisin’s writing a lot of things, but you could never call it stereotypical. But Medaka Box really is. It’s generic and poorly written, with the stand out part of Medaka’s overly powerful character not even being used very well.


OK, to beat these guys to the punch, the manga reportedly doesn’t get better for some 50-odd chapters. Which is fine and dandy for people who have the sort of bizarre patience to sit through 6 months of content they don’t like to reach the ‘good stuff’. I cannot see myself doing that. The one interesting part of the show, that being the overly perfect character of Medaka, is something I could see getting very boring very quickly, as it leaves no room for development. I’m not going to sit through that much content of something I can’t see any appeal in just in the hope that it will change into something I still might not even like.

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  1. Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Well since it looks like you’re not going to make it, I might as well spoil you on this one: Medaka Box goes at LEAST two genre shifts before it gets to a point where Nisioisin’s wordy style can be used to full effect — the introduction of the Minuses, at which the story becomes VERY meta and very VERY wordy as a result.

  2. Chipp12
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    So your butthurt is about that dialogs here aren’t the same as in *gataris? Well, you know:
    1) It’s manga, not light novels, obviously you can’t spend many pages on these worlplays.
    2) It runs in Shounen Jump.
    3) Nishio subverts shounen’s tropes, because it’s manga and you have a different audience here.

    Also not all of fanservice is from Gainax.

    • RogerMoore
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      Playing right into shounen tropes but just doing them in a “more extreme” way is not subversion.

      • Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        And Medaka Box actually plays things very VERY straight prior to the Minuses. Really, one could tick things off the ‘Shounen Plot Devices’ list at one point.

        After THAT however… Things started to get meta and talkative very quickly.

      • Chipp12
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        I’ve done a mistake there, sorry english is not my native language… ^^;

  3. Posted April 5, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    One complaint I heard from manga readers, is that it follows the manga TOO CLOSELY. Apparently, some of them were hoping that it will somehow fuse the later improvements into the imperfect starting, but Gainax, seems to be hell-bent on animating every scene of these first steps exactly as they happened.

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      Episode 1 was basically chapter 1 adapted completely. Given the slow start of the manga, it’s going to be a bumpy ride for anime-only watchers.

      • Chipp12
        Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

        Well, the second episode will adapt two chapters, it’s just that the most of the first chapter in manga are bigger than usual.

  4. luffyluffy
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I’m literally only watching this because I like Zenkichi’s hair.

  5. Kiseki
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Like hell it gets better.

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Actually the manga does get more entertaining, but there’s a real danger of the anime not even GETTING to the part where Medaka Box stops feeling like “Shounen Jump Manga Infinite” to something one would expect to come from Nisioisin’s pen.

      • Kiseki
        Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:23 am | Permalink

        I dropped it at chapter sixty-something. :Ia And I’m a veeerrry patient person. I can’t remember why I disliked it so much though.

  6. Adrian
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    That’s too bad, but come on, there’s still queen’s blade this season!

    • Overly-animated
      Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

      you looked forward to seeing another Queen’s Blade anime? *Claps* Bravo!

      • dolan
        Posted April 6, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

        it’s called sarcasm

  7. Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    Boobs as big as hentai chick’s? Show dropped.

    • Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

      The artist (just google RIROLAND) was known for his HENTAI comics prior to being co-opted by Nisioisin for the manga, so the influence (particularly with the proportions) is there. It doesn’t even TRY to hide it in the manga.

  8. Adrian
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Btw, I don’t think you should even have expected Medaka’s box’ dialogues to be quite the same as in Bake/Nise. Both of them are harem shows, and seeing as this guy (Nisio whatever) makes genre parodies, he won’t be using the same kind of wordplay on different genres. I could say that the dialogues his characters use recently in the manga are more “cult” and focused than the ones in Bake/Nise.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      I wasn’t expecting similar, but I was expecting something beyond them being generic, which is what Medaka Box is. I’ve seen more than just Medaka Box by him, such as Katanagatari and Death Note: Another Note, and they at least have different styles of dialogue

  9. Posted April 5, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s your loss!

    I am 100% sure it gets better, both by what others say (whereas one person got good taste), and what I have read myself when I scimmed through it.

    Now, let’s do Polar bear Cafe

  10. Scootarski
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Ive read the manga from the beginning and as soon as it drops the premise that it starts out with for something much more bizzare and nisio really hits his stride in terms of the writing this show will become amazing in gainax’s hands.

  11. Posted April 5, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    It’s not fat, it’s tissue. Why do guys always think that?

    • Scamp
      Posted April 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      When you poke it, it feels like fat, so the confusion is understandable

  12. Posted April 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Aww, poor Scamp is getting harassed by the fanboys again~

    Judging from what everyone else has said and my own experience, it looks like Medaka starts of alright, then it switches genres from slice of life to pure Shonen, where it sucks a lot, and then it switches genres again, and finally no longer sucks.

    I stopped when it was getting into the pure Shonen bit, maybe I will go back, so, I can see what the cool 50+ chapters hold.

    But yeah, there is no way I am watching the anime that long. I probably won’t even watch the 2nd episode. In other words, for once I agree with your assessment on dropping it.

  13. Spinarakk
    Posted April 6, 2012 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    Just a little something I noticed. Judging from the screenshots, I assumed you watched SubDesu’s version of the episode, which I noticed had lots of swearing, a few mistranslations and the english wasn’t particularly eloquent.

    If you needed to rely on subs to watch anime, maybe you might have a different view on the writing with WhyNot, whose translations were pretty dam close to the scanlated manga.

    • Chipp12
      Posted April 6, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Well WhyNot is definitely better than shitty SubDesu but I still hope that some of the better subbers will pick this (hoping for Whine-Subs).

  14. Posted April 6, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Let’s see… Shafty architecture, Gainax-y animation, and Silver Link-style background textures. Derp. I’ll wait and see how long I can last with this anime.

  15. Posted April 7, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I didn’t criticize the writing so much because every time Medaka came on screen all I could see were boobs.

  16. Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Seriously, am I the only one who saw the blatant Kamina in this?

  17. Someone Else
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Duh, Gainaxing! What do you expect?

  18. Mr.RR
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    If I was at her school I would be all over suggesting things just to see if she fails. Either way I will watch it, pondering if she will somehow fail and what would happen if so.

  19. Embok
    Posted April 12, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    School as large as a town isn’t anything new anyway – Clamp did it 20 years ago in their own student council request series.

  20. Posted April 18, 2012 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    The whole stereotypical shounenness of Medaka Box is a part of the thing where they criticize the whole shounen manga trope as a part of the plot.
    …that was barely understandable, but yeah, it’s interesting when the break the fourth wall continuously in the later arcs of the story.

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