Sunday, September 29, 2013

(Omae Wa...) Honto ni Baka

It could be interpreted as an allegory for extreme competition for scarce educational opportunities (in India especially, but also in Japan and South Korea) but Nanga Fakir is sure that that was not what the creators of Baka and Test had in mind when directing the zanily, side splittingly funny anime. Its premise is that students, on the basis of their scores are split into six classes - A being the highest and F being the lowest. The allocation of study materials, educational infrastructure etc. are highly unequal and cater to the higher classes, with those at the bottom not having even tables or chairs in schools, forced instead, to make do with bad tatami mats and makeshift desks - a no-holds-barred free market fueled inequality if there ever was.

There is possibility of social mobility though. To ameliorate class tensions and offer "hope" to the downtrodden (the F class students in particular, whose tale the anime mostly is) classes can challenge each other to wars - with the victors entitled to the infrastructure of the vanquished - a great motivation for those having no resources, to pillage, confiscate and hopefully use the spoils to better their class's fate educationally by acing future tests. 

The sight of bleeding school children not being so salubrious, the school has allowed them to fight in virtual reality environments, with their avatars doing the fighting, killing and dying - the strength of each avatar  being proportional to the aggregate test scores of the students - a concept whose mix of zany and brilliant reminds NF of the great Ra, who sadly, blogs only once a year. It seems to have come from someone with an imagination as wonderful and as warped as his. NF has no hesitation in claiming that the two thirteen episode (each) seasons of Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts, were the funniest he's seen since the inimitable Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei series. 

Heartily recommended. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Power of Moé

Ouran High School Host Club starts off as an uproariously funny anime series about a bunch of boys in a somewhat Japanese Harvard or Princeton type institute (with the distinction of the said institute being a school as opposed to a university) whose sole aim is to bring joy and happiness to the life of the girls attending the Ouran High School Academy. The jokes, however, become somewhat monotonous and repetitive by the middle (this effect is especially prominent if you watch twenty odd episodes on one day) and the ending is somewhat schmaltzy for NF's taste but overall, NF has to concede that its gags are very, very funny - often in an over-the-top, silly way that animes have become so good at delivering. NF also suspects that had he not been in a rush to finish the series off in such a short time, he wouldn't have kvetched about, in fact would have scarcely noticed the said monotony/repetitiveness. NF's quest for funny animes will now lead him to watch Hetalia: Axis Powers - another comedy epic he's heard very good things about. Wish him luck!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

El, Psy, Congroo

Steins;Gate is the latest anime NF's become a fan of. It features an elaborate, complex storyline and tight, compact, well polished characterizations. A little slow in the beginning, it picks up fast from about the tenth or so episode and in its dealings with the concept of time travel - around which its entire premise is based - it is very, very clever, flirting dangerously with brilliance many a time in its 24 episode arc length.

Highly, highly recommended!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Narcissist

When confronted with a difficult decision, he would sit back, think deeply and employ the technique of imagining his younger self reading his older self's Wikipedia entry and being impressed, or not, by the said decision.