Reviewby Carl Kimlinger, May 26th 2007
Best Student Council
DVD 3 - Class Antics
All five members of the Miyagami indoor soccer team conveniently catch cold, leaving it up to the Best Student Council to defend the honor of their President when the rival school ties her good name to victory at indoor soccer (perfectly logical, right?). Later President Kanade is called to a meeting of the Jinguji family, accompanied by Nanaho. Nanaho fondly recalls their first, antagonistic meeting, and the deep ties that keep their families bound together. They return to the student council's dormitory to find it destroyed, all thanks to a scatterbrained self-centered sociopathic menace called Minamo with ties of her own to the Best Student Council. The solution to their problem? Why a school play of course.
All else that can be said against it, in couldn't be said that Best Student Council was ever unpleasant. Empty-headed, yes. Silly, heck yeah. Insubstantial, sure. Annoying, sometimes. Creepy...well, there is a sentient puppet... But unpleasant? No. It stood as one of those series that you pop in in order to shut down all but the life-sustaining functions of the brain and relax for a couple of hours. That ends this volume with the introduction of Minamo, a character that, if there were a law punishing characters for infuriating behavior, would deserve capital punishment. That's right, bring on the Queen of Hearts: "Off with her head!"
The volume kicks off (har har) with more BSC-patented fluff (the indoor-soccer episode), and then segues into one of the series' best episodes thus far when it details the rocky early relationship between Kanade and Nanaho, dropping thick and heavy hints as to the secrets that underlie Miyagami Academy and the Best Student Council. Don't take this as unconditional praise—it really isn't that hard to be the best among featherweights—but it explains much, reveals some of Nanaho's family history, and even manages an emotional twinge or two. And then Minamo shows up. From that point on, it's two episodes of pure torture as she runs rampant, unchecked by everyone around her, wielding her abrasive personality like flesh-scraping sandpaper. You'd think that a group of stalwart defenders like the Assault Team would be able to handle one selfish brat, but no such luck. And to make things worse the explanation for her behavior (don't act surprised, you knew there'd be one) seeks to cover her irritating presence with a ladle of treacle. It's hard not to wish for Pucchan to take a hint from his psychotic ventriloquist dummy cousins and cut her heart out in her sleep.
The character designs continue to be appealing—even Minamo—without being particularly original. Pucchan is still a pug-faced eyesore, and the settings are still pleasant, pastel-flavored, and forgettable. The action quotient is a little higher, what with all the soccer, running around, and blowing stuff up. Which means that the budgetary limitations are more evident—plenty of the usual pans and stills with animated inclusions whose movements are obviously looped. It isn't likely to set off the "lazy cynical cash-grab" alarms in viewers' heads, but it nevertheless looks pretty cheap on occasion, including an exploding building of such sublime cheesiness that it would be funny, even if it weren't meant to be.
The unremarkable score and pleasantly forgettable opening and ending themes remain unchanged since the series' inception. It won't tax your ears, and it won't send you on a wild search for the soundtrack, import costs be damned. The light, sad piano used during Rino and Minamo's showdown is the closest it gets to a standout track.
There isn't anything to say about the dub that hasn't been covered in earlier reviews, except that Minamo is actually marginally less grating in English. Which is probably due to the decision to lower her voice an octave or two. Expect a fair to middling dub, without the extra edge that sets good dubs apart from great ones.
A clean OP and clean ED, company trailers, and a collection of Japanese DVD promos are all that this disc can claim as extras.
BSC has been a mildly pleasant synapse-blunting respite from more serious-minded shows for two volumes now. That tradition ends here, with two final episodes that are actually painful to watch. The volume isn't a total loss. Episode 12 is actually quite good, and even episodes 13 and 14 have chuckle-worthy moments such as the sight of Rino dressed in a hot pink Alien (of Ridley Scott fame) suit, and the audience's unexpectedly realistic reaction to the student council's play, and the final confrontation between Rino and Minamo is actually surprisingly complex and affecting. It's too early to dismiss the Minamo episodes off-hand, as she may play an important part later (I know, I know. It's doubtful) but one can't be blamed for hoping that the title of the next episode to star her will be "Throw Minamo from the Train."
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : C
Story : C
Animation : C+
Art : B-
Music : C
+ Flashback episode that answers a lot of niggling questions, even while raising new ones.
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