Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu at a Glance

It’s a trap!

Lulz, just kidding!

After watching the first episode of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it – it had good production values, the characters were likable enough, the humor wasn’t too bad, and the classes fighting each other seemed like an interesting quirk to the proceedings. But, at the same time, I had this nagging feeling – so much of it was just so… well… stupid.

A school that allots classrooms based on ranking of the classes? And these classes can swap based on battles between their own little avatars? And people let their kids go there? Oh, and the worst class has the smartest girl just because she happened to pass out from illness during the exam, and wasn’t permitted to re-take it after recovering? (And, of course, somehow her illness just happened to come across way more as an orgasm than an illness…) Maybe it was just that the execution was unconvincing, but I kept finding my viewing interrupted with the thought that, “WTF? That’s really fucking stupid!”

Essentially, the problem was that I really wanted to like it, but the dumber things were making that quite difficult. There really is some material here that could be quite interesting – for example, criticism of the tendency of society to further a rich get richer, poor get poorer type of mentality (smart kids get the nice classroom, dumb kids get the crappy classroom – something which appears to extend to teachers as well) – but it didn’t seem likely that it would actually do anything of that sort.

There were also little things that were, quite frankly, pretty intensely offensive. Our lead guy is apparently developmentally challenged… in other words, he’d be in the special education class were he in the United States. So, no, he isn’t just stupid – he has mental issues that prevent him from doing well. And so he gets told how stupid he is and this is played as a point of humor – y’know, because laughing at mentally retarded people is hilarious.

But I watched the second episode, thinking that maybe, maybe I could overlook it.

The second episode was worse.

On the offensive scale, there was the yuri… stuff. I can’t even really call it service… the OP had shown a girl getting tackled by another girl who was trailing hearts, and was also depicted running away from her, so I anticipated some irritating yuri service. But it was way worse than I could’ve anticipated – we get this girl jumping all over the other, and then another character keeps yelling about how homosexuality is wrong.

Um, I’m sorry, but did I accidentally tune into the 700 Club?

And before your panties in a twist and accuse me of being overly-PC, let me point out that I own the DVD box for Drawn Together.

Of course, even ignoring that, we already had two characters acting contrary to the personalities they had established in the first episode. And while harem shows are notorious for having flimsy grounds for female interest in the male lead, at least they’re consistent – here, neither of the females seems terribly interested in our male lead in the first episode, but suddenly in the second they’re fighting over him. Huh? I felt like I got whiplash.

I might give it one more episode, but there’s just so much here not to like – which is too bad, since it features probably the best not-trap ever.

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8 Responses to Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu at a Glance

  1. Topspin says:

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only person who’s confused as to why this show’s so popular. I guess our sense of humor is based on slightly higher expectations, given that we’ve both enjoyed Drawn Together? It’s kind of sad that I just typed that, isn’t it?

    I remember feeling almost the same way about Nyan Koi last year. Natsu no Arashi made me laugh quite a bit, but I don’t remember much chatter about it. Nor Tentai Senshi Sunred. It’s like everyone was so desperate for comedy they all latched onto the most popular thing that made them chuckle, rather than trying to find something better. And it’s happening again, I think.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Ugh, Nyan Koi was so bad… The second episode made me want to go back twenty minutes in time and never watch it.

  2. Shinmaru says:

    To be fair, at least for the first comment, it came off to me like, “Homosexuality is wrong . . . because I’m not getting any action!!” He’s more concerned with potential lesbianism preventing him from getting laid more than he is concerned with any “wrongness” with being gay. I don’t remember the context of the other comment(s?) off the top of my head, though (at work so I can’t look ’em up in the episode, haha), so I can’t say anything about those.

    Now whether the joke is funny at all is a completely different story, obviously. :p

  3. Baka-Raptor says:

    Day, stop being such a communist. Studies have repeatedly shown no correlation between per-pupil spending and academic performance.

    Sick-girl was into retard-boy since the orgasm scene. I have no explanation for the other girl.

    • adaywithoutme says:

      Sick-girl being interested was at least more plausible, although her suddenly saying, “Let’s go see a movie!” seemed uncharacteristically bold of her.

      Don’t call me a communist! Goodness, I’m a socialist!

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