Guh, I am really bad with plowing through series. Admittedly, one episode a day is not so horrible, but it has been nearly three weeks since my last review of an anime series, so I’ll just jump on in, and hide under how it is technically two seasons.
Student Council’s Discretion (Seitokai no Ichizon) Review Studios: Studio Deen(Season One) AIC (Level 2) Length: 22 episodes in total, 12 for the first season, 10 for Level 2 Availability: Only Subtitled, Free streaming on CrunchyRoll
Before I begin the review properly, I want to explain how the two seasons of the show were made three years and a studio apart. Initially, I was planning on doing two reviews due to that, but I backed down because it would get repetitive, so I’ll just review both of them in this one review. And because I like using a score system, and don’t want another average score, I’ll give out two come the end.
Seitokai no Ichizon, or to give it a name that means anything in English, Student Council’s Discretion, is one of the five-hundred-seventy-six slice of life anime series that float around in the airwaves. With the “gimmick” this time being right in the title, focusing on a student council, which has less to do with responsibilities and a student body than it does with getting five chumps into a room to yap on for a while. In fact, the initial premise for why four of the five characters are in student council sounds like something that was made up in the last five minutes, claiming it was due to a popularity vote.
Which is hard to believe when the student council is made of a Loli taken to the max with resembling a child, a Yaoi and RPG lover, a sporty action girl, and one who is tall, evil, and underdeveloped. Tying the group together is Ken Sugisaki, the sole male of this group of women, who naturally is reminded of those H-games he played, and wants to build a harem. …No, I wasn’t messing around, that is actually the closest thing to a clear objective this show has. At least for the first season, where 95% of the show has the main five just sit around and talk about random crap.
An idea that sounds like I’m being negative towards the show, but their conversations are, well, funny. The show keeps a fairly high energy level until the last few minutes where it seems to take a break and be a bit more somber, while giving a constant air of, “We are surprised anyone even let us animate this. We can do pretty much whatever we goddamn feel like.” The first episode literally starts with the main characters saying, “Why did anyone make this a show?” And then proceeds to show in a reference to Resident Evil, have one of the girls write Yaoi of Sugisaki, and throw a grim and smart seven year old in with the group because it seemed good for a larf.
Not that there is no serious segments to the show, but they take more of a backseat approach, focusing on the whole idea of this being the last time these characters would see each other. Which is complete garbage unless there are no social networks in Japan. While thankfully avoiding smearing the whole idea of High School being the end of creative life that bugged the crap out of me in Angel Beats and Tari Tari. Instead, it focuses on deeper characterization for Sugisaki, with his character more or less being fully developed during episode “zero” of the second season.
For the past week or so, I’ve been thinking about how exactly to describe the second season of this show, and came up with fairly simple terms like mixed bag, misinterpretation of what people liked about the show, more restrained, and so forth. All of which I believe to be true, but I think the best way to describe it is, “Ah crap, we need to make ten episodes of this? Let’s literally make one episode where we channel through the characters as they wonder what they should do.”
The second season is more or less stuck in a middle ground where I don’t think the creators knew what exactly made the first season a barrel of fun, as episode two certainly shows. Beginning with a mystery of the Loli character’s missing cake, it leads into the return of a rarely used character from the first season. Who, instead of being a more serious character, is no longer regarded as anything more than a joke by the Student Council. Before bringing back another character from a single episode, seeing as how she was hilarious, but retelling the same jokes about possible pedophilia. Before giving a Sugisaki amnesia, and needing to jog his memory by reading the light novel series this show is based on. Which doesn’t work until he reads a Girlie mag, despite having his perverted actions toward the girls explained, with lust not being a reason at all.
Out of that paragraph of context, there is one aspect I want to linger about, and that is how the light novel, which is from Sugisaki’s point of view, is apparently written by him in the anime. So they took the novel, and made a universe where it is a novel, but a biographical one… I don’t get it either. And the other character are aware they are in a show, but manage to do it just enough so that it is not like a wink to the crowd, but not a plot point. Instead, it is just a weird trait that is okay for a few select episodes or scenes, but randomly bringing it up just isn’t all that funny, it’s plain old off putting.
Especially when you flat out call a character a secondary character. A not particularly funny joke made all the worse based on how she’s probably the third most developed of the bunch. With the other two below her having an adequate amount of depth in the first season. One of whom they admit never got her own proper episode. And due to how the second season lost about four episodes to either backstory or an out of placed and rushed feeling ending. Which comes out of nowhere, seeing as how I still thought the show took place in December, when it leaped forward to March. Which is personal gripe due to how I love when a Christmas/New Years episode is fully canon in anything. But it, along with the endings of the second season depicting far more interesting gimmicks like, “What if the characters were all bugs, or went to space?” Certainly brought me down. At the end of the day, it’s still a cartoon, I can accept a spaceship being found in whatever those little capsule things are called.
Granted, the humor reigns true for the better half of the episodes. But with only ten episodes, I can’t help but to expect a more quality show. Instead of capturing the humor and facade of not caring while being plain old funny locked up in one single room. Season two is funny for some episodes, but forgettable any other time. Not a lot of middle ground, and ultimately feels as if only half of the staff gave the show their all.
To a lesser extent, that is also carried over into the animation. The first season is a far more loose, sketchy, or whatever term you please. Hindered by weird lighting that I suppose is there to simulate sunlight, while everything just looks a bit too bright. Not that it stops the characters from having some very amusing expressions, and a sense of extra care placed in by the fact there are really only ten or so locations in total.
And season two continues the track of not quite getting it, by looking a lot more like any other show from these modern times. Admittedly making me go back and view some of the proportions of the main female cast as weird, but also not being as memorable or impulsive with its look. That, and I think the irises are a bit too big on their already massive eyeballs.
To restate the big stuff up in case people didn’t want to read the whole thing, I can’t blame you. While not with some of the other comedic show I reviewed here, particularly Yuru Yuri and Skip Beat! The first season is best summarized by its outro where they play alternate takes for the first song, and have little chibi versions of the main character run around the normal versions of them. Fun, but hardly taking itself seriously. While the second season is akin to any other time where a creator picked up an existing property, but didn’t grasp the subtleties, while trying to tie it all together. Still enjoyable at points, but a shadow of the original product. With only a few episodes being worth watching out of the bunch.
Season One: Great! (15/20) An impressive product, but won’t always astound due to a fair number of flaws that are difficult to ignore. Still worth your cash and a few hours of your time.
Season Two: Alright (10/20) Fans of the genre or premise might enjoy the product. There is a kernel of goodness, but it’s still surrounded by some non-goodness, making the final product a bit “bleh”.