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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

Best Student Council: 1: A New Home (review)

The best evidence for the proposition that the Japanese are the most alien humans on the planet is, I suspect, anime. Or am I the only Westerner who just doesn’t get it? Here we have what is ostensibly a comedy about a private girls’ school and its “best student council” that wants to evoke, I dunno, James Bond, maybe, with all the secret-agent-y subgroups the council mounts, like the Assault Squad and the Covert Squad, but the best it can manage to summon up is a contest in which the girls engage in a curry-off — that is, who can make the best curry rice? — to decide a budgetary matter. The bizarrity-cum-banality of these five episodes exceeds the capacity of my brain to assimilate. I’d carp on the title — is there more than one student council, and this is the “best” one, and in what kind of normal school is there more than one student council? — except that, for instance, the lyrics to the theme song indicate a peculiar cultural disconnect that goes far deeper: “With all your might, gather happiness on the jet plane that bursts from your dreams”? Oy vey. There are no extras on the disc, but your brain will be warped enough. [buy at Amazon]

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MPAA: rated TV-PG

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
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  • Well, I’m an anime fan myself, but it aggravates me to no end when I hear from people who think anime is automatically better than anything we can come up with in America. There’s lots of bad anime out there (I haven’t seen the subject of this review, so I can’t judge). If you want a powerful, involving anime that crosses cultural lines, I’d recommend- Trigun as a good place to start.

  • Hypocee

    Hear, hear. I’m also a low-grade otaku, and get irritated when people watch anime just because it’s all Japanesey. Sturgeon’s Law applies to everything; 90% of anime is crap. I will say that it does have an inherent advantage, shared with most foreign media, in that unless you speak the language *very* well you can’t hear how stupid the dialog really is. “It’s of the utmost necessity that we destroy the crystal!” Sure, man, I dig it.

    I’m not sure I’d recommend Trigun as a start for a non-enthusiast. I know it gets deep later on (or at least angsty; the two are often confused), but the initial few episodes I’ve seen have been centered around bumbling underdressed women observing spactacular gunfights against, e.g., gigantic cyborgs throwing tethered robot boomerangs. Yeah.

    I’ll just repeat my earlier emailed suggestion that I hope someday MaryAnn sees Haibane Renmei. It tore me up in the best way.

    Ms. Johansen, I was sort of surprised when this review went up. Best Student Council is an obviously B-grade anime. “Outsiders” will never see it and enthusiasts can tell at a glance how it’s been made, to what standards and for whom. I’m just a bit curious as to why you subjected yourself to such a piece of mass-market pap; most of your other anime reviews have been either from big names or award winners.

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