Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts- Episode #03-#04 -

Anime Review

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Audio Rating: NA
  • Video Rating: NA
  • Packaging Rating: NA
  • Menus Rating: NA
  • Extras Rating: NA
  • Age Rating: 13 and Up
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: FUNimation Entertainment, Ltd.
  • Running time: 50
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts-

Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts- Episode #03-#04

Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts- Episode #03-#04 Review

By G.B. Smith     March 13, 2010
Release Date: March 12, 2010

Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts-
© FUNimation

Perhaps I should have had second thoughts about wanting to get involved with a show that has "idiot" in its title. In addition, the episode descriptions both end in exclamation points! That's never a good sign. Let's see what this pair of installments has to offer for itself. 

What They Say
Episode 3: Food Budgets, Dates, and Stun Guns
With the Summoner Test War out of the way for the foreseeable future, an outing to the movies with Himeji and Minami leads Akihisa to a surprising find - a love letter!

Episode 4: Love, Spices, and Boxed Lunches
Akihisa's in a tough situation: if he doesn't eat the lunch prepared by Himeji, he might hurt her feelings. But if he does decide to eat it, he might not survive her cooking!

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, what does one do after one's life lies around them in tatters? Apparently, one goes to the movies. And that is where Akihisa finds himself with Himeji and Minami in tow. They want to see a film, and of course, be treated by Akihisa. Normally, any hot-blooded adolescent male would be in seventh heaven at the prospect of going out to the movies with not one but two girls, both of whom are on the attractive side of the attractive/not-so-much dividing line, but all Yoshii can think about is how much this outing will cost him.

But then the next day comes and we see that Yoshii was not being unfeeling and miserly. After all, can you really blame the guy when you see that his entire food budget was blown on that one trip to the movies, and now all he has to live on is a single cup of instant ramen? I cannot imagine living on just ramen for many years, though there are some strange people out there who think it might be worth it in order to pursue a worthless quest for knowledge and underemployment.

But I digress. The next day at the school gate, Akihisa has an encounter with Kubo, one of the brains from Class A, who drops a piece of toast on the ground. Akihisa asks if he can have it (seeming to think it's the 30 Second Rule, not the 3 Second Rule - but then we know he's not good at math to begin with). Kubo seems interested in the implications (note: the Indirect Kiss Rule is being alluded to here), but then rejects that idea as being too shameless, considering there is now a crowd of people watching. Okay, so Akihisa's crowd of romantic admirers has just gained a member.

Moving right along... Akihisa is trapped into another outing with Himeji and Minami, which drives his Food Budget even more into the red. It is only at this point that he suddenly realizes that he is going out with girls, and thus, couldn't this be considered a date? He is happy with that thought until he sees Himeji carrying a letter, the same one he thought he saw her holding near the shoe lockers at school. Akihisa is under the strong (and, as usual, wrong) impression that it is a love letter intended for Yuuji Sakamoto. Thus, Yoshii's happiness is short-lived. The appearance of Minami does nothing to change that impression, since even though she is a girl, he has no romantic interest in her at all.

Is it sad that the only funny things in this episode so far have been the narration, taken over by Class F's former homeroom teacher Mr. Fukuhara, and the fountain that Yoshii meets Himeji at for their second outing? Watch the fountain very carefully.

Though to be fair, Yoshii is not the only one with problems. Sakamoto is literally chained to Shouko for two trips to the movies, both times at the point of a stun gun (literally, no joke. In fact, it's not very funny). The movies he is forced to sit through unconsciously are also not ones that make for easy and comfortable viewing. The horror...

On to the next episode. Wherein we learn that Minami has a younger sister named Hazuki who is in love with Akihisa and plans to marry him (why that is, the narrator explains, will be told another time, since the narrator doesn't appear to care whether we learn the reason or not. This is some of the best narration since Hayate the Combat Butler Season 2).

We learn that both Himeji and Minami are trying to gain Yoshii's heart by making him a boxed lunch, which is something that normally a guy in a Japanese anime (who knows if this crap ever happens in the real world, I have my doubts) would be over the moon about. And certainly, Akihisa is overjoyed at the idea of eating the girls' lunches, but when he does so, he finds that the Universe is definitely out to get him. For when he samples Himeji's cooking, along with the other main boys from Class F, they make a shocking discovery: food made by Himeji could qualify as a biological weapon. Not lethal, but certainly capable of incapacitating a healthy male.

And then there is Minami's lunch. After many false starts, and the near impossibility of Minami managing to give the lunch that she made for Yoshii to him, he finally gets it at the end of the episode, though we never see whether it is any good or not. Though it would be rather unfunny to have both of the girls be lethal cooks.

At best I would say that these two episodes are mildly entertaining. They are also riddled with cliches and unimaginative storytelling. When the best gag you have is water coming out of a fountain statue's butt, you might want to look at the writing again and see whether it was really worth the effort to animate this story or not in its present form.

In Summary:
If there is one thing that can be counted upon, it is that Akihisa Yoshii will not have a smooth path ahead of him, neither in terms of his love life nor his nutritional balance. In the first episode, we learn that he has a limited budget to live on, but that budget is blown out of the water by his two ardent female admirers, Minami and Himeji, who want to be taken out to the movies and treated to crepes. Sure, any normal guy would love that, but Akihisa, bound by genre conventions, is completely obtuse to the girls' affections for him, and he does not understand that both of them like him. To make matters worse, he likes Himeji, but thinks it is a one-sided feeling. In the second episode, we learn that apparently "perfect girl" Himeji has two shortcomings: not only poor health at times, but lethal skill in the kitchen. Medium grade humor, in the end, is still just that, medium grade. And that's being somewhat generous. Baka Test, to call it that for short, is mildly entertaining, but little more.

Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

Review Equipment
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard


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