In the final episode for this season it appears that the war between Class A and Class F isn't entirely over.
What They Say
Episode 13: Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts
Unhappy with the results of their battle against Class F, Class A demands a rematch! This time it's going to be one on one - Shouko versus Yoshii!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
We have the aftermath of the defeat of Class F by Class A. They way they lost was not entirely right or just, but then life seldom is. Sakamoto is philosophical in defeat, blaming their own carelessness and allowing their guard to drop for the loss. Now, they don't even have cardboard boxes in their classroom, only boards attached to strings that they can loop around their neck.
The situation does not sit right with Akihisa either, and after the unwanted attempts of his sister to console him (in her incestuous ways, which all fail as Akihisa may be stupid, but he isn't sick), he goes to the principal and asks her to allow Class F to fight Class A again. Surprisingly, Yuuko Kinoshita and Shouko Kirishima from Class A appear as well, asking for a rematch. They are also not pleased with the battle, more because of how poorly they did than any other reason, winning for the most part only by a fluke at the very end. The principal grants the request, but only under special conditions. This will be a duel between Akihisa and Shouko, a duel fought with a test. The winner will be allowed to make one small request from the losing side. Yoshii does not say what his goal is. Shouko's is obvious: to force Yuuji to marry her.
In order to raise the cuteness level, Minami's younger sister Hazuki appears with some cookies she baked, in order to cheer up Akihisa. Apparently, she also teaches him a life lesson: perseverance. Akihisa returns home and studies hard.
The next day, the test duel commences. In the early stages, Akihisa, amazingly, is able to keep up with Shouko. Amusingly, the anime writers seem to have a minor obsession with Alexander the Great. Once again, the whole competition seems to rest upon answering when the Taika Reform took place. This has come up several times in the show now, so even I, who have never formally studied Japanese history, knows that it took place in 645. But as was established early on in the show, this is the one history question that Shouko always gets wrong. Akihisa almost gets it wrong as well, but he pulls out Sigma Striker V, his pencil that he uses to answer math questions, and he somehow winds up with the correct date and wins.
His request: a simple one that shows that Akihisa, for all of his limited academic ability, has something far more important - a good heart. He asks the school to allow Himeji to retake the placement test, so that she can be in Class A where she belongs. Himeji takes the placement test and aces it, but something stops her from submitting it immediately before making one minor change.
The next day, Akihisa misses Mizuki's presence, until she happens to show up. Asking what happened, it appears that Himeji did not put her name on the test (actually she did, but she erased it), and thus, it was scored a 0. Akihisa rushes off to confront the principal, calling her an idiot for being unable to assign points to an unsigned test when there was only one student taking it, but instead, the principal and then everyone calls him an idiot, since he does not seem to realize why Himeji took her own name off her test answer paper.
Get them a room already.
Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts- ends its first season on a surprisingly heartwarming and sentimental note, with Akihisa demonstrating that despite his lack of intelligence, he is a kind and caring person, someone who places others' needs above his own. The show definitely picked up in the last couple episodes, coming back to the fun of the Summoner Test wars and focusing on the slightly more interesting character that is Akihisa Yoshii. Fortunately, the final episode was not loaded down with too many of the far too often repeated lame jokes that were used again and again in episode after episode. If there was a problem with the show overall, it was those repeated jokes, many of which were not particularly funny to start. In some ways, had the show cut down on the lame repeated humor and explored its human side more, it might actually have been somewhat better than it was. Repetition aside, there was some promise to this show: the friendship between Yoshii and Sakamoto was believable to a degree, and Yoshii's good nature made him a likable lead. Minami Shimada was also not a bad character in theory, though the use they made of her, the constant butt of flat-chested jokes and the nearly relentless at times lesbian stalking by the cardboard cutout Miharu wasted her potential. Mizuki Himeji, the other putative female romantic interest, was little more than a bundle of cliches (smart but lacking coming sense, cannot cook, poor health at times) rolled up in a Las Vegas stripper's body. The lack of interesting female characters in anime overall is bad enough, but Himeji just continues to provide evidence that most anime are nearly devoid of them. Shouko Kirishima again had some potential, but it was lost by making her a single-minded stalker who resorts to violence in order to pursue her maniacal crush on Yuuji Sakamoto, whose disinterest seems to be driven by his own concern for her future.
What will draw in some to watch this show will be the character designs and fanservice (including possibly the "that's just wrong"-service provided by Hideyoshi Kinoshita, the effeminate male classmate of Yoshii's who is often made to dress like a girl). The humor is of limited effect, since it is highly repetitious. But if you liked it from the first episode, then you'll probably want to come back for more, and even watch it again, since the humor is so often repeated. Fans take note: there will be more to come in future, as a second season has already been green-lit.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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