Baka and Test -Summon the Beasts- Episode #05-#06 (of 13) (Mania.com)

By:G.B. Smith
Review Date: Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Release Date: Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who doesn't like a good treasure hunt? Well, if it involves following around a bunch of clueless idiots, you might not think it as fun. Then we have a jaunt to the pool. At least there might be bikinis.

What They Say
Episode 5: Maps, Treasures, and Striker Sigma V
Akihisa and friends participate in a treasure hunting test. Answering questions correctly will lead to great rewards -but with all the Summoner teams looking for the same prizes, a battle might be tough to avoid!

Episode 6: Me, Pools, and Swimsuit Paradises
Akihisa gets a chance to test out his new bracelet in battle - but all the real action is taking place at the swimming pool!

The Review!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
So, we get all the usual jokes, but this time it's all put in the wrapper of a treasure hunt, and we get some assurance that while Yoshii is an idiot, his heart is in the right place. As Akihisa is on his way to school, he comes across a small cellphone strap lying in a crosswalk. He thinks about picking it up, but then thinks that its owner, likely a child since the strap is for a small animal mascot popular with children, will return for it, so he leaves it there. After crossing the street, along comes Hazuki, the younger sister of Minami, who turns out to be the phone strap's owner. Had Akihisa been smart enough to pick it up, he could have given it to her, but instead, like an idiot, he left it in the middle of the busy street and now traffic is whizzing by at dangerous speeds. Fortunately, I guess, Mr. Fukuhara the teacher comes along, and Akihisa asks permission to activate his summoned avatar to retrieve the strap. And I thought that they could only summon them on school grounds? Not that anime ever aims at reality and consistency to begin with.

Of course, instead of nimbly dodging the traffic and recovering the strap, Yoshii gets run over by a car... driven by the school's principal. And the strap gets steamrolled, literally. But the principal notices what Akihisa the idiot was trying to do, and decides to change up today's classes: thus, the treasure hunt. Among the many and various prizes, is a complete set of three limited edition phone straps, including the animal character one that Hazuki lost. Yoshii makes up his mind to find the ticket that can be used to claim that prize.

Of course, following the ways of this school, the coordinates for the prizes are encoded in the answers to test questions. Which leaves Yoshii, and his fellow treasure hunt team members Yuuji and Hideyoshi, at a distinct disadvantage. The treasure hunting itself just plays into the one-dimensional personalities and repeated jokes about the characters: Akihisa tries to answer the multiple choice questions by using a really old trick, rolling his pencil (with the letters A, B, C, D, etc. marked on the sides), with predictable results. Shouko, the head of Class A who has an disturbing love for Yuuji, is determined to find the prize ticket that will win you a trip for two for a date at a local amusement park which boasts a "Wedding Experience" ride. Kouta "Mutsulini" Tsuchiya, the pervert, gets to enter the Girls' Locker Room and, quite predictably, has a series of nosebleeds, sending forth more blood than a human body normally contains. Of course, we cannot have an episode without either a lethal appearance of Himeji's cooking, or Minami being attacked by her lesbian stalker Miharu Shimizu. I need not even mention that they dress Hideoyoshi inappropriately at some point. I guess the writers of this show, and possibly the original light novel series (which I have not read, so I cannot say with any certainty), are very much in favor of recycling, as they tell the same jokes again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again...

In the end, Akihisa actually does get the phone strap set, and so Hazuki will be happy, at least.

For the next episode, it seems like we will be paying a trip to the pool, and so we should at least have a fanservice episode. And we also learn something new. Apparently, Fumizuki Academy has three changing rooms for the three genders: Boys, Girls, and Hideyoshi. Sometimes, I really do feel sorry for that boy.

One very funny bit, but one that I wish they had handled a little differently, is where Minami is questioning the fairness of the universe in response to seeing Himeji's unrealistic bust, but doing so in her "native" German (remember her character, while Japanese, grew up in Germany, and thus, when she is in severe shock, she naturally reverts to her "native" tongue). I wish that FUNimation had translated the German into English, though it is perhaps not crucial, as she basically rails against the unfairness of what the powers that be have provided her.

Of course, let's see what we get this episode? Shouko abuses Yuuji? Check. "Mutsulini" Tsuchiya gets massive nosebleeds? Check. Minami's lesbian stalker Miharu appears? Check. Himeji's lethal cooking forces the boys into a contest to avoid eating it? Check. Hideyoshi's gender is questioned yet again and he is forced to provide fanservice I'd rather not see? Check.

At least there was some good fanservice this episode, as Himeji, Minami and Shouko looked nice in their swimsuits, but the recycled jokes are starting to wear very thin.

In Summary:
BakaTest is a show that believes strongly in the idea that if the audience laughs at a joke once, they will continue to laugh at it no matter how many times you tell it. While some rather successful comedians, in all cultures, have made profitable careers out of such a path, personally, I find that jokes tend not to be as funny when repeated too often. At this point, we get it. Shouko is a psychopathic stalker who will basically torture Yuuji into marrying her. Why she, a successful and intelligent beauty, wants to marry a third-rate loser is beyond me. Himeji cannot cook to save her life, and instead puts others' lives in danger with her cooking. Minami is flat-chested. And... Tsuchiya gets nosebleeds and likes to peek at girls changing. And... Hideyoshi is rather feminine and everyone thinks so, though he clearly does not see himself as girl or wanting to be a girl. But why don't we just dress him up as a girl? It's really funny, isn't it? It's sexy, isn't it? No, not really. If you have watched one episode and enjoyed the humor, then by all means continue, as they are certain to give you more of what you want. If you have not enjoyed the show up to this point, then it's probably time to move on to something else.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles

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



Mania Grade: C-
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-