Best Student Council Vol. #6 (of 6) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, September 07, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, September 11, 2007
What They Say
All good things must come to an end. Or do they? Maybe not if you're a part of the Best Student Council. Sometimes, a girl can lead a perfectly happy double life that nobody knows about " that is until some pesky busybodies start snooping around. Sneaky! Other times, the most-popular girl of all could just decide to leave school suddenly. No way! But not so fast sweetie pie. This girl must have forgotten that the Best Student Council is "maximum authority wielding" and will fight to get her back from wherever she is. Hurrah! And that one of her sillier friends is actually quite powerful because of her constant puppet companion. Who knew?! This final installment of the Best Student Council will keep you guessing until the very end. Sometimes the end is really a start of a new beginning.
Turning serious and dealing with an end game plot, Best Student Council loses some of its steam and humor but manages to answer several questions.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in its original language of Japanese. Both this track and the English language track are done in a 224kbps stereo mix and sound good for what is essentially a dialogue driven show. There aren't a lot of action effects to it or even much in the way of incidental sounds, leaving it mostly to mild background music and the continual dialogue. Both tracks come across well but there isn't much oomph to it in general. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2005, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio. Bright and colorful and filled with decent animation but not so much that it really leaps out at you, the transfer for this looks really good outside of a few very small problems. Because of the way it's animated, there isn't a huge amount of movement in a lot of scenes so the colors maintain a very solid feel and backgrounds are very good looking. Cross coloration is absent from it but there is some aliasing and jaggies to be found during a number of panning movements with the camera. These typically affect backgrounds more than anything but aren't a huge distraction. The show overall is very pleasing on the eyes and doesn't exhibit any kind of real showstoppers.
The series finishes out with another bright and colorful cover which is heavily focused on the color blue. A trio of human characters makes up the center piece with a bit of the city behind them while Pucchan does sneak in as well which adds a bit more to it. The ziptone design around the edges feels a bit too busy through when combined with the framing but it's a small issue overall. The back cover continues the red theme and provides some additional character artwork as well as a few shots from the show. The summary does a good job of covering the basics of the premise and the features are clearly listed. The discs technical features are clearly listed and the production information fills out most of the bottom area. No insert is included nor is the cover reversible.
The menu design for this volume is fairly weak and surprisingly text heavy. The static background image is a decent shot of front cover along one side while the navigation strip is through the middle. What's surprising about it is that they do use their standard method of providing quick episode access but they add the episode titles next to them. This has the menu looking a bit busier and not quite as empty if they had just used the episode numbers, but I'm not quite sure it looks all that good. Access times are nice and fast however and submenus load quickly. The disc, like just about every ADV Films release, correctly read our players' language presets and played accordingly.
The extras for this installment are pretty basic but good ones to have in that we get the clean opening and closing sequences. The new extra for this final volume is a series of TV spots that run through pretty quickly all told.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When Best Student Council first hit, there was just the outright weirdness of the idea. Though not a laugh out loud piece for the most part, the series proved to have the right kind of comedy to actually make you enjoy watching a "living puppet" of some sort. Over the course of the series, Best Student Council played to the usual ideas of individual character episodes and a deep dark secret for the overall storyline, but it did it in such a way as to not make you run screaming from it. School based comedies are a dime a dozen but this one is worth a bit more than that.
While we've had hints of what's going on with Kanade and Rino in the last few episodes, there is one big mystery that truly needs to be resolved before they can properly deal with that for the series finale. And that's the mystery of how a fifth grader can be the dorm manager for the Best Student Council. Maachi has been one of the more unusual characters of the series in that she doesn't really fit in like the others nor does she actually go to the school. She's been a mystery for the most part and relegated to the background outside of the occasional "tee hee" as she handles a situation or cooks a meal. Apparently even the Covert Squad can't keep up with her though so that causes Pucchan to create the Genius Girl Detective group in order to figure it all out. Any group led by Pucchan is doomed in a way since it also involves Rino so it's easy to see how it plays out.
Though an amusing story since it brings the potential of her being a magical girl to the forefront, it does just slow things down a bit when you want to get to the big story. And that's... a sports festival! It's actually the start of the arc as the final sports festival of the academy is set to start for people like Kanade who are going to graduate at the end of that year. There is a certain wistfulness to all of them as they realize this so they work hard in getting it together and making sure there is a lot of memories to be made. All the plans go out the window however when things happen at the Jinguiji residence as Kanade's grandfather has a sudden heart attack. Before anyone knows what's happened, she's become the new head of the household and kept away from everyone because of the power she now has.
Or supposedly has, as the more it gets examined the more it looks like it's just a trophy position. The real power lies behind the head of the household and what the Jinguji family is involved in becomes much clearer. At the same time, the reasons behind Kanade's helping Rino becomes clearer as some key flashback sequences explain the family relationships that have been so blatantly hinted at for awhile now. Tied in to the powers that certain members of the Jinguji family has, it all starts to come together in the right way and begins to hurtle towards a comedic ending as Pucchan tries to assert control. The main issue with this storyline is that it has to move away from the humor a bit more than it should in order to set things up. There are plenty of funny moments to be had, such as when Pucchan goes golden, but it does take a back seat for a good portion of it.
Not unexpected, though that doesn't help minimize it any, the final arc does essentially bring out just about every character that has graced the series to date. All of the girls have had their own episodes to provide more background to them and then there are those that had more involvement with the girls, such as Cyndi's mom or Kanade's supposed romantic interest. These scenes naturally feel very forced in the context they're used but they have some good amusing moments to them that helps to soften the issue. The same can be said for the actual epilogue section which explores what happens after the storyline ends and where everyone goes from there. It's not unexpected and there really aren't any surprises to it, but with the way the show played things a bit loose early on there was hope that they'd pull one out of the hat.
While arguably the weakest episodes of the series outside of Minamo's arrival, Best Student Council still provided a good deal of laughs and brought closure to several questions raised during it. Pucchan was probably the character best handled in the series since he could have been completely overused. Instead, they managed to subdue him a fair bit after the first few episodes and started to explore more of the strangeness that the school has. With a wide cast of cute and fun characters but with very little overt sexy fanservice, Best Student Council find just the right balance to work. School comedies are still very hit or miss for a number of reasons but this one managed to work more than it didn't and kept me looking forward to each new volume.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Clean Opening,Clean Closing,TV spot
Panasonic PT50LC13 50" LCD RP HDTV, Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray player via HDMI -> DVI with upconversion set to 1080i, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.
Mania Grade: B
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Best Student Council