Best Student Council Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B-
  • Extras Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: TV PG
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: ADV Films
  • MSRP: 29.98
  • Running time: 125
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Best Student Council

Best Student Council Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     March 27, 2007
Release Date: March 13, 2007


Best Student Council Vol. #2
© ADV Films


What They Say
Now that Rino's been a part of the Best Student council for a while, most of the girls are starting to accept her. But they still can't figure out the deal with her puppet friend Pucchan. HE'S NOT A PUPPET! In this volume, the girls grow closer as they discover the joys and sorrows of dating. They realize the enormous effort it takes " especially for Rino " just to make the grade. They bond when Sayuri confronts a demon from her past and realize she's just a normal girl who also happens to be a master swordsman. And as if that weren't enough, the girls confront their biggest challenge yet " putting on swimsuits when all the boys want to watch Kanade...ahem...swim. This is the "maximum authority wielding´┐Ż? Best Student Council at their very best yet.

The Review!
Rino starts to get comfortable with her life in the Best Student Council but faces some new challenges along the way.

Audio:
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.

Video:
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.

Packaging:
Not quite as overt as the first volume with all the bathing suits, this cover has a spring feel to it with the green borders and all the girls out and about on the campus. The central image is that of Kanade and Rino with Pucchan in the middle as an ill Izumi watches at the weirdness. The back cover continues the blue theme and provide 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. Sadly, Best Student Council has not received a box with its second volume and has dashed all hopes of a Pucchan puppet as an included incentive.

Menu:
The menu design for this volume is fairly weak and surprisingly text heavy. The static background image is a decent shot of a couple of the girls along one side while the navigation strip is on the other. 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.

Extras:
The extras for this installment are pretty basic but good ones to have in that we get the clean opening and closing sequences but no line art gallery. Instead we get a surprisingly emotional and sappy promotional video that barely resembles what the show is actually like.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Much to my surprise, the first installment of Best Student Council turned out to be a lot of fun. The show could have gone quite badly based on some recent experiences with comedy series but something about how this one played out ended up catching me off guard. A good deal of it has to do with Pucchan as his brash and forthright nature lends itself to some awkward yet highly amusing situations.

The problem that the show has is that Pucchan could quickly become a one-note gag and dominate things. With the five episodes on this volume he does have a fair bit of presence but after the initial storyline and wackiness he starts to take more of a secondary nature. This lets some of the other characters come forward for a bit as well as getting Rino to shine a bit more as well. The early material is some of the best though as the show decides to deal with the problem of Pucchan. With Rino having settled into things and getting comfortable with how her life is going now, Pucchan is continuing as he always does by being snarky and brutally honest as he sees it. This leads him to mouthing off quite often which tends to get Rino some stares at the least. But she continues to contend that she isn't saying any of it and that it's all Pucchan.

Nanoha finally reaches her limit and realizes that everyone has gotten comfortable with that concept but it can't be true. With Rino a part of the Council now, they can't allow her to bring such disharmony to things. So Nanoha puts Pucchan in a time-out within the Council's own jail cell in order to teach Rino a lesson. Since Rino relies so much on him it's devastating to her but that's just the start. Before they know it, Pucchan has escaped and has commandeered other people to move about with. His string of insults continues and his plan for revenge is just priceless as it times out on a dark and stormy night. There is quite a bit of drama mixed into it as well but the show knows how to deftly balance between that and the comedy. Any show that has a character being forced to "reconcile with the puppet" just has some brass ones to it.

While Rino and Pucchan do obviously dominate the show, the series does delve into some fun material that doesn't revolve around them completely. One of the goes into a storyline about the treasurer who is seeing a guy who actually has a number of girlfriends but she doesn't know it. Since the Council is so tight with each other, they intend to find out what's really going on and fix things for Mayura before it goes badly for her. There's a lot of fun about dating in general and the way some of the girls aren't quite ready for dating yet. The real fun comes down to when everyone gets serious about finding out what the guy she's into is really doing and they confront him in different ways.

Another standalone episode that provides a good deal of fun revolves around the arrival of the warmer months at the school. This means that it's almost time for the pool to be opened again and there is a lot of trouble with that. The previous year led to a lot of incidents where not only were there hundreds of guys from neighboring schools but also a fair amount of women coming to see everyone. Or rather, most of the women were there for Kanade though the guys were there for just about any flesh they could see. In order to prepare for this year, the covert squad has surveyed 500 guys in the area to find out who they're interested in so that they can protect the right people. It turns into a twisted popularity contest where Nanoha really ends up in a bad place. The entire episode is humorous in how it deals with what's attractive about each of them, often with Pucchan being far too incisive, as it builds towards the actual opening of the pool.

In Summary:
With another five episodes, Best Student Council has covered a lot of ground in its first ten episodes. A lot of series can falter easily during these particular episodes but the show manages to balance out interesting material with Rino and Pucchan while still making sure we get to know more about the other girls. The cast is fairly decent sized since there are so many people on the Council but they're managing to cover a lot of them pretty well here. While the show owes a lot to other series in terms of its visual style and general nature, it's also managed to carve out its own identity pretty quickly. Comedies are always so hit or miss, particularly for me, but this one is a definite hit.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Short pilot video for the show,Clean opening animation,Clean closing animation

Review Equipment
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.

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