Best Student Council Vol. #4 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • 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: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Best Student Council

Best Student Council Vol. #4

By Chris Beveridge     July 17, 2007
Release Date: July 17, 2007

Best Student Council Vol. #4
© ADV Films

What They Say
Not a day goes by at Miyagami Academy where the students of the "maximum authority wielding" Best Student Council don't learn something new, especially about each other. There are undercover agents from outside the school investigating what goes on inside. Crazy! Covert Squad members (and some annoying wannabes) keeping tabs on off-campus antics. Sneaky! And one student who just flat out lies to her own mother, which causes all kinds of problems. Let's not forget the teachers. They seem to be just as big of a mess as their students. Check out volume four of the Best Student Council because when it comes to secrets, this volume's got it all.

The Review!
Sticking with individual character episodes that explore who they are while still tweaking the overall storyline.

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.

Comedies can be hard to really sell with cover artwork since they can turn away potential viewers if done the wrong way. The cover artwork for Best Student Council has been a bit of a mixed bag and this is another entry that fits that bill as it looks a bit too odd and off-putting. The character artwork is brightly colored and it fits with the background but the combination of the borders around the characters and the weird style used for the logo just makes me cringe a little bit. The back cover continues the purple 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.

The menu design for this volume is fairly weak and surprisingly text heavy. The static background image is a decent shot of Cindy 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 unique extra to this volume is a couple of the Japanese CD promo commercials which are very well translated in terms of onscreen text.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Best Student Council ran into some potential problems with the previous set of episodes in the form of Minamo arriving in the series. A new character introduce late into any show is dangerous since it can upset the balance that has made the show enjoyable to fans thus far. In some series it can save a show from being completely awful. For Best Student Council, Minamo has thankfully moved to a secondary position for the most part here and isn't used as heavily as she was, much in the same way that Pucchan has transitioned from how he was at the start of the series.

This set of episodes has a fairly standalone feel to them though there are some elements that cross various episodes. The main focus and revelations made deal with Kuon as her past is finally explored. One of the more interesting members of the Best Student Council, her role in the Covert Squad has been that of a quiet and confident leader who has just about everything she needs at the tips of her fingers. Learning that she has a much darker past isn't exactly a surprise but it's played out in a well enough fashion here that you have some sympathy for her but you also understand why others, like Kotoha, have a hard time dealing with it. What her past does bring to the table is another example of the kind of school that the President was trying to build in that it would help and heal others along the way.

Kuon's issues cross over the first two episodes though the second one is dealing more with the ramifications for others. Kotoha manages to take this episode for herself pretty well as she's sent both Rino and Minami are assigned to help her out. The pair end up going over the top in the way that they do for their efforts in the Covert Squad such as dressing up as red and blue ninjas or the clothes they used for undercover work. The way they simply don't mesh with what's needed for the Covert Squad naturally irritates Kotoha to no end but it also provides something that helps her understand the bigger picture when it comes to dealing with Kuon. The episode actually has some decent bits to it in regards to the person they're staking out but the character material itself is where the show works. The offbeat humor doesn't hurt either.

What turned out to be the best episode in terms of outright humor and wacky situations is when it deals with Cindy. The quiet girl with the deep voice finds herself in a really bad situation when her mother has decided to come to visit. That in itself isn't a problem but all the lies Cindy told to her about her school experience is. Tallying up over two hundred lies, the Student Council has decided to help her out by making those lies reality for the duration of the visit. It's all fairly standard material, such as Cindy being the President and having some of the girls in love with her, but it has a lot of great material as well such as Nanoha playing the role of her boyfriend and Cindy being something of a world famous race car driver. The variety of the lies works well and it plays it up just right with some over the top material and some fairly standard bits.

In Summary:
Best Student Council had me worried with its previous volume as to how this one would play out due to the introduction of Minamo. Those worries have been laid to rest as the show has managed to carry on much as it did before but with someone else who is sort of like Rino in a lot of ways. Instead of dominating the show as it could have been, Minamo has become a good supporting character for Rino's insanity. These episodes provide some good serious material when it comes to Kuon and what Kanade wants to do with the school but it also hits up plenty of wacky comedy in the vein of previous episodes. This series is still very much a surprise and is very enjoyable.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,CD promos, plus 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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