Best Student Council Vol. #5 -

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. #5

By Chris Beveridge     August 09, 2007
Release Date: August 14, 2007

Best Student Council Vol. #5
© ADV Films

What They Say
At Miyagami Academy, the students in the "Maximum Authority Wielding" Best Student Council have some pretty special talents. But what if one of those extra-special students is really a puppet? Or what if, against her family's wishes, she's so talented that she's asked to become the next big idol in Japan? Or what if she finds a tiny baby and everyone thinks it's hers, or worse yet, that she's a man? To top it all off, what if she creates a card game about all of her friends and exposes their innermost feelings and secrets to the whole world? Now that's just wrong! Or is it? Find out for yourself in volume five of the Best Student Council. When things get a little crazy around Miyagami Academy, these talented students are at their best.

The Review!
Yaoi puppets in love. How could this not rock?

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 red 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 Mayuri 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 commercial piece for the PlayStation 2 game of Best Student Council which is just weird yet amusing.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Minamo now relegated to a regular member like anyone else, the fears I had about her several episodes back appear to be unjustified thankfully. This volume brings us closer to the end of things but it still plays out much like all the other episodes. Every new episode either brings us some new background material about one of the girls or is just done for a whole lot of fun. At the same time there continues to be small moments sprinkled throughout that hints at what the deal is with Rino.

A good deal of the past is explored in the first episode which brings about one of the best things the series has offered yet. A new puppet. Arriving in a manner only one of these things can, a very western "leisure suit larry" type named Lance finds his way onto Izumi's hand and she brings him back to the academy. As it turns out, Lance and Pucchan were old friends who knew Rino's mother together before Rino was born. Lance is an absolutely hilarious addition to the series as he just has a certain flair to him that Pucchan doesn't have. The meeting of the two puppets is hilarious in that it looks like it could turn into either a down and out fight or a very yaoi moment. Even more amusing is that Lance has apparently gotten to Izumi in some way as she blushes about him constantly.

Lance's arrival provides for some good flashback to the past as we see how Rino's mother Chieri acted and her relationship with them. It also starts to highlight more of the reason why Rino is at the academy and why Kanade has brought her there. Perhaps it was obvious earlier in the series as some of the Jinguji family history was brought out, but with this volume we get a far clearer picture of what's going on and it certainly makes it all much more interesting. Everyone's reaction to Lance is great, especially when they can't believe that he sort of just showed up, but it's the quiet moments that are the best. Having Lance and Kanade having a moment together is one of the better ones of the series to date.

The main character that gets an episode to herself in order to explore her past for this volume is Ayumu, Rino's friend right from the start. Little surprise that she's actually more than she appears to be on the surface as it's revealed that she comes from a family of ninjas. She left the family and came to the school at Kanade's invitation as she wanted to enjoy her life as a girl and wear dresses, chat with friends and all the other stereotypical girlie things. Her position in the school is actually something different though based on these skills and it puts a potential damper on her relationship with Rino. All of this comes about in an amusing fashion though as she's "discovered" by a talent agent who wants to make her an idol. An idol whose tagline is "My ordinariness is what makes me special." It's almost beyond words yet you can imagine it actually being done. There are some fun little gimmicks in here and there's the obvious arrival of someone from her family now that she's on the road to fame but overall it's a relatively standard standalone plotline.

Where Best Student Council had me concerned with this volume is in the last episode that revolves around a card game. Rino asks one of her more astute questions of the series by asking where the school gets its funds. Though the bulk of funds seem to come from numerous investments and other businesses that the school owns, it's also getting some money from a new card game that Minamo has created that utilizes the Best Student Council members as its premise. Using the characters and being brutally honest about their powers and skills, it's a hilarious piece that everyone seems to be playing. While the student population in general appear to love it, some of those on the Council don't like their portrayal and ask for it to be recalled. Some of the truths that Minamo has put into the card are hilarious as are some of the weaknesses that they have. Card battles/games in general just bore me to tears but they have a lot of fun with this one, particularly in how Pucchan seemingly unbalances the entire game.

In Summary:
Best Student Council is a series that to my surprises delights and amuses me far more than I think it should. It covers so many different things all while playing up standard plot elements that it's all quite familiar and predictable in some ways. At the same time it manages to do things that set it apart while avoiding a number of the usual clichés. I want to call this a guilty pleasure but I don't feel guilty about watching it at all. Well, only when you see Pucchan and Lance almost embracing too much, then I feel guilty. Best Student Council is one of those school comedies that doesn't come across like the rest and has really carved out its own identity. It doesn't go over the top in a lot of ways but it doesn't play it too safely either. It's just pure unadulterated fun.

Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,Japanese game promo,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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