9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
In 2007, "Baka to Test to Shokanju" (Baka and Test) was created by Kenji Inoue. Featured as a light novel series and featuring the illustrations by Yui Haga, a total of 12 volumes have been printed thus far and a manga adaptation by Mosuke Mattaku began in 2009 in the magazine "Shonen Ace" and also on "Famitsu Comic Clear".
An anime adaptation began in 2010 and a second season which aired in Japan in July 2011. And with the first season released in America on Blu-ray/DVD back in 2011, the second season will now be released by FUNimation in January 2013.
The anime series features animation production from Silver Link and the previous staff from the first season which includes director Shin Oonuma ("Mahou Sensei Negima!", "Pani Poni Dash!"), screenplay by Katsuhiko Takayama ("Cat Planet Cuties", "ef: a tale of melodies", "Fullmetal Alchemist", "Ga-Rei-Zero"), music by Nijine ("Akikan", "Hatsukoi Limited", "Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia"), character designs by Miwa Oshima ("Hit o Nerae!", Rakugo Tennyo Oyui!") and art direction from Kohji Azuma ("Natsu no Arashi!", "Tokyo Requiem", "Arakawa Under the Bridge").
With the second season, Akihisa may not be the brightest guy in class but this time, both Mizuki Himeji and Minami Shimada want to make their move towards Akihisa. But which girl will he pick?
What is "Baka and Test"?
"Baka and Test" revolve around a not-so-smart teenager named Akihisa Yoshii. Because he is not so smart, he is constantly called "Baka" (in Japanese which means stupid). Akihisa is also living on a very tight budget and because he doesn't have much money, he often has to cut his ramen noodles in pieces and eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Akihisa goes to Fumizuki Academy where staff separate their students based on their test scores. The better the grade, the better their life will be in school. For example: "A" students have great furniture and desks and luxurious studying areas, while those with F's have regular classrooms but have crates or cardboard boxes as desks.
But there is a way that lower grades students can get things from higher grade students and that is to challenge them in a battle for facilities.
How this works out is that a student can call forth their "Shokanju" or Avatar and during the battle, a teacher supervises the battle. While students compete in various subjects, avatars can lose HP when struck by an opponent and when their point count reaches zero, they are disqualified. But a student can leave the battle before reaching a zero, take a supplemental exam and return back into battle.
For Akihisa, his first day at Fumizuki Academy is to take a placement test. Its pretty much a given that Akihisa will be in the lowest class but when the intelligent student Mizuki Himeji is sick as is unable to complete her test, unfortunately she is given a zero and must join Akihisa and other delinquents in class F. The other delinquents include their class rep Yuji Sakamoto, the oftenly mistaken for a girl Hideyoshi Kinoshita, the perverted Tsuchiya Kouta and the tomboy Minami Shimada. Interesting enough, both Mizuki and Minami have a crush on Akihisa.
But because Class F has the intelligent Mizuki (who should be an A student), it gives them an edge in battle. Also, despite students being in F class, they may not be good in certain subjects but some may be great in one.
For the second season of "Baka and Test", the season focuses on Class F's interpersoal relationships as friends, but meanwhile, Akihisa is totally oblivious that he has two girls that like him a lot, Mizuki Himeji and Minami Shimada.
We also learn the history between Class F leader Yuji Sakamoto and Shoko Kirashima and why she is so attached to him.
Meanwhile, enemies of the past return for revenge against Class F, but does Class F have any chance of winning this time around?
"Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts" is presented in 1080p High Definition. I actually like the look of the series and the concentration of really elaborate artistic backgrounds. A very colorful series with good pastels, also use of poka dots on backgrounds and foregrounds. And also there is quite a bit of detail for a TV anime series and I think the efficacy of the animation and backgrounds is because SILVER LINK is a company that is used to doing in-between animation and "Baka and Test" is their first major anime production.
So, unlike other major anime production studios who are often busy with other anime series, to have a company who is able to focus on a series definitely makes for a better production. Picture quality for this TV series is very good!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts" is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. First, the good news is the voice acting for soundtracks are very well done. I watched the series in both soundtracks and typically I am biased to the Japanese soundtrack but for this series, both are well done!
Second, because the English soundtrack is presented in lossless 5.1, there is better use of the surround channels and musical score. The series is not truly immersive because battles don't happen every episode but there is a good amount of sound effects that are presented through the surround channels.
Subtitles are only in English.
"Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts - Season 2" comes with the following special features:
Episode 3 Audio Commentary - Featuring audio commentary from Jamie Marchi (lead writer/voice actress for Shoko) and Brina Palencia (voice actress for Hideyoshi/Yuko)
Episode 13 Audio Commentary - Featuring audio commentary from ADR engineers Kevin Leasure and Stephen Hoff about the series and how they got into FUNimation as engineers.
Mission: Impossible: Baka Preview - (1:19) A "Mission Impossible" preview.
Baka-Only Cross-Dressing Contest - (3:56) It's a cross-dressing contest and who will win?
Mission: Impossible: Baka Mission 01 -(3:39) Hideyoshi Kinoshita stars in his first "Baka Mission".
Mizuki Himeji Girls' Meal - (3:19) Mizuki (who is the worst cook) teaches people how to cook.
The King Game in Fumizuki Academy - (4:54) The F class plays the "King" game.
Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts Spinout! - Featuring nine animated shorts and cm: "Beauty and the Beast", "Magical Hideyoshi, Hideyoshi, CM 1″, "Karaoke Mix", "Magical Hideyoshi, Hideyoshi, CM 2″, "Magical Hideyoshi, Hideyoshi", "Mission Impossibler: Baka", "Runaway Haduki", "Akihisa's Inquisition", "Cherry Blossoms Viewing Party".
Promo Videos - (4:11) Japanese Promotional video for "Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts - Season 2″.
Original Commercials - (1:03) Original Japanese TV commercials for "Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts - Season 2″.
U.S. Trailer - FUNimation trailer for "Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts - Season 2″.
Textless Opening Song: "Kimi + Nazo + Watashi de Jump!"
Textless Closing Songs: "Eureka Baby", "Baka to Koshitsu to Kodoku Meshi", "Hi-Ho!!"
Trailers - FUNimation trailers
"Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts Season 2 - The Complete Set" comes with a slip over cover case, Blu-ray and the DVD versions of the series.
Last season, I discussed how the actual concept of "Baka and Test" was pretty intriguing. As a big fan of RPG games, I felt that the concept of classes getting into battle, especially the underdogs - The F Class challenging the other grades was pretty cool and also the introduction of the Avatar system.
But as the first season focused on the battles between Class F and other higher classes, with season two, the season focuses on interpersonal relationships within Class F and also the history of some of the characters.
Also, much noticeable in the second season is much more fan service, as Akihisa, Yuji and the guys can't help but look at other girls, while the other girls in Class F are not too thrilled and will show their anger towards them.
With the first half of episodes being fun and upbeat with the group hanging out at the beach. attending a festival (in which they group ends up in a crossdressing contest), we are also introduced to some past stories as how Akihisa met Mizuki (the Punishment Inspector) and why Minami and Mizuki fell for him. And also the guys trying to find a way into the girls bathroom.
The second half of the series continues to focus on the love triangle between Akihisa, Minami and Mizuki and what happens when Akihisa accidentally sends Minami in what appears to be a love confession. And what happens when she kisses him in front of Mizuki. We also learn the history of Yuji and Shoko and why she fell for him.
And what is "Baka and Test" without a class battle, and this time around the enemies of the past return for payback against Class F.
Needless to say, "Baka and Test" season two turned out to be a crazy, hilarious entertaining season. While the first season was good in focusing on the class battles, this time around, it's all about love triangles and the guys just wanting to have fun with other girls yet, oblivious to how upset the other girls of Class F are when they behave that way.
But with this second season, there is more character-drive plots and also character building storylines that we didn't get to see much of, in the first season.
And as for the animation and character designs, as mentioned earlier, I felt that SILVER LINK, a newer company did a great job. Especially since they are not a major studio and their talent are focusing on several series at one time, SILVER LINK had more time to dedicate to the overall look of the series. From the detailed and artistic backgrounds to the character designs, for a TV series, "Baka and Test" looks pretty good on Blu-ray and you get a good number of special features as well.
Overall, "Baka and Test" is a fun and enjoyable series that can be easily described as wild, crazy and even perverted at times. But it's great to see FUNimation bringing out a series that focuses on comedy and for those who want a break from the usual dark or action-oriented anime series on Blu, will definitely enjoy "Baka and Test: Summon the Beast Season 2″.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2012
Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts is a Comedy, Romance, Slice-of-Life Anime of the highest caliber. Wonderful Dub, Solid Features, and in terms of the show: Stellar Presentation.
To start off, I'd like to comment that my investment in Baka and Test actually spans a whole year and a month from when I first watched it, and I decided with my good friend that I showed it afterwards that we would wait for the season 2 dub. Well, the wait is over... AND IT WAS WORTH IT! Here are some special features of the release you should expect:
> Two commentaries (episode 3 and 13. This is a far better amount compared to Season One's... no commentaries)
> Nine shorts on the "Spinout" series (think of this as a bunch of shorts, like last season)
> Typical Anime Feature Standards (Textless opening and endings, English and Japanese Audio w/ subtitles...)
Sadly, the OVAs are released in a separate collection. Strange too, since there are only two of them (why you gotta take all my money like that, FUNi).
In terms of the good and bad of the actual season's content (and in comparison to season one), the season itself does the job it was meant to do, which is make you laugh. The comedy is just as great as it previously was, and I found certain characters like Kouta to shine even more than they did previously. It seems strange that jokes of Hideyoshi and Kouta's nosebleeds happen so much, and yet they still find a way for me to laugh.
The only problem I have with this season is the plot loss from the first season. Season one was all about Class F trying to get better stuff by beating other classes in wars (while having plenty of side stories and personal adventures on the side). This season is all about side stories, back stories, and the class hanging out (with a little "almost" war and courage test on the side... unless you count the school trip as an important war as well, but I consider that a personal bout). The conventions that we come to expect from season one are abandoned in two, but that isn't totally a bad thing in itself... I just would've liked at least one important war of some kind (but what I was provided works well enough).
Baka and Test has always had a lot of heart in there. Season one touched on a lot of the learning aspects, but season two takes the character developments up to another level. Finally, you get a lot of character back stories on people (Yuji, Shouko, Hazuki, and Minami for the most part) which is really good to understand why they are such good friends and knew each other since the start of season one. I'm not a huge fan of the drama (like back in season one) as it distracts me when I watch the show over and over again, like I will do one again with season two, but it is far better when done in this second season compared to season one (as gut wrenching as some of it may be).
One last strange thing is that season two focuses on the Minami and Akihisa relationship by far more than the Himeji and Akihisa relationship that was so heavily touted in season one. I'm fine with this, since I always thought Minami made a better character and therefore was a better relationship choice, so this development was right up my alley (though I understand if there is a group of people think that Himeji is a better choice... despite how WRONG they are :P).
This does present a problem though, as now I don't have a single clue how this will all end or perspire in the future! Sure, not knowing is a good thing too, as it says that this show has no predictability, but what if this season is merely getting my hopes up for a Akihisa and Minami ending and then stabs me in the back with Himeji back story and ending in a third season that changes everything! DON'T TOY WITH MY EMOTIONS-I mean... Manly stuff, yea... dude things... weight lifting, I hate Unicorns, and zero crying!
But, by a Product standpoint, this set is spectacular! You should check out Season One if you haven't, then head on over to Season Two for even more heart and good times! Finally a show with more intense romance than a solely romance show, more comedy than your usual full comedy show, and yet it all feels so surreal.
Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts Season 2 has shown me that the investment I have is quite worth it, and I know the novels are still barely going so I lay here in wait for a Season 3 announcement (you can't end this here...) and hope to see the ending that I'm looking for appear before me. After all, this investment has showed me that Baka and Test isn't just my favorite Anime comedy... but favorite Anime of All-Time now!