Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Anime Review: Okusama ga Seito Kaichou

Okusama ga Seito Kaichou
Original Manga by: Yumi Nakata
Anime Studio: Dream Creation
Japanese name: おくさまが生徒会長!
English Translation: My Wife is the Student Council President

The two rivals Ui and Rin
Inspiration can come from some very interesting places. For Yumi Nakata, a former hentai artist, she looked at an old hentai manga she made many years ago and remade it for a shonen crowd. That is the origin for the manga behind the eight-minute ecchi anime series Okusama ga Seito Kaichou. Before the anime came out, I was a fan of the manga when I first read it in 2013. I was quite curious as to how the anime would adapt the more risqué material from the manga. As a fan of the manga, my feelings are mixed on its anime adaptation. The anime at best is a mediocre adaptation from a source material that is far superior.

The premise is simple; Hayato Izumi ran for student council president and lost to a charismatic girl named Ui Wakana. One day after coming home, he finds out that their parents have arranged a marriage between him and Ui. Now he must keep his cohabitation with her secret while trying to figure out whether he really loves her or not. Later on, a girl who is the head of the discipline committee named Rin Misumi is introduced as the main romantic rival who
is girly, buxom, smart, and is as equally dense with love as Ui and Hayato.

Ui barges into Hayato's life
The main cast has a unique dynamism that keeps the premise interesting. Ui is naïve when it comes to love and romance, but she wants to liberalize love on campus. Hayato is a sensible person who sometimes thinks too much with his other organ than his brain; it leads to some very risqué scenes between him and Ui, or him and Rin. The main rival, Rin is as equally inexperienced when it comes to love, but she is very conservative and defensive towards the Student Council because of a past incident that led her to become a social outcast due to her big bust. Rounding out the rest of the cast are student council members Akane Niikura, Karen Fujisaki, school Nurse Kei Misumi (also Rin’s older sister), and Matoko Sawatari who is also a member of the discipline committee.

Rin is the traditional counterweight
to Ui and her Student Council
An eight-minute anime adaptation of the manga has some good points. The anime for the most part keeps the spirit of the original manga designs intact. While the manga is undeniably the best when it comes to the character designs, the TV studio did a respectable job transitioning it to anime form. The anime has also done a good job keeping the spirit of the characters, so that all the actions are in line with each character’s personality. Animation quality is also very good, with it being very smooth, leaving only a small amount of stuff that needs to be fixed in the final Blu-Ray edition. This anime rendition is also unique in that almost each opening and ending has changes that reflect the situation and the storyline. Of the voice actors, I think that the voice of Rin Misumi, Minami Tsuda (Moegi from Strike the Blood, Salama from Amagi Brilliant Park) is probably the strongest performance of the main cast members.

The anime itself has some glaring flaws; the biggest reason is the eight-minute runtime. They skip a lot of material that may seem insignificant, but are big plot points in the development of Hayato, Ui, Rin, and the secondary cast. While we don’t expect an anime adaptation to be a straight, perfect adaptation of the manga (because that would be boring), the manga does a lot of time skips to focus on the main cast; since the anime cherry picks episodes that were not even interconnected in the source material, it makes the time skips even more jarring. They skip all of volume 3 and half of volume 4 in the manga storyline. Unless a person is already used to the source material, they would find the lack of a cohesive narrative quite jarring. With the eight-minute runtime, they also cut a lot of the screen time of the secondary characters. Okusama the Animation is more like the Hayato, Ui, and Rin show with all the side characters cut to mere seconds. The voices and performances of Ui and Hayato are the weaker links, with Ui not sounding as energetic as her persona on screen and Hayato sounding much older than he should. The anime also showed us how they dealt with the more risqué ecchi scenes, by not animating them at all.

Rin has plenty of cute moments
It is no secret that anime are made to be used a marketing vehicle of manga and light novels. Okusama ga Seito Kaichou was one of the poor selling manga, never selling too well. Which is why I was somewhat surprised it got an anime in the first place. While there has been a growth of “micro-anime” that are 2, 5, 8, or 10 minutes as opposed to 22 minutes, I rather expected the anime to adapt the first two volumes, not to cherry pick favorite Hayato, Ui, and Rin scenes from the first five volumes. At best, they should have given Okusama a respectable adaptation even within its 8-minute time constraints, so that it would be a good anime to sell more manga. What we got is a “best of” that is not a good anime, but hopefully it improves manga sales so it can continue for more years.

In the end, I would hesitate to recommend the anime. As a standalone, it is not a good starting material for the franchise, since the person watching it would get lost. With that said, if you happen to watch the anime and liked, do not fret, a good source material to enjoy has more character development and more fanservice of your favorite character. If you like the manga, the anime is good just to see your favorite characters in motion, but keep in mind the limitation of time and temper expectations so you do not get disappointed.

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