Hikari Hanazono has always been second to Kei Takishima. When they were six years old, their pro-wrestling loving fathers introduced them to each other. Assuming that she was the best in wrestling, young Hikari challenged Kei to a wrestling match only to be thoroughly defeated by him.
Ever since that fateful incident, Hikari swore to beat Kei in school grades, sporting events—anything. To do this, she has enrolled in the same school as Kei since elementary. Now she attends Hakusenkan, an ultra elite school, that costs her carpenter father a lot of money.
Hikari and Kei are the top two students in the school, with Kei holding firmly to that number one position. While Hikari considers Kei to be a rival and important friend, she is completely unaware that Kei loves her. The story primarily focuses on Hikari and her constant attempts to defeat her one and only rival, Kei, and how she finds love in their rivalry.
Special A is primarily a Shoujo Rom/Com that starts off slow but gets better as you go. Based on the inability of Hikari to understand Kei's true feelings for most of the plot. Normal laws of physics are generally ignored by the seeming superhuman duo of Kei and Hikari, who also are both at the top of their school academically.
The story isn't the most original story ever, relying on the interaction of the seven members of the Special A (SA from now on) class and not involving many other characters. While somewhat predictable, it still manages to be entertaining most of the time if not frustrating because of the general lack of development between the main couple's relationship. (The anime does have several minor changes in its adaptation of the manga's story)
The art style is pretty normal for your typical shoujo. The character models are somewhat odd in their unusually elongated limbs, but it's nothing that should ruin the show for you. The scenery and colors are good, if nothing fantastic, and I particularly liked the animation of the romance scenes where they would employ a pastel like color scheme which enhanced the scene.
The sound, much like the art, is, for the most part, good while not great. The background music appropriate and never seemed to get annoying or repetitive. The OPs and EDs have mixed opinions. The first OP and ED didn't really go over well with me and i doubt anyone would mind skipping right over them. The second OP and ED didn't seem to be much better at first either, but surprisingly they grew on me and ended up being pretty catchy. I don't have any complaints about the VAs, they all seemed to fit their characters and Kei and Hikari's VAs particularly were good, bringing out the same character that was seen in the manga.
The Characters were developed well, with the other members of the SA getting their own spotlight at times. While the main focus is on the Kei x Hikari pairing, there are a few other pairings that show up and will get episodes developing them. Obviously, being the two main characters, Kei and Hikari are developed the most and are both likable, though you might want to strangle Hikari a few times for being as stupid/ignorant as she is. Still, she definitely has her own great moments and you should be able to mostly ignore her own shortcomings and cheer her (and Kei) on.
The enjoyment varies as the series goes on, starting off somewhat weak compared to its peak later on in the anime. The comedy of the anime compared to manga is just as good if not better than the original. The romance on the otherread more
Special A is a Shoujo, Romantic, Comedy, Drama about the extravagant lives of some prestigious individuals and the romantic endeavours some of them pursue. It contains some side-splitting comedy but tends to fail when circumstances get too serious.
The story… well it sort of has one and sort of doesn’t. For the most part, the series follows the random antics of an elite group of students known as the S.A (Special A). This usually involves any random theme you can imagine, be it competitions or festivals, whilst exaggerating the wealth of these students. This brings about some truly hilarious slapstick comedy moments, which varies depending on the character delivering the joke nevertheless some jokes can become really repetitive. Then there are times it focuses on a specific member of the S.A, providing the viewers with some much needed back-story on one the characters and developing them further. However the transitions between the comedy & drama relies too much on clichés that it becomes tiresome very quickly. Not only that but a lot of the character arcs were completely ruined during the transition from manga to anime. It also doesn’t help that the main romance between Kei & Hikari is constantly prevented from moving forward and in the end you probably would have lost interest.
Speaking of Kei & Hikari, they certainly made an interesting pair; Kei being the typical cold & calculating guy (Jun Fukuyama perfect for the job ^^) and Hikari being a sort of naïve, brutish girl. Strange combination I must say. Then there are the 5 other members of the S.A who have their individual personalities and traits, making them all an integral part of the story. They each have their own funny, intriguing and annoying side, so it just depends on which has the biggest impact on you.
The animation is exactly what you can expect from your typical shoujo anime; lustrous environments that go well with the wealthy theme and slender character designs to appeal to the standard shoujo viewers. The comedy is certainly executed well on the other hand the romance would have been perfect without the annoying effects (especially when things go artsy for a brief moment). The music here is nothing special and can get very repetitive, along with some of the dialogue. It’s only the voice actors that do a good job in bringing out the most from their characters, allowing me to give the sound department a decent score.
Overall I though that Special A began as a really great Rom/Com that could compete with something like Lovely Complex, but the countless amount of clichés and cheesy moments failed to have a positive effect on the romance and drama. The fact that the story is rather inconsistent and the characters don’t have the same feel as in the manga, will certainly disappoint the fans of the manga but those who can ignore the numerous faults will be able to enjoy this great anime for what it is.
If I've never read the manga, I'd probably enjoy this anime for the crack that it is. But knowing how really great the manga is, I'm really disappointed with the anime adaptation.
I know that when animes are set with a strict 24 episodes border they have to leave out things from the original story and alter things so that it makes a coherent story in tha anime, too. Lovely Complex, for example, managed to pull this off well - even though they changed many things and left out a lot of chapters, the general mood still remained the same, so it was enjoyable for manga readers, too.
But I feel like Special A isn't being true to the manga, and it's really bad adaptation wise.
Even if the anime makers change a story a bit, manga readers can usually enjoy any kind of scenes with their beloved characters. The main problem with SA is that it didn't manage to grab the character's personalities at all. It seems like they looked at the characters, remembered a few traits they have then they animated them between these traits, without really paying attention to the character's depth. I don't want to get into spoilers, but the anime couldn't portray Kei's relationship with his brother well, and the end of that episode had a completely different message then it originally had in the manga.
Another problem is that the anime doesn't have the same mood as the manga at all. In the manga, these 7 people are extraordinarily talented, but still, normal people. The anime made them look really out of this world, especially in the first and the seventh episode. What most of the readers liked about the original story is that these characters were normal people, just outstanding ones. The anime completely took this aspect away.
The SA anime is only really enjoyable for those who hasn't read the manga, so if you want to watch all of the episodes while enjoying it, I'd like to recommend you not reading the manga. However, when the anime is over and you had your fun with it, I'd like to ask you to read the manga, which has a lot more levels.read more
Special A was anything but special. It was very cliche, but it's hard to avoid that in shoujo anime. There was nothing mind-blowing about neither the music or the art.
The story is pretty basic. In all honesty, I don't really think there is such a thing as orginality, but it's up to the people writing or directing to make it seem real. We know Shakespeare based Romeo and Juliet off a book someone had already written. How many times have we heard the story of 'I must defeat him...oh, wait I just found out he loves me?' but the issue isn't whether it was original or not, it's simply that they didn't know how to move the plot efficiently.
To me, one of the most important, if not the primary, thing to a story is character. If you have believable characters, then the audience will automatically simpathize and invest their own emotions into those characters. Yes, it is a comedy. Most of the things in the show defied the laws of physic, to say the least, but take Akira for example. The problems of her past evolving Yahiro really gives her more depth. As compared to Hariki who mentally retarded but ended up in the S.A. anyway. They should have developed a bit more of the characters. What's the point if it's just the same thing again and again? Yes, we know she thinks of him as his rival, but wouldn't it be more interesting if she had become aware of her own feelings on her own and had to defeat him in order to prove to herself she wasn't in love? Or what if he suddenly let her win (and I'm not talking about that crap challenge with the flower) what would she have done? Would she have realized that she probably really didn't want to win?
What I'm saying is that there could have been so much more done to make them more human. Why doesn't he let her win, anyway? Does he feel she'll love him that way?
That aside, though, I really liked the less fictional aspects of the show. It wasn't TOO bad, in all honesty. I won't watch it again, and I got bored about half way though, but hey, it had it's good parts. I can't think of any NOW, but I remember liking somethings....read more
Studying in real life requires a lot of hard work we sometimes wish studying should be a bit more fun and interesting like the ones we use to see in animes. So, given a chance to be your ideal anime character, which anime school would you like to study?