The story centers around Akihisa Yoshii, the "baka" of the title. His academy rigidly divides up the student body into classes based on the results of tests. The prodigies are in the A class with reclining seats complete with air conditioning, but Akihisa is in F class, the lowest rung of the school ladder which is furnished only with low, decrepit tables and worn-out straw tatami mats. A girl named Mizuki Himeji is actually one of the smartest girls in Akihisa's sophomore year, but she had a fever on test day and was pigeonholed into the F class. Besides Mizuki (who Akihisa secretly adores), the F class also has Yuuji Sakamoto, the class president who has been Akihisa's friend and partner-in-crime since the freshman year.
The school happens to have developed experiments to summon fantasy creatures, and Akihisa decides to rally F class to take on the higher-tiered classes and seize their perks. The F class uses the summoned creatures in an all-out battle for school supremacy.
Comedy is subjective. Some people prefer witty satire and others prefer blunt brainless nonesense. Well, Baka to Test is the latter of the two. Just like its namesake, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (Idiots and Tests and Summoning Beings) is one hell of an idiotic show. But it serves its purpose of providing nonsensical entertainment, and I'm afraid if you are expecting otherwise then Baka to Test is not for you.
To many, the story is – to put it plainly – outright stupid. Students are split into classes from A-F based on their academic skills; A being full of smartarses and F being crammed
with quote/unquote “the mentally retarded”. Incidentally, what class you are in correlates to the facilities they have, much like an academic ‘caste system’.
So we have the idiots and tests out of the way, so what about the Summoning Beings? Evidently, there are ways to acquire these prestigious facilities – the obvious one being to score high on the mid-terms...and the other, Exam Summoning Battles. Such battles consist of the student’s being, which is a chibi version of themselves fighting other student’s beings. Much like video games, they have points (which can be considered as health bars) that are knocked off through physical contact. There is little to no “exam”, or any such academic skills tested in these battles, but what the heck – anything goes in anime, more so in this one. The show is already incoherent enough to be questioned at this point.
Akihisa and the rest of F-class duel in these ESB’s to get the hotel-suite like facilities and prove to everyone that grades aren’t everything! Along with that there are love triangles, moé, traps, incest, lolicons, cross-dressing, yaoi, yuri and every anime cliché under-the-sun.
And I for one love it for that.
Brainless comedy is brainless. Filled to the brim with slapstick humour and overacting such as the infamous anime nosebleed and much, much shouting to the point it is classed as screeching; dirty jokes and overall randomness Baka to Test helps the reviewer just sit back, relax and take it in all the over the top nature of the show.
Not only does it spoof anime traits but it also parodies anime shows, the most recognizable ones being that from Gurren Lagann and Code Geass but they are quite subtly played. Knowledge of these shows aren't required to enjoy the show as they are only for minimal comedy relief.
Another wonderfully played cliché are the stereotypical characters:
Akihisa, the idiotic male lead completely oblivious to all the girls lusting over him;
Himeji, the big breasted intelligent yet timid beauty – and the most obvious love interest;
Yuuji, strong willed and often in a comedic duo with Akihisa;
Minami, tomboyish though is actually quite the girl to heart;
Kouta, the class’ pervert;
And Hideyoshi, the ‘trap’ – often mistaken as a girl due to his appearances.
These walking stereotypes were all so superb at keeping the viewers laughing with their antics and traits. But as most stereotypes are – they are restricted. As progress throughout the show went on there was no doubt, a formula in the comedy. There were many spontaneous comedic moments as well, but most of it was rather repetitive. However, I wouldn’t say it hindered the show greatly as it does not insult the viewer’s sense of humour. It knows that we know this or that punch line or act yet it is delivered in such a way that it still stays fresh and funny. Much like a signature catchphrase, each character is assigned a certain quirk, habit or joke which we all come to know and love.
Silver Link’s animation was impressive for an almost unknown company. The only other anime they have actually produced (Tayutama ~Kiss on my Deity~) is not very well known and since then their animation has improved. Although the art and animation is fairly average and similar to most other shows, it has subtle add-ins that would make it recognizable even amongst a hundred different anime, such as the colourful shadows each character has – all different colours, no less and the “spotty” inking in backgrounds and objects. Baka has no trouble integrating different styles of art for either comedic purposes or otherwise – using blindingly bright colours when needed and eerily dark when called for. Music is, just like the art, average. The OP and ED are very skippable and the background music is forgettable.
Baka to Test does the job of using some very well known seiyuus as well as some not so very well known. All display a charismatic quality in their characters and bring out the character that they are. Akihisa is the loud idiot. Yuuji is the sometimes-calm-sometimes-not idiot. Himeji is naively sweet. Minami is an awkward idiot. Hideyoshi...does not sound like an idiot per se, but comes across as amusingly girly. And Kouta is perverted through and through. Just hearing the voicing alone could tell you this.
The ‘ending’ of the show is much left to be desired for, in other words it was quite a letdown. Fortunately it has the opportunity to redeem itself with the second season announced to be aired soon.
Baka to Test isn’t anything that hasn’t been seen before. And honestly the excuse of a story isn’t even well thought out or developed. But sometimes you will have to sit there, laugh it all off and say “That’s just stupid!”
There are tons of comedic styles to play on in anime, and Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu takes to it some of the more popular ones - and suceeds with it. Be it Kouta's excited peeping (and failing by nosebleeds), Minami's tomboyish behaviour and acts of violence against Akihisa, Shouko's yandere-esque violent obsession with Yuuji or the sheer over-the-top fighting with the Summoned Beasts. Or the rather subtle and rare allusions to various shows; Baka to Test has it in itself to bring out laughter from everyone and nobody.
Baka to Test is the kind of comedy where the characters themselves, and not necessarily the situation
around them, is what makes you laugh. The various character's personalities all have some sort of specific trait which an experienced anime watcher may recognize, to an extent. The totally kawaii moe girl; the tsundere; the yandere; the peeping tom. WHile they're all too apparent, they really do work; in the hands of skilled enough writers, overused character type can be fun to watch over and over again. And it does throw a few interesting turns at you; like the FFF (christ, I'm still laughing over them) - a cult like the KKK; only that they go after those who have girlfriends (or guys who receive obentou from girls, for that sake).
And the two male leads, who are actually refreshingly deep - for comedy male leads, that is. Akihisa is rather wimpy, and a total idiot, and has tons of quirks which one may or may not recognize oneself in (they're all over-the-top, though). All his quirks are a constant fuel for humour; seeing one's own problems made fun out of is something most people can recognize.
The other male lead, Yuuji, is totally hilarious to watch. He is in no way a sidekick character, like Kouta; instead, he takes on more of a 'group leader' role; being class rep and the one in charge of planning for the summoning battles. Truly, when he is at his peak, he is like Kamina (TTGL) in attitude; over-the-top spirited and spouting loads and loads of bull concealed as meaningful and supportive words (who can forget Kamina's "believe in you, who believes in yourself"?). Even those who don't recognize the Kamina-esque personality will probably find his adamant personaltiy hilarious to watch.
As far as settings go, you don't experience anything new. School humour show is school humour show, meaning pool days, theme park trips and that stuff are obligatory. Not to mention the school hallways; which are used as the base for the ESBs. The school does, however, have a few pleasant surprises (like the ESB server room, and the exam paper vault). And of course, the school's roof, where the more serious moments typically take place.
The show doesn't stand out much on its other fields; while above middling quality it's not much more. Backgrounds are tormented by an annoying, dotted style, which I see no apparent reason for having in the show. Character designs are average enough, but the hand-drawn effects which appear at the 'heroic goodbye' talks between Yuuji and are hilarious; likewise is their increased face complexity featured when they are shocked or have any similar reaction.
The soundtrack is standard-fare humour; themes fit the humour setting, the few 'dramatic' moments, and that is about it; there's no memorable theme or likewise to set your mind on. The opening theme is standard upbeat crazy j-pop style, and unfortunately lacks any interesting animation. Same can be said about the ending theme; though it's more j-rock than j-pop.
SUmmarized, Baka to Test is your everyday absurd humour show with a few quirks thrown in to make it refreshing enough to be truly enjoyable, and anyone who's looking for an easy no-brains laugh may find it pleasing.
If you want to see Anime all bundled up into one in the most stereotypical setting with the most cliche characters and unoriginal title and all the hilariously idiotic romance you could ask for, this is for you-- I love it!
I had the experience of watching Baka no Test as one of my first Shojo anime and I could hardly contain my outbursts of laughter and confusion. Then, I watched it after watching a lot of anime, and I still laughed because it brought back so many memories.
You have the cute, perfect, sexual magnet, (who can't cook) innocent girl that the hero seems to have
a thing for- there's the pretty, flat-chested, violent, smart common sense-wise, tomboy who gets made fun of way too much and has a thing for the hero and people seem to dump pity on her-there's the pervert who has a nosebleed about everything and can't seem to put down his camera- the main character's hot, smart, tsundere friend who's relationship can be mistaken as gay with the main character- there's the quiet, dangerous, mysterious, extraordinary girl who hunts down the main character's best friend- the gay, smart one who just can't keep a cool head around his crush- the crazy, stalker chick that can't stay away from one of the heroines- the one that's made fun of for being both sexualities at once...
AND THE MAIN CHARACTER WHO'S INSANELY OBLIVIOUS AND STUPID. A perfect insert character for anyone.
These are the Archetypal characters of anime and whenever you revisit them, you can't help but laugh your head off.
This anime makes fun of any anime with any of these characters, this plot of starting from the bottom and getting to the top, summoning beasts, high school, and every genre in between.
Given that you don't need an insanely deep plot and you're looking for something light-hearted to watch: this is the anime that I recommend you watch!
Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, the show with one of the least creative names ever seen. Just calling it Idiots and Tests and Summoned Beings... can you imagine if they called Avatar Blue guys and Forest and Environmentalism, nobody would be able to take the movie seriously (well... you can't really take it seriously anyways...). Anyways, silly titles aside, Baka to etc, is a simple show that illustrates how funny anime can be. A juvenile sense of humor with lots of slapstick gags, that delivers in every way you expected it to, just like it should. With that said, lets look at Baka to blooby
The plot of this anime, is a deep and intriguing one if you look at it symbolically, and barely visible if you don't. A down trodden class of good for nothings is thrown to the bottom of the social ladder like yesterdays dinner, and its only after a young charismatic leader whips them into shape that they realise they must enter an spectacular struggle to climb up the food chain and defeat the high and elite who are squandering their power.
Ok well, bad literary synopsizes aside, the show doesn't really pull off anything spectacular in that fashion; as you would expect its a comedy. The plot (as with most comedies), is their to provide somewhat of a driving point for the story, but mostly just to help string along more humor. And it does it well, it seems like every "summon battle" they have something extreme and wacky happens. Really every episode is enjoyable and you'll get a good laugh. I think the main reason for this (aside from a great sense of humor) is that they like to mix up the episodes quite a bit in presentation. For example one episode is aimed like a RTS video game, viewed from above mostly where you watch the battle unfold. Another is set where you follow the protagonists friend Yuuji, while not exactly knowing what the rest of the gang is up to. So in summary, the plot is simple, but does exactly what it needs to to keep this show rolling.
The characters are... well pretty token for a comedy of this sort. They all are pretty one dimensional, usually only having one trait to go upon, but again it works in this kind of situation. And despite there being some cliche in most of the characters, you can't help but feel that theirs something special about each and every one of them. For example, Yoshii, the protagonist. He's weak, dumb, useless, clumsy, poor, and has 2 beautiful women chasing after him (ummm and a guy, but don't think about that too much). Yawn you might think, that's been done a million times before, but what I like about Yoshii is that he isn't a wimp. Most leads of this sort, are pathetic not because they are terrible at everything, but because they are pansies who bend to every whim and have no mind of their own. Yoshii on the other hand, seems to accept that he's completely useless and strives instead to just enjoy life as much as he can. All in all, the characters are rather interesting for a comedy troupe, and I don't think I really hated any of them (something that most shows can't say). There are a tonne to pick from so you are bound to find at least a few that you find hilarious.
Finally, the art and sound are actually really fantastic. Looking and sounding good isn't such an achievement nowadays, as computers have streamlined everything... but you really have to enjoy the artistic style of this anime. It always feels like there's a weird fluffy feeling to it I find, not really sure how to describe it. Needless to say, it gently massaged my eyeballs with quite nice art work.
So, to sum it all up as quickly as possible, Baka to *omg this title pisses me off* to Shoukanjuu, is a fun little experience, that I definitely recommend to anybody who needs a few good laughs. Might not be for you if your a sad lonely critic who can only watch anime if it stimulates some part of your brain, but hey give it a try at least.