Jan 9, 2009
kevo (All reviews)
On a complete whim, I decided to check this series out this winter. 2006 is the year of the remake. The year featured remade versions of Demonbane, Kanon, Nobita's Dinosaur, Youkai Ningen Bem, and of course, Kujibiki Unbalance. Unless you truly watch way too much anime, you've probably heard of only two of those titles. Kujibiki Unbalance (2006) is a reincarnation of the OVA which itself is a realization of a fictional TV series in the series Genshiken. While the OVA was a lot of fun in paralleling the Genshiken universe, the 2006 series focuses on establishing the show on its own right. I went in expecting a typical third rate romantic comedy full of stock characters and a plot on the wrong side of the line between silly and stupid. What I got was a quite surprisingly enjoyable show with a satisfying ending and only occasional mishaps. The biggest surprise for me is that the story actually functioned and delivered a smooth, natural ending. I guess good things happen when you watch a show with low expectations.

Kujibiki Unbalance takes place in the fictional prestigious Rikkyouin High School, whose student council (and even admission) is selected by lottery. This apparently works well since Rikkyouin is the top school in the nation in every way and its student council's power rivals that of some countries. Lo and behold our main protagonist Enomoto Chihiro (CV: Takimoto Fujiko) draws the lot for President and you can read the rest of the plot synopsis up top. Chihiro is a pretty unlucky guy and his motley crew of lucky future council members must essentially intern for a year before their inauguration.

Kujibiki Unbalance works because it doesn't take itself too seriously and it's not afraid to have fun. This is undoubtedly a fun anime. Everything about the school, from its size, to its amenities, to the power of its council is absurd. The situations and assignments the future council members deal with are equally ridiculous, such as foiling an assassination attempt or breeding pandas. The show does not shy away from fan service, which is perfectly fine. The key is that the show did not overdo fan service and shift attention away from its other merits. By establishing a precedent of silliness and half-parody, the show is able to execute its plot to a believable extent.

The student council candidates is a well balanced group of characters that complement each other nicely. Chihiro is the guy that is pretty dumb and untalented but has a good heart but terrible luck, Akiyama Tokino (CV: Nonaka Ai) is his childhood friend who is always positive and has incredible luck. Asagiri Koyuki (CV: Kojima Kazuko) is a sweet little good girl that everyone tends to overlook and Kamishakuji Renko (CV: Nishihara Kumiko) is a mad scientist and the attitude factor of the new student council. The current student council is equally well composed with Ritsuko Kettenkrad (CV: Koshimizu Ami) portrayed as cold and calculating. As the series progresses, this anime develops its characters and explores their pasts and their relationships. Wonders happen when a show does these things, especially if you have interesting characters.

Kujibiki Unbalance has very simple cartoonish art. Regardless, the characters are well animated and brought to life. I personally like the character design better here compared to the OVA by Genco. The different art style plays a major role in differentiating this series from the OVA related to Genshiken, and minimalizing this show's relationship with Genshiken in general.

The characters are well voiced, with a very strong cast led by Ai Nanoka (Fuura from Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Fuuko from Clannad), Ami Koshimizu (Tenma from School Rumble), Nogami Yukana (C.C. from Code Geass) and Yuko Goto (Mikuru from Haruhi). I enjoyed both OP and ED; specifically, Ai Nanoka and Ami Koshimizu do a great job with the ED, Harmonies*.

Not without error, Kujibiki Unbalance can become blood curlingly cheesy or cliche occasionally, especially near the end. At times characters annoy you or act pointlessly. Regardless, Kujibiki Unbalance is solid. It's a simple 12 episode series with a simple plot and simple conflicts. It's not very ambitious but it knows what it has to work with. The romantic aspect of it is surprisingly not that bad, even well done, I would claim. All in all, this is a recommendation for people who enjoy some silliness and some fun with their schoolkids anime.