Monday, May 27, 2013

Anime Review: GA Gejitsuka Art Design Class

Wohoo, I finally managed to post an anime review on a Monday again! Then again I really want to tell people about this under-appreciated series whose title might look a little familiar since I actually reviewed the first two volumes of the manga back in the fall. For the manga I felt like it was pretty cute but just couldn't quite get into it and I wasn't sure if that's because I was reading it in really odd, brief snatches of time thanks to my schedule or because the material just didn't quite click. I'd known the anime was on Crunchyroll and decided one night to start going through all the stuff I had queued and this looked like as good a place to start as any (also because I'm not currently watching comedies so I didn't have to worry about confusing it with anything). After the first episode I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to continue so I watched a second, wasn't still sure but as I found myself reaching for the third I realized that I must be at least a little hooked by it.

GA Gejitsuka Art Design Class

Summary: Kisaragi, Miyabi, Namiko, Tomokane, and Nodamiki are all first year students in the GA Art Design course and like many art students are quite strange. They agonize over homework, come up with strange hotpot things to eat, get lost in the school buildings, and generally just have fun while working hard.

The Good: For me the humor clicked more here than it did in the manga and I really adored this show. The episodes managed to string together a bunch of little plots (my biggest concern since it's based on a 4koma manga) rather well, with some being a little more coherent than others, and it even covered beyond what I had read before, another concern of mine. They even gave the "second group" (how I referred to the Fine Art Club in my mind while watching it) screen time which made me happy since they had really grown on me in the manga, I was delighted when they popped up since I had completely forgotten about them. But I think the show's best strength, to both new fans and fans of the manga, is the humor, it fits, it flows, sometimes they drag out skits a bit too long but more often than not the writers really understood comedic timing and I would spend the entire episode giggling madly.

The Bad: I would have liked a little bit of character development even if it had been just for some of the characters like Kisaragi (who is more or less the main character). The characters did change a bit, and since this is based off of a gag 4koma manga to start with I can't say I was surprised by this (lack of) development but it reminded me that even though I really didn't like Azumanga Diaoh it did have a bit more character development and did better in that respect. I also wish the show had managed to give itself a slightly more concrete ending (in either the 12 episode or the OVA, which Crunchryoll has listed as episode 13) or at least a sense of wrap-up, both ended just a bit too suddenly for me. But, given that there is more manga out there to read I'm not terribly heartbroken over this.

The Audio/Visuals: On an odd note, I saw Star Cross Anime Blog praise the art but for some reason crunchyroll was streaming all except two or three of the episodes in only 480 so I can't really speak to how crisp the lines or colors were. To me a lot of the show looked simple and like it had a relatively modest budget, nothing looked off and it illustrated all the art concepts that came up perfectly but this wasn't a show that showed off any technical or artistic prowess. I don't think that hurt the show but it's not one I would recommend if you wanted just eye candy. It did however have a rather additively cute opening song so if you want ear candy you might want to give that one a listen.

So I'm giving this 4 out of 5 stars and a hearty recommendation to get your butt over to crunchyroll and try it out. It never got picked up for a physical release in the US (although I just noticed that it's listed on AnimeSols' survey for "what titles would you pledge at least $40 for a physical release" question, the only one I answered yes for actually) so if you like it, and can access AnimeSols, then make sure to go over there and vote for it too! And if anyone is interested in the manga then go hit up your local retailer of choice, Yen Press has the R1 license for it and judging by the release dates there should be stuff in some of the later volumes that the anime never covered!

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