What They Say:
At Hekiyo Academy, all but one of the Student Council members are elected via popularity contests, and since teenagers think with hormones more often than intellects, those seats are filled by the attractive derrieres of the school’s most beautiful girls! That makes things extra rough on the one student chosen for academic scores, because besides being the council’s only male member, one of Ken Sugisaki’s main assignments is writing stories informing the student body about the many achievements of their Student Council.
To do that he’ll have to manipulate the truth just a bit, and given that Ken’s a besotted fan of dating video games who fantasizes about his fellow council members as his “harem”, things tend to get even more out of hand. Plus, exactly who’s going to be the leading lady is up for debate, as immature Kurimu, tomboyish Minatsu, twisted Chizuru, and “boy’s love” obsessed Mafuyu are all trying to add their own particular spins even as their jealous rivals in the Journalism Club aim to shoot them down!
Contains episodes 1-12.
The audio presentation for this series is pretty simple and expected as we get the original Japanese language track only encoded in stereo using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. The show is one that largely plays to the dialogue side of things with a few outlandish moments here and there, but even those are fairly restrained. Because it focuses primarily on the core five characters within it and within the student council room for the bulk of it, there’s not a lot of intense material here. It does work the forward soundstage well in regards to directionality though as we get a characters on screen at a time and as they talk with each other, placement is nicely done and it keeps it moving and flowing well. There are moments where it just all feels centralized, but with the nature of the show it’s not too much of a surprise. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing in 2009, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are all on one disc since it’s a monolingual release and not a high motion on. The show is one that definitely was animated on the budget side as there’s not a lot of detail and it has some fairly standard backgrounds to it so there’s not a lot of variety and it’s all very simple. That lets the colors come through in a clean and solid way, though there are areas where you notice a little more color definition being stronger than other areas where it’s not quite blocking, but it looks like it could. In general detail is well handled and the colors look good, but because of the nature of how it was put together, panning sequences just look bad in the source material because of the way certain lines roll along. Beyond that, it’s a decent looking transfer.
The packaging for this release comes in a standard sized Blu-ray case that ties well with the artwork as the blue here gives it a little extra pop. The cover artwork avoids showing the male lead and instead has the four main girls there in the club room with it being clear where everything is taking place. The location works decently and the logo along the bottom adds the right pop of color to it with the pinks, blues and whites. It’s not a big attention getter, but it definitely looks good overall and is appealing with its designs. The back cover ups the softer colors with the pinks and purples for the background, and doing pink text on a white background for the premise, but it all has the right kind of approach that gives it some pop without being hard to read. There’s a decent strip of images from the show along the top and below the premise and we get a good Chizuru character shot to the right. The episode count and discs features are all listed clearly while the bottom runs through the production credits and a clean look at the technical specs. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.
The menu design for this release plays to the theme pretty well as the navigation is set to the left and it’s done up as a piece of lined college paper with the perforations along the left of it. The navigation works some good colors with the pinks and blues for the text that breaks down the episodes by number and title, and there’s not a lot to do here besides selecting that and hitting the special features submenu.The majority of the screen is given over to the static image which features the four girls together in their school uniforms against a pink hued background with a few little widgets across it to break things up a bit. Everything moves smoothly and quickly both as the main menu and as the pop-up menu.
The only extras included in this release are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the light novel series that began in 2008 and that uses this name and several others across it by Aoi Sekina, Student Council’s Discretion is a twelve episode series animated by Studio Deen. The show is one that I ended up getting introduced to in a backwards way as I had seen the second season first, ended up not being all that interested in it, and dropped out after a couple of episodes. I was curious to see how the first season was done though as the shows were done by different studios, and this one was broadcast on TV whereas the second was an ONA series. With this series, it’s definitely one that shows its budget but also the style it wants to be in general as it’s largely focused on a single area outside of a few moments elsewhere.
The premise is straightforward enough as we’re introduced to Ken Sugisaki, the Preferred Student at the high school whose grades got him a position on the student council. While there are voting positions, the way it was set up was that the best student also gets a position and some amount of influence on the council so as to keep it from being a purely popular contest kind of situation. Sugisaki’s place is one that doesn’t earn him much though as he went from being the worst student in school to the best because he wanted to be on the council with the four beautiful women that were voted in. He’s very strong in his opinion that he wants them to be his harem, but he frames it as wanting to please and love them. Suffice to say, this doesn’t go over well with them and they want to eliminate the Preferred Student position but are unable to. So they, in their own way, spend most of their time humiliating him while he does a lot of the hard work so they have more of the fun.
With Sugisaki as the second year, we get the president in the form of Kurimu, the small but outgoing and flat chested girl who really does like him but is frustrated by him. Chizuru serves as the secretary for the council and is the serious and deadly type with her looks but also has the largest chest, which makes her the most dangerous for Sugisaki to admire. Minatsu serves as the vice president and is the resident tomboy, which means she’s a direct contrast to her sister Mafuyu, who is a freshman, blonde and into boys love material that causes plenty of trouble for Sugisaki along the way. She serves as the treasurer for the council. Add in Satori as the council’s teacher/advisor that’s an occasional appearance and often more trouble than she’s worth and you get the standard grouping and archetypes that you’d expect for a show of this nature.
The nature of this series is either going to be very appealing or very frustrating depending on your point of view. Each episode is largely a self contained piece where something is the main focus and the characters deal with it. The first episode, for example, focuses on Kurumi talking about how this series shouldn’t have been adapted into anime because of its very nature, which leads to them talking about some of the changes and how adaptations are done in various ways. There’s a lot of self deprecating material here and a stronger show could survive it, but I really found myself getting behind what they were saying because it is largely a show about nothing. Some series can really work that because of the characters, but here it’s all about the gags that focus on Sugisaki’s outlandish behavior and lusty ways, his being beaten down, and then things turning serious towards the end where the moral of the story is revealed and everyone mostly comes across on the same page. The first episode is also the heaviest on the parodies to other properties, but they do populate the series throughout so you can definitely have fun catching all sorts of references.
The council has its nemesis in the form of Lilicia, the woman who runs the newspaper club and has a grudge against them since she didn’t make it into the council herself. That makes for a couple of fun bits early on as she comes up with all sorts of stories about the council, and she even sends in a mole for awhile to try and get information. Another episode focuses on the club trying to put out some positive things themselves, which has them coming up with a light novel to write, though they also have the problem of each of them has a different style that they want to use and we see variations of that acted out. Much to Sugisaki’s dismay as the boys-love piece that Mafuyu comes up with just doesn’t sit well with him, though it does have its humorous moments. We also get the obligatory material involving the culture festival, the council dealing with supplies for other clubs and the usual range of things that’d you’d expect.
The problem I keep coming away with when it comes to this show is that while it does do the parodies and hits them fairly well at times, it largely comes across as a show that’s riding off the popularity of those rather than being its own thing. It’s just too referential rather than establishing itself. This is made worse by the fact that probably 75% of the series, if not more, takes place in the club room and the same overall gags are used about fending off Sugisaki as he tries to get his harem in order. They all push back at him in obvious ways, and there’s just a whole lot of familiarity with the structure and style of the show by episode one that you know where it’s going to go. And while the situations change in a sense, it’s the same show at the end, though the girls are a touch more accepting of him. But that’s only because without him, there wouldn’t be a catalyst for the crazy moments and outlandish interactions.
Student Council’s Discretion is the kind of show that I totally understand why its audience gets it and revels in it, but it doesn’t do all that much for me overall. It’s simply too referential without doing enough to stand on its own with what it is itself. There are some really fun moments from time to time, and the more outlandish it gets the more it defines itself, such as when Sugisaki is stuck in a locker in the council room while the others are wearing bathing suits to cope with the heat. The series is one that’s certainly a budget one in terms of animation, and it has a very simple approach to design overall – both in character and setting – but it’s putting all its eggs in one basket with the references and gags from there. It’s a mixed bag overall but for those that really get into the gags and references, it’ll work well.
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B-
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.