What They Say:
Sometimes you have to think outside the box, but Hekiyo Academy’s Student Council may go a step further and rewrite their entire universe! At least, that’s what could happen as the second season gets underway and the Council decides that their own anime might need a little spicing up. Should they introduce new characters? Add a boy’s-love subplot? Or should they just continue to do what worked previously and spend most of their time chattering between themselves while working towards odd goals that might turn out to have been a little misguided in retrospect?
The answer is “yes” to all of the above and more: class barriers and the fourth wall come tumbling down as a supporting character literally takes up the challenge of moving up to main character status. The plot thickens with the mystery of a missing cake. The boundaries of love between step-siblings get pushed just a few steps beyond what’s socially comfortable and there just has to be a hot springs episode, doesn’t there? Of course there does! Join 5 student council members in search of an author as the storyline runs amok!
Contains episodes 1-11.
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 2012, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The eleven episodes are all on one disc since it’s a monolingual release and not a high motion on. While the show is done in largely the same manner as the first season, it’s animated by AIC instead of Studio Deen and there is a mild uptick in quality. There’s still 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 and unlike the first season, the juddering is a non-issue here due to different animation techniques between studios..
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 is mostly the same as the first one, where it has the main girls standing around the club room, but it provides a welcome change by including the male lead this time. The detail looks a bit better and the colors definitely pop well, especially with the pink border around it all. 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 student council president 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 various fetish oriented costumes against a pink and blue 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)
Originally called Seitokai no Ichizon, Student Council’s Discretion Level 2 originally aired in the fall of 2012 through the Nico Nico Douga site and and eventually streamed overseas later on. The series is animated by AIC and it has a whole lot of history to it as there are seemingly tons of novels, manga and a previous anime season that ran in 2009 from Studio Deen. The light novels by Aoi Sekina kicked the whole thing off in 2008 and had ten novels that ran through 2012, though there are other novels running and several manga series that are ongoing. Suffice to say, it definitely has its fans in Japan and this is our first taste of the property.
The series takes place in the price Hekiyou Academy where we’re introduced to Ken Sugisaki, a pretty decent guy overall from what we see but also someone with some varied interests, going by some of his initial purchases here when it comes to games. He’s trying to find a good dating game in order to help him get along a bit, but he’s also interested in some hentai games, which makes for an amusing discussion when it comes to the student who works there, Minase. She’s not terribly helpful when it comes to his questions about games, but she does try to get him on the right path for a good game involving cute girls, but she tends to be more of a foil to his interest than really helping him. It becomes pretty clear the kind of personality that Ken has going by his reactions here, as he overreacts and is easily frustrated.
Ken’s life isn’t an easy one though as we get a feel for the school as it turns out that the student council is come up with in an interesting way. Most of the slots are done through a popularity contest of sorts which means it definitely has it filled with cute girls who everyone adores. But the final slot is one reserved for the person who scores the best on a certain series of exams. They want to at least have one smart person on there in case the popular ones aren’t all that swift. And it’s something that Ken wants in order to have a good high school life since he can see it as a path to a lot of fun and time with a bunch of very cute girls. While he’s managed to make some friends in his class, he’s looking for that bigger angle out there.
The show in the first episode spends a lot of time giving us some banter between Ken and Minase, since he’s trying for that special slot and she’s making it clear that she’s the smartest person in the school. It’s amusing as they go through the list when the results are posted and she gets the top spot while he believes he’s not even in the top ten. But they take the fun approach of both of them scoring the first spot in a tie, a perfect tie no less, which complicates the student council aspect a bit. We only get a slim look at the student council itself, but the setup here gives us a lot of time with just Ken and that helps to cement the character since it’s just him playing off of Minase rather than playing off of multiple girls. The touches are there, as we see these other elements though, and with Ken it’s all done through a bit of a gaming style as he views it all has a harem route in a game to survive.
Since Minase was included just for he flashback origin story episode, the rest of the season focuses on the Student Council members who are finally getting their full on introduction and sparkle quite a bit, at least before they start coming up with ways to get people to watch the show. They range from going to a boys-love angle to doing something so gory and offensive that most of the episode is censored. But that’s just going beyond what it is they need to do, which is to just get noticed more and shine as they are. The session they have to come up with ideas runs with a few silly things, including some goofy character design changes here and there to showcase it, but in the end it keeps putting Ken in precarious positions, though he does get his own attempts at being hands on with some of the girls at times, making him just as guilty.
There’s a lot of cuteness to it all, especially as they do make it clear in the dialogue so many times about what they need to do to make the show more appealing. Being aware of the shows nature has its perks in terms of how it plays out, but they don’t make it a huge part of it overall. The main push is coming up with the ideas and that just leads to the silliness, such as Ken’s idea that it be all about girl talk. One of the suggestions even goes for doing a temporary reset of things so that it can be made easier to figure out who is who and how they all figure with each other. That has its moments, but the show in general just doesn’t do a good job of acclimating you to the characters and situation.
Similar to the first season, a lot of the show really is about nothing as they spend the bulk of their time in the club room coming up with ways to entertain each other without going through fantasy sequences. That thankfully does change after a few episodes involving talking about jobs and other life aspects, as it shifts to having the group collect the surveys that nobody remembers handed out! Sakurano is just insistent that it all gets done and done with a personal touch since leaving it to people just bringing them to their homeroom won’t suffice. Everyone is pretty miffed by the whole thing and it again just shows how inept and rather simple Sakurano is when it comes to running the student council. Not that anyone really pushes back hard against her since she’s an unappeasable force when you get down to it. Their simple but effective ideas are basically ignored in favor of what it is that she wants to do.
While Sakurano does her whole weird spiel about what she wants, she does some basic assignment about who needs to do what, while also making sure the newly arrived Magiru is full ignored, and even Mafuyu says just enough to make their advisor teacher feel completely and utterly shamed. It’s actually amusing watching how they beat her down by ignoring and belittling her. This whole endeavor actually gets the group out of their room for a good amount of the episode and interacting with other students in the school, something that’s been a problem so far in the episodes to date. Keeping them in the student council room and just being a little clique unto themselves with all sorts of gags and jokes that only they knew, or at least interactions that were specific to the way they knew each other, definitely felt like it was getting stale after the first full new episode.
The show works a few different things overall by allowing us to see the characters dealing with other people, and the kinds of jealousies that arise as some of them see Ken being friendly with the girls (and guys) and they get a bit possessive about the whole thing. There’s even an extended period where it’s just Ken and Minatsu together that works fairly well since she ends up being more girly that she usually is and it just has Ken completely on edge since he has no clue if things are going to go disastrously bad at any moment. She’s being utterly adorable and interested in him in a romantic way, but he keeps misreading it based on the time they’ve spent together for so long and just sees her as the face of evil, and rightly so for what she’s put him through before. It’s cute and fun but you also can’t help but to feel a little bad for her.
Sometimes change can be good for a series if it can shift the dynamic around a bit and Student Council’s Discretion – Level 2 does try that later in the season. Ken’s brought himself someone new to the council room, a young woman named Ringo who is just very, very hyper aware of things and is a nervous wreck as she’s introduced to the girls. The main reason for this is that the girl is his little sister Ringo that we got to see previously, which hinted at some potential for a pretty amusing shift in the character dynamic. With the girls on the council interested in Ken in different ways, they’ll potentially view her as a real threat. But that doesn’t come up right away, thankfully, and they’re more just interested in playing with her in oh so many ways.
With just a short bit of time being spent there with Ken and the girls, there’s plenty of competition that can come up, but it’s how it unfolds that’s the most amusing. With the way that Ringo expresses herself, coming across with gutter talk in order to say something nice, she can basically say a whole lot of mean things but they’re really well intentioned things. She hits hard with some of what she says and it’s difficult for the girls to reconcile that true meaning of what it is she’s saying to what she’s really saying. Ringo’s ultra cute young nature is also something that just lets it go to the next level as well, especially in the face of all these girls in their school uniforms with mostly serious looks as the time spent together goes on.
The show just gets a little sillier as it goes on and the other side to Ringo’s personality comes to light as we learn that she is very, very gullible. So much so that she even believes that the council president is God based on what she says and becomes very attendant to what she says from there on out. It also gets a little awkwardly complicated when part of what she’s encouraged to do is pursue her brother more, but it’s the whole God aspect in general that does elicit a few chuckes as we see how it all unfolds until Ringo makes her desires plainly true for all to hear. There’s some amusing bits to all of it as it progresses and I’ll admit that after her introduction previously, I really like Ringo and she definitely brings something to the show here that shakes things up in a way that it needed. Not necessarily that it needed a bro-complex character, but just someone to change the dynamic.
With some decent time spent previously between Ken and one of the girls, the show almost had a bit of a moment where you felt like you got to know the characters just a bit more. I still find that most of the actual development came from the arrival of his little sister since she sent things into a tizzy with her interest in Ken and the way her mouth just rambled off. Of course, she’s been gone for a couple of episodes and is still the highlight for me as this group of characters doesn’t do more than just meet, hang out and do little else but complain and overact. There’s also the basic idea that they’re all interested in Ken in different romantic ways and it’s getting to the point where Ken’s going to have to do something about it. Something that will likely just kick the can down the road a little more.
What the council is up to this time is trying to figure out their legacy a bit, which has some nice minor moments towards the start after their adult advisor gives them a little to think about. But the show also works with a secondary topic, which is to make sure that they clean the council room in a way that makes it seem like it’s been left in an ultra clean fashion with nobody messing it up for awhile. The idea of leaving it behind like you got it is a decent one and there’s some quirks along the way that have to be dealt with, such as fixing a clock, a whole in the wall, supplies in general and a few other little things. It’s a good idea as it sets a decent precedent for future councils as well, but that’s just a happy little addition to things. What it does entail is that the group gets to go shopping for things and that has Ken just trying to deal with all their quirks and how they take everything to a bigger level than needed.
While that dominates a good part of the last broadcast episode, we do get some good quieter moments between the cast in the club room as they start talking about graduation and all that it entails in making it special. There’s some cute bits here and there, but the reveal that Ken is doing the farewell address is news to him. This gets some practice in on how to handle the address and what it is that Ken really wants to say to the departing group of students that are moving on to the next phase in their lives. He’s pretty profound in a simple way with what he wants to communicate to them, surprising others in the council since they didn’t quite expect that from him. The show does try to bring a little closure to it as things wind down and the meeting comes to a close as Ken reveals his feelings and thoughts to each of them together in the room, going one by one, and that helps a bit to show the connection that they share.
This set does bring some new additional material for me as the OVA is included, something that wasn’t streamed before. This episode is pretty fun overall as it takes place amid the series itself before graduation and we get to see Valentine’s Day happen. There’s plenty of the expected things here with the cast, as the girls are all trying to come up with good ways to give Ken their chocolates, but he’s actually fairly dense with a lot of their actual emotions. Which you can understand with the way they beat down on him regularly. Chizuru is definitely the most fun to watch here with the way she blushes so furiously, but Mafuyu has some good moments as well. It’s a fun piece that brings in just about everyone for a little bit and les Ken have a lot of time in the spotlight with the girls not abusing him quite as much.
I had struggled with the first season of the series at times and a lot of the formula does make its way here as well. It does manage to change things up a little bit as it gets out of the club room more than it did before and the characters engage each other in slightly more interesting ways. But the premise of the series is essentially what what they say in the first main episode; it’s all about spending time in the club room and just having fun with it. Sometimes it works better than others and this season looks a bit better overall with the change in animation studio. But if you know what the first season is like, this is largely more of the same, just bumped up a little bit. If that worked for you, you’ll definitely like this. I liked this season better than the first overall as it provided a little more variety to things.
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: May 26th, 2015
Running Time: 275 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.