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Student Council’s Discretion Level 2 Complete Collection Anime DVD Review

7 min read
Student Council's Discretion Level 2 DVD Complete Collection
Student Council’s Discretion Level 2 DVD Complete Collection

Can an entire second season be sustained just showing a bunch of teenagers doing silly crap in their club room? That will depend whether you care that much about this short second season and the story additions and conclusion that it offers.

What They Say:
Trope for the Best…Expect the Weirdest!

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 in STUDENT COUNCIL’S DISCRETION Lvl 2!

Includes all 10 episodes and the OVA on 2 discs.

The Review:
There is only a Dolby Digital stereo 48khz 224kbps Japanese audio track. This show is entirely talking, talking, and more talking, so the center speaker gets a good workout, but there is little for the others to do. The sound is clear and clean with no dropouts or distortions.

Originally airing in 2012, the show is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and enhanced for anamorphic playback. The video is fairly clean overall, but as is common with upscaled standard 480i MPEG-2 video, there are noticeable video compression artifacts on a high definition screen. It’s most visible with on-screen text, which tends to have a jagged appearance overall. Panning shots as well present problems (the different ED sequences are the worst of both worlds, as they are panning shots combined with scrolling text). In general, the video is best when movement is fairly limited and the scene is largely static and worst when there is significant camera movement. The show is split 5/6 on the two discs (Eps. 0-4 on Disc 1; Eps. 5-9 plus the OVA on Disc 2), so it’s not really a space issue (as there is only one audio track) but likely reflects the limitations of standard definition video displayed on a high definition screen.

A simple two-disc DVD keepcase. The front cover shows the members of the Hekiyou Academy Student Council in the student council room. The back cover has a larger picture of Kurimu on the right of the catalog copy, with screenshots along the top of the text, with a few more shots below the descriptive text, above the production credits and technical grid. The discs feature the four female leads as well, with Kurimu and Chizuru on the first disc and the Shiina sisters on the other.

The menus are static, using standard pieces of promotional artwork of the characters with the opening and ending theme songs looping in the background. The individual episodes are directly accessible from the main menu. Access times are fast and the layout of the submenus is similarly simple with other promotional images and they are straightforward to use.

Very little included. The standard Clean Opening and Clean Closing sequences plus a selection of Sentai trailers are included on the first disc. The second disc only has the remaining Clean Closing sequences (as they change every episode) as an extra.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The “second level” of Student Council’s Discretion starts with a prequel of sorts, an Episode 0 where we learn the backstory to Ken Sugisaki’s rise to the Preferred Status, the student with the highest grades in the school, which brings with it an automatic seat on the Student Council. It all seems to stem from his being depressed at the beginning of his first year, the fallout from getting involved with two girls and not successfully navigating between them. He gets the advice to play a dating sim game (we already know of the origin of that advice from the first season) but here we actually see him follow through by visiting the cheapest game shop in town. There, he comes across the acerbic and deliberately unhelpful store clerk Minase, who insults him. But the game Sugisaki picked up was one with a harem ending and so…he is set upon the course we already know he will reach later in the school year. Except things are more complicated when it turns out that Runa Minase is actually a fellow student at Hekiyou Academy and at the time was the top student in the class—his direct rival for the Preferred Status.

This opening episode is oddly more serious than anything the show has done up to this point. While there are touches of comedy here and there, the strangely serious tone makes this whole thing both slightly touching and very weird. So, when will we get back to the useless parodies and fluffy silliness? Perhaps once he walks through the door to the Student Council Office and we get back to the standard run of antics…which we get as the student council meets to discuss what the title of the second season will be. The meta is back in full force and so is the regular (meaningless) activities of Hekiyou Academy’s Student Council.

There is one major difference this time around: the character designs and backgrounds have been tweaked a bit, something the characters themselves discuss (an on-screen note helpfully informs viewers of the reason: the sequel was animated by AIC, who took over from Studio Deen).

So, is there much else to note about this new season? Not really. It continues to be a random anthology of meaningless gags and parodies, just like the first season. Whether they will hit your funny bone or not is hard to say. A few of the throwaway gags were slightly funny. Others were really too much on the safe and bland side. The problem is that the setup for the franchise has a very limited range of things it can do with its characters. Sugisaki is forever chasing four extreme caricatures of female character types common to anime and manga, none of whom is really all that alluring or interesting. But the characters don’t show any signs of developing or maturing in any way (even though they talk about it), so there never is any sense of progress of any kind. It’s not that the show would be helped by allowing Sugisaki the chance to become truly closer to any of the girls (that would destroy the dynamic that holds it together). Yet because there is a complete lack of any sense of forward momentum (what movement there is towards the very end feels trivial and without substance), it naturally just feels like a recurring loop that eventually loses its ability to entertain.

With no real place to go, the standard device of introducing new characters is used to try to bring in some vague semblance of freshness. In addition to Runa Minase, who makes occasional appearances, we are introduced to the two girls who caused Sugisaki’s depression at the start: his cute and naive younger stepsister Ringo and his former girlfriend Asuka, who delights in teaching Ringo the wrong words for things (with supposedly humorous, but often not really so, results). Ringo is merely a mixture of Mafuyu (the shy, retiring type—the comparison being discussed in-show) and Erisu Toudou, the younger sister of newspaper editor Ririsha, who similarly says things that can be taken in entirely the wrong way. None of the additions seriously change the dynamics of the cast, however, but do inject meaningless conflict in order to advance the weak story where needed.

As bland and trope-laden school rom-com parodies go, I guess Student Council’s Discretion Level 2 continues to provide the same level of entertainment value as the first season, which is not all that much. I definitely think that this is worth, at most, a rental or free stream. Only buy if you’ve already seen it and really loved it.

In Summary:
After spending the opening episode providing the missing backstory to what drove Sugisaki to become the merit-based member of the Hekiyou Academy Student Council, the second season of Student Council’s Discretion continues the meaningless hijinks of the first season. Expect more parodies and lots of meta-discussion of the various cliches and broad stereotypes who pass for characters in the series. It’s not horrible, but the comedy is extremely uneven. Some things work and can bring a brief smile. Others parts simply mark the passage of time. Might be worth a look for those who are curious, but if the first series didn’t work for you, this one won’t either.

Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing animations, trailers.

Content Grade: B-/C+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B-
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: C

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: May 26th, 2015
MSRP: $49.98
Running Time: 275 minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL-32S5100 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Sony Bravia DAV-HDX589W 5.1-Channel Theater System connected via digital optical cable.

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