I "just" (Edit: last Friday, been busy over the weekend) got my (Japanese) placement test results!!! And they're... so not like this, lol.
Actually we didn't really get our results, but we can fairly guess how we did by the classes we were sorted into. Considering that or the placement tests I didn't finish the multiple choice grammar portion (I read slow, okay), managed like one page of the kanji portion without guessing (a surprising achievement really, guess furigana in manga does help somewhat :P), absolutely flunked the essay (90% of whatever kanji I do remember I can't remember how to write) and was probably the only person in the room who didn't speak in a grammatically 'correct' manner during the interview... I'm surprised I didn't get put in the last class (close enough to last really, which is a relief since I get to relearn everything I shouldn't have forgotten about the language -_-"). There are two Special A... I mean advanced classes for the students who are ridiculously fluent enough in the language to pass off as locals, and I supposed that inspired this separate first impression post for Special A.
(Edit: This is all last week's news btw, this week I have placement tests for subjects like Japanese Culture and Science ORZ)
Special A is this season's 'uber' shoujo offering this season, which many have labeled as a successor of Ouran High School Host Club of sorts... but I say nay, because that's an insult to my favourite comedy of all time! Kidding. Ouran isn't my favourite comedy of all time, but it's close (You get a virtual manwhore voucher if you can guess what is =P). The comparison is probably inevitable though, since most people hail Ouran as the premiere shoujo show in recent history, but though the setup and stylings of Ouran is very much catered to the shoujo market, Ouran's success to me wasn't that it was an awesome shoujo series, rather it an awesomely hilarious comedy that managed to make fun of many things including its shoujo trappings. In fact I think those who aren't usually into shoujo anime enjoyed Ouran because it was funny in both intelligent and whimsical ways and more so because it didn't delve too deeply into the intricacies of romance and fluff that supposedly 'bog down' the 'girly' genre.
Just for fun from a geek by any other name :P
My main irk with comparing S.A. with Ouran based on its first episode is that Ouran had one of the most brilliant first episodes to remember ever (I will forever love the lightbulb gag :P) whereas S.A.’s just was just... okay (not “Special” enough?). I tried to like the show as much as I could (it was one of the few shows I had in mind this season), but there were sill things that rather annoyed me when I watched the first episode. Mainly the noodle thin character designs (seriously, the characters here make CLAMP’s look fat!) which I wouldn’t have minded so much if they didn’t make Hikari and Kei wannabe wrestlers - I keep thinking that they’d snap like dry twigs in those scenes -_-" Besides the fact that they’re trying to play him up as the token ‘perfect’ bishounen who’s a little too proud for his own good (Hmm, where else have we seen that this season...) Kei is a big annoyance in that he just screams Geass (Fukuyama Jun should gargle some salt water or something in his future roles, I’m in despair hearing Lulu’s voice everywhere). I actually find him more irksome than the guy from Itazura na Kiss (it helps that I don’t recognize Itou Makoto’s voice as well). Gotou Yuko as Hikari, I don’t mind as much since she’s okay in my books as long as she keeps to her Kaede/Abiru voice rather than her high pitched Mikuru (It doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like her singing the insert song >.<).
But enough of the ‘hate’, let’s go on to the positives, and why I will continue watching Special A. (Besides the fact that I'd take a shoujo anime any day over stuff like Kanokon and To-LoveRU) The setup may be slightly generic and the main characters are only passably likeable (well I seldom take to main characters anyways), but there's nothing really bad per se about it all. What’s tilting the scale for me is definitely the entertaining side characters. Yea, so quirky side characters are a tried and tested gimmick to increase the likeability of the cast and better the impression of a show. It worked for Itazura na Kiss, and it’s working in S.A. as well though it feels slightly more gimmicky here (see girl who can’t talk but can end the world with her singing… Reminds me of Kotomi -_-“). Ryuu, the sloth guy (who reminds me of Mori-senpai, only he talks lol) seems pretty cool (because sloths are cool! And that he has the twins literaly eating out of his hand :P) while Tadashi is a riot (casting Tajima’s voice = brilliant!) especially his chemistry with Akira. Overall there’s an enjoyable chemistry between the characters as well that works in the show’s advantage. Story-wise, nothing spectacular yet, so I’m still seeing how it develops. Overall, my impression of S.A. is still a positive one.
Continuing? Yeap, especially if the sloth returns :P