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Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection (a J!-ENT Anime Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 6, 2013 by  



“Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection” is fun, wild and crazy like the previous two TV seasons before it, but I recommend the OVA series only if you are a fan and own the  previous two seasons on Blu-ray, otherwise this OVA collection is quite short with only two episodes.

Image courtesy of © 2013 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection

DURATION: 2 Episodes (92 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0, English Subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation

RATED: 14 and Up

Release Date: February 19, 2013

Originally created by Kenji Inoue

Directed by Shin Oonuma

Seriest Composition by Katsuhiko Takayama

Music by Nijine

Original Character Design by Yui Haga

Character Design by Miwa Oshima

Art Director: Kohji Azuma

Anime Production by Silver Link

Featuring the following voice talent:

Hiro Shimono/Josh Grelle as Akihisa Yoshii

Hitomi Harada/Alexis Tipton as Mizuki Himeji

Akio Ohtsuka/Kent Williams as Sōichi Nishimura

Ayana Taketatsu as Miharu Shimizu

Emiri Katou/Brina Palencia as Hideyoshi Kinoshita/Yūko Kinoshita

Kaori Mizuhashi/Leah Clark as Minami Shimada

Kenjiro Tsuda/Anthony Bowling as Shin Fukuhara

Kouki Miyata/Greg Ayres as Kōta “Muttsuriini” Tsuchiya

Mana Hirata/Lindsay Seidel as Hazuki Shimada

Takuma Terashima/Joel McDonald as Toshimitsu Kubo

Tatsuhisa Suzuki /Scott Freeman as Yūji Sakamoto

Tomomi Isomura/Jamie Marchi as Shōko Kirishima

Yoshino Nanjou/Trina Nishimura as Aiko Kudō

Akio Ohtsuka as Narration

Daisuke Kageura as Hasegawa

Hiromi Igarashi/Terri Doty as Yūka Koyama

Hiromu Miyazaki/Todd Haberkorn as Kyōji Nemoto

Fumizuki Academy’s popular Refreshing Festival is quickly approaching, and the student body is busy prepping class projects. For Yoshii and the gang, there’s a lot more at stake than showing off for campus visitors. If Class F doesn’t profit from its festival project and buy some new gear for its dumpy room, Mizuki’s parents are going to send her to another school!

Of course, even if the slack pack makes some money, they’ll have to win one of the toughest Summoner Test Wars of their lives before they’re allowed to spend it. It’s not going to be easy, that’s for sure. But once the underachievers of Class F get motivated, they don’t give up – and they can’t even spell surrender!

“Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts” is back and this time, the F class must take part in a festival and find out what kind of event they can do.  Meanwhile, the Class F would like to have real furniture in their class instead of cardboard mats and boxes.

But what happens when Akihisa Yoshii finds out that if they don’t succeed in the festival, Mizuki Himeji may have to go to another school.  Meanwhile, there are people from other classes who are determined in making sure the F class does not succeed at the festival.

Does Class F have a chance of succeeding?  Find out in “Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection”!

What is “Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts”?

In 2007, “Baka to Test to Shokanju” (Baka and Test) was created by Kenji Inoue. Featured as a light novel series and featuring the illustrations by Yui Haga, a total of 12 volumes have been printed thus far and a manga adaptation by Mosuke Mattaku began in 2009 in the magazine “Shonen Ace” and also on “Famitsu Comic Clear”.

An anime adaptation began in 2010 and a second season which aired in Japan in July 2011. And with the first and second season released in America on Blu-ray/DVD courtesy of FUNimation, the two-episode OVA collection will be released in February 2013.

The anime series features animation production from Silver Link and the previous staff from the first season which includes director Shin Oonuma (“Mahou Sensei Negima!”, “Pani Poni Dash!”), screenplay by Katsuhiko Takayama (“Cat Planet Cuties”, “ef: a tale of melodies”, “Fullmetal Alchemist”, “Ga-Rei-Zero”), music by Nijine (“Akikan”, “Hatsukoi Limited”, “Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia”), character designs by Miwa Oshima (“Hit o Nerae!”, Rakugo Tennyo Oyui!”) and art direction from Kohji Azuma (“Natsu no Arashi!”, “Tokyo Requiem”, “Arakawa Under the Bridge”).

“Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts” revolves around a not-so-smart teenager named Akihisa Yoshii. Because he is not so smart, he is constantly called “Baka” (in Japanese which means stupid). Akihisa is also living on a very tight budget and because he doesn’t have much money, he often has to cut his ramen noodles in pieces and eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Akihisa goes to Fumizuki Academy where staff separate their students based on their test scores. The better the grade, the better their life will be in school. For example: “A” students have great furniture and desks and luxurious studying areas, while those with F’s have regular classrooms but have crates or cardboard boxes as desks.

But there is a way that lower grades students can get things from higher grade students and that is to challenge them in a battle for facilities.

How this works out is that a student can call forth their “Shokanju” or Avatar and during the battle, a teacher supervises the battle. While students compete in various subjects, avatars can lose HP when struck by an opponent and when their point count reaches zero, they are disqualified. But a student can leave the battle before reaching a zero, take a supplemental exam and return back into battle.

For Akihisa, his first day at Fumizuki Academy is to take a placement test. Its pretty much a given that Akihisa will be in the lowest class but when the intelligent student Mizuki Himeji is sick as is unable to complete her test, unfortunately she is given a zero and must join Akihisa and other delinquents in class F. The other delinquents include their class rep Yuji Sakamoto, the oftenly mistaken for a girl Hideyoshi Kinoshita, the perverted Tsuchiya Kouta and the tomboy Minami Shimada. Interesting enough, both Mizuki and Minami have a crush on Akihisa.

But because Class F has the intelligent Mizuki (who should be an A student), it gives them an edge in battle. Also, despite students being in F class, they may not be good in certain subjects but some may be great in one.

In “Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection”, because Class F holds their class in a classroom without furniture, they are given the opportunity to have furniture if they do well for the upcoming festival.

But after a bout with sabotage from people who have grudges against Class F, the school gives Class F another chance to get new furniture if they are involved in another class battle.  Meanwhile, Akihisa finds out that if the class doesn’t do well in the festival or the battle, Mizuki may need to go to another school.

Determined in trying to keep Mizuki at school, Akihisa will do all he can to make sure their team wins.

The main characters of “Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts” are:

Akihisa Yoshii– The protagonist of the story and is known as “baka”. Despite his stupidity, he is good at heart and has a problem of spending his money on video games (thus making him poor and so he tends to eat cut up ramen in pieces). Unknown to Akihisa is the fact that a few of the female students in his class like him but he is too stupid too notice. He is also a great cook. His avatar has also a special ability to break inanimate objects (which others can’t do).

Mizuki Himeji – One of the smartest students at Fumikuzi Academy, because she was sick on placement day, she is forced to be in F class. She is Class F’s secret weapon because of her intelligence. She is shy but always adapts to get close to Akihisa. Known for her bouncy chest and terrible cooking.

Minami Shimada– The tomboy who likes Akihisa and often hurts him when he behaves badly to her. She lived in Germany, so she is weak in kanji and hurts her in class. She is good in math, unless there are mathematical word problems. Often teased for not having big boobs like Mizuki.

Yuji Sakamoto – The head of Class F. He is cool, intelligent and very good at strategy and it is unknown why he is in Class F, especially since he was a child prodigy when he was younger. He is also held in a ball and chain with his childhood friend Shoko Kirishima of Class A. Because Class F had lost a battle with Class A, he is forced to date Shoko and if he even looks at other girls, she will poke him in the eyes.

Hideyoshi Kinoshita – A male student who is always confused to be a girl. He is the fraternal twin of Yuko Kinoshita of Class A. He is bad in school but great in acting.

Kota Tsuchiya – Very perverted and will do all he can to snap photos whenever his fellow female students are in uncompromising positions. He is terrible in all subjects except Health Education and is great in battle.

Shoko Kirishima – The top student and Class A rep who is very intelligent but is infatuated with Yuji Sakamoto. She is shy and soft-spoken but will definitely poke Yuji’s eyes out if he looks at other girls.

Toshimitsu Kubo – The calm second ranked student of Class A. He thinks that Akihisa is trying to hit on him and so now he has developed a crush on him and is jealous when he sees Akihisa with other girls.

Yuko Kinoshita – The eldest twin sister of Hideyoshi Kinoshita. Unlike Hideyoshi, she is very arrogant and often arguing with her brother. She hates her brother because he once masqueraded as her and did something to really upset her.

Miharu Shimizu – A girl from Class D who has an attraction to Minami of Class F. She can’t stand Minami being close to Akihisa.

Hazuki Shimada – Minami’s younger sister who wants to be Akihisa’s bride in the future.

Akira Yoshii – Akihisa’s older sister who graduated from Harvard. She is often trying to tease Akihisa by acting as if she is going to kiss him and also upsets her when she is scantily clad. She observes Akihisa and decides how much allowance he can get.

VIDEO:

“Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection” is presented in 1080p High Definition. I actually like the look of the series and the concentration of really elaborate artistic backgrounds. A very colorful series with good pastels, also use of poka dots on backgrounds and foregrounds. And also there is quite a bit more detail for the two OVA episodes compared to the TV series.  The OVA episodes have a hint of softness but picture quality for the OVA’s are quite vibrant and colorful.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection” is presented in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and Japanese Dolby TrueHD 2.0. First, the good news is the voice acting for soundtracks are very well done. I watched the series in both soundtracks and typically I am biased to the Japanese soundtrack but for this series, both are well done!  Second, because the English soundtrack is presented in lossless 5.1, there is a bit of better dynamic range for the English dub but for the most part, the OVA series is not too immersive as I would have hoped.  But for the most part, both soundtracks are good and well-acted.

Subtitles are only in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • OVA 1 Split: Hideyoshi Kinoshita, Mizuki Himeji and Minami Shimada – (10:52) Repeating of a certain scene from the first OVA.
  • OVA 2 Split: Ending – (4:01)  A repeat from the second OVA ending.
  • Promotional Videos – (4:20) Japanese promotional videos with English subtitles.
  • Original Commercials – (:33) The original Japanese CM’s.
  • Textless Opening Song: “Renai Koujo Committee”
  • Textless Closing Song: “Getsuyou wa Kirai”

EXTRAS:

“Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection” comes with the Blu-ray and the DVD version of the OVA series.

For “Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts” fans, the return of the characters for two additional OVA episodes will no doubt entertain you, the problem is that the series is limited to two OVA’s.  So, it’s quite short.

But for those wanting more episodes, what you get with “Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection” are two episodes that feature Class F in another major challenge.  While season one of the series focused on the class battle, season two of the TV series focused on love triangles and relationships.  So, it was nice to see Class F get into battle once again for the OVA series and take on new rivals, but also to see the group once again in crazy competitions.

Needless to say, “Baka and Test” is a fun, wild and entertaining series.  There is a good balance of the RPG-like battles, humor and of course, fan service.  If anything, the series strikes a fine balance in showcasing characters that will appeal to both the guys and girls.  You have a taste of harem with the girls falling for Akihisa, you have the fan service as we often see Mizuki’s boobs bouncing, the pervertedness with Kota always trying to take pictures of girls in their panties,  you have a yaoi/yuri situations, you have Minami and her tsundere style and more!

But with OVA collections, you tend to think there will be possibly anywhere between six or even ten OVA’s, but in this case, there are only two, which could have been added to the season two Blu-rays.

There is nothing groundbreaking with this OVA series but yet, it does maintain the crazy and hilarious atmosphere that the series is known for.

And as for the animation and character designs, as mentioned earlier, I felt that SILVER LINK, a newer company did a great job. Especially since they are not a major studio and their talent are focusing on several series at one time, SILVER LINK had more time to dedicate to the overall look of the series. From the detailed and artistic backgrounds to the character designs, for the OVA’s “Baka and Test” looks pretty good on Blu-ray but picture quality does have a little softness but the series is quite colorful and vibrant.

Overall, “Baka & Test: Summon the Beasts – OVA Special Collection is a fun and enjoyable OVA series, the problem is that with two episodes, for an OVA collection, it’s quite short.  Otherwise, I do recommend the OVA’s if you love the series and have watched and owned both seasons on Blu-ray.

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