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Special A-Class (S.A.) Collection 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

November 22, 2009 by  



A lot of fun, plenty of action and hijinks and bad cooking galore!  “Special A-Class (S.A.)” is an anime series definitely worth checking out!

 

Image courtesy of © 2008 Maki minami – Hakusensha.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Special A-Class (S.A.) Collection 1

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen, Japanese 2.0 with English subtitles

COMPANY: Showgate/Sentai Filmworks

RATED: TV PG

Released on November 10, 2009

Based on the manga and created by Maki Minami

Directed by Yoshikazu Miyao

Series Composition: Juki Hanada

Screenplay by Juki Hanada, Kenji Sugihara, Michiko Itou, Natsue Yoguchi, Yuuko Kakihara

Character Design by Koyotaka Nakahara

Music by Rie Mitsunaga, Shogo Kaida

Sound Director: Satoki Ida

Anime Production by GONZO and AIC

 

Featuring the following voice talent:

Jun Fukuyama as Kei Takishima

Yuko Goto as Hikari Hanazono

Ami Koshimizu as Chitose Saiga

Ayahi Takagaki as Megumi YAmamoto

Hiro Shimono as Tadashi Karino

Hitomi Nabatame as Akira Todo

Kazuma Horie as Ryu Tsuji

Kisho Taniyama as Yahiro Saiga

Koji Yusa as Aoi Ogata

Natsuko Kuwatani as Sakura Ushikubo

Tsubasa Yonaga as Jun Yamamoto

At age six, Hikari Hanazono was the best at everything, so when she challenged Kei Takishima to a wrestling match, she naturally assumed she would win. Unfortunately, she lost; he won; and the natural order was disrupted. Ever since, Hikari’s entire life has been structured around beating Kei at SOMETHING. Unfortunately, try as she might, Hikari always comes up just short. Now he’s the top student and athlete at their very exclusive high school and she’s right beneath him at number two, (a position that is still, of course, completely unacceptable.) And, just to complicate matters further, even as Hikari dedicates her life to somehow one-upping Kei, she’s completely oblivious to the fact that Kei is actually in love with her! Get ready for whole new level of ridiculously dysfunctional relationships as Boy Meets Girl inevitably turns into Boy Beats Girl in Special A – Collection 1!

A lot of fun, plenty of action and hijinks and bad cooking galore!  “Special A-Class (S.A.)” is an anime series definitely worth checking out!

“Special A” (or “S.A.”) is an anime that was adaptated in 2008 from Maki Minami’s shoujo manga which was serialized on “Hana to Yume” and ran for 99 chapters before ending on March 19, 2009.  The anime series ran for 26 episodes and now the first 13 episodes will be released stateside courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.

The anime is directed  by Yoshikazu Miyao (who worked on “Gad Guard”, “Vandread” and “Melody of Oblivion”),  series composition by Juki Hanada (“Chobits”, “K-On!”, “Sola”, “Petite Princess Yucie”) and character design by Kiyotaka Nakahara (“Ichigo 100%”, “Mouse”, “Cardcaptor Sakura”, “Sakura Wars”).

The series revolves around the Special-A class students, a group of students who have excelled in their classes at Hakusen Academy.  Students are grouped into A-F and for Special-A, seven students are members of the elite class.

The main characters of “Special A” are:

Hikaru Hanazono – The main protagonist of the series and is the #2 student of the Special-A group.  Raised to excel in fighting and also the classroom.  Since she was younger, she has always come in #2 behind her rival Kei Takishima.  She has vowed to no longer be #2 by trying to surpass Kei in a variety of activities.

Kei Takashima – The other protagonist of the series and is the #1 student of the Special-A group.  Kei excels in everything that he does and enjoys beating Hikaru and reminding her that she’s #2.  But over the course of their rivalry, Kei starts to fall for her.  Kei is the song of the CEO of Takashima Corporation.

Jun Yamamoto – The #3 student of the Special-A group, Jun is the twin of Megumi.  He and his sister are over protective towards their classmate Ryuu.  Jun is the son of a famous music producer and talented vocalist.

Megumi Yamamoto – The #4 student of Special-A, Megumi is the twin sister of Jun and also doesn’t talk (by choice) and prefers to use signs as a way to communicate to people.  When she does talk, its typically when she sings (which is her passion) and her singing is so bad that it can damage the ears of people.  Like her brother, she is overprotective of their classmate Ryuu.   Megumi is the daughter of a famous music producer and talented vocalist.

Tadashi Karino – Tadashi is the #5 student and is the son of the director of the school.  Always hungry and can be reckless at times.

Akira Todou – Akira is the #6 student and Hikari’s best friend.  She’s overprotective over Hikari and the daughter of an owner of an airline company.  She loves cooking.

Ryuu Tsuji – Ryuu is the #7 student of Special-A and is often accompanied by the Yamamoto twins.  A hardcore animal lover, Ryuu is the son of a CEO of a sports car company.

The first 12 episodes are featured on two DVD’s.  Here is a basic synopsis of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Hikari~Kei – The introduction to the S.A. group and the rivalry between Hikari and Kei.
  • EPISODE 2 – S.A. takes on the student council.
  • EPISODE 3 – Rice Ball ~ Sincerity – Kei asks for Rei to cook him a homecooked meal after she loses a wager against him.
  • EPISODE 4 – Hikari tries to tutor Kei’s younger brother, Sui.
  • EPISODE 5 – Another competition between S.A. and the student council.
  • EPISODE 6 – Hikari agrees to go with Kei as his companion to a party of his rich rival Yahiro but what happens when he tells her something about Kei?

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – The S.A. group wants to go on a trip and Kei makes a wager that if he wins, she must tell him everything Yahiro told her.  If she wins, she can choose where the trip will be.
  • EPISODE 8 – The S.A. group goes on their trip but Kei is depressed after the events of the last episode.
  • EPISODE 9 – While on their trip, Hikari meets a boy named Chitose and finds out that he is the younger brother of Yahiro.
  • EPISODE 10 – A lowerclassman wants to challenge Ryuu for the #7 spot in the Special A-Class.
  • EPISODE 11 – Tadashi’s parents want to arrange him a wife, so Tadashi asks Hikari to pretend to be his girlfriend so he can get out of it.
  • EPISODE 12 – Kei is very sick and all he can think about is Hikari.  Meanwhile, Hikari tries to take care of him.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“S.A. Collection 1” is featured in 16:9 anamorphic widescreen.  As a recent anime series, “S.A.” sports vibrant colors and beautifully painted art backgrounds and structures.  Character designer Kiyotaka Nakahara was definitely respectful to the original manga character designs by Maki Minami and overall, pretty cool animation and with the series taking place in a variety of locations, GONZO and AIC did a wonderful job with the art production.

Audio is in Japanese only  and voice acting is solid.  Jun Fukuyama who plays the character of Kei Takishima is known for his voice work on series such as Lelouch of “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion” and many other anime and the same with  Yuki Goto who does the voice of Hikari, who has done the voices of Mikuru Asahina of “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and many other anime series.  Overall, solid voice acting by the Japanese voice talent.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“S.A. Collection 1” features Sentai Filmworks trailers and on the second disc, the clean opening and closing animation are included plus an art gallery.

Overall, “Special A-Class” is a fun anime series thus far.  It reminds me a little of anime such as “The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi” and “Haru no Yoru Dango” as the series features on the lively characters who happen to be rich and somewhat privileged with their special status in high school.  But the main difference is instead of featuring all seven characters prominently and trying to have storylines to develop their character, “S.A.” keeps the storyline focused on the two primary characters Hikari Hanazono and Kei Takashima.

For the most part, the anime series is enjoyable and fun but the first half of the season is more or less establishing the rivalry between Hikari and Kei and eventually seeing how Kei feels about her but for Hikari, she’s more focused on their rivalry more than anything.  It’s only until we reach the final 12th episode of this collection, you can guess that things are going to get even more dramatic as the season progresses and perhaps the friendship between Hikari and Kei may change (for the best or the worst).

For those looking for a lighthearted, fun dramatic anime series like “The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi” and “Haru no Yoru Dango”, “Special A” is a series that you can’t go wrong with. Definitely worth checking out!

 

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Comments

  • rosarioprincess

    all of them is cute

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