Anime Review: Mikagura School Suite (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Drew Hurley 10.03.2017

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Mikagura School Suite (UK Rating: 15)

There are plenty of weird sources to adapt an anime from, but Mikagura School Suite has to be one of the weirdest. It's based on a light novel series written by Last Note, the same team that write vocaloid songs. In fact, the entire story is based upon vocaloid songs. The story sees a naughty-minded otaku, yuri girl joining a very strange high school where students join clubs and battle for supremacy using awakened super powers. This complete collection comes courtesy of Funimation via Anime Limited and is available now.

Eruna Ichinomiya has to choose a school to apply for, but can't be bothered. She would rather lie in bed playing her ecchi visual novel games, but that all changes when she sees the pamphlet and sees an absolutely gorgeous girl. She then decides this is the school for her, and during her visit, the school decides she's the student for them, in rather an unorthodox fashion. The school has quite a unique teacher - a weird little floating telepathic cat with angel wings named Bimii, and being able to see Bimii is the enrolment test that establishes if the prospective student has the latent ability required to join the student body. Once enrolled in the school, Eruna discovers that life in Mikagura Private Academy is not quite like other schools. If she wants a decent place to stay, or something good to eat, she needs to improve her ranking at the school and earn points. The only way to do this is to join a club and battle against other clubs.

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The stars align when she happens upon the girl of her dreams - that same girl she saw in the brochure that convinced her to attend this school. The girl is Seisa Mikagura, a descendant of the original founder of the school. Originally, Seisa was a member of art club, but after a traumatic event she became quite the Hikkikomori shut-in, creating her own club - The "Going Home" club - of which she's the only member and the only activity is going immediately home. Eruna is smitten with Seisa and tries to bring her out of her shell, while also lusting over the hot student body.

Ultimately, this is a mixed bag of a show. While it sets up an interesting premise, the battles within the school seem to vanish after the first few episodes and, instead, the show degenerates into the usual school day slice-of-life routine. Eruna goes around making friends, and then embarks on the usual adventures with them. The day-to-day stories are rather mundane, but they are improved by the solid supporting cast of characters, even if most of them are just characters for Eruna to get aroused by and lust after. Having an ostensibly gay protagonist in an anime is a rarity, and while Eruna is very much the female version of the cliché male pervert protagonist, it's great to see a little Yuri in the mainstream. Towards the tail end of the show, the battles kick back into high gear in the form of a tournament, which is actually really fun.


 
The problem with there being so little action is that the art doesn't look particularly good outside of the battles. The vibrant colours and lush palettes make everything look much better than it really is and it's detracted from in the dynamic battles, but when the action slows down, the art flaws are really evident. This release is dual audio and both suffer from the same problem. In many anime series, it's a common thing to regularly say a word at the end of sentences-dattebayo. It's something that isn't always translated, and with good reason, as it's something that can get old fast-nya. In this series, Bimii has a habit of saying "Ryui" at the end of almost every sentence. It's annoying in Japanese, but in English it's horrendously obnoxious. Outside of this, the performances of both casts are decent enough, with the superb Monica Rial giving a fantastic performance, as always, in the main role, although the English suffers from some quite dated slang and colloquialism that make the script seem a bit out of touch.

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Mikagura School Suite sets up a great premise, and then spends the majority of its 12 episodes with mediocre stories and lacklustre moments. There are some enjoyable and funny moments here and there, and the battles make for some stand-out episodes, but ultimately it's all rather forgettable. This is the type of series you will only ever watch once and won't remember any of the plot points a month later. It's fun, but it's nothing special - merely okay.

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