Baka to Test to Shokanju Ni (Idiots, Tests and Summoned Beasts 2)

There is no way of reviewing humour. It's always personal and at the mercy of such fickleness as "I wasn't in the mood". Enough then to say that Baka Test is my kind of humour; the kind where the jokes are obvious from the setup but the punchline is so much more over-the-top than expected. The kind where the minute-to-minute plot is irrelevant as long as the laughs keep on coming. The kind where with all the rules established, it's just a case of exploiting the environment.

laugh along at the absurdity, embrace the archetypes and accept the obvious but still giggle at the outcome

I called the first series a "thigh-slappingly hilarious comedy" and the second is no different, primarily because there is nothing new here. No great switch-ups or new characters only more of the same but tweaked and intensified. The reliance upon Hideyoshi's effeminate appearance is dialled down and tertiary characters such as Akihisa's and Minami's siblings are sidelined for a greater focus on the core love triangle. It's here it's at its weakest with a lengthy foray into Minami's move from Germany and then a confession that leads to confusion that leads to drama that eventually leads to a reset. Lacklustre and bereft of the sharp eye that makes the comedy so great, it's dead weight when compared with the homosexual overtures from Miharu and Toshimitsu that manage to be more genuine despite being played for laughs.

Equally the three episode "peeping" arc is sloppily put together without a clear conclusion and feels too much like an opportunity wasted and spread thin. So with almost half the run time occupied with tiresome plotting, it's the minute-to-minute details which are the draw. Silver Link squeeze colour and interest into almost every scene with Shin Oonuma's flare for angle's and composition always on display. Even the opening is stuffed with nods to the characters - a nail-studded bat icon following Shouko for instance make it obvious every element has had thought and time spent on it rather than lazily cobbled together.

The series' most prominent failure then is not the flaccid plot or type of humour, but the lack of memorability. Very few scenes bubble to the surface in retrospect and can be distilled to a short list of setups ranging from "that time Minami punished Akihisa for being dumb" to "Kouta's nose bleeds because of something vaguely raunchy". Individually they work and the timing is more often than not spot on, but collectively there is little to recount in any great detail.

Perhaps some of these are deal breakers for watching Baka Test, perhaps it means it's is relegated to an episode every few weeks. Regardless, there is little point in proceeding beyond the first episode of either series if they don't at least elicit a smile. While the locales and characters changes the humour remains fundamentally the same throughout and being able to laugh along at the absurdity, to embrace the archetypes and accept the obvious but still giggle at the outcome will be tantamount to enjoying the series.

Respond to “Baka to Test to Shokanju Ni (Idiots, Tests and Summoned Beasts 2)”

Community rules:

  1. Keep it civil: no personal attacks, slurs, harassment, hate speech, or threats
  2. No spam: includes marketing, pyramid schemes, scams etc.
  3. Notify of any spoilers: even if it's for something the post isn't about
  4. Your response may be edited or removed: if your response was in good faith, you may be contacted via email explaining why

Your address will never be shared

The following HTML tags are allowed: <b> <strong> <i> <em> <a href>