Project Haruhi

Review: Seitokai Yakuindomo 4


After last week's episode of Seitokai Yauindomo showed signs of improvement, I was hoping the next one would continue this trend. Unfortunately, like a sick twist of fate, this week's episode reverted back to the subpar quality of the first two--rife with overused innuendos, juvinile humor, abominably bad storytelling and nonexistant character development. It was a huge punch in the stomach to watch this disaster after I was so impressed with last week's episode. It pains me to do this, but it's time for me to pull out my good ol' ranting stick of nerd rage.

See my rage unleashed after the jump.

Only this show could make a bondage teddy bear joke unfunny.

We begin with Aria and Shino having returned from their trip to Kyoto, and--to sum up in a few words--they start ruining the show again. After a bunch of pointless and unfunny sex jokes from our prurient characters, we see the closest thing we'll get to a coherent plot: it's Shino's birthday, so the rest of the council decides to throw her a party. Meanwhile, the viewer prays there's no more juvenile innuendo. After this, we see our oh so banal protagonist Takatoshi walk Shino home in the rain, with them sharing an umbrella as though they're a couple.  This scene doesn't go anywhere, but it's the closest thing you'll get to character development in this show, so enjoy it while you can. As for the rest of the episode, it's merely composed of forgettable jokes that aren't worth mentioning.

As you can already tell, this episode was chock-full of the kind of humor I really despise--both the sexual and non-sexual jokes were as appealing as a slap to the face. None of them were funny. I must say, however, they started getting a little more... unique with the sexual ones. There's one scene in particular where Suzu is sucking a milk carton while speaking with Takatoshi, and from the other characters viewpoints it looks like this...

What a HILARIOUS misunderstanding!

I'll be honest, this scene was marginally funny, and it was probably the closest I came laughing during this episode. However, the other jokes didn't come close. It just feels like the writers weren't even trying to be funny anymore; they were just firing off every joke that came to mind, without bothering to weed out the bad ones. It was almost painful for me to have to force myself through the whole thing, and by the end, I felt as though I had been freed from some great burden. That's right... the humor was so overused and cliche, it was downright agonizing to watch. That's quite the accomplishment for any show.

I really hated this episode. It cost me half an hour of my time and a small piece of what's left of my sanity. I'm actually a bit upset that I feel the need to do this, but I don't have much choice. I am officially dropping  this show. I doubt I could sit through another episode without developing homicidal tendencies. Sorry, Seitokai Yakuindomo, I really tried to enjoy you, but I can only take so many uncreative and juvenile sex jokes. Goodbye and good riddance!

[Editors Note: Four episodes in, and this is the best fanservice shot in the entire show... a show that, I might remind you, is ALL ABOUT SEX. Now that's just pathetic.]

Everybody look! I'm showing a tiny amount of cleavage!

About Guest

Written by a guest author. See post for more details.

  • Sadly, I’m forced to agree with you. I did not laugh ONCE during this episode. It was probably the most boring thing I watched all week. Ugh…

  • Now that I think about it, that ‘walking in the rain’ scene at the end was rather nice… or at least it WOULD have been if these characters had any depth to them. Seriously, take that scene and stick it in some straight-up romantic show, and it would have been enjoyable in a serene sort of way.

  • Azar

    I’m with you guys too on this one. Aside from last weeks episode (the 3rd episode) this series was utter and complete crap. The humor got stale rather fast and story kinda fell a part, right from the start.

  • Well then, I’m not going to bother watching. Three negative opinions is good enough for me to save my download. Nice review, Jeagle.

  • AZNFireBurn

    I am very disappoint with this episode :/

  • Passing By

    As a fan of the show I feel that I should try to defend this if only for a little bit.

    I think most people have wrong expectation for this show. Seitokai Yakuindomo is not a harem/fan service anime that’s dime a dozen out there. It is in essence a slice of life anime. I find the fact that Mr. reviewer can enjoy similar show like K-On and Lucky star while complain about the lack of coherent plot and one dimension characters in this show. K-On and Lucky star both have incoherent plot that jumps everywhere, short fire gags that are hit and miss and one dimension character that you can guess simply by the character designs.

    The difference among them is that K-On and Lucky star are both moe-fest and this show is all about dirty jokes. In that respect, Seitokai Yakuindomo is a stronger show since it stands only on the essence of 4-panel comic, the gags. Take the moe out of K-on and lucky star and you’re left with nothing. For example, imagine if K-on is about 4 guys trying to make a band, or Lucky star with 4 guys talking about game/anime/maga related subjects, I doubt they’d be the hits they are now.

    If Mr. reviewer would just come out and say that he doesn’t enjoy dirty jokes, period, it’d actually make a stronger point than all the rant he’s posted. Personally I think anyone who can’t laugh at dirty jokes here and there is too uptight and need to loosen up, but to each his own. However showing bias about the shows faults when they’re the integral of this kind of genre doesn’t seem fair in my opinion.

    Finally about the editor’s note at the end. A show all about sex is not the same as a sexy show or a fan-service show, just as you don’t see swimsuit models or porn in your sex ed classes. Plus this show is not a show about sex anyway. This is a show about dirty jokes, which are the antithesis of sexiness.

    • Here’s one of the joke’s from the fourth episode, quoted verbatim.

      Shino: Hmm… it’s a shame we couldn’t go to Kiyomizudera.
      Aria: Shino is bad with heights, so…
      Takatoshi: Are you that bad with them?
      Shino: When I go to high places, I get weak and start shaking. It’s just like… having an orgasm constantly!
      Takatoshi: I don’t understand at all.

      That’s not a joke. That’s not even remotely funny. The writers simply took an ordinary, everyday conversation, stuck the word ‘orgasm’ in it, and assumed we’d all find that hilarious. Apparently we’re supposed to laugh uproariously at the slightest mention of anything naughty, like we were a bunch of junior high school kids.

      Yes, this show’s humor is the equivalent of some brat writing “COCKS” on the bathroom wall. It’s immature, banal and totally uncreative. I’m not so prudish that I can’t appreciate a good dirty joke (after all, I’m enjoying Mitsudomoe) but this is just pathetic. It’s like the writers weren’t even trying.

      If a comedy show has no overarching plot, then it must rely on it’s humor to entertain the viewer. Lucky Star was successful largely because it had great humor in addition to enjoyably quirky characters. K-ON!’s makes up for its less gag-oriented nature by having great characters, who viewers such as myself find endearingly lovable.

      The characters in Seitokai are not great. They’re bog-standard archetypes with no outstanding traits or quirks, other than occasionally shout “COCKS” during inappropriate moments. Their character designs are not outstanding either. There’s literally nothing about them that I find enjoyable, endearing or even remotely interesting.

      That makes for three strikes against Seiktokai. The story is non-existent, the humor is juvenile and unfunny, and the characters are boring. If they had tossed in some fanserivce to match their lewd humor, I might have found this more entertaining. As it stands, its not worth my time… or anybody else’s.

    • Passing By

      You say K-on and lucky star have quirky lovable endearing characters I say they are over used moe-fest. Some might say they’re over used because they work, but I disagree. Let’s just leave it at that.

      As for the characters of this show, I like them exactly because they’re so ordinary that you can find them everywhere. They are exactly the kind of people you hang out with in a pub or in someone’s house after a few rounds of beer, where everyone just talk about the silliest things about girls and opposite sex in general without much serious thought. In a way this show is those random talks manifest, while making fun of the moe archetype by showing how not-sexy/endearing they can be.

      Since you state that you’re a Japanese major, so I’ll assume you understand what Manzai is (the japanese stand up comedy). This show (and lucky star to some extent) is basically that, a series of quick fire jokes that only goes as far as they needed to be and no further. However one thing that’s different in this show is the role of the straight man. People are used to explosive reaction from the straight man to complete the gags. Lucky stars does it (most of the time with kagami), K-on does it (with mio), and mitsudomoe is filled to the rim with explosive reactions, and people grew accustomed to it.

      This show, on the other hand, barely has any. Tsuda’s role is minimal and most of the time the reaction is not even there. For example in the excerpt you provided, if it were from a different show, tsuda will probably have much more reaction than that. Maybe into a rant about how it’s not lady like to talk like that while being offended and such, and you will chuckle at it. This show doesn’t point out the jokes to the viewers. It expect the viewers to be the the straight man and complete the joke themselves.

      I find the comparison to kids writing cocks on bathroom wall to be harsh. In fact, that comparison is better suited for mitsudomoe. I liken this show to be the act of getting a erotic romance novel and crossed out everything but the penetration parts. The jokes is not the obscenity itself, but how crude it is when delivered straight.
      As a side note, mitsudomoe doesn’t really qualified as having dirty jokes. The characters in there have dirty minds, but all the jokes are merely childish. Mitsudomoe is the kid writing cocks everywhere. You don’t laugh at the words but merely at the kid who barely knows anything about sex and gets excited when he hears a dirty words.

    • Passing By

      Since there’s no edit function:
      I don’t really expect to change your or anyone’s opinion of the show, nor do I try to anyway. I guess I see the situation as someone complaining hot coffee for being hot or stinky tofu for being stinky. What I’m trying to say is maybe you can take a more objective stand and see thing from a different perspective. You’ll probably not going to like it anyway but maybe you can at least understand my position.

    • You’re giving this show way too much credit. First off, the characters aren’t “the kind of people you’d hang out with in a pub.” In fact, these characters aren’t even remotely realistic. Think about it: Aria and Shino are both perfect, straight-laced, A-level students with no character flaws whatsoever, aside from their odd predilection for making naughty jokes. Could you find a girl like this in real life? A beautiful straight-A girl who runs the student council despite spewing near-constant innuendo? That’s not realistic in the least.

      In Lucky Star, the characters were still unrealistic (when compared to reality), but each had quirks that made them endearing. For example, Konata had her otaku tendencies, mischievous sense of humor, addiction to video games and job at the cosplay cafe. These are all traits that helped flesh out her character and made her more enjoyable to watch. In fact, such quirks are an essential part of the moe archetype. With the exception of Suzu, NOBODY in Seitokai has such amusing quirks or personality traits. They’re just cookie-cutter characters; idealized anime girls who do not deviate from their cliche nature in the slightest. You might even call them failed moeblobs.

      Second, you claim that Seitokai is deconstructing the moe archetype by making its character not sexy or endearing. Once again, you’re giving this show too much credit. If the creators didn’t intend for their characters to be sexy, why do they keep releasing official magazine pinups like this and this? Why did they include that fanservice shot of Aria shown above? Why is the next episode going to be a swimsuit episode? It’s obvious that they WANT this show to be at least somewhat titillating… they’re just doing a rather poor job of it.

      Third, the absence of the straight man is one of the factors that makes Seitokai’s comedy so weak. Without a comedic foil, Shino and Aria just mindlessly spew off jokes and nobody reacts (or laughs). It’s like we’re only getting half the joke. As for ‘relying on the audience’, this just plain doesn’t work. A stand-up comedian can read his audience and adjust his act to suit their specific mood or tastes; this show cannot. In fact, it cannot interact with the audience in any way, shape or form. Instead, the incomplete jokes just leave the viewer scratching their head in confusion; they understood the joke just fine, but they can’t understand why it’s supposed to be funny. (This is the exact reaction Chris had when we reviewed episode 3 on the last podcast.) Then, to top off their mediocrity, the writers constantly punctuate the jokes with that unfunny ‘stamp on screen’ gag, as if that’s supposed to make up for their lack of comedic competence.

      Once again, I think you’re giving Seitokai Yakuindomo way too much credit. It’s not some genius deconstruction of moe and comedic tropes; it’s merely a subpar anime with bad writing, boring characters and unfunny comedy. If you’re watching it ironically, I can appreciate that… but don’t give it any more credit than it deserves.

    • Passing By

      I’ll give you that the girls in the show are unrealistic by themselves, but don’t tell me you never hang out with your friends, talking about girls anywhere, and come up with something like “what if that hot chicks is actually really dumb or really perverted”. That’s how the show makes the girls realistic the way i describe it. They’re what ordinary guys would think when they see seemly perfect girls on TV or elsewhere. They exist everyday everywhere in the conversations.

      I’m really surprised by how you find moe archetype amusing. Your so call quirks and personality traits are in fact the real cookie cutter in the industry. When’s the last time you see a original character? You should have realized how ridiculous and overused it is when you can, in your own words, categorize the moe archetype characteristic.

      And this show is in no way trying to be sexy or even trying to make fan service material. Please tell me how you find a girl stuffing breast pad in the swim suit sexy, or how three girls sweating during summer in a room erotic? Your so call fan service shot in the show is immediately followed by the same character running out of the room crying, and I fail to see how that is in anyway being a fan service. I’m not giving the show too much credit. This show is literally making fun of every cliche.

      And I guess you complete miss my point about how the audience should be the straight man. Do you really not have any humor or comical sense when you require jokes to be pointed out directly in your face before you find anything funny? Do we as the collective audience of the televise media grow so dumb that we can’t understand jokes unless we’re told that it’s funny? Or are you just so thick that you don’t get the puns and double entendre and ironies? Like I say in my earlier post, if you can’t find the humor in dirty jokes to at least chuckle, you serious need to loosen up and get laid.

      I suppose you’re just one of those everyday joe that are so used to the norm and custom and the target of 90 percents of the industry. The industry needs your type of people to survive, but please don’t criticize something that deviates from the norm simply because you don’t understand the satire.

    • “what if that hot chicks is actually really dumb or really perverted”. That’s how the show makes the girls realistic the way i describe it. They’re what ordinary guys would think when they see seemly perfect girls on TV or elsewhere. They exist everyday everywhere in the conversations.

      If that kind of adolescent wish fulfillment is the only trait you look for in your characters, you must have really low standards.

      Please tell me how you find a girl stuffing breast pad in the swim suit sexy, or how three girls sweating during summer in a room erotic?

      Uh, I think you just kinda answered your own question there. >_>;

      Your so call fan service shot in the show is immediately followed by the same character running out of the room crying, and I fail to see how that is in anyway being a fan service.

      How much anime have you actually seen? A fanservice shot of a girl followed by her running from the room crying is an absurdly common trope. Heck, Shinobu was doing it in Love Hina over a decade ago. It’s not some clever subversion of the genre… just another uncreative, overused cliche.

      Or are you just so thick that you don’t get the puns and double entendre and ironies?

      No, I understood the jokes just fine. Seitokai’s humor is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. The problem is, the jokes simply aren’t funny. Sticking the word ‘orgasm’ in a normal conversation is not funny. Randomly comparing judo positions to sexual positions is not funny. Frankly, even the random sexual innuendo I see on Twitter is more complex and intelligent than this crap. If they had added in a deadpan straight man with some over-the-top reactions, I might have derived some mild amusement from watching him flip out… but it really wouldn’t have improved this series’ comedy all that much. The fact that they left the straight man out just makes it all that much worse, and indicates how incompetent the writing is.

      you serious need to loosen up and get laid.

      Oh, that’s real mature. Thanks for keeping it classy.

      please don’t criticize something that deviates from the norm simply because you don’t understand the satire.

      How many times do I have to repeat this until you understand? There is no satire here. This series is not mocking the conventions of fanservice and gag anime. It is merely following those conventions to the letter, in the most bland and uncreative way possible. This show does not deviate from the norm in the slightest; it brings nothing new to the table whatsoever. I enjoy shows that offer something new, fresh or at least marginally creative. Seitokai Yakuindomo has no such merits.

    • Passing By

      Like I said, you have been conditioned to like the mainstream comedy the industry has been pushing for so long, and I don’t blame you. You can hardly find a sitcom that use no laugh tracks or practices subtlety, which is a shame really. As a result sarcasm has slowly disappeared from our culture. There was a time where jokes are suppose to be subtle and require some thinking, and the point of sarcasm is that most people, especially the target of the sarcasm, wouldn’t get it. Today everyone wants to, or rather, demands to understand all the jokes. They all want to be “in” on the jokes. The result? Jokes are more and more simple. It becomes the comedians’ responsibility to make sure everyone gets the joke. When someone comes up with something obscure, he’s often shun by audience and be called elitist.

      The jokes in the show are the kind that grows stale the more you try to explain it. If you can’t find the humor in the lines, the delivery, the reaction and the situation as a whole, it being absurd and real at the same time, you’ll never get this type of humor, whether it’s dirty joke or not. And I do mean it seriously that you need to loosen up. Sex exists without sexiness, and vice versa. Girls poop and fart like all of us, what makes you think that they’re somehow more innocent and naive than the rest of us. These dirty jokes are funny because people take sex and bodily function more serious than they deserve. So really, the joke’s on you.

      I’ve probably seen more manga than you can ever imagine, and I know fan service when I see one. Shinobu from love hina is cast as the shy loli one, so running out crying is entirely in her character. In the case of Aria, it’s entirely out of her characteristic to not recognize a sexy pose from miles away, and that’s what makes it a joke.

      In a way, tsuda’s character can be consider the perfect straight man. He points out the joke without making himself part of the joke, which is actually what normal people would do in the first place. But I’ve already gone over that if you don’t get the joke in the first place, you will never get it, and I’ve grew tired with explaining this type of joke.

      Lastly, this show IS satire. Look at the original creator’s other works and you’ll see it breaks all conventional expectation of high school romantic comedy. You’ll never find another show like this, nor will you find another author making any similar attempt. If this doesn’t qualify as new, unique and creative, I wonder what exactly is your standard.

      I guess in a way that my understanding most of the jokes in this show makes me a worse person. If you want to keep your childlike innocence and your dreamy image of opposite sex, then you best steer away from this show. But don’t give me the crap that mature people don’t like dirty jokes. A real mature person would not be embarrassed about dirty jokes because there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. (guess this is a bit like no true Scotsman argument but it gets the point across).
      p.s. why is it that swimming class episode automatically labeled fan service? Do you not have swimming class in school? Do you not wear swimsuit in swimming class? If so do you have constant erection during your swimming classes? I’d hate to imagine you hunch over constantly through out the class.

      p.s.s Since apparently you do find girls putting pads in their swimsuit sexy, which makes me kind of curious. If that’s the case, then do you find girl putting in tampon sexy? If not then what’s the difference? Why is it that when it crosses the waistline somehow the standard become different?

      Anyway, I do thank you for taking the time to reply despite our difference.

  • AZNFireBurn

    I love immature jokes, but the jokes this time round just didn’t do anything but a smirk to say the least.
    Btw that orgasm joke was just so….. lame and not needed =3=

  • I really have to say, I’m with Passing By.
    I share his opinion.
    He exactly describes the way _I_ enjoy this anime.
    Instead of making extremely hilarious, unrealistic sexual jokes using acid breastmilk or flying pants, they rather stick to everyday-jokes and double meanings, which I find enjoyable once in a while.

    • Passing By

      I’m glad someone shares my opinion as well. Thank you for your support.

      • A Fan

        I have to admit that I actually like this show quite a bit too. While many of you have posted negative reviews, stating that the humor is amateur, the characters flat, and that the innuendos get old, I have to disagree in some cases. While the humor may seem amateur, you have to realize that we’re talking about high school girls. It’s not like they know everything in this world. I think the producers knew this and therefore made the humor believable enough to come out of a high school girl’s mouth. Secondly, I kind of like the innuendos. My brother and I constantly spot each other’s innuendos in a conversation, and usually then burst into laughter, so watching them on screen with different people just makes it more fun. The characters, I agree, are pretty flat, but I think because of their flatness, we get more focus on the jokes, which the whole series revolves around.
        I will say this – the show is not for everyone, so I can see why the negative reviewers chose to review the show in such a disparaging light. However, I do agree with Passing By in that the review was really one-sided. While it wasn’t for you, you should have stressed that others with mine and Passing By’s mindset might actually like or appreciate the show. I guess I’m trying to say is that neither side can force their opinion on the other side, but we can at least accept that some people will dislike the show, and others will truly enjoy it.
        Ja ne!

  • Sohee

    Quote: “Think about it: Aria and Shino are both perfect, straight-laced, A-level students with no character flaws whatsoever, aside from their odd predilection for making naughty jokes. Could you find a girl like this in real life? A beautiful straight-A girl who runs the student council despite spewing near-constant innuendo? That’s not realistic in the least.”

    I just have to leave a reply to say that I went to an all girl’s catholic school for my entire middle and high school career and there were definitely people like this. No joke and I’m not trying to take sides or anything but to say its completely unrealistic is wrong. Truth is stranger than fiction… Granted they’re not like that now that we’re all old enough to have recently graduated university but in high school… yeah there were pretty much no boundaries with what we talked about.