Akira-sama, how I worship thee. You are my goddess of Special A!
For those using IE, Impz did something stupid yesterday. That is why you cannot access it. Yes, blame it on me ;_;
After waiting for so long, Special A is finally released to the lovely shores of THAT Anime Blog. Being an absolute avid fan of the manga (I bought them regularly at the bookstore), I know that this is a series that has a good story in the manga. Fans of school-based romance/comedy will definitely fall in love with the manga. However, we all know the issues that can plague the transition of a manga to anime. Will Special A suffer from the same fate?
Please beware that I am a fanboy of the manga series before you read on.
A young Hikari has been trained by her father to fight. She felt that she is very strong, until she meets Kei, the son of her father’s friend. He easily dispatches her, resulting in her goal in life to defeat this boy. Years have past since that incident. Hikari grows up to be a beautiful high school student. Before she steps out of the house, her father tells her to win Kei for once. In the school, Hikari is known to be part of the S class, a group of the top seven elites in the school. She is worshiped like a god and she is clearly uncomfortable. Akira (the daughter of an airline tycoon, rank 6th) appears and says that it is normal that they are swooned by the other students due to their “special status”.
In their special garden, twins Jun and Megumi (music producer and singer, Ranked 3rd, 4th) are introduced. Ryuu is also introduced (son of sports car, Ranked 7th) taking care of an animal. When Hikari decides to play with the animal, she is nearly assaulted as Ryuu warns of its vicious behavior postmortem. Megumi and Jun decides to play the violin to get Ryuu’s attention, showing the hatred they have of the animal. As they are about to play, Ryuu stops them in time. Hikari clearly does not know their style of “music”. A ragged Tadashi (son of the principal, ranked 5th) appears too.
Akira brought tea and sandwiches, but she is clearly disgusted by Tadashi’s smell. Tadashi then asked Akira for seconds, only for Akira to smash him with a container. Kei also arrives, and Hikari challenges him again in gym class. He agrees, before making sure that he calls her “Number 2″ (Hikari) condescendingly. The others console Hikari who is insulted once again. Tadashi says that her battle feels futile sometimes. In gym class, Kei and Hikari compete in horse vault. Kei eventually won easily after jumping over a monstrous height with extreme grace. Kei reminds Hikari again that she will be “number 2″. Hikari then challenge him on their exam results.
After everyone left, Akira and Hikari discusses about the next challenge. Akira asks Hikari to rest a bit but Hikari says she is about to finish. November 22nd also seems to hold a meaning for Hikari. The next day, Megumi and Jun is having a recital. Hikari clearly like festivals, but it seems that some students are against the activity of Special Class. Hikari is about to argue, but Kei suddenly appears and disses the student. Kei adds that if they are displeased over the Special A class, they can try to get in. Kei also mentions their name, stating that he can remember anything with just one look. That scares the three students away.
Kei receives a letter, and finds Hikari sleeping on her book. He smiles gently. In the garden, Akira brings premium food once again and hits Tadashi when he says something dumb once again. At night, Hikari wakes up to see Kei beside her. She feels disgusted that Kei is watching her all this time, especially after Kei taunts her about sleeping when she says that she will try her best to win him. Kei asks about the letter and she is about to answer when they are interrupted by some rumbling. Hikari, thinking it’s a thief, rushed over. She finds the same three students in the teacher’s office. It is clear that the same three students are trying to find the answers for the final exam.
One of the students tries to tempt Hikari with the answers, as he adds that she finally will be able to win over Kei. However, Kei is insulted by this as she does not believe that cheating is a fair way of competition. Hikari says that she might not win Kei ever, but the future is not predetermined. Kei suddenly appears and says that they have no right to question Hikari. He tells them Hikari works much harder than anyone to beat him and is a wonderful person. The students decide that they have to defeat Hikari and Kei, if not they will be suspended. However, Hikari and Kei dispatches them easily.
We also realize that Kei clearly likes Hikari. The letter is an invitation for a date, a secret “date” with everyone for a Megumi + Jun recital. Hikari has never heard Megumi sing before and is anticipating it. However, the others are preparing and before Kei can stop Megumi, she sings as the school is surrounded with a bright light. The next day, it turns out that Hikari got full marks, but Kei gets 105 points as he pointed out a mistake in the exam question. As such, Kei reminds Hikari that she is still “number 2″.
Perhaps it is my bias, perhaps it is my anticipation for the series or perhaps it is the fact that I do not like the Mikuru of Suzumiya fame. The voice of Hikari took me a long while before I can accept it. Maybe it is the lack of spunk that I associate with Hikari in the manga, but Yuko’s sweet voice (that is transformed into something more spunky) does not seem to be the perfect fit for the character. Akira-sama’s voice seems a bit too youthful for my liking, where I am expecting a tsundere feel voice. Nonetheless, by mid-way of the show, I forgot all about it and was busy fanboying.
One more thing, the OP and ED is atrocious, and what’s with all the insert songs that feel like a total promotion of Yuko Goto. I still love the insert songs for the fun of it.
Hinano didn’t like the long legs too much, while Garten is not too crazy over the character design too. However, I am fine with it and feels that it brings a bit of the shoujo flair that I enjoy so much. It might be strange but I always like such a character design with long legs and slim bodies. It’s not done too excessively, so I am generally fine with it. The animations i generally crisp for a shoujo-orientated series, and the characters are well transformed from the manga to the anime.
Everything that I like about Special A is gladly into exhibition. Firstly, Hikari’s energetic outlook over life is fully exhibited, with her strong challenges with Kei a classic joke in itself. I like the “number 2″ response, because it is a joke that will be constantly used throughout the series (for the first few episodes at least). I also like the character dynamics betwen Akira and Tadashi. Akira is my favorite character due to her tsundere behavior toward Tadashi in particular. The two of them are just so cute together, much more than Kei and Hikari.
I honestly have not remembered a season why I deliberately wake up early to catch a show. This is perhaps a great time where both Vampire Knight and Special A comes out about the same day. If you are wondering, that will be my next entry too. Other than that, I also like how the jokes are scattered around. Some are rather weak, but it’s like typical Ouran/School Rumble style of humor. I am fine with that. I also like how they change it slightly to show clearly that Kei really likes Hikari. It is not that obvious in the manga, and the effect is hilarious.
If you are a fan of Ouran, or school-style comedy, this is for you. If you are a Code Grease fanatic that wants action, this is not for you (I cannot resist making a dig at Code Gease). So, watch it now, and hopefully for Akira-sama.
P/s: Any fellow Akira fans? Let’s worship her together!