Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu (or Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts) is the latest release from FUNimation. Fumizuki Academy is an obscure school which sees all students divided into classes due to their initial test score. Starting at class A – who are inevitably the smartest in the school – pupils are ranked all the way down to class F. We follow this class as they attempt to challenge classes above them to battles in exchange for classroom equipment. Each student has their own avatar which battles for them – their strengths lie in their highest test score so let’s just say class F have a long way to go! While each character can summon their own avatar, many of the ones we actually follow are not particularly skilled. We focus on the weaker students in the school, so watching them fight for a higher place is very entertaining and easy to relate to.
There is a battle system set up in the school though, and it allows any student to challenge any other student, or any full class to challenge any full class. That sounds like an awesome premise for a video game, and sure enough that is exactly what happened. If one lower-ranking class challenges and defeats a higher caste class, then not only do they get bragging rights over the pussies, but they get to take over their classrooms, and the losing class can’t issue a rematch for at least three months. The last might suggest there is excessive fan service but in reality there isn’t too much, although some people might be disturbed by the protagonist Akihisa’s sister who seems a little too close to him for his liking. I liked the basic story although think it would have been better without the whole summoning of avatars thing and just had the students compete against each other.
After watching the series on Blu-Ray definition, I have to admit that it was difficult to switch back to regular definition. The crisp animation shown through the Blu-Ray disks really prove the greatness of the format and the greatness of the ever-improving quality of anime. Baka and Test has several 3D style animation scenes where the 2D characters are melded with a 3D environment or surrounded by objects. These scenes really stand out on the Blu-Ray edition. This was a pretty silly series, but that didn’t stop it from being fun, the characters in Class F were a good laugh and they aren’t quite as stupid as they seem, one of them should really be in Class A but she panicked in her exam and failed. Other members of the class include a class representative who is trying to avoid the attentions of a Class A girl, a boy who everybody things is a girl and a boy who is constantly trying to get inappropriate photos of any girl.
So, what did I think of Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts? Baka and Test was a pretty good anime as long as you don’t take it too seriously. Yes, most of the cast is pretty flat, but the ones that aren’t make up for it most of the time. I would not recommend it to someone looking for heavy or deep storylines. The plot is pretty average, but the characters and their interactions with each other cannot be beat. Be sure to track it down!