Seitokai Yakuindomo Complete Collection (Cert 18)
5 Discs Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 695 minutes approx.
Release Date: October 18th
When kids reach a certain age and their bodies begin to change, they learn the reasons behind this, and with this knowledge comes an awakening of what their bodies can do. Some take this in their stride and explore it at their own pace, others tend get a bit obsessed with it – the more shameless they are about it, the more awkward it is.
Osai Academy was until recently an all girls high school when the declining birth rates in Japan forced it to become a co-ed school. With the boy to girl ratio currently standing at 28:524, more boys are recruited to the school, including new first year student Takatoshi Tsuda. On his first day, Tsuda is accosted by Student Council President Shino Amakusa and berated for his untidy appearance.
However, Shino sees something in Tsuda and invites (nay forces) him to join the Student Council, making him Vice-President to add a male perspective. The other members are secretary Aria Shichijo and treasurer Suzu Hagimura. They take their work seriously and enforce the strict rules and codes of the school now it is co-ed but there is one quirk that bothers Tsuda – almost everyone is obsessed with sex!
Before you roll your eyes at this being another lurid, explicit ecchi harem show, I have to inform you that is not the case at all. Yes, it is vulgar and the sex talk is free flowing and borders on the unbelievably crass but that is all it is – talk. Seitokai Yakuindomo (or SYD for short) is an adaptation of a 4-koma manga by Tozen Ujiie which has been running since 2007 and crams more innuendo into one 23-minute episode that a dozen Carry On films!
Innuendo may be a bit generous as quite often there is nothing subtle or witty about some of the things that come out of the girls’ mouths – and this is crucial, it is the girls that are the perverts here. The joke, and admittedly is a single note one, is really in the reactions from Tsuda, and by extension Suzu to the barrage of double entendres – and if there is such a thing as a single entendre, I’m sure they are present too!
Quite how everyday discussions evoke such sexual interpretation raises many questions about the Japanese mind, or maybe just Ujiie’s, but the script is very self-aware and via Tsuda, frequently points out how unnatural these prurient conclusions are. Part of the joke is also how the girls know what they are saying yet are not aware of how wrong it sounds to everyone else.
Shino and Aria are regular offenders but are not the worst. Also possessing filthy minds are Ranko Hata of the school newspaper, teacher and club advisor Naruko Yokoshima, Tsuda’s younger sister Kotomi, Aria’s depraved maid Sayaka Dejima, science boffin Nene Todoroki, and Chihiro Uomi, student council president at another school. I guess there must be something in the water.
Tsuda has backup in Suzu, whose diminutive stature is a running gag by virtue of an onscreen sign pointing to the top of her head when she is barely in shot, and disciplinary committee head Kaede Igarashi, who suffers from Androphobia. But it is Tsuda’s “quips” that drives the gags, and when he is not there, Shino and Aria openly say it is not the same without him.
Remarkably, despite the heavily crude dialogue – some of which is bleeped out and not always obvious what it is – and attendant dodgy visuals, which are blurred out – the show doesn’t go that far in terms of being graphic. There are a few moments – the deer scene has become infamous – and fan service is heavily downplayed to save this from entering extreme ecchi territory, making this one the cleanest smut shows around!
Mileage will naturally vary since we are seldom a sentence away from a crude remark – in one episode there is even a countdown prior to each comment – and with its snappy vignette format the pace is relentless. Thankfully, there are actually plots to drive the episodes, as flimsy and clichéd as they may be – covering the usual staples like sports day, cultural festivals, the beach trip, somebody falling ill, etc. – to give it some direction beyond the filthy jokes.
A couple of points about this being a “complete” collection – across these five discs you get the two TV seasons totalling 26 episodes, and the 60 minute movie. Missing are the OVAs: 10 episodes from after season 1 and 8 after season 2. This is a shame as they are referenced in the series and in the film. A second film was released in Japan in January this year, a bit late for this release.
Earlier I mentioned how this show was self-aware. Quite often in the omake there are messages from the animators and director apologising for the content and other jokes, or they divert completely from the source material and do something unrelated, like in the start of season 2. They also point out in the episode previews which manga chapters are being adapted, which I don’t think I have ever seen before.
Now, here is where I might appear to be a hypocrite. Recently I reviewed My Girlfriend Is Shobitch which has a similar premise of overtly lewd dialogue for shock laughs which I didn’t rate very highly. SYD I found myself enjoying a lot more. The difference? In Shobitch the endgame was the characters having sex, females were objectified and some of the gags crossed the line; SYD has no endgame, just gags about sex, no real objectification, and frankly, a much more likeable and fun cast.
Like Shobitch, there is no question Seitokai Yakuindomo won’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy coarse humour as a guilty pleasure, this is great, outrageous, naughty fun, despite some localised references meaning doesn’t always hit the (G)spot. Oo-er missus!
Japanese Language 2.0
Clean Opening Animation
Clean Closing Animation
Clean Opening Animation
Clean Closing Animation
Japanese Movie Promos
Rating – ****
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