Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu 8 – Runaway, Maze and Summoned Beast Instrumentality Project

February 26, 2010 at 2:58 AM | Posted in Anime, Episode | Leave a comment
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Well, that was a surprisingly good parody of Neon Genesis Evangelion. That show has been parodied/copied so many times already, but this particular instance of it was impressive in just how true to the source it was, and how consistently it kept up the parody. In fact, the entire structure of the episode felt just like that of an Evangelion episode.

The story is set up with some mysterious student entering the central server room that controls the whole summon system utilized by the school, and accidentally disconnecting a cable. This causes everything in the school to go haywire: specifically, Yoshii’s summon is the only one that (1) can be controlled, (2) remains in its original form, and (3) pops up everywhere, like a multitude of clones. The others initially have very human-looking summons that are “ideal” or “fanservice” version of themselves – Mizuki and Minami appear as succubi, Yuuji as a cool elf-thingie, Hideyoshi as Little Red Riding Hood who is also a wolf (very fitting for that character, obviously), etc. Then they eventually turn back into their chibi selves, but are not under control, acting autonomously.

The episode’s plot centers around having Yoshii’s summon break in to the server room through some tunnels in order to reconnect the cable, as his is the only one that is controllable and can affect real objects. The theme of collaboration and teamwork is heavy in this one, with all the main characters sacrificing themselves in some way in order to help Yoshii reach his destination (the autonomous summons end up trying to stop Yoshii, and they have to help him beat them, which means they’re dragged off to detention).

But again, my favorite thing about this episode was the Evangelion parodying. The server room doors, the diagrams with large, bold lettering, the red hexagonal emergency signs, the icons of the synchronization breaking, a faked NERV icon using the letters BAKA, the hero screaming in pain as the support crew can’t do anything but watch, the headmaster watching from the back with her fingers interlocked below her nose, they’re all there. Heck, they even threw in an End of Evangelion reference. And they’re presented throughout the episode from start to end, with no attempt to give attention to it. That lack of irony or self-awareness in this show that is otherwise filled with self-referential humor, is what made the parody work so well.

And the episode even managed to build up the characters a little, showing us a clearer picture of the depth of their friendship. The headmaster becomes a little more easy to sympathize with as well, with her little comment in the post-credits section at the end.

As you might guess, I enjoyed this episode quite a bit. I was a little down on this show for its recent episodes, but if it can keep up with content like this, it could end up as one of my favorite non-Shaft comedy shows.

Notes

  • Here is Borderline Hikikomori’s take on the episode.
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