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    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Medaka Box


    General Info:

    Series Name: Medaka Box - めだかボックス

    Year of Serialization: 2009

    Author(s): Nishio Ishin

    Artist(s): Akatsuki Akira

    Genre(s): Action, Comedy, Martial Arts, School Life, Supernatural, Romance

    Current Status: Completed

    Moment of Reviewing: End of the series (192 chapters)

    Other Formats: Anime (24 episodes)

    Series Summary:

    Kurokami Medaka is what you would call a superhuman. She's world-class in practically any kind of sport by just practicing the sport once without any kind of training. She's a super genius that aces all her tests to the point she can even understand and talk coded languages by just reading or hearing them once. On top of that she's the heir to the richest and biggest business company in the world. But above all she loves mankind more than anything, her 'overflowing love' resulted in even taking the first kiss of everyone of her classmates in junior high. It's because of this attitude in combination with her godlike powers that she decided to become Student Council President in high school, hereby supported by her completely normal childhood friend Hitoyoshi Zenkichi. As President the first thing she does is making a suggestion box where students can deposit suggestions & requests 24/7 each day of the year, no matter how ridiculous, selfish or just complete whack these requests might be. What follows is how Medaka and her Student Council cope with these, more extremely blown out of proportion over the top than normal, situations.

    Critical Review:

    There are several series I like, but that don't captivate me enough to make it so that I would follow them weekly. As a result I just read them once, then let the chapters pile up for a few months and then read the entire series again only this time with the new chapters. Medaka Box was one of those series and in the end I had mixed feelings about it.

    High-school settings always work well with me most of the time, especially when it's mixed with some supernatural stuff. I guess it's because it's a context that most of us still easily can relate to. I personally wouldn't have mind some unrealistic stuff in my high school days. With the exception of a few arcs, most of the 192 chapters take place on the school grounds, so it should definitely be a good read for other people who like this setting.

    In my opinion the strongest point of this manga is its artwork. Even a series with a superficial plot can still be fun to read as long as the artwork is good and vice versa even a series with the best plot in the world can be dull when the art is boring. A manga is still after all a 'visual' medium. I really like the art of Medaka Box. I don't really know how to explain it, but it just feels 'comfy'. All the characters can easily be distinguished from each other and have their own personal quirks. There's a girl for instance that has her entire head covered in bandages for most of the time, only leaving one eye free and having the grip of a dagger sticking out of her head. It's clear, it's cozy, it's 'warm', this in contrast with those series that only have a vague background or barely have anything in it. Especially the eyes and hair really had a strong impact on me. This series has a lot of interesting characters. I dare say that the main reason why I even was able to finish this series was because of its artwork. Especially the boobs >.>

    As the name implies Medaka is pretty much the main protagonist of the story. It might sound sexist, but I'm not really into stories with a single female protagonist, let alone one that is practically the female version of Goku in this world. I still don't know if I have to love that character or hate every fibre of her body. There has never been a character that ended up so fast on both sides of my character spectrum, especially the way how she interacts with her best friend Zenkichi bugs me. I really don't understand why so many sites label this as a "shounen" manga.

    Zenkichi is described as being her best and longest friend, the only normal person in the school who can understand the monster called Medaka and, surprise surprise, he loves Medaka, something he clearly shows. That super intelligent woman that loves the entire world doesn't even understand the feelings of the person closest to her. She spends all her time 'loving' the world, even her worst enemies, but completely neglects her best friend. At a certain point a flashback is shown where Medaka gets severely bullied and beaten up by someone, but for some reason she doesn't react at all. Zenkichi was so sick of it that he wanted to beat the bully himself up, but then Medaka beat him up instead for one weird reason or another. Zenkichi is supposed to be the one who understands Medaka the best, the only one who can actually stand besides her even though he is normal, but on the moments when it counts somehow he doesn't understand her at all, but her enemies do. Instead of appointing Zenkichi as her vice-president, she appoints her worst enemy. Zenkichi confessed more than once to her, but she acts like she was the one who got rejected all the time. Her behavior was simply infuriating.

    This behavior reached a climax somewhere in the first quarter of the second part of the series. Medaka is holding a treasure hunt to strengthen the bonds between the current and future council members. Problem is that this treasure hunt is furiously difficult and complex, far beyond the skill of a normal person like Zenkichi, but he is too stubborn to accept the help of the other members. What followed might be my favourite scene of the series and one of the most wackiest I ever read. For like the next several months you see all the council members doing extremely difficult tasks, but eventually succeed in finishing the hunt and creating a cohesive group. However then suddenly someone points out that Zenkichi isn't there and they go searching for him. They find him still at the start of the hunt and the look Medaka had in her eyes when she saw it went through flesh, bone and marrow. Like she didn't understand what Zenkichi now exactly was and she ditched the poor guy. I mean the guy who always supported her, who was in a situation that even makes the friendzone look appealing, got thrown away like garbage because some kind of superwoman couldn't apprehend that a normal, nice guy could not solve a code that was beyond the limits of normal people. You suddenly then get a complete black screen with a text saying something in the nature of "what was it all for?", meaning that that entire treasure hunt arc had been erased. It had no use whatsoever anymore and was solely meant for that scene. I hated Medaka here from the bottom of my heart, but the scene was marvelous.

    In the series a division is made in 'normal' people like Zenkichi, 'abnormal' people (which are people who you could just call talented), plusses like Medaka (people who have weird powers), minuses (also people who have weird powers), non-equals (still no idea what those are) and style users. This is one of those things I really didn't like in this manga. In reality there isn't so much difference between some of the groups. What makes a plus a plus and a minus a minus? They make it appear like that their powers inherently belong in these categories, but in reality there is no difference outside that some of the minuses act like emos. In regard to these 'powers' the series really got messed up. At the start there was still more or less some kind of a rational explanation of how they work. For example there's a kid who seemingly can read minds, but in fact is just highly sensitive for electrical impulses and simply can interpret these impulses. But the further the story progresses, the less realistic these powers became. Admitted some of theme were really unique, like a girl who has the power to make any kind of scar someone ever received in his/her life whether it be physical or mental, open, but without any kind of explanation. I mean there is a guy who has the power of "All Fiction" which means that he can erase anything he wishes (and something that has been erased can not be undone, this way he erased the ability to see of someone). There is so much wrong with that ability, still no reasonable explanation is given. Even better the guy who has that power is an eternal 'loser', the complete opposite of Medaka. The style users are even worse as a 'style' is something that can be taught, but no explanation is given how they exactly work, only that it has something to do with language. Overall it's simply messed up. It becomes even better at the epilogue of the series where it is said that all of them somehow lost their powers.

    The brings me to another point. Often there is played with the different meanings of kanji's and the way how they are written. For non-Japanese people such conversations of course don't make much sense. On top of that some of the dialogues are too long, boring, complicated and once again are regularly void of reason. They try to explain things using extremely abstract notions. Not to mention that too many times they tried to break the barrier between the reader and the manga. Regularly comments are made in the nature of "if this was a shonen jump manga", "do you think this is a shonen jump manga" etc. there was even a character that went into a discussion with another character because he preferred another manga magazine. This created some weird atmosphere as they keep trying to break that wall, but never succeed.

    Even though it was a great read for me, it wasn't spectacular and I really have the feeling that the author severely got lost along the way, having no clear idea anymore to where he wanted to go. The title of the manga is "Medaka Box", however this box was only prominent at the start of the series and then it completely disappeared for ages and only popped back up entirely at the end as some weird kind of a nostalgic statement. In relation to the end of the series I personally find that you should take your time when finishing up such a series, while too many authors just rap it up in a flash, leaving whatever happened with most of the characters a mystery. In Medaka Box it was, compared to other finished mangas, decent, but still for me not satisfying. Especially in regard to the relationship between Medaka and Zenkichi. It's very strongly implied what was going to happen, but never shown. The only thing that should have been shown is only implied. I really really hate that.

    As a final conclusion to me the entire series appeared like a manga within a manga, that within the story a story was told, but in a very abstract way, that two stories are told at the exact same time by the exact same people and only at the end, when they lost their powers, they broke free of that weird, paradoxical non-sensical situation.


    - Reviewed by Caliburn
     
         
    Last edited by Caliburn; 07-09-2013 at 12:52 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Medaka Box

    It sounds interesting. Thanks for the review ^_^
     
         

  3. #3
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Quote Originally Posted by Kages View Post
    It sounds interesting. Thanks for the review ^_^
    The series started good, but after a while it became odd. After a while it's hard to understand to where the story now is supposed to be heading. I felt a bit trolled too with the end of the series.
     
         

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    Member Hakushi Hayate's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Coming from this long story you wrote i can see you're a fan, well so am i.
    I like the show i need to start reading the manga but it was definitely a good anime.
     
         

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    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Quote Originally Posted by Hakushi Hayate View Post
    Coming from this long story you wrote i can see you're a fan, well so am i.
    I like the show i need to start reading the manga but it was definitely a good anime.
    Uhm did you even read what I wrote? This is a review about the manga, not a story, and I had more than one critical note about it. Sure I didn't dislike it and it was enjoyable to read, however I wouldn't really mark myself as a 'fan'. If I was a fan, I would have followed it weekly and have watched the anime. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that spectacular.
     
         

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    Kung fu is a way of life Kirikoe's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    ive read this and ye the theme of this manga changes very frequently and it can become hard to understand i still think its over all a good manga tho ^^
     
         

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    Re: Medaka Box

    Isn't Medaka Box a Shounen trope spoof? O_o At least, that's what I got from it when I read it. It's actually why I dropped it too, I got the feeling that if I kept reading it, I'd never be able to read a par shounen manga again. From what I've gathered; Medaka Box is a 'troll' manga, it's supposed to infuriate you, make you laugh and then infuriate you some more.

    Medaka is supposed to piss you off, since she is 'Perfect', yet it's this perfection that leads to her flaws, which can only be seen by the reader of course. The crap nonsense of insanely strong people being introduced only to be fodderized, is simply taking the piss out of all those Manga who do such things seriously, eg Fairy Tail's tourny with the whole Laxus Solo thing.

    Zenkichi is likely meant to be the embodiment of every originally 'average' or below average Shounen protagonist out there; Naruto, Keinichi etc. Except, even though he trained his ass off for how many years, and was taught by Medaka's brother, he still failed to be anything truly exceptional, at least not by Medaka's and the other fighting casts standards. He failed to surmount the impossible, he failed to win over the girl on screen and he consistently failed at taking the spotlight next to Medaka. Effectively, the author is stating that 'Trash' will be 'Trash'. Naruto should never become Hokage, because he is 'Trash', and Keinichi will never be strong, because he is 'Trash'. Neiji should have beat the snot out of Naruto, because Neiji is a genius; a style user or perhaps an Abnormal, while Naruto is simply 'average'. Therefore, as much as it pains me to say it, as I really did like Zenkichi, he's pretty much the loser of the series, constantly struggling to catch up; but never actually managing to do so.

    I think Medaka Box is more of a cult manga, it has its own audience, but it'll likely never explode into a true 'hit'. Simply because of what it is, what it does. You either get Medaka Box, or you don't get it, and if you do get it; you either love it or you hate it. If you hate generic Shounen you're more liable to love this, as while it is infuriating, it lets you let off any annoyance that has been placed on you by other Shounen. It let's you laugh at them, it exploits their weaknesses, shows their wounds bare and raw to you, allowing you to revel in its shounen satire. Personally, after reading only 50 or so chapters, I actually loved it, despite it paining me to do so. Medaka Box was truly infuriating, it hurt so much that it was right when I wanted it to be wrong. The antics of Medaka and the 'normality' of Zenkichi hurt so much. It's actually amazing that the author managed to make me feel pain over some of the interactions, that he managed to infuriate and anger me, while at the same time sticking to what he does. Everything annoying had to be that way for Medaka Box to truly work, but I couldn't help but wonder if Medaka Box had to work to be amazing. I wanted it to tear away from its trope trolling so much, and for once give Zenkichi and Medaka what they needed, what I needed. I wanted it to become a, 'what should be done', instead of a 'what is being done' Manga. Medaka Box had judged shounen tropes; now I wanted it to start bringing justice to them.

    Well that's my interpretation of Medaka Box anyway. I might need to pick it up again, simply so I can laugh at what Naruto has become while reading.
     
         
    Last edited by Scaze; 06-24-2013 at 12:41 PM.

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    Re: Medaka Box

    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn View Post
    Uhm did you even read what I wrote? This is a review about the manga, not a story, and I had more than one critical note about it. Sure I didn't dislike it and it was enjoyable to read, however I wouldn't really mark myself as a 'fan'. If I was a fan, I would have followed it weekly and have watched the anime. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that spectacular.
    No i didnt read the whole thing but ilike the anime. Hm"
     
         

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    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Quote Originally Posted by Scaze View Post
    Isn't Medaka Box a Shounen trope spoof? O_o At least, that's what I got from it when I read it. It's actually why I dropped it too, I got the feeling that if I kept reading it, I'd never be able to read a par shounen manga again. From what I've gathered; Medaka Box is a 'troll' manga, it's supposed to infuriate you, make you laugh and then infuriate you some more.

    Medaka is supposed to piss you off, since she is 'Perfect', yet it's this perfection that leads to her flaws, which can only be seen by the reader of course. The crap nonsense of insanely strong people being introduced only to be fodderized, is simply taking the piss out of all those Manga who do such things seriously, eg Fairy Tail's tourny with the whole Laxus Solo thing.

    Zenkichi is likely meant to be the embodiment of every originally 'average' or below average Shounen protagonist out there; Naruto, Keinichi etc. Except, even though he trained his ass off for how many years, and was taught by Medaka's brother, he still failed to be anything truly exceptional, at least not by Medaka's and the other fighting casts standards. He failed to surmount the impossible, he failed to win over the girl on screen and he consistently failed at taking the spotlight next to Medaka. Effectively, the author is stating that 'Trash' will be 'Trash'. Naruto should never become Hokage, because he is 'Trash', and Keinichi will never be strong, because he is 'Trash'. Neiji should have beat the snot out of Naruto, because Neiji is a genius; a style user or perhaps an Abnormal, while Naruto is simply 'average'. Therefore, as much as it pains me to say it, as I really did like Zenkichi, he's pretty much the loser of the series, constantly struggling to catch up; but never actually managing to do so.

    I think Medaka Box is more of a cult manga, it has its own audience, but it'll likely never explode into a true 'hit'. Simply because of what it is, what it does. You either get Medaka Box, or you don't get it, and if you do get it; you either love it or you hate it. If you hate generic Shounen you're more liable to love this, as while it is infuriating, it lets you let off any annoyance that has been placed on you by other Shounen. It let's you laugh at them, it exploits their weaknesses, shows their wounds bare and raw to you, allowing you to revel in its shounen satire. Personally, after reading only 50 or so chapters, I actually loved it, despite it paining me to do so. Medaka Box was truly infuriating, it hurt so much that it was right when I wanted it to be wrong. The antics of Medaka and the 'normality' of Zenkichi hurt so much. It's actually amazing that the author managed to make me feel pain over some of the interactions, that he managed to infuriate and anger me, while at the same time sticking to what he does. Everything annoying had to be that way for Medaka Box to truly work, but I couldn't help but wonder if Medaka Box had to work to be amazing. I wanted it to tear away from its trope trolling so much, and for once give Zenkichi and Medaka what they needed, what I needed. I wanted it to become a, 'what should be done', instead of a 'what is being done' Manga. Medaka Box had judged shounen tropes; now I wanted it to start bringing justice to them.

    Well that's my interpretation of Medaka Box anyway. I might need to pick it up again, simply so I can laugh at what Naruto has become while reading.
    I agree. As I said for some reason this is always listed as a shounen manga, though in reality at its best it's to ridicule it. I also liked the character Zenkichi a lot and the series started good, but then it went overboard. Especially the end didn't was completely blown out of proportion.
     
         

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    Senior Member Noni's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Seems like a good read, but at the moment I already have a lot of manga I'm reading at the moment.
    Is there any difference between the Anime or Manga? I want to see the anime sine it will be a quicker watch.

    And because of the boobs >.>
     
         

  11. #11
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Quote Originally Posted by noni1997 View Post
    Seems like a good read, but at the moment I already have a lot of manga I'm reading at the moment.
    Is there any difference between the Anime or Manga? I want to see the anime sine it will be a quicker watch.

    And because of the boobs >.>
    I didn't watch the anime, I only know it consists out of 2 seasons each having 12 episodes, so it only covers a part of the story.
     
         

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    Re: Medaka Box

    Couple of points - 1. You say that this was a great read for you then you go on to say - Decent but still not satisfying. That sounds a little bit contradictory. This whole review is just a rejection of this manga, a What not to read - if you will.


    2. I haven't read this manga or watched the anime yet but after reading your review I already hate Medaka with a passion!!!
     
         

  13. #13
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Quote Originally Posted by Super7 View Post
    Couple of points - 1. You say that this was a great read for you then you go on to say - Decent but still not satisfying. That sounds a little bit contradictory. This whole review is just a rejection of this manga, a What not to read - if you will.


    2. I haven't read this manga or watched the anime yet but after reading your review I already hate Medaka with a passion!!!
    It's not contradictory, unless you see everything in complete opposites. Yes this was a great/decent read for me. The fact that I read all the chapters means that it was interesting enough for me to make me read the entire series. There have been more than one series I started, but stopped after a while because it couldn't captivate me. But yeah it wasn't completely satisfying as there were things I didn't like or even hated and I personally think the writer could have done more with this series or have done other stuff differently. I don't see things in a perspective that only has two options: or it's good or it's bad. There is an entire spectrum. This whole review is not a rejection of the manga, then I wouldn't have bothered pointing out the good points too. I explained what I liked about it and what I didn't like about it.

    Yeah I have an ambiguous opinion about it, but that doesn't make it contradictory as most things always have good and bad points.
     
         

  14. #14
    The White Demon Totsuka No Tsurugi's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    i just don't understand why they turn this into a battle manga, its fine the way it was, what a let down.....
    they should have stick with slice of life and Romance as the main focus in the manga.
     
         

  15. #15
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: Medaka Box

    Quote Originally Posted by Totsuka No Tsurugi View Post
    i just don't understand why they turn this into a battle manga, its fine the way it was, what a let down.....
    they should have stick with slice of life and Romance as the main focus in the manga.
    They started focusing way too much on the 'Medaka' and too less on the 'Box'.
     
         

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