Title: Gokujou Seitokai aka The Best Student Council
Company: J.C. Staff/Konami
Format: 26 episodes
Dates: 7 Apr 2005 – 29 Sep 2005
Synopsis: After Randou Rino’s mother dies, she is left with no one, except a brash handpuppet she calls Pucchan and a penpal she’s never met who signs his letters with “Mr. Poppit”. Mr. Poppit instructs Rino to attend the renowned Miyagami High School, a school with a student council that yields so much money and power, it has become known as the Gokujou Student Council. There she becomes close friends with the student council’s charismatic president, Jinguji Kanade.
Characters: Massive cast of characters that is, for the most part, well-managed.
Comedy: Numerous misses, particularly earlier, but becomes easier to appreciate with time.
Story: Completely ludicrous.
Aesthetics: Low at best.
What marks the difference between a good gag comedy and a stale one? Wit, some may argue, or even comic timing. Gokujou Seitokai makes a different claim altogether, and puts the onus on the personalities of its large ensemble cast to deliver the laughs. It’s a risk in a sense, since such anime take time before their characters can make a true connection with the audience, but it’s one that eventually works for this series. Gokujou Seitokai is hardly a revolutionary or even memorable anime, but thanks to the way its elements come together, it ends up being an entertaining way to pass the time.
Gokujou’s strength comes from the way it manages its monster sized cast. Each character is given time in the spotlight, and the majority of the cast relish in the attention. This allows the audience to become familiar with the nuances of each character, all of whom show, as the series progresses, that they are each deeper than a one-gag-act. For the most part, the episodic focus on each member of the council makes it easier for the audience to jump from merely liking the personalities to truly enjoying their humourous antics. What aids Gokujou further is the chemistry between various characters, which is no doubt enhanced by the way they are each developed. This anime is further ammunition for those who maintain that any story can be intriguing with strong character development… even one as ridiculous as Gokujou’s.
However, saying Gokujou’s story is ridiculous is probably an understatement. It’s obvious that believability was never a priority, but for this reason, there are many elements in the story that are very difficult to swallow, from the student council’s infinite funds, to ninjas and psychic powers. In any other series, this fanciful story would have been a joke, and a bad one at that, but Gokujou makes it interesting to follow purely on the strength of its characters. Bad jokes, though, aren’t something that this outing lacks. In the end, Gokujou just doesn’t have the elements that mark a truly brilliant comedy, such as the comic timing of AzuDai or Ichigo Mashimaro or the scathing wit of Genshiken(1,2) or Suzumiya Haruhi(1,2), meaning that a large number of its attempted jokes are more eyebrow-raising than chuckle-inducing. This is particularly true in the first half, but as the idiosyncrasies become more familiar the characters become easier to laugh at.
Gokujou Seikokai is hardly a special anime, and its production values are bargain basement at best. However, the synergy of its immensely sized ensemble cast makes this an entertaining and frequently amusing experience. The way this series handles its titanic cast is the most impressive thing about it, and it’s something that very few other anime can claim to have done as well.
The Rating: 6
Reviewed by: Sorrow-kun