Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!

Title:Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight!
Manabi Straight
がくえんゆーとぴあ まなびストレート! (Japanese)
Overall:Rent
Keywords: , , , ,
Notables: FUJITA Saki
HIRANO Aya
HORIE Yui
INOUE Marina
NONAKA Ai
The year is 2035 and schools have been suffering from a lack students (due to the low child birth rate) which has caused many of them to close. An energetic girl named Manami Amamiya transfers to a new all-girls school where she quickly becomes the student council president and starts to bring back some vigor (and chaos) in the students' lives.

12 TV Episodes
Animation by UFOTABLE
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent Stretch [series:1520#628]
(All episodes watched):

It was very difficult assigning a rating to this series, because you might say this is a show which was made to be good rather than popular. After watching the first episode, I didn't really know what to make of Manabi Straight. Based on the title, I had been thinking that maybe Manabi was actually some sort of alien, but that seems to have been a joke. The year 2035 would explain her hovering scooter-board, I guess. All I could say was that Manabi Straight was cute and modestly funny. I guess I also got the impression that maybe this would be an uber-kawaii, sugary-sweet show best suited to children. It took awhile for me to realize that these girls are actually in high school, because they frequently behave in such a Moe manner that you'd think this was elementary school (I think even at graduation they were only about waist-tall compared to a teacher). However, I found episode two to be both charming and fairly amusing. I must admit, this wasn't one of the shows I most looked forward to watching, but I resolved that I would watch it in it's entirety since it can be pretty funny at times. A scene in episode seven involving some sort of severe exhaustion/heat stroke/temporary insanity comes to mind. I was surprised to see a number of well known VAs played parts in this series. I was beginning to wonder what the point of setting this show in the year 2035 in an era of declining population was, but it finally becomes an important factor. I wouldn't say this is as ultra artsy as, say Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou, but maybe halfway between a conventional series and that one. Something must have been done right, because I felt sad to see the girls graduating and the series coming to an end.

My favorite line: "Even feng shui-wise, the alpha waves get pissed, too!" --Manabi

Last updated Tuesday, July 10 2007. Created Wednesday, January 31 2007.
Rent 10 9 9 8 7 8 chibi [series:1520#2380]
Manabi Straight is a sort of shool-days coming-of-age kind of series, but set slightly in the future. Not that the change in time period has much effect on the plot, but it does give viewers some different scenery compared to other shows of the genre.

On the good side, I really liked the animation in Manabi. It looked like there was a lot of combined CG being used, but it's very skillfully done and doesn't look artificial, the style remains consistent without any jarring discontinuities. The characters were cute and appealing, I especially appreciated the wide range of facial expressions and body language that were used. The dialog and comedic touches I thought were great, they were constantly getting a laugh out of me.

But Manabi can be a really slow series sometimes. For instance, one entire show was taken up just with the task of deciding on the theme for the school fair. If I didn't enjoy the characters and dialog so much it would have been hard to get through those slower patches, so YMMV. In the end, I'm glad I stuck with it, and I'll probably be replaying it from time to time and still getting a chuckle out of it.

Last updated Wednesday, May 30 2007. Created Sunday, January 21 2007.

Other Sites
NameURL
Official Japanese (language) Series Web Site http://www.starchild.co.jp/special/manabi/

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