Today’s review is Doki Doki School Hours Volume 4, or “How you know an anime (that had a pretty thin plot in the first place) has jumped the shark.” ^_^ Many, many thanks to Ted for sponsoring today’s review – your support is greatly appreciated! (And note to Ted: no space settings, but it does have chicks in suits, so good/bad.)
School life in Japan. Classwork, school festivals, exams. How many anime cover these things and the joys of summer vacation, the class trip, transfer students, etc, etc? Many, I’m sure. But how many anime also cover dystopian realities in which manga is outlawed, or hotel stays that end up being survival exercises with visits to the hot springs people,or alt-universe versions of their own plot in which all the characters are suddenly brothers and sisters?
Few, I wager.
Yes, in the fourth volume of Doki Doki, the writers of Mika-sensei and her second-year students at Okitsu High suddenly get sick and tired of their own plots, and start randomly adding silly alternative universe stories starring their own characters. There is no rhyme or reason for these stories, half of them have no particular tie-in to the story at hand. But because they are entertaining, who, really, cares? ^_^
The volume begins with a trip to the beach which ends up in an exclusive hotel which, for no good reason, has a jungle ride through an extensive in-hotel onsen. This leads to the students getting lost, braving monsters and onsen-people and waterfalls. In the hotel. Yes.
Okitsu gets a transfer student – from America! He’s the usual Aryan type (because all Americans are blond/e and blue-eyed. all of us) but this time, he is also – an otaku! The students boggle as his Japanese, which is fluent, is also incomprehensibly filled with otaku terms like “moe.” His appearance leads to the dystopia scenario, where manga is illegal and Kitagawa looks good in a suit. ^_^
Back in “reality” the sports festival is approaching. Cross-dressing Seki is dissed by the girls when he suggests that he wears a cheerleading costume, but they flock to Kitagawa when she appears in Japanese traditional boy’s uniform, the gakuran. ^_^ This was my favorite moment of the volume, easily.
The last episode is a totally bizarre alternate universe story in which Mika and all the students are suddenly siblings (which in no way lessens Kitagawa’s feeling for “big sister Mika”) whose mother runs a ramen shop. It’s just….wtf. As if the writers decided to write a fanfic for the series, because no one stopped them from doing so.
With the exception of the the shenanigans in the hotel, I liked this volume a lot. It was totally random, it made no sense, but it’s not like this anime was super intelligent or deep to begin with. Yes, it jumped the shark. As I said earlier, who, really, cares?
I’m not sure I’d recommend this series for a beginner in anime – too many of the jokes are parodies of Japanese culture and life to be easy to understand for the newbie, but if you’ve seen/read more than a dozen school-type anime or manga, you ought to get most of it.
Art – 6
Story – 6
Characters – 6
Yuri – 4
Service – 3
Overall – 6
Kitagawa remains totally lesbian, Seki is still a cross-dresser, Kudo is still gay.