Mikagura School Suite – Anime Review
Synopsis: Like most awkward teens, formerly reclusive gamer Eruna Ichinomiya struggles to find her place at Mikagura High School. But her experience is far from ordinary. The mischief-making members of the school’s manga, calligraphy, drama, and other cultural clubs vie for total school domination in a rather extreme way—ULTIMATE ATTACKS. (Official Funimation Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Props have to be given to Mikagura for delivering us with a new, and fresh take, on the perverted hero trope in the form of Eruna Ichinomiya. If Mikagura is remembered for nothing else, it’ll at least be remembered for its entertaining and fun take on a lesbian pervert attempting to seduce each and every attractive girl she comes across.
Linny: Eruna Ichinomiya is most definitely one of my favourite female protagonists ever. She’s a pervert with substance behind her in the sense that she’s not another generic pervy female character that’s obsessed with just tits or a single girl. She is the pervy protagonist that will hit on each and every remotely good looking girl, and is portrayed with a comedic yet toned down vibe. This helps the show from devolving into another generic ecchi and instead gives it a unique flavour. Eruna’s quest to discover and develop her super powers in a school full of gifted students is a hilarious journey peppered with lots of visual gags, off colour humour and is definitely one of the better vocaloid inspired anime out there.
Tom: Visually Mikagura is also very colorful, not afraid to go crazy with the color pallet and deliver a truly vibrant experience. The show is a visual feast for the eyes with the way it uses color. Even the cast is colorful, not only appearance wise, but personality too. There’s a plethora of characters in Mikagura, and while each can probably be linked to some traditional Japanese archetype, they’re all generally fun and help to produce a lively atmosphere. That said, the art itself can be very hit or miss. Sometimes the show has top notch visuals, particularly during the awesome, yet fleeting, fight scenes, and at other times it delves a bit close to staggeringly low levels of quality.
Linny: The show is indeed beautiful to look at, with the super powers themselves gorgeous sights to behold. The powers are not only beautiful but vary greatly and act as visual nectar for the audience. Sadly, the show skips over a few minor battles, most probably to save on budget, but after the buildup and rush of the first few, it made me greedy and sad to have to miss out on even one battle. For those worried that this means a rushed or measly treatment to battles overall, rest assured that the show goes all out in what fights it does depict, and only omits a handful that aren’t essential to the story. Though I do have to point out that the animation can be shaky ever so often and the show employs a black and white simplistic outline to depict the masses of students in big scenes, rendering them faceless and making for a look that may not sit well with viewers.
Tom: Mikagura doesn’t skimp on the humor however, and makes a significant effort every episode to get you to laugh at least once. That said, episodes provide varying levels of entertainment. Sometimes the show is in rare form, producing quality entertainment that’ll have you wrapped up for the entire half hour. Other episodes plod along, barely holding up, making you constantly check the clock. This is all due to the show’s aimless nature. Mikagura never quite defines what the story is meant to be about, besides a vague concept of friendship. Goals slide and shift over the course of the story, and even when we do have an idea of where Eruna is supposed to be heading, some episodes come off more as filler than working towards that end result. It doesn’t help that the show has a distinct lack of subplots that carry from beginning to end. Indeed for as many of the side characters as there are, none of them get any significant development and only on rare occasions is anything done to explore them further. It’s a shame when you have such a lively, potential filled cast.
Linny: While the show has a super colourful, interesting protagonist and supporting cast, it failed to impress me with its deuteragonist/love interest, Seisa. Seisa is bland, even for a hikikomori character. Maybe that is because of my personal preference for colourful and loud characters but she tends to come off as boring when compared to all the other perky and quirky personalities. It leads one to question why Eruna is so enamoured by her. Also, it has the cliche, in love with protagonist, cousin hellbent on marrying them; treated as a complete gag in this series but a tired cliche nonetheless. Other than that, the show also struggles with its slow and uneven pacing. The main story isn’t told in a cohesive manner and meanders a lot, to the point where every subplot feels like an annoyance and waste of time since they never lead to anything important. Even the ending left much to be desired as the story tapers off rather than have a defined conclusion, happy or sad.
Tom: To be fair, Mikagura is surprisingly deep for a story that spawned from a vocaloid inspired property. It’s oozing with character, style, and care that normally isn’t present in properties spawned from other mediums. However, like many of the other franchise properties of its kind, it isn’t constructed all that well, failing to turn itself into a truly memorable piece of entertainment.
Linny: At the end of the day, Mikagura isn’t the most memorable show but definitely stands out thanks to its battle visuals and lesbian protagonist, Eruna. Mikagura School Suite is one of those shows that makes for great short video snippets and GIFS, ones that make you want to watch all of it, only to then find out that you may have already seen the best the show has to offer. It does a good job with Eruna, making her same sex attraction more than just a source of fan service but it also barely goes beyond a punchline so it could still be understandably a source of discontent for viewers longing for more meaty and mature depictions of homosexuality in anime and manga. Ultimately, Mikagura School Suite is slightly above average, with its novel heroine and battles. But it’s clear that it’s still very much a work in progress thanks to meandering pacing and abandoned plot lines.