Medaka Box is a series that draws its plot, and title, from a humble suggestion box. Medak Box Abonormal on the other hand…not as much. Instead, we focus on the new titular word: Abnormal. Continuing on from Medaka’s previous defiance of the Disciplinary Committee, we are treated to a well versed shonen trope: new enemies. Not only that, but new enemies that completely outclass all who have come before. This is gonna be one heck of a fight.
Having recovered from the rather substantial injuries gained during her fight with Unzen, Medaka is back at school and raring to help out her fellow students. Unfortunately for our prodigious protagonist, Unzen’s defeat has left a vacant seat in the illustrious Class 13, a collection of the most powerful students attending Sandbox Academy. Needless to say, there are a few other students who desire said position and decide the best way to prove themselves is to challenge Medaka directly. Though from previous experience you’d expect her to stand head and shoulders above any challenger, Medaka finds herself surprisingly well matched by some of her opponents. So after some words of encouragement from ex-Judo Captain Nabeshima, if you can believe that, she decides to endure a little training before she deals with the Class 13 issue once and for all…with Zenkichi in tow of course. I mean, without him who would narrate the flashbacks?
As Medaka and friends delve deeper and deeper into Class 13, both literally and metaphorically, because it’s underground you see, they learn of a mysterious plot known as the Flask Plan. Said plan involves developing a sort of genetic bypass that will allow individuals to tap their inner prodigy and elevate themselves to the status of Abnormal, which as we now know is a good thing…kinda. See, the world is divided into three categories: Normals, Specials and Abnormals. Normals, as you may expect, make up the majority of the world and are nothing more than average humans attempting to live out their average lives. Specials stand a step above Normals, possessing access to extreme talents that would render them near superhuman…were they not so drastically outclassed by Abnormals. This category includes all those who tread beyond the boundary of humanity, tapping into abilities that others only dream of. See, now all of Medaka’s Season 1 shenanigans make perfect sense.
As a whole, Medaka Box Abnormal diverges rather substantially from its original “problem of the week” premise, to the point that the titular suggestion box is mentioned just twice in the season. Though to be honest, this isn’t to tremendous of a surprise given how Season 1 ended. Abnormal actually follows a single continuous story that isn’t broken up chronologically like you may expect. Opponents are fought one after another in a style that is somewhat akin to an RPG, especially given the environment. Zenkichi even at one point refers to said environment as a dungeon. This gives the series a pretty nice sense of flow and creates a single course of events that demands our focus. Despite it’s linearity, the constantly rotating cast of opponents served as a nice mark of progression, whilst also serving to keep the story interesting. Abnormal also allows some other Student Council members to prove their mettle and show us all why Medaka trusts them so. Personally I thought this was one of the series strongest points, as it showed us that moments of awesomeness are not only relegated to the realm of the Abnormals. Fights also shared a fairly healthy back and forth of advantage, rarely feeling as if they were drastically leaning towards one party. Though it’s overall shonen style definitely carries with it the ideal that good will always triumph against evil.
The visual style of Abnormal is, in a word, sharp. Characters often scowl with incredibly defined features that exude intimidation, which is convenient because that is often what characters are trying to convey. This effect is most noticeable in character’s eyes, which are defined by surprisingly bold outlines and draw a great deal of attention towards themselves. As to be expected of a series titled Abnormal, character designs also slip further and further away from the design of an “average” anime highschooler. Like, oh I don’t know, the bandaged girl with a combat knife lodged in her skull. Though to be honest, if you’re watching Season 2, then you’re no doubt used to this kind of stuff to an extent. Ultimately, these bizarre clothing choices create a cast of visually interesting characters that blend perfectly into this odd world. Character’s vocals on the other hand tend to struggle in places, at least in the English dub. Though I found that most voices suited their characters, they often tended to excel in one particular emotion. When outside of said emotional state characters sounded a little out of their element, such as the stoic Naze when expressing her feelings. Certain lines of dialogue were also over annunciated in places, leading to flat audio moments. Actually, some of the most believable vocals came from little side jokes, wherein character’s reaction sounded completely natural and lent to the humour.
Medaka Box Abnormal is an interesting series. Latching onto the epicness of Season 1’s closing moments, this story leaves a fair portion of established notions in the dust. Though I guess they’re still technically on school grounds, the daily running of Sandbox Academy is nought but a peripheral thought in our heroes’ eyes. Just as with the power level of the characters, the series’ plot spirals further and further out of control, until we are left with something far bigger than a simple school. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider this a negative feature. If anything it’s a natural progression of a series that was already off the rails, despite its innocent sounding premise. I guess what I’m getting at here is that Medaka Box Abnormal is an insane series full of insane characters…and it’s awesome. Plus, with how the series closed, we know that there is plenty more lunacy to come…after which we immediately received a sort of bonus episode in the form of a flashback. Se, because the series proper finished at episode 11…even the actual series doesn’t entirely make sense. How meta.
Medaka Box Abnormal can be found in all its lunacy at Hanabee.