First Impressions: Best Student Council

A girl loses one family, gains another.

And there’s a puppet.

I just found a whole passel of first episodes available for free download on iTunes, so hold onto yer butts!

As much as I love shojo, how could I not want to check out a show called Best Student Council? Episode one is even called “Dear Mr. Popitt,” how cute is that? So I clicked on it, and immediately we have a narrator talking about a group of girls at Miyagami Private Academy who have more power and authority than any of the teachers. This group is called the Best Student Council. Woo-hoo, it’s looking like Ouran for girls! And then the opening credits begin, and we get introduced to all of the girls, each of whom takes her turn holding a… puppet. Oh. Oh dear.

"Uhh, is she dead?" "I dunno. {poke} She doesn't *smell* dead yet."

The first episode follows Rino Rando, a middle school orphan (I think that’s her deal) who is in the process of transferring to Miyagami Private Academy. She has an apartment set up and everything is paid for by her pen pal, Mr. Popitt, whom she’s never met in real life. (Warning flags were going off about now. Don’t they have To Catch A Predator or something like it in Japan?!?) Rino travels with a puppet named Pucchan who never seems to leave her hand. “He” talks to her about how stupid it is to trust this imaginary pen pal. (Thank god someone has some sense, even if it’s her sure-sign-of-a-mental-illness puppet friend.) Upon arrival Rino sees that her would-be apartment has burned down along with all the luggage that she sent ahead, so she wanders up a mountain in what she hopes is the general direction of the school. On the way she has a literal run-in with a girl from the school who is on a secret mission, but all Rino succeeds in doing is messing up the girl in question then passing out at the front gates of the school.

I will slay u with ma puppet! Cower in fear, ya piece of grease!

The next morning Rino is found by a group of students and taken to class. After explaining her plight to a girl with cute hair barrettes (whose name I didn’t catch) the cute hair barrette girl nominates Rino as class representative, explaining to Rino how that will give her a shot at becoming a secretary for the Best Student Council. Besides just getting to hang with the cool girls, the gig would include free room and board. Rino somehow wins the nomination against the former class rep, who is also the same girl Rino foiled on the mountain the night before. (I smell a nemesis in the making.) Then, in trying to find the student council room, Rino wanders outside and inadvertently messes up another girl who is on the same mission as last night’s girl: catching the arsonist who’s been setting fires around town. Rino breaks this girl’s glasses, then once again gets in the way of the freshly-ousted former class rep from before, thereby pissing her off even more. Suddenly a bunch of council members appear, all after the arsonist. He panics and runs toward Rino with a stick, ready to take her out. (Yup. With a stick.) All of a sudden Pucchan takes the lead and gives the greasy-looking arsonist a beatdown. Rino faints or something, and awakens in the lap of a “beautiful” girl, Kanade, who is also the leader of Best Student Council. She smiles, tells Rino that she did good work, and offers her that secretary job. Hooray, now Rino’s adventures can truly begin!

That's it, play with nice Mr. Puppet. Mr. Puppet is your friend. Mr. Puppet wants you to take a walk with the nice men in the white coats over there...

This episode was… meh. I bet it would be super adorable for the younger crowd, but being the old fart that I am, I was not amused. Rino’s clumsiness, rather than being funny and cute, annoyed the crap out of me. And her puppet is weird. I’m totally down with crime-fighting young girls kicking ass and taking names, but everything from the music to the animation to the dialogue was just too cutesy for my taste. The dubbed English voices were good, but there were several instances of Kanji words floating in the background, and it would have been nice to have had an English translation of those. Overall it was a pleasant enough way to spend twenty-four minutes and ten seconds, but I probably won’t make much effort to seek out the rest of Best Student Council, an anime which is best left for a much younger audience than myself.

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