While a great personality may make the character; there are plenty of aesthetic features that anime viewers will be on the lookout for when it comes to picking their favorite character. One of these features happens to be whether the character wear’s glasses and now with the rise of shows such as Free! it should come as no surprise that an anime focused on boys wearing glasses, or megane, was produced. So now that Meganebu! has been released in North America, is it worth picking up?
Meganebu! revolves around a group of high school students who have formed the Glasses Club. Not only do the members of this club all wear glasses, most because they need to, one just because he wants to be in the group, but they are obsessive fans of everything to do with the eye-wear. So much in fact that nearly everyone who doesn’t wear glasses is beneath the club president Akira Souma’s notice, humorously represented by their no detail designs.
While the club was created in order to gather the eclectic glasses loving members of the student body into one group where they talk about everything glasses related, from trivia about old glasses to testing the strength of their lenses and frames, they have another goal. You see, despite attending an all-boys school, the club dreams of constructing a set of X-Ray glasses in order to see through clothing, with their first target being a nurse who was supposed to be giving them vision checks.
After their initial failure, the group continues to make various prototypes in order to make a real pair of X-ray glasses, resulting in a number of pairs that have alternate functions, while also sharing their love of glasses with one another, exploring a bit of their pasts, and taking part in ridiculously stupid events. This is far from the only series that has created a club with a strange goal and populated it with stranger characters, but without a likable cast of characters or decent enough interactions between these characters, Meganebu! ends up being a disappointment.
Despite having a decent amount of humor going for it at the onset, the narrow focus of the series is its undoing. There is only so much one can take of the glasses aspect and it is run into the ground long before the series reaches its end. Sure the silliness of it all may make you laugh every so often, usually when the focus is shifted off of glasses humor onto something else, but ultimately far too many of the punch lines fall short of the mark.
There are a few moments that do stand out through the series as memorable. This includes a number of actually funny such as a pair of prototype X-ray glasses that reveal the existence of a ghost possessing an old pair of sunglasses the group found and his relation to someone they know who is still alive. Unfortunately moments like this are few and far between in Meganebu! as nothing of consequence actually happens throughout the series.
Unfortunately these few rare moments are few and far between as the show relies far too much on silliness and style to try and keep viewers interested when halfway through most people will simply want to turn away. This is especially when you consider that those who stick around will be left with an ending that, despite changing things up and actually adding a two episode story arc, really doesn’t change anything and sticks with the same pattern that has unfolded throughout the rest of the season.
There is one thing that Meganebu! has going for it and it happens to be the art style the studio used. The level of detail on all of the background environments is very impressive while all of the male characters are designed with plenty of detail and are designed to really give female viewers a little extra to look at. These designs all benefit from an extremely vivid color palette that practically glows as it comes off the screen, especially on Blu-ray like this release.
It is interesting to note that a running joke throughout the series is the fact that, people who don’t wear glasses are beneath the main characters’ notice and as such, any non-glasses wearing characters, minus the members of the student council, are portrayed in an extremely simplistic manner, usually as a basic stick figure, in order to show how little the characters think of them and also to probably save a bit of budget. It is also worth noting that there are a large number of signs and Japanese text present in the release which is properly subtitled, however thanks to how quickly things flash by there may be points you’ll have to pause to see what a specific sign might have said.
It is worth noting that this release of Sentai Filmworks comes with only the Japanese voice track with English subtitles. The Japanese voice actors do a great job given the material they are working with and fit the roles nicely, especially in regards to the number of soft spoken male characters that populate the series as well as a certain character that is a bit too attached to the club president.
The background music throughout Meganebu! is actually quite impressive as there are a number of catchy little tunes that play for a short period of time in a number of episodes. The same can be said for the series’ opening theme “World’s End” by MUCC which is a nice mix of pop and rock. As for the series’ ending theme, the song “Colorful World” by Tomohisa Sako, is mellower than the opening theme but is still quite fitting, especially with it being set against the ending sequence that features real images of glasses in artistic scenes.
Unfortunately Meganebu! comes with only the bare minimum as far as special features are concerned. This means that the release only contains a clean version of the opening and ending theme, trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases, and disc credits.
Meganebu! is a series that is trying to appeal to a niche within a niche and manages to fail at presenting anything with real substance. This is especially disappointing because Meganebu!, has the looks of a great series featuring vibrant colors and detailed character designs and backgrounds. Sadly it ends up being little more than eye candy with a decent sense of humor that falls flat long before the final episode.
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