The amount of anime comedies that involve a group of girls or a small gathering of students at a high school mostly doing things in their club room is astounding. The thing is, despite there being so many series that follow this path, many turn out to be very successful. Based off of a ten volume light novel series that ended a few years ago and received numerous spin-offs, Student Council’s Discretion has now made its way to North America courtesy of Sentai Filmworks. So, does this series have what it takes to be considered a success or is it something to simply ignore?
Like many schools, at Hekiyo Academy the student council is elected by popular vote with the top four students being chosen for various roles on the council. Hekiyo Academy does try to balance things out a bit by including a “Blue Chip” seat on the council. This seat is given to the student that has the highest grades in the school at the end of the previous year, meaning that anyone has a chance to get into the council even if they are disliked.
Enter Ken Sugisaki, a bit of an odd student who surprised many by becoming the highest scoring student in the school due to the fact that he was previously ranked last as far as grades were concerned. Going from worst to first may earn someone some respect, but the very first thing Sugisaki decides to do is declare his love for all four gorgeous women in the council and promise that he will make them happy members of his harem.
As one would expect, this doesn’t go over well with the girls but since he was chosen there is very little they can do about it and life goes on in the student council. Or at least it would if they could get much of anything done as the council does everything but focus on their work most of the time. In fact they are so disenfranchised by their situation that the majority of the first episode features the cast making self-deprecating jokes about what a mistake it was to turn Student Council’s Discretion into an anime series since the cast just sits around talking most of the time.
You see, Ken Sugisaki loves dating sims and fantasizing about the rest of the cast which regularly makes him the bear the brunt of the rest of the student council’s punishments as they bully him into submission and try to get back to work, though he gets his fair share of jabs in as everyone is fair game due to the council’s odd personalities and situations.
While Sugisaki serves as the Blue Chip vice president, the president is Kurimu Sakurano who is generally an air head with a taste for sweets with a sore spot regarding her diminutive figure and flat chest and childish personality. The actual vice president is the tomboyish Minatsu who has a hidden soft side and deeply cares for her sister Mafuyu, the council’s secretary, who is in love with everything boys love despite being afraid of men in general. Closing out the council is the busty Chizuru who serves as the council’s secretary that often emits a dangerous aura.
The set-up for the council may seem fairly standard and it indeed is but surprisingly Student Council’s Discretion features more character development than you’d expect from a gag series such as this one. Although most of the drama is fairly light, especially in regards to two core characters moving away being quickly dismissed in under an episode, there is some surprising depth to these characters as a number of them have suffered some way in the past.
Despite Sugisaki’s obsession with wanting to create a harem and proclaiming his love to each of the girls rubbing them the wrong way, he always works the hardest out of the council to ensure that everyone has time to enjoy themselves rather than focus on work. As the series progresses we learn bits and pieces about his past, including why he is acting the way he is, as well as signs that the girls may not hate Ken quite as much as it may come off.
Unfortunately most of Sugisaki’s past hardships, despite being hinted at numerous times, is left vague by the time Student Council’s Discretion’s final episode wraps up. While that is a disappointment, there is plenty of enjoyable moments to be had as the comedy found in Student Council’s Discretion is quite funny as the characters jab at one another, especially towards Ken who at one point is forced to write Boys Love material with himself as a central character, and make self-deprecating jokes about the series and light novel publisher, this includes numerous references to other anime series and games scattered throughout the series that are fun to catch, but ultimately the series doesn’t stand out much on its own.
While it is worth noting that Student Council’s Discretion originally aired back in 2009, even at the time the series was clearly produced with a tight budget and this leads to some rather dated artwork and very few environments, the characters even jokes about how they can’t possibly be shown traveling around Tokyo due to the nature of the show.
This doesn’t mean that everything is bad however, as the character designs are enjoyable to look at despite appearing a bit rough at mid-distance. There are also some rather tame moments of fan-service involving swimsuits that is played for laughs thanks to Sugisaki’s reactions. Considering the numerous references to other anime, manga, and video games Sentai Filmworks has created plenty of translation notes that appear during these references to help out those who may miss some of the more obscure material.
As one might expect with a series full of references like Student Council’s Discretion, Sentai Filmworks has opted to release the series with only the original Japanese voice track. This shouldn’t be an issue with fans of this genre as the voice actors for the characters fit perfectly and have great chemistry when playing off each other for jokes.
The soundtrack is unfortunately as basic as they come with barely any standout themes but the opposite can be said about the opening and ending themes. While the opening theme is the oddly emotional “Treasure,” performed by the core female cast, the ending theme is changed every single episode and is sung by various members of the cast with each theme features different lyrics set to the same animation.
With the release of Student Council’s Discretion, Sentai Filmworks has only included the clean opening animation, only one version of the clean ending theme animation, and trailers for other Sentai Filmworks releases.
Student Council’s Discretion is ultimately a very funny but generally unremarkable series with a likable cast of characters that tries to go the extra mile compared to other gag anime by actually giving the characters some development over the course of the series, as minimal as it may be. With plenty of self-deprecating humor and gag references to other material, this series is definitely one for those looking for a good laugh but aren’t looking for much more than that.
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