Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! Review

OP Sequence:

OP: 「A Happy Life」 by 林原めぐみ (Megumi Hayashibara)

Whats great about this series is the comedy through the entire show. The storyline is interesting as well. Amamiya Manami or Manabi is a girl who loves school. Due to low birthrates in Japan a lot of schools are forced to shut down. Manabi has been transfered to Seioh academy and she wishes to make school life more fun.

Manabi makes a bunch of cool and wacky friends in the anime. First she meets Mikan who was in a rush to get to school. She is talking on her cell phone about horoscopes and such then notice that she is going to be late soon. She hears Manabi call out to her and Mikan looks up. Manabi does this insane jump off the bridge and lands on her feet. Ends with a spectacular gymnastic landing for about 2 seconds and shouts out “Todays lesson! Jumping from high bridges hurt” just hearing that made me laugh and got me into this series.

She also meets Mutsuki who is a bit of a tom girl in a way. She does all the sports and such. She is friends with Mikan and thats how Manabi got to know her. Mei is an interesting character. She is stand-off-ish. She doesn’t talk to anyone unless they talk to her first. Later on in the series about episode 4 it talks about her past and her traumas. Finally Momo, she is just a school reporter pretty much always carrying her digital cam corder.

So, the cast. UFOTable actually got a very good cast for this anime. They got Hirano Aya to play as Mei, Horie Yui to play as Manabi, Nonaka Ai to play as Mikan, Inoue Marina as Mutsuki, and Fujita Saki as Momo. If you don’t know who they are, Hirano Aya was Suzumiya Haruhi in the popular anime Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuustu. Horie Yui was Tsukimiya Ayu from Kanon. Nonaka Ai was Konoe Konoka from Negima! Inoue Marina was Kanmuri Shigeru from Yakitate!! Japan. and Fujita Saki was Kinu Kanisawa from Tsuyokiss CoolxSweet.

Best of Episode 7:

In this scene, everyone is crazy with over working on the internet game they had produced for the school festival. They thought they could finish the game within 1 month. Mei starts to shout out “Who was it that said we had more than enough time?!” Mikan quickly answers, “you, yourself” Mei then gives her this angry stare and Mikan quickly turns the other way. With everyone working, Mutsuki is the only one sleeping. Mei walks up to her and starts slapping her 3 times then grabs Mutsuki by her collar and started to slap her like crazy. And started saying “wake up! You will die if you sleep” while Mutsuki is still sleeping she fights back and punches Mei in the face.

Best of Episode 7 (cont’d)

Manabi is now the one freaking out. She has a mental breakdown from working too hard. She starts to talk about rearranging the room for feng shui. Then starts saying “Right? The little people think so too right? Right? Right? Right?” Mutsuki goes up to her and tell her to calm down but Manabi enters her “Masubu Go” mode and starts punching Mutsuki with uppercuts. To break up this crazy breakdown of all the characters. Mikan let out a cry, aww.

With these cast the voice acting was perfect. I’m pretty sure a lot of people would agree but for some reason the story seems to be more around Mikan than Manabi. Even though Manabi’s name is in the title. Oh well, Mikan is cute so its all good. I loved the technology they had in the year 2035. The cellphones were so cool, I love it when its dialing it makes these water drop marks on the screen and the sound is really cool.

Cellphone of 2035, Awesome!

Basically in the year 2035 everything is better. Except for the low birthrates… Besides from having school uniforms, the school gives you this PDA thing. Which is basically something that you can read news about the schools and get emails and such. Well school prints out news with these long sheets of paper but if we get these PDA things that would be incredibly handy. Another cool technology they have in the year 2035 is that the top of their desks in school can be lifted up and be used as a computer. That would probably consider to be “old” technology since, most of the computers you see in this anime are just a keyboard and a holographic screen gets projected from it. I thought it was insanely cool.

Now for music. Music is great, the OP is awesome, the song can be found on my song mail right now I believe. If not I’ll upload it. The song was originally wrote by Ritsuko Okazaki who have passed away 3 years ago. Megumi was Ritsuko’s friend so she brought this song back and used it to for this anime. I believe the ED of this anime was also done by Ritsuko Okazaki before she passed away. Now its sang by Megumi. I prefer the OP over the ED. ED wasn’t exactly the best song and the sequence was well… crap. The OP Sequence is a lot better, it starts off with the gang gathering up on this field putting there hands together and then split up. Then they start spray painting the school, what they spray paint was the credits which was cool but incredibly unreadable. (See Above Pictures)

ED Sequence:

ED: 「Happy & Lucky」 by 林原めぐみ (Megumi Hayashibara)

  • Graphics: Really nice graphics are put into this. The artwork is really good too. The way they colored the hair was unique, they had sort of like 2 colors blend together in some parts and it just makes it work.
  • Story: The story is really interesting. Never seen an anime about kids who loves school and want to make it better. Except for the fact that Manabi’s name is in the title of the anime but she isn’t involved as much as Mikan in the series. I find it odd.
  • Music: Oh god, the music in this is wonderful. A Happy Life which was originally by Ritsuko Okazaki is a wonderful song. Megumi’s version isn’t bad either. Didn’t like the ED all that much though. A great background music that was used in this is the clapping. I don’t know how to describe that one but just that when that music plays and the clapping sound starts I tend to clap along with it. Its played during episode previews as well.
  • Result: My first 5/5. This anime was unique, interesting story, lots of cute characters. It was down right funny. Best from UFOTable, now… manga license please!
  • Raw episode 7, OP, ED Screencaps April 11, 2007