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Monday, October 23, 2017

Anime Hajime Review: My Wife is the Student Council President

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for My Wife is the Student Council President. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Ui Wakana (voiced by Ayana Taketatsu) wins Student Council President in a landslide. Her campaign promised to allow students to express love with no limitations. Though annoyed with the President’s unconventional approach, Hayato Izumi (voiced by Kazuyuki Okitsu) knows Ui will do a great job. He might be her Vice-President, but Hayato accepts that is as far as their relationship will go.

That is until Ui shows up at Hayato’s door with some unexcepted news.

When they were kids, Ui and Hayato’s parents set them up to be married. To secure the arrangement, the two begin living together.

While Ui is all for the idea, Hayato can't help feel this will lead to massive problems down the road. As such, he does his best to keep the situation a secret. A task easier said than done.

Having a sudden fiancĂ©e can be tiring. Ui’s insistence on growing closer as a couple doesn’t help the matter. Except things could be much worse. Over time, Hayato beings to think this whole thing isn’t that bad.

Series Positives


My Wife is the Student Council President (MWSCP) uses sex and eroticism. And it uses a lot of both. There will be nudity. There will be foreplay. Genitals will come in close proximity to each other. Granted with that last one, everyone has clothes on and there will be no penetration.

If this kind of stuff makes you uncomfortable, this show is not for you.

A shame since this series was very good.

I knew going in, MWSCP would be an “erotic” comedy. Due to experience, I was expecting a rough watch. I was ready to write this one off in its entirety. It would go for low hanging jokes, be lazy, as well as be insufferable. There was no way this series could or would amount to anything.

I was wrong. I was so wrong.

MWSCP was funny. It was charming. At points, it was rather clever. This show knew what it was and knew what it wanted. This series was a lot smarter than it had any reason to be.

If I’m painting this show as something groundbreaking, that is not my intention. My excitement comes from how much I ended up liking this series.

Ui and Hayato

MWSCP had a decent size cast. The supporting characters were fine and did what they needed to do. There isn’t much else to say about them. This isn’t a problem since they weren’t what made this show fun. That distinction goes to our two leads.

Ui and Hayato were the driving force behind this series. It’s no exaggeration when I say they were the reason this show worked.

Hayato was a wonderful straight man. His reactions were some of the funniest bits of the series. For instance, I lost it when he met Ui’s parents. Ui’s mother’s introduction, in particular, had me dying. Hayato’s voice actor, Kazuyuki Okitsu, did an outstanding job.

This wasn’t even what made Hayato a strong character. He was reliable and self-sufficient. Being a lot more even-keeled than anyone around him, he could handle most situations. And that’s an important note.

Given the nature of this show, Hayato found himself in many provocative positions. This series was pretty efficient at getting its female character’s clothes off. Also, if MWSCP is your only source on the matter, a vibrator will find its way to its intended spot. Even if said device has to ignore the laws of physics to make it happen.

Needless to say, there wasn’t any shortage of temptation. It was Hayato’s reaction to that temptation that made him a good character.

We need to acknowledge something. Hayato was a guy. As such, certain appendages will react when stimulated. This is something that is difficult to control. Actually, in many cases, this is something that is impossible to control. Having this happen to a character is not something to condemn them over.

This includes all the perverted leads that have annoyed me to no uncertain degree. In MWSCP there was one key difference.

Hayato could stop himself.

Hearing the commotion from the other side of the wall at a bathhouse is one thing. Trying to sneak a peek is something else. Hayato did his best to align himself with the former. He did his best to behave like a decent human being. Since he had more alluring challenges than most, this made him even more admirable.

Hayato never went out of his way to be a leech. Whenever he was in a predicament, he did as little harm as possible. He recognized there were circumstances and he wouldn’t take advantage of them.

There was one scenario, though, where not even Hayato could help himself. Ui was Hayato's breaking point. Yet each time this happened, something separated these interactions from the others. Unlike the other female characters, Ui was acting under her own volition. No one forced her hand nor was she ever pressured into anything.

And even with Ui, Hayato could maintain some composer. There was one scene where Ui was ecstatic over a gift she thought was from Hayato. In her mind, she received a super cute lingerie gown. It wasn’t until later did she realize how revealing it was. Hayato could have turned this into an opportunity for himself. He didn’t.

Now where Hayato was a great, anchor, Ui was a great instigator. Her energetic and strong-willed personality made her a blast. It wasn’t hard to see her as a legitimate Student Council President.

My favorite thing about Ui had to do with everything she wasn’t. She had a lot more to her character than trying to seduce Hayato. In fact, that was something she almost never attempted. She was more concerned about becoming a better partner. This led to seduction, but that was never the goal itself.

Along with that, Ui had other things she wished to accomplish. She was a brilliant student, a hard worker, and was serious about her responsibilities. It was not surprising why Hayato and others respected her. And that was her best feature.

I’m not going to pretend Ui was not attractive. But, the thing that made her shine was her confidence. There was a lot to love about her. Her beauty was only a small part of that.

Also, Ui had an adorable side. It was borderline criminal how cute she could get. Not for a second did this take away from her otherwise in-control nature. Instead, it added to her charm. She could get jealous and self-conscious. There were things that could get to her. She wasn’t immune from getting flustered.

Ui’s pouting face, especially, didn’t make things easy for her. She could turn a tad childish. It got to the point where you didn’t want to solve the problem. Whenever she got like this, she made you want to tease her more.

As individual characters, Ui and Hayato were fantastic. Yet what made them even better was when they were together. This pairing makes this show worth watching on its own. Plus, it was these two as a couple that complimented MWSCP’s most blatant aspect.

The Fanservice

Hell must have frozen over if I’m listing fanservice as a positive. I never intended to harp on this subject as much as I have. But a ton of shows struggle to get this right. Then along comes MWSCP which knocked it out of the park.

Sex is not an off-limits subject. Like anything, it only works when used right. Everything comes down to purpose and context.

For me, there is a major criterion I always consider when it comes to fanservice. If a show were to remove it, would it affect anything? The answer should be no. If yes, that means a series has nothing else going for it. The characters are bland. The plot makes little to no sense. The overall product is lackluster and not worth anyone’s time.

For MWSCP, the answer to my question was no. Take away the service and you’re left with a cute little love story.

Fanservice should always be secondary. It’s a bonus. It’s an extra layer of entertainment value. It’s the side dish to the actual meal. For an analogy, there’s an amazing steakhouse I know. This place serves some of the best garlic mash potatoes you will ever eat. I look forward to them every time I go. Except I’m not going there for the potatoes. I’m going for the steak. The stuff that comes with the steak makes an already enjoyable experience better.

Yet if the meat were to come out rough and flavorless but everything else was fine, that doesn’t mean success. It means I wasted fifty dollars on a subpar meal. It doesn’t matter how good the potatoes were, I will be in a bad mood after that.

If fanservice is the thing you remember most about a series, priorities were in the wrong place. Of course, this is assuming the fanservice is any good.

There’s a line between appealing and obnoxious. If you need to ask why a character is spread-eagle naked across a bed, odds are the service is being obnoxious. If nudity comes of nowhere with no justification, odds are the service is being obnoxious. If a shot is making an effort to include someone's panties, odds are the service is being obnoxious.

Fanservice isn’t something a series should force down the audience’s throat.

How does a show get around this? It needs to give us characters to care about. It needs to set up a reason why things are happening. It needs to take the time to do other things that have nothing to do with service. If this gets done, there’s almost no limit to where a story can go. Case in point MWSCP.

Yes, this series got extreme. This was more intense than both Maken-ki and Prison School. Both of those shows I hated. Part of the reason involved the garbage fanservice. It wasn’t the only reason, but it was a major factor. So how did MWSCP succeed where those two failed?

This series’ fanservice wasn’t based on a need to include eroticism. It came as a result of intimacy. Shocker, couples have sex. And would you believe it, Ui and Hayato were a couple. The more “outlandish” moments occurred between them.

It’s also important to point out, Ui and Hayato didn’t spend the show’s entire runtime rolling around in the sheets. Several steps came first before that happened. While this process was going on, they were doing other things.

They were cute together. They would tease one another. They would worry about the other. They were trying to figure out how their situation worked. When they did finally get close, it wasn’t unexpected. It wasn’t random.

And it’s not like it took MWSCP that long to accomplish this. Each episode was only eight minutes. What excuse did those other shows I mentioned have?

I understand how this is an aspect of anime that is a huge turnoff for some people. This is not a series for everyone. But it is a good example of how to do fanservice right.

Series Negatives

Although I just went on about how this show did fanservice well, this conversation isn't over. It does leak into this section. There were certain moments that fell on the obnoxious side of things. The biggest culprit of which was Rin Misumi (voiced by Minami Tsuda).

This series made it a point to let us know Rin had big boobs. This was unfortunate since MWSCP was doing a nice job of not playing that game. To give credit where its due, this aspect was at its worse when we first met Rin. This show made the mistake of having her be sexy before giving her a personality.

Once we got to know Rin a little more, the ecchi side of her character toned down. Though, there was still the occasional scene of “What the hell is going on”.

An instance that comes to mind took place in the school’s nurse's office. This moment bugged me for three reasons.

One, Ui had not been in this episode that much. Do I have to explain why that might be annoying? Two, Hayato suffered the consequences from Rin not thinking her actions through. Why she thought straddling Hayato bare ass wouldn’t lead to problems, I don’t know. Three, a teacher grinding on a student is not an okay thing to do. That’s a line a professional should know not to cross.

Awkwardness aside, MWSCP’s fanservice was by no means perfect. But it was way better than most.

To change gears, there was something else about this show that felt lacking. That had to do with Ui being the Student Council President. While I said she was believable in the role, it would have been interesting to see her do the job.

This show made a big deal about what Ui wanted to do as President. She wanted to roll back her school’s strict rules concerning students dating. This put her at odds with the Disciplinary Committee headed by Rin. These two had one brief encounter and then nothing came of it.

This was a missed opportunity. It would have given MWSCP more stuff to work with. And it wasn’t as if it would’ve been hard to involve Hayato in this. He was Ui’s Vice-President, he would’ve been around. This would’ve also been the chance to involve the other members of the council.

There were possibilities here, why not try a few of them?

I hope to not come back to this issue. There is a season two to this show. So, if this turns out to be future material, I’ll go along with it. Regardless, this doesn’t change the fact this series dropped the ball in this area.

Final Thoughts

I thought I was going to hate this one. I’ve been burned too many times. Now thanks to this series, I know there is hope for this type of show.

The humor worked. The romance was sweet. Ui and Hayato made a wonderful couple. These factors alone helped this series rise above most. But unlike most, there was a more adult emphasis to this story. Yet with other “tamer” shows botching this up, the fanservice here found a strong balance.

I can’t wait to get around to season two. There is still life in this series. Mature warnings and all, My Wife is the Student Council President is worth checking out.

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