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Akane Maniax (Episodes 1-2) PDF Print E-mail
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Now in Japan
Monday, 03 April 2006 00:00
Akane ManiaxA little bit behind the times with this one, I'll admit, but with Akane Maniax being a spin-off from Kimi ga Nozomu Eien (Rumbling Hearts in the US), there's a chance it may get picked up for an R1 release, which makes it worth a look.  Akane Suzumiya's got a problem in the form of Jouji Gouda - a new transfer student who's in full-on, burning love...

1 - Jouji Goes to Hakaryo
Jouji Gouda's about as simple-minded as they come.  A would-be baseball ace, it's him aim in life to be the best player he can be, and step one towards that goal is transferring into Hakuryo High where he and his baseball bat soon make an impression - literally - on the school hoodlums.  But his plans for playing for the school the following summer have one fatal flaw: he's a third-year student, and will have graduated by then.  Ba-aka.  No sooner has he clapped eyes on class rep Akane Suzumiya, though, than thoughts of baseball take a back seat as he falls head-over-heels in love - persuading Akane to fall for his charms is easier said than done, but Jouji's the sort who doesn't understand the meaning of the word "no"...

Love at first sightRejection

2 - Jouji Gouda Joins a Club
Jouji's rejection by Akane has become the stuff of legend - and to make things worse, he's been transferred to another class.  Good news for Akane, but not so good for Chizuru, who's his new class rep - and who now has to deal with a lovesick Jouji who's about to go crazy.  He's still not giving up on his pursuit of Akane, though, and he eventually hits on a plan to spend more time with her - join the swim club.  Sounds okay on paper - except Jouji can't even swim.  Slowly, though, his efforts eventually seem to be paying off...

Talking to himself?Disbelief

I never really watched much of KimiNozo, and what I did see was never this much fun.  Akane Maniax goes straight for the comedy side of things, and does it really well.

Jouji's like a character from an old-school giant robo series, from his character design and attitude right down to the giant robot that keeps appearing in his daydream scenes - he really is a character that's completely out-of-place in a sensible high-school setting, and that's where most of the comedy comes from.  He just has no idea how to be remotely "normal", and that's also a large part of the reason why he makes so little progress with Akane (although there are also hints about her being on a downer after splitting with her ex).

For the most part it's fairly slapstick stuff, with Jouji getting more and more obsessed and having less and less luck as the story progresses - although by the end of episode two  he's finally beginning to make some progress.  There's a little fanservice thrown in here and there as well, which never does much harm.  Production values maybe aren't as good as you would expect from an OVA series, but this is still a good-looking show.

I can't see skipping KimiNozo as being a disadvantage here - it's fairly obvious who's who and what's going on.  Jouji's fish-out-of-water routine makes for some good laughs - in some ways it's the same effect that's used on Sousuke to good effect in FMP? FUMOFFU, just with a giant robo nut instead of a military otaku, and the effect is equally worth watching.