Welcome back to my episodic review series for Murenase! Seton Gakuen, aka Seton Academy: Join The Pack. After last week’s misstep, the show actually did a lot to recover with episode 5, and for the most part, this was good fun. In fact, it was so close to being excellent. Though, it still wasn’t perfect. Let’s look at why.
Teamwork! Belief! Victory!
The entire episode was dedicated to ‘Field Day’, which is essentially a day of sporting vents where animals can use their natural abilities to prove who is the best. Ranka was all up for competing in the event, as she wants the Cooking Club to be acknowledged as an actual pack. The others weren’t so fond, simply because they were certain that there was no way they could win. When you think about it, that’s bad logic on their part. With multiple animals on board, they would be able to field those most suited to each event and grab the win that way.
Anyway, only Miyubi wanted to enter too, and you can really see a cute friendship growing between her and Ranka. The pair started working hard to build Miyubi’s stamina, which resulted in a veritable Miyubi Massacre. Seeing the sloth working so hard did rally Jin and Hitomi a little though, and for a moment, it seemed to pay off, as Miyubi turned up…energetic! Then she died.
A mild cold had caused her heartbeat to increase, allowing for quicker movements, but it wouldn’t last. The Cooking Club wasn’t done yet though and tried to start out strong by having Ranka enter the foot race. With only a cheetah and a horse as key rivals in the race, things were going well…until a chimpanzee sabotaged them all with banana skins. You see, when the rules said that animals could sue their natural abilities, chimps have an instant advantage. They use tools, and even fire, in the wild. As a result, they pulled way ahead by the halfway point, leaving the Cooking Club in dead last with zero points.
But all was not lost. The final event was a multi-person race with 300 points on the line. That’s double the chimpanzee’s score. Here, Jin starts to take over. For someone who hates animals, he sure has a vast knowledge of what they can do!
First, he hired Kuroe’s donkeys as temporary members to cross the snowy mountain race, mostly because Napoleon rode donkeys across the Alps. They won. In the arm wrestling, he sent Yukari in to face a gorilla. While gorillas have a grip strength of 500kg, urban legends state that koalas have a grip strength of 1 ton. She won. Jin even did his bit and won the long-distance event.
Then things went awry. Seeing that the Cooking Club was catching up, the chimpanzees took Hitomi out of the swimming race by knocking her out with a rag soaked in herbs! Here, Miyubi rose from her sickbed, back to her slow self, and stepped in. Though she struggled, she kept going and even recovered from an attack by a chimpanzee in a canoe. This got the entire school behind her and, with them all cheering her on, she finished the swimming event.
That left one more part: the jungle race. While the chimpanzee leader was now way out in front, she soon found herself being chased by Ranka. Wolves can run at 30km/h in low temperatures, and so catching up was easy for the tiny pack leader. The chimp tried to assault her with a taser, but Ranka bit it in half and threatened the chimp into submission, then won the race.
In the end, all was well. The Cooking Club won, and Ranka put the trophy in a cupboard – because wolves hide food and valuables – and they even offered Kuroe space at the back of the room so she could play Magic: The Donkeys with her friends.
This arc was almost entirely great. The action was fun, and the characters got to shine a little. Seeing Ranka put Jin in his place when he was so down on Miyuibi was excellent, and she and Miyubi really hammered home the positives of self-belief and moral support. Oh, and Ranka’s wearing a scrunchie was adorable! The whole story, both in the way it was written and the way it was presented was excellent.
Yes, there is a but here. I was genuinely surprised by the lack of fanservice in the first chunk of the episode. That couldn’t last though, of course. When Hitomi was getting ready for the swimming, we got the full-on boob bounce and butt focus treatment. Then, when Miyubi was working hard, Miki was so moved by her that she stripped off in support. Neither moment was needed, and neither added to the episode. They were short though, so far less intrusive than they could have been. The show hasn’t slipped into being overly reliant on it either, so it’s not all that bad.
Then, there was Yena. After the way he was treated in the last episode, this week, he turned up briefly to cheer Miyubi on. Dressed as a cheerleader. Then realized partway through the cheer that he was wearing a cheerleader outfit and got embarrassed.
So, here’s the thing. This is kind of a continuation of the themes of the last episode. I won’t come down quite so hard on it this time though. Shortness of the scene aside, I was getting worried about how this was being handled. So, I did a little digging. We’re heading into spoiler territory here, but it looks like this may not end as badly as I feared. From what I’ve read in a couple of posts, after trying to present as feminine, Yena does go back to being male presenting in the source material. Plus, it sounds like there may be a degree of acceptance for this.
That makes me a little more forgiving. If the end result is one that turns things around, I can at least view the more negative moments as having a point. So, I’ll stick with it and see how it plays out in the anime.
This was, in some ways, the best episode the show has put out. The fanservice was kept to a minimum, and the general story was executed in a really fun way. The way the show is treating Yena still feels uncomfortable, but like I said, it may end up fine. So, overall, I enjoyed this one.
So, those were my thoughts. But what about yourselves? Did you enjoy this episode? Do you agree or disagree with any of my observations? Let me know in the comments below.
Previous Episode Reviews
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 1
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 2
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 3
- Murenase! Seton Gakuen Episode 4