English: Special A (S.A)
Synonyms: S.A., Special A Class
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 7, 2008 to Sep 15, 2008
Producers: Gonzo, AIC, Sentai FilmworksL
Genres: Comedy, Romance, School, Shoujo
Duration: 24 min. per episode
Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
I didn't like the "Special A" manga when I picked it up,so I decided to give the anime a try. I loved it!!!
Special A is primarily a Shoujo Rom/Com that starts off slow but gets better as you go. Based on the inability of Hikari to understand Kei's true feelings for most of the plot. Normal laws of physics are generally ignored by the seeming superhuman duo of Kei and Hikari, who also are both at the top of their school academically.
It's the story of Hikary and Kei who have been rivals since little kids.After being unexpectedly defeated by Kei in a wrestling match,Hikari does everything she can to beat him and even enrolls in a prestigious expensive school in order to do so.There,she is second in the list of top students with Kei being number one.Along with five other students they are the "Special A" which means they wear different uniforms and instead of attending class they spend most of their time in a greenhouse having tea.
Another problem for me was the story which didn't seem any interesting at all.There just wasn't anything appealing to it,to the point where I found myself wondering if all episodes are like this and how will I last through the rest of them.The fact that I absolutely hated the character design didn't help at all of course.There were some comedic moments which had to do with Kei and Hikari competing and trying to surpass each other but nothing else apart from that.Luckily,things started taking off after episode 3 or 4 and I quickly found myself hooked.
Apart from top student Kei and the energetic Hikari there's Akira who's usually in charge of the tea and the food,Jun and his twin sister Megumi who doesn't speak in order to protect her voice,the animal-loving Ryuu and the food-loving Tadashi.You might be a little confused with the overwhelming cast of characters you're introduced to at first but since they're all different you're quickly able to recognize them and tell which one is which.There are also a few others who make their appearance later on and the focus is shifted from the main couple to the side characters.That's not bad as we get to learn about their past and I liked how everyone had their own screen time,but did make the ending seem a little rushed.Just when something started happening between Kei and Hikari we started concentrating on the rest of the cast and when we returned to the main couple it was time for the show to end.I'm not complaining though because we knew from the first episode that there was something between them which was a good change.
In contrast to other shows where you have the main couple not realizing their feelings for each other until the end,here we are presented with a main character who knows how he feels and makes it pretty evident from the start.OK,so Hikari is a little dense and she doesn't notice right away but that's only because she is too caught up in her rivalry plus she doesn't believe that he could ever fall in love with someone like her.It didn't annoy me because it created some very funny moments,plus I knew that they would get together at some point anyway.I also liked the way Kei handled Hikari's naivety.He didn't get upset or mad at her for not realizing, something which happens quite often in shoujo series and usually leads to misunderstandings.
I can't say I was 100% satisfied with the slightly rushed,gravity-defying ending but as I said I'm not complaining because they had their little moments throughout the show.
As far as the art,apart from the aforementioned problem with the character design,the rest of it was quite pretty.I liked how the scenes changed from the usual cel-shading to pale watercoloring,plus it happened at the right times so it didn't ruin the atmosphere.
The background music appropriate and never seemed to get annoying or repetitive. The OPs and EDs have mixed opinions. The first OP and ED didn't really go over well with me and i doubt anyone would mind skipping right over them. The second OP and ED didn't seem to be much better at first either, but surprisingly they grew on me and ended up being pretty catchy.
The enjoyment varies as the series goes on, starting off somewhat weak compared to its peak later on in the anime. The comedy of the anime compared to manga is just as good if not better than the original. The romance on the other hand seems better in the anime ^_^
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