With the Kujibiki Unbalance OVA out of the way (pt. 1 here), it’s time to take a look at the anime.
Now I originally had expected the anime to fill in even more gaps. The OVA filled in some gaps that were left in Genshiken, by showing us three episodes that we saw clips from in Genshiken. So I figured the anime would take this a step further and show us what the full season of Kujibiki Unbalance would look like.
This didn’t happen though!
The Kujibiki Unbalance anime is instead a reboot!
Why reboot a three episode OVA that was incomplete to begin with?
It’s hard to say for sure, but let’s look at what changed here and I’ll try to mention why I think the changes were made.
The anime art style has been “upgraded”! More rounded edges, smooth colours… It reminds me a lot of the art style from Flip Flappers, only not as vibrant.
Speaking of which, many changes were made to make the world seem more ordinary. Hair colours changed to more neutral colours, the school seeming less bright, and various other changes that I can’t think of but you’ll have to trust me on this. Everything was smoothed out, so there are less very bright colours on dark backgrounds and vice versa.
Personally I like bright colours in anime. Especially for something like Kujiun, which is supposed to be an over-the-top type of anime. So the art changes, while nice in some aspects, also took away from the Kujibiki Unbalance spirit a little I think. You can tell they tried to make the anime cutesy like the OVA, but they lost a bit of vibrance with the new colour scheme.
Character & Plot Changes
The Kujiun anime went and changed a lot of the character’s roles from the OVA. In some instances the character’s role didn’t change, but their personality / character itself did.
So let’s go through some of these changes.
Team Tokino Is Now Team Chihiro
The team of candidates for student council has changed! Instead of candidate for secretary, Chihiro is now candidate for president, with Tokino as his vice-president. In addition, Izumi and Komaki are no longer on the team, replaced by Renko Kamishakuji and Komaki’s younger sister Koyuki.
While the change in members switches up the dynamic of the team, I think the biggest change here is putting Chihiro in a leadership role. His character in the OVA was that of a supportive one, and secretary fit his personality well. He wasn’t brave enough to call the shots, but he was there when his friends needed encouragement to keep fighting. Despite being a leader, he is still indecisive. Even when things work out, I don’t see Chihiro as a leader at any point in the anime.
There are two reasons I can think of for this change.
First is that Chihiro’s style of leadership is that very “anime” kind where he relies on his friends around him to do what needs to be done. That whole power of friendship thing where Chihiro himself doesn’t need to be strong, decisive, commanding, etc. because he is surrounded by a group of skilled individuals who have what it takes to overcome any obstacle, with Chihiro’s support.
Second is that Chihiro is the protagonist, but the OVA put him into more of a supporting role. I have a feeling that this played a big factor in the decision to make Chihiro the president of the student council candidates, upgrading him from secretary.
Overall, I don’t hate the change, but I don’t think it’s a good fit for Chihiro’s character. There aren’t any moments in the anime where I am convinced that Chihiro has what it takes to be the next student council president. Maybe this is bias from the OVA, but I still see his character as more suited to secretary than president.
One more minor point here in regards to Chihiro. I mentioned that he was moved to a leadership role, but that hadn’t really changed from the OVA. Despite this, they did alter his appearance slightly by making him taller! It’s sort of an interesting change, because it makes Chihiro appear more capable than he is now that he is the tallest member of the student council candidate group. I guess they thought that this would be enough to make him leader material?
It’s No Longer A Competition
This is probably the biggest change, and it’s an odd one to me. The OVA’s plot was that every student draws lots and forms teams based on what they drew – they then compete against each other in a giant competition to determine the next student council.
In the anime, only Chihiro & friends are student council candidates. So basically everyone draws lots, and only 4 students get a chance to become the next student council. Instead of competing against other teams, they must complete challenges given to them by the current student council – failure resulting in their expulsion.
While this big difference yields some nice moments, it also has its drawbacks. The challenges given to Chihiro & friends aren’t as varied as the battles they participated in from the OVA, instead they are given more school related challenges that the current student council would normally do. So no more military style battles, cooking battles, etc.
Tokino Looks Different, But She Hasn’t Changed Much
Figured I should at least mention that Tokino’s appearance has completely changed moving from the OVA to the anime. I figure I’ll just show you the changes instead of try to describe them:
Quite the difference right? I was a little surprise that the changes were so drastic. I like the way that the anime Tokino looks, but I wonder why they couldn’t keep something the same, just to tie the two appearances together.
Aside from her appearance, her character is very similar. The OVA Tokino was an airhead with some serious optimism, and the new Tokino is the same. The two biggest character changes are that the new Tokino isn’t lazy, and she doesn’t display an irrational love for mushrooms.
Her backstory changes too. OVA Tokino first met Chihiro on their first day of high school, while in the anime she is childhood friends with Chihiro. I wonder if they felt like keeping her blonde hair wouldn’t seem right if she was a childhood friend character?
Tokino plays a prominent role in the anime, and I liked her character overall.
First off, even though they tried to make Ritsuko look similar with the new art style, she doesn’t look as good. Her eyes seem kind of off. The OVA Ritsuko has these really sharp and determined looking eyes, but anime Ritsuko’s eyes look very round and dull. Her face in the anime reminds me of a frog, because of the style. Minimalist nose, round face, big round eyes, I just wasn’t a fan of Ritsuko’s new appearance. She just appeared less commanding than she was in the OVA.
They also scrapped her iconic dress, having her wear a suit instead. This change I just don’t understand, and am having trouble thinking of a reason for.
Ritsuko just seemed depressed throughout the anime. She had a solemn look in the OVA as well, but I took that more as one of a determined look, like she was trying to appear strong and dependable as student council president. Her head was always facing forward in the OVA, but in the anime its usually tilted downwards. Really changes the impression I got of Ritsuko.
Vice Prez & Kujiun Best Girl Kasumi
Kasumi is the best girl from the Kujiun OVA… and I think she still is in the anime. Thank goodness! I was worried that Best Girl Kasumi might change for the worse, but I actually enjoyed her changes.
Her apperance looks good in the new artstyle, and her character is given a little more depth and development which was interesting. Hard to say whether I prefer OVA or anime Kasumi!
Spirit of Kujiun
Despite all of the changes, there is something that the Kujiun anime managed to keep alive, and that is the spirit of Kujiun. Wacky, crazy situations occuring in a school environment. They spiced up the team with the new members, as Renko is a tech genius who invents crazy robots and whatnot, and Koyuki is an esper. Even though they are completing more normal seeming challenges, they still can get pretty ridiculous. And despite all of the changes in appearances, the characters still have that great feel that reminds me of the OVA. The anime feels innocent in how it goes about the days of Chihiro & friends. There is some drama, just like the OVA, but friendship & optimism always prevail.
Lot of changes when moving from the OVA to the anime, many of which are questionable. In the end though, the anime manages to give off the same feeling that I noticed while watching the OVA, which makes it a success in my eyes. If you want to watch an innocent school anime with over-the-top crazy situations, Kujibiki Unbalance is a good anime for that.
While I don’t think Kujibiki Unbalance is the greatest school anime out there, I do think that it is underrated on MyAnimeList.
I’ll be giving the Kujibiki Unbalance anime the Semi-Successful Reboot award, for making very big and questionable changes but still somewhat managing to keep the spirit of the original OVAs alive, much to my surprise.
Until next time.
Thanks for reading!