Manabi Straight!

Manabi Straight!

Manabi Straight! anime series cover art
Manabi Straight!

Overview

Manabi Straight! (Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! / がくえんゆーとぴあ まなびストレート!) is a slice of life anime set at a girls’ high school in the year 2035. And, before I get into the details of this series, let me tell you that it actually made me laugh out loud. This is a good watch.

This series is also an original anime created by ufotable in 2007. You may know of that studio from both Fate/stay night: UBW and Fate/Zero, or the currently airing Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.

So first let’s go over the setting, 2035. As is the case with many movies and series set in the future, Manabi Straight! misses the mark on what the future is going to look like. And, no, I’m not saying that the fact that the character Manabi having a hoverboard is too unrealistic, I’m saying that aside from her hoverboard we’ve already surpassed most of the technology in the series.

The only two pieces of futuristic technology in the series are a single hoverboard and a few holographic computer screens. Other than that, everything else is still essentially technology that was around in 2007 when the series was created.

That said, the fact that the series is set in 2035 really has nothing to do with the series. In any scene that doesn’t include one of the two futuristic technologies, it’s quite easy to forget that this series isn’t simply set back in 2007. Everything is so “normal” that the future setting is barely noticeable.

However, there is one plot point for which the time period is somewhat important, the declining birthrate. In this future, birthrates have declined to the point at which the school Manabi and her friends attend is struggling to stay afloat. This doesn’t have to be set in the future, Love Live! has essentially the same concept, but it works.

As for the general plot at large, the series follows Manabi and her friends in the Seioh High School student council as they do student council things such as plan a school fair. You may know by now that I hate school fair episodes in anime, but this is more about working towards the school fair, not the school fair itself.

But, anyway, the main draw to the series, as is always the case with slice of life anime, is the character interactions. A good slice of life anime needs good characters who interact with each other in entertaining ways, and Manabi Straight! delivers.

Characters

Manami “Manabi” Amamiya is the main character of the series. She’s the new girl at Seioh High School and makes a splash on her very first day. Despite only just transferring, she’s voted in as the student council president (mainly because nobody else wants the job).

Her personality is larger than life, as any good protagonist’s is. She loves to have fun and doesn’t take anything too seriously because she’s certain it will all work out in the end. But that doesn’t mean she’s a slacker. Even if she doesn’t take things seriously, she still works hard for what she loves.

Manabi also drop kicks a teacher on at least one occasion, so you know she’s a pretty good character.

Mika “Mikan” Inamori is the student council treasurer. Of the five main girls, she was the only one in the student council from the start of the series. In fact, she was the only student council member at the start because, as previously mentioned, nobody wanted to be in the student council.

She’s a nice, fairly outgoing girl, but she isn’t all that entertaining on her own. Instead, it’s the combination of Mikan and Manabi that’s the most fun to watch. These two seem to feed off one another, and while they don’t do anything too extreme, it’s the normalcy of their gags that’s funny.

Manabi and Mikan from the anime series Manabi Straight!
Manabi and Mikan

Mei Etou is the third, and technically final, member of the Seioh student council. She’s a serious, no-nonsense kind of girl who always puts 100% of her effort into anything she does. Mei is also a tsundere tech wizard.

Mutsuki “Mu-chi” Uehara isn’t officially a member of the student council, but she constantly helps out because she’s friends with the three girls who are. She also seems to help out the other various clubs and organizations around the school, and is a member of the softball team.

Mu-chi is the tomboy of the group and is occasionally at odds with Mei due to their differing characters. While Mei attempts to give off a “proper” aura, Mu-chi doesn’t really care what people think of her.

Momoha “Momo” Odori is the final of the five main girls and, like Mu-chi, isn’t actually an official member of the student council. However, unlike Mu-chi, Momo doesn’t actually ever do student council work to help out. Instead, she views the student council room simply as a place to hang out and talk to her friends.

Momo also carries around a video camera and constantly records everything that happens with the student council. There was also a “big” reveal about her at the end of the series, and while I expected something would be revealed, I was wrong about what it was.

Conclusion

Overall, Manabi Straight! is a 7/10. It’s not constantly funny, but when it is, it made me actually laugh. One such example is when Mei’s plan to get signatures on a petition is just a pyramid scheme. However, this series has its fair share of drawbacks too.

I think the one thing I disliked about this series the most were the colors. Not every anime needs to be full of bright and vibrant colors like Endro~!, but there were a lot of times in this series where I found myself thinking that all the colors are a bit too dark and dull.

Also, I didn’t think the OP was all that good, but at least the ED was different and had a decent song. I haven’t actually linked to OP/EDs in a while in these series reviews because a good number of them tend to get taken down, but here’s the Manabi Straight! ED for anyone interested.

There’s an OVA episode as well which is considered episode 6.5. I didn’t watch this episode until after the rest of the series, but it actually does fit into the series where it’s placed so you can watch it after episode 6 and it won’t really even feel like a special, just another episode. The OVA was also a 7/10 and I won’t be doing a separate review for it.

If you enjoyed this review of Manabi Straight! be sure to click the like button ❤ down below. Also follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. I tweet out every time a new post goes live, so it’s the best way to stay up to date.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN, who requested this series review, for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about becoming a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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