Original Run: January 7, 2020 - March 24, 2020 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life Based on the Series Created By: Bungo Yamashita
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Murenase! Seton Gakuen. Reader discretion is advised.***
Seton Academy prides itself on providing the best education for all its students. It doesn’t matter if a pupil is tall, short, hairy, fluffy, meat-eater, or herbivore, every species from the animal kingdom is welcome to attend.
Jin Mazama (voiced by Haruki Ishiya) is a human male who doesn’t get along with non-human animals. Therefore, he gets incredibly annoyed when a wolf female, Ranka Okami (voiced by Hina Kino), takes an interest in him. Despite his constant refusals, Ranka is determined to make Jin a member of her pack.
Desperate to get away from Ranka, Jin runs into Hitomi Hino (voiced by Yume Miyamoto), a human female. Jin instantly falls for Hitomi and is delighted when she invites him to start a cooking club. However, to Jin’s chagrin, Ranka sees this as the perfect opportunity to bring as many different members from many different species together.
Was Murenase! Seton Gakuen (Murenase) a good series? Well, it certainly wasn’t an awful one. The best way I can think to describe this show is by calling it a potential guilty pleasure. Some problems brought the whole thing down, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this weren’t someone’s particular cup of tea. Still, it would also be a lie if I told you I didn’t find enjoyment.
To, hopefully, better understand what went on, let’s break Murenase into two core ideas.
The first core idea: This was a series centered around a school that enrolled anthropomorphic animals. However, what separated this show from others which have done something similar, the titular Senton Academy included humans as a part of its student roster. On the surface, that may seem like a small detail, but I assure you, it is a significant one.
The second core idea…will have to wait for later in the review.
What was great about Murenase, there was very little of the usual, species-specific self-entitlement. There was no difference between man and beast in terms of status. In the eyes of this show, both were animals and members of the much larger animal kingdom. As a result, neither Jin Mazama or Hitomi Hino felt out of place because, to Senton Academy, they were just another form of primate.
A scene I very much appreciated was when someone mistakenly referred to Jin as a chimpanzee. When this happened, Jin got defensive and angry in the sort of way other animal or animal-like characters from other shows have done when a human did something similar.
This may have been a brief moment, but other brief moments like it helped prevent Murenase from coming off as gimmicky in this aspect. That said, let me emphasize. This series wasn’t gimmicky in this one single aspect. More on that soon.
Additionally, it was pretty clever on Murenase’s part to have the teachers at Senton Academy be giant dinosaurs that could instantly ego-check all the modern-day predators. It was quite funny.
Speaking of funny, this series did reaction humor well. There was also a bunch of slapstick, dialogue, and physical humor, but this show was far more comfortable with being far more reactionary. And the best character for this – as well as my favorite – was Miyubi Shishio (voiced by Konomi Kohara), the three-toed sloth-girl. Most of the laughs I got out of Murenase was thanks to her.
So, as I said at the beginning, this series did have elements worth praising. Unfortunately, the entire time I watched Murenase, I couldn’t help think that someone somewhere was looking for an excuse to f@#$ a cute animal girl.
The second core idea to this series was having every female be an adorable, moe-moe, fill-in-the-blank-with-an-animal girl. Which, according to this show, meant a tail and ears (big boobs varied).
I get that this was Muranase’s thing, but it got pretty damn ridiculous pretty damn fast. Granted, it was much less awkward to watch this show than it was to watch Beastars and its bunny boobies, but Muranase was far more fanservice-focused. Also, by the by, Beastars was one of my absolute favorite anime from 2019; so, there was that.
Now to be fair, coming across an anime with a bunch of animal-girls running around isn’t that fantastical to me. Even with this series being as blatant as it was, things were what they were. What did get to me was more of what was suggested — namely, the possibility of Jin being in a relationship with Ranka Okami, the wolf-girl.
Fortunately, Jin had a massive crush on Hitomi. However, near the end, this show hinted that Jin might have started seeing Ranka in a different light. This series never went as far as to straight-up say that a Jin-Ranka pairing was going to happen. But, the idea wasn’t made impossible either. After all, one of the major side plots of Muranase was the inter-species relationship between a lion and a gazel-girl. How would that be any different than a human and a wolf-girl getting together?
Potential creepiness aside, it certainly didn’t help that Muranase had a rather forgettable cast of characters. Apart from the previously mentioned Miyubi, everyone else in this show didn’t leave much of an impression.
Okay, that’s not entirely true. Jin made an impression. He was an utter dick, and I didn’t like him. Seriously, Jin was nothing but a colossal tool throughout the series, and it was irritating to have him be the main character. He may not have flat out ruined this show, but he is the reason why I am not looking forward to any possible second season.
Although this wasn’t great, it could have been a lot worse. On the one hand, I didn’t hate my time with this show. On the other hand, I didn’t end up caring about it either.
This series had two conflicting ideas that didn’t blend well together. They left behind far more awkwardness than they did enjoyment.
There was fun to be had. However, there wasn’t enough to be worth watching.
Murenase! Seton Gakuen can be skipped.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Murenase! Seton Gakuen? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.