Cheating Craft (2016) – Anime Review

Author: Gemini Xin Luo

Genre: Action, Comedy, School

Episodes: 12

Production Studio: Blade

 

Introduction

Have you ever cheated or tried cheating in your exams before? Want to know the best way to cheat? Here’s the anime for you! Cheating Craft, as its namesake, is an anime based on the novel, Zuobi Yishu by Gemini Xin Luo, which basically teaches the art of cheating in your exams. Here we are brought another generic shounen battle series, but I was interested by the premise as cheating in exams is something I’m sure everyone has thought about at least once in their lives. I was curious as to what kind of methods of cheating they would show in this anime.

Just FYI, this is the type of anime where you can never take things seriously. If you do, you would probably get annoyed by this show very quickly. On the other hand, if you’re a lover of silly comedy, this might be the right anime for you… Plus, this anime only runs for 12 minutes every episode, and it’s perfect if you’re looking for a series that isn’t too time consuming.

Reminder: This is just a work of fiction and you should never try to cheat in your exams!

 

Storyline Premise

This story is set in a universe whereby education determines your worth in life, measured by examinations. If you manage to pass the exam, also known as the National Special-Level University Exam, you’ll be able to lead a successful life. However, a cruel life awaits those who fails the exam. There are two types of students that we’ll see in this series: the L-type (learning type), students who prioritize studying, and the C-type (cheating type), students who choose not to study to pass the exams. The L-type and C-type battle and team up in order to pass these extremely tough exams. In this anime, we follow a boy called, Shokatsu Mumei (C-type) and a girl called, Ou Koui (L-type) as they team up and battle in order to pass with one goal in mind – to save Mumei’s father who was, according to the both of them, wrongfully imprisoned.

In the beginning, we were introduced to what Cheating Craft is essentially about, which was great! It made things very clear cut and easier to understand. They provided details about the L and C-types and what their relationships are like. Basically, L gives C answers and C protects L. I found some things shown to be quite meaningless, for example, they showed the four celestial beings (Suzaku, Genbu, Seiryu, Byakko), but no connection was found between them and the characters.

Each episode consists of the main characters taking their exams in various ridiculous settings, such as on top of an aircraft, etc. I felt that things were a little too exaggerated and over the top, as there was even this one part where they said that even if there was a natural disaster, they will never turn their backs on their exams. However, like I said earlier, this anime is not a show that you can take seriously, as it is mercilessly satire. If you’re looking for something with a lot of plot, I’d suggest that you don’t even bother with this anime.

Animation and Art

In terms of art, it’s quite nice. Environmental designs and character designs looked good. It had the typical shounen look with plenty of colourful hairdos. It is easy to identify who are the characters that would be showing up a lot. Frankly, just by looking at the promotional poster, it kinda looked like Fairy Tail from afar.

As for the animation, it is decent. I wasn’t too amazed but not turned off either. However, there are times where the action scenes looked a little stiff which made things become a little awkward, especially since this is an action anime. Those times are quite rare though, and it does not make the anime difficult to watch. Movements are decently fluid and realistic.

Verdict: Decent art and animation.

 

Sound and Music

What I’d like to say about the soundtrack is that Go Sakabe has done quite well in producing it. I love how the soundtracks come in at the right moment with the emotions needed for the scene. One such example would be in the first episode when Mumei and Koui enter the examination area for the first time, the music was so dramatic, it really felt like they were about to enter a war zone, which showed great portrayal. However, there were some parts that felt unrealistic to me since the setting is an examination, but the characters were somehow conversing with each other in their normal volume.

As for the opening and ending songs, I feel that the both of them are just average. Not a song which would make me loop again and again. However, I really like the intro of the OP, “Kasoku Suru Trial (加速するトライアル)” by Kamen Joshi, it builds the momentum and excitement when you’re listening to it. As for the ED, “Welcome Future (ウェルカム・フューチャー)” by Aina Kusuda, I’m not a fan of the song personally but some people might find this fact interesting to know. The ED song is sung by the voice actress of Nozomi Tojo from Love Live! Yes, I’m serious. Upon finding out about this fact, it made so much sense as the voice sounded familiar.

Verdict: Great soundtrack but average OP and ED songs.

Characterization and Powers

As for the characters, we have the typical shounen anime clichés, where all bright colored hair characters are our focus for the show. Our main character, Shokatsu Mumei is a stereotypical hot-blooded protagonist, and his partner, Ou Koui, to make things simple, is a tsundere. She is a character that is strict, plain rude to those trying to shower her with attention, and just really frank. She somewhat acts like a guardian to Mumei, constantly reminding him that they have to stay focused on their mission and not get distracted. I’m honestly quite disappointed that there was no character development of sorts. Absolutely no depth or exposition to the characters which was a waste as there was a lot of potential for growth despite the short episodes.

In terms of their powers, like I mentioned earlier, Mumei utilizes the power of controlling paper. He uses this technique called the Shokatsu Technique which was apparently created by his wrongly imprisoned father, who was a well-known genius in the academy that they were attending. Each time he used a skillset, we’ll be shown the name and also told what the attack does. For example, in episode 2, he used a basic skill from the technique called Shinra Banshou, which can create anything from sliced-up paper. I like the mini explanations as it makes it easier for us to know what is going to happen and what kind of skill is he using.

 

Conclusion

To be honest, I didn’t expect much from this anime in terms of character development or plot. This anime is the type of series best watched just for fun, or if you just want something to kill time meaninglessly. It’s just 12 minutes per episode, so it won’t take long to watch it each week. Just don’t expect a lot from this anime.

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