Seitokai no Reference Dropping

Seitokai no Ichizon chronicles the hijinks of a five-girl student council. Each girl represents a different fetish: one is a loli, one is a sadist, one is a tomboy, one is a pussy, and one is a male. Every day in the student council room, these five girls continuously screw around and drop references until you eventually find one of them sort of amusing.

But Baka-Raptor, what exactly is “reference dropping”?

Reference dropping is expecting a reference to pass as a joke just because it’s a reference. South Park slew Family Guy for going overboard with these kinds of gags. When you drop a reference, there are only two reasons for the audience audience to laugh:

  • They get the reference
  • It’s random

Watch carefully as Lucky Star, the epitome of everything wrong with anime humor, reference drops Cromartie High School.

But Baka-Raptor, isn’t Lucky Star satirizing the anime school life setting?

Konata’s initial statement does. The subsequent reference to Cromartie High School adds nothing to her message. Think of it this way: if you laughed at that reference, which statement best summarizes your reaction?

  1. LOL, Cromartie High School is a good example in support of Konata’s statement!
  2. LOL, Cromartie High School!
  3. LOL, that abrupt change in art style and voice acting is so random!

If you picked 2 or 3, you got reference dropped. If you picked 1, you’re a dumbass. First of all, Cromartie is a terrible example of a genius going to school with a delinquent. If you’ve seen the anime, you’re well aware that Kamiyama is just as dumb as everyone else at the school. Furthermore, Cromartie already satirized the delinquent/non-delinquent divide of the anime school life setting; Lucky Star is only leeching off it via reference. You’re not satirizing a trope if your sole example is a show that already satirized the trope. Fuck you, Lucky Star.

Just like name dropping, reference dropping can be annoying, elitist, and under some circumstances may constitute a breach of professional ethics. That’s not to say it can’t also be funny, especially if you have a soft spot for whatever is being referenced.

In some cases, references are actually funnier when you don’t get them.

Until proven otherwise, I shall assume this is an accurate depiction of Singapore.

The main problem with reference dropping is that many of the references won’t make the viewers laugh even if they’re understood. You always hear people claiming that if you didn’t like a joke, you didn’t get it. No, I got the joke, it just wasn’t funny. Why should I laugh just because I heard the name of another show? Why should I laugh just because I recognized a cameo? Why should I laugh just because a character said Gokigenyou? If you make a show that constantly drops references with no added value, such as, “hey, I said Haruhi, I’m cool,” your show sucks, and you deserve to be burned at the stake.

In a sense, that’s what makes Seitokai no Ichizon the second most daring show I watched last season. ((The most daring show being Queen’s Blade, the best fanservice anime ever. Review forthcoming.)) Reference dropping has been done before. It’s been done by more popular studios. It has sucked. Why should anyone expect Seitokai no Ichizon to be any better?

The best thing about Seitokai no Ichizon is that it moves along at a strong pace. The jokes are presented slowly enough that you can at least attempt to appreciate them (unlike Pani Poni Dash).

Un-fucking-believable

Once a joke is told, the show quickly moves along to the next joke with minimal follow-up masturbation (unlike Lucky Star). I’ve spoken about masturbation several times, but I’ve never given you an explicit definition. Masturbation is when a show reacts excessively to its own jokes. Rather than leaving the reaction to the audience, the show gets off on its own jokes, as if it were masturbating. I tend to avoid masturbation on my site, but just for the sake of example, I shall now masturbate for you.

This is the best fucking joke in the universe. Get it, universe?! Because this is an H-R diagram, which has stars, gigantic orbs of gas spread throughout the universe! But I digress.

Jody “Blue-Eyes” Hayward is “hot,” as in attractive. Stars are also “hot,” but in a different sense of the word, that is to say, they have a high temperature. What do you get when you put the attractive-hot Jody on a temperature-hot scale? A clever pun! You know what the hottest color is? BLUE, just like Jody “BLUE-Eyes” Hayward’s eyes! By placing her among the blue stars, not only do I make a clever color pun to go along with my clever hotness pun, I also rank her among the “hottest” of the “hot”! But wait, there’s more! If you look carefully, you’ll see a little STAR emanating from Jody’s wink, which fits beautifully within a diagram of STARS!

Alphard is also hot, in attractive sense of the word, not necessarily the temperature sense of the word. There just so happens to be a star named Alphard. You know where I placed the character Alphard on the diagram? In the position of the STAR Alphard!

Sorry for belittling you. I realize that my masturbation was totally unnecessary. I know you’re capable of getting all my jokes, even if they involve a little research and analysis. Anyway, masturbation tires me out, so I’ll make the rest of the post quick.

Seitokai no Ichizon’s jokes often suck, but the pace moves quickly enough that you’ll eventually get to a few good ones. There are also some dramatic (not slice-of-life) scenes in between the comedy scenes. The drama is better than the comedy. Finally, you get to hear Mamiko Noto playing an aggressive bitch-type character.

Final Grade: ~

Change that to a + if you’re a girl. This show empowers girls by showing other girls appreciating anime/manga/yaoi/etc. The show further empowers girls by showing the female characters stepping all over the “male” lead, who persistently sucks up to them.

Tags: , ,

54 people love sucking up to me

  1. mefloraine says:

    I don’t think that the show’s empowering of women (which is an arguable point, even if I don’t quite agree with it), is a reason to change it from a ~ show to a + show just because you’re female.

    Seitokai’s joke-reference success varies, in my opinion. Sometimes it goes over well; sometimes it doesn’t. I enjoyed the fact that I caught most of the references, and I definitely enjoyed the fact that they moved at a pace that didn’t put too much emphasis on any that I didn’t understand or didn’t find to be amusing.

    Though really, Seitokai didn’t need to drop references like mad to be interesting.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      If this show were about four cool guys reading manga, I’d find it empowering. And if there were some girl slobbering all over them, and they threw her in a locker, I’d find that empowering too. Instead, I’m left thinking to myself, “why is this guy such as loser?”

  2. jpmeyer says:

    Yeah, this is exactly why I hate those shows. Also, another thing that I noticed as well from watching Family Guy, especially in groups, is how easily people can make themselves believe that they are getting references that they obviously don’t understand.

  3. I like references, especially tributes and homages. However, I don’t think they are the primary value in a work, nor should they be. They aren’t automatically funny, and a work relying on them primarily limits its appeal.

  4. Sorrow-kun says:

    Suddenly I have a new appreciation for your “hot stars” joke. You see, you needed to explain that, or else I wouldn’t have got it all. I don’t have the time to sit down and figure out the intricacies of that joke for myself, in this fast-paced world, what with all our modern ideas… and products!

    Also, you didn’t dwell enough on the fact that the drama was better than the comedy. That surprised me, and I liked that. I wasn’t expecting many surprises from a series that I thought was just going to be DEEN’s take on a Lucky Star type show.

  5. If you picked 2 or 3, you got reference dropped. If you picked 1, you’re a dumbass.

    Awww! But I HAD to pick 1 cause there was no 5 or 9! HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! *HIGHFIVES HIMSELF*

    (Did I win? I also did some masturbation there, obviously from the use of my signature numbers: 1, 5, and 9! The word HighFIVE includes the number five, which is the choice I would have gone with if it were available. The 9 is a bit tricky to spot, but it’s definitely there! Ya see, from the numbers you provided (1, 2, and 3), only two of them are important to me, which are “1” and “3” (2 is gay). The 3 is equally important because it comes from the number of times “159” is repeated in my name (Jesus 159 159 159). SOOOO if you add the important numbers that we have discussed (1, 3, and 5) YOU GET NUMBER 9! Sooo Mr. Baking Soda Raptor, how much are you gonna praise me for that one (five nine)? It better be good! I haven’t got all day! ;3)

    (On a side note, highfive-ing yourself is the equivalent to doing a clap, so my joke is considered stupid since clapping to yourself means you’re a re-DON’T JUDGE ME!!! So like, I chose the first one because you said it means I’m a dumbass! IT COMES FULL CIRCLE, or in this case 3/4! OH YEAAA!!!)

  6. digitalboy says:

    Sounds like someone’s jealous because he doesn’t get the references.

  7. kluxorious says:

    I couldn’t get through the first episode. It was pure torture and thought that they tried too hard with the reference dropping. It just pissed me off

  8. Yi says:

    Perfect picture to your definition of masturbation. Anyways, good analysis on reference dropping. You’re really coining a lot of terms to describe certain motifs/ mechanics in anime. Anyways, looking forward to your review of QB.

  9. Glo says:

    Funny you should bring up Pani Poni Dash. It was one of the first shows I saw, and had a lot of references that I didn’t get at the time………yea I don’t know where I’m going with this either, good luck replying to this piece of shit.

  10. sniffits says:

    No yandere? Damn. Also, I hate the “bitchy guy that gets stepped on”. That pussy needs to man up.

    As for jokes, god thank you yes. As Joker once told Harley with the back of his hand “It’s not a joke if you have to explain it.”

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Unfortunately no yanderes, but to make that into an effective joke, they’d have to go down the fake yandere route. Instead of starting sweet and turning evil, she’d just switch back and forth whimsically, much like the fake tsundere.

  11. OBALLER says:

    reference dropping is only good in my book if its REALLY REALLY random… and only about a few people in the room get it… or a 90’s pop culture reference, because the 90’s are AWESOME.

  12. LJ says:

    Wait a second, is “Blue-Eyes” superimposed over Eta Carinae? If so, who would her twin sister be?

  13. Laguna Loire says:

    This same rule applies to baka-raptor’s posts also, as i laughed a lot in some posts
    before watching the anime baka-raptor was referencing to in his jokes,
    but later on, when i re-read the post it wasn’t THAT funny, because i got the reference.

    Besides that, Baka-Raptor’s posts referencing to animes are a mere coincidence :P

  14. Not all of Seitokai no Ichizon’s jokes were great, but I loved the really, realllly fast Tenchi Muyo reference they made in the first or second episode – and not because it was funny… just because I got it and I feel like it was probably a reference most people missed.

    The Jigoku Shoujo joke worked solely because they actually had Mamiko Noto on hand for it.

    I didn’t really think it was that empowering of women. I didn’t think it was especially disempowering, either, though, although the jokes about Kurimu’s weight were really fucking obnoxious.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      So you admit the show isn’t funny. Those are your own words. Score.

      What’s not empowering about it? These girls are so cool. They’re the most popular girls at the school, they watch anime and read manga, and they beat up on a guy who keeps telling them how attractive they are. What more could they do to make girls feel empowered, let them wear tiaras and ride unicorns?

      • Yeah, but we’re still essentially given a harem set-up, even if the show is simultaneously poking fun at it. And Sugisaki does all their work because they’re somehow incapable of it themselves, like in the episode where they couldn’t find the stamp.

        It was really nice, though, to see a female character admit her crush on a guy and for everything to NOT suddenly become super-dramatic and crazy.

        As for supposedly admitting the show wasn’t funny, I was speaking specifically of the Tenchi Muyo reference. It was just there – it wasn’t even in the dialogue or anything. There were quite a few site gags and jokes specifically relating the characters. And I’d say the humor that was reliant upon references decreased significantly with the run-time.

        P.S. Eli Manning sucks.

      • Heinsia says:

        They’re popular because that’s the basic requirement for this kind of anime. Anime and manga dont make people cool and beating up that kind of guy is what normal girls would do. In short they’re boring and I see no reason for girls to give a better grade because of them.
        Btw ouran highschool club is boring,just how many girls do you know ?

  15. Joey joe says:

    Reference dropping blows, especially in anime where half the time I have no clue what’s being referenced. FMA 38 had a lengthy Family Guy-like joke that seemed like it was reference dropping.

  16. Eroshiyda says:

    “Final Grade: ~
    “Change that to a + if you’re a girl.”

    But Baka-Raptor, I thought you were a lesbian…?

  17. j.valdez says:

    > I’ve spoken about masturbation several times, but I’ve never given you an explicit definition. Masturbation is…

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means…

  18. Blowfish says:

    The Problem with Reference dropping is,besides the points you already mentioned,that it also serves as a masturbation tool for the viewer.Show throws in some lame reference,Viewers “gets” it,he can feel proud about himself and tell everyone that isnt enlightened with the vast knowledge as the viewer is.

    Truth be told Parody/Reference shows always need a fast machine gun like pacing to cover up for all the bad puns that didnt hit their target(which are estimated 90%).These shows tend to age really bad aswell since most people will forget most pop cultural references in a few years.

    In the End I sat through Seitokai because there werent that many shows I could sit through the last season and as mentioned the “dramatical” parts fo the show were better than the jokes.

    And hey man I am sooo looking forward to your QB review

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      Seriously, if you want to show off how much you know, why not just play a trivia game? Next time a show like this comes along, they should have a contest to see how many references you can name. Send in a list at the end of each episode. Winner gets a Queen’s Blade figure.

      • Blowfish says:

        The Problem with a trivia game would be that you are actually tested and it could reveal that you “dont get it”.
        While watching Anime with others you can boast about your knowledge while beating your stick to feel better about yourself.If you dont get it you just pretend you get it or simply dont get it ans still think your Mr.Anime.

  19. Outis says:

    Just in relation to the whole Slice-of-Life definition, I still believe a slice-of-life can be best defined as an anime that does not follow a plot. For example: “K-on is about girls who play musical instruments so they become famous. As the series progresses they become better at playing those instruments and get new members in their band.” See, K-on sucks balls, but it has a progression, and thus a plot. Ergo, K-on is not a slice of life (and sucks balls). Conversely, Pani Poni Dash cannot be explained in such a manner. “Young Teacher has an unruly class. There are aliens.” I can’t go much farther than that. It is called slice of life, because they are slices that do not by any means contain a plot – Scenes jump sporadically. The most important trait being, you can start the anime from any episode and get what’s going on. I forget my point, but I’d just like it to be known that k-on really sucks major balls.

    p.s.: I know this has been dealt with several weeks ago. F~ it.

    • Baka-Raptor says:

      So, basically, if I’m understanding your point correctly, K-ON really sucks major balls. Point well taken.

      More progress definitely means less slice-of-life, but I’ll allow minimal progress to still qualify. For example, a sense of past, present, and future are pretty much necessary in a series of any significant length. I’m fine if they reference past events or talk about stuff that’ll happen later on.

  20. Taka says:

    I’ve always considered most of your posts almost as masturbatory as Digitalboy’s…though not in a comedic sense.

  21. FaS says:

    Lol, I’m in class right now and am looking at the pic with the chick who looks like she just got jizzed on….and everyone’s looking at me like I’m sick…-_-”

  22. […] is a minimum of exposition, something which plagues a lot of anime comedies (Baka-Raptor calls it masturbation). With such potentially funny expressions at their disposal, it’s a little disappointing that […]

  23. […] ‘best of the year’ bit but then falls into name drop­ping. ‘Cuz ref­er­en­cing is funny! Accord­ing to baka-raptor it isn’t. OH LOOK, I MENTIONED BAKA-RAPTOR! YOU READ HIS BLOG AND KNOW THE NAME, THEREFORE […]

  24. […] create a certain barrier to the casual viewer (not to mention it may be construed as a breach of professional ethics). I think there’s some truth to this – to the untested viewer who has never cut their […]

  25. […] create a certain barrier to the casual viewer (not to mention it may be construed as a breach of professional ethics). I think there’s some truth to this – to the untested viewer who has never cut their […]

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