Comforting Reflections on Manabi Straight

One of the things that I worry about (quite needlessly, really) is what I’m leaving behind when I graduate from college. Above all else, I will miss the comfort zone I felt like I spend a hard four years trying to solidly establish. It’s funny how change comes quickly, but compared to how I was when I started college, I feel more like I’m more ready to accept it. Surprisingly to me, most of this new calm feeling comes from finishing up Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! and seeing them go through the same thing in a much shorter time than I have. 😛

This would make for an interesting record cover - Mikan and the Mikanettes. :P

It was great seeing how the main quintet assembled and how they worked hard to achieve Manabi’s original goal of making school more fun for everyone. Over time, the aspiration to create a school festival became a collective end point, and seeing so much “heart” applied to achieving that was inspiring. And in working together, we as viewers could see a comfort zone developing with our protagonists.

It makes sense, considering that when you put enough time and effort into something as part of the group, bonds should develop between the group, no matter how insignificant the new connections may seem. They occur explicitly and implicitly; the former when the understanding occurs that getting the school festival together can’t be done alone and without faith in others (which Manabi knows from the start), and the latter when just doing “random” things like hanging out. As a whole, the experiences create a friendship that seems as if it can last forever and beyond, despite what strange things may happen in the future. We can still have the comfort zone we want, even when we’re not in our comfort zone, one could say (meeting new people of different backgrounds who also like anime, e.g.). In my case, I can feel comfortable with moving on from college, because the familiarity I know will always be there in some way, allowing me to move on with my life and try new things. 🙂


While it might sound cheesy, I also felt a connection with the main characters in while going through Manabi Straight! It’s kind of hard not to have one; Manabi’s so infectiously earnest with her vision, and people believe in it because of her sincerity. We find that Mei’s the tsundere mover and shaker, Mutsuki’s the rational caretaker/enforcer, Momo’s the positive X-factor, and Mikan’s the right hand man. I liked all of the characters and had fun learning about them as I watched the show. How they felt, how they’ve changed (some not so much at first glance, others noticeably come of age) for the better, how they became more than friends. I might have finished watching their adventures for now (lol OVA), but I can go on knowing that I can just rewatch if I ever need that extra boost. 😛

Obviously, I’ve really enjoyed Manabi Straight!, enough to where it’s definitely one of my all-time anime faves. Ufotable did it for me again with their interesting ways of storytelling (episodes 4, 7 and 12 come to mind at the moment), dynamic characters and character interactions, and powerful moments (subtle and displayed) that got me involved with the characters, among other things. It could just really be a story of how one person brought a school together with her indomitable spirit, and it may not be what we thought it would be from the PVs (lol ufotable misdirection). But I feel like I can go straight forward to achieve what I want to do in a positive, happy manner.

MASSUGU GO! Manabi Banzai.

And so we leave our interpid heroes. What new places will they dare venture to?

5 Responses to “Comforting Reflections on Manabi Straight”

  1. 1 omo May 17, 2007 at 10:50 pm


    Merorin Q!

    And finally, now you know where they get Massugu GO! from.

  2. 2 suguru May 18, 2007 at 3:16 am

    I loved the ending of Manabi Straight too–the whole series was just a lot of fun to watch, Ufotable really outdid themselves. If I had to choose the best feel-good anime series I’ve ever seen, this would be way up there.

    I really liked Mikan’s talk with Manabi where she says now she can see the world as Manabi can–I firmly believe your attitude is the single biggest part of what determines if you’re happy or not, and Manabi’s a perfect example. I thought Mikan did a good job showing how most of us feel at graduation, or really the end of any major endeavor our lives–a mix of looking forward to the future, but at the same time not wanting to leave a place and a group of friends which created so many great memories.

    Talking about college graduation brings back memories, it’s hard to believe it was a dozen years ago in my case, just doing the math makes me feel old now ^_^; I’ll always look back on college fondly, but it’s definitely not the end, it’s just the beginning of something even better, and the friends you make in college that really mean a lot to you, you keep in touch with forever.

  3. 3 Darkshaunz May 21, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    TheBigN, awesome pad you have here,

    I’d just thought I’d point out something about the last picture in this entry (I haven’t wached MS unfortunately).

    It reminds me of the Azumanga Daioh ending with all the girls lining up in that same fare. Was this an intentional tribute?

    Despite not having watched the show, I can tell I’d me a Mai-guy. She just has this Natsuki vibe about her.


  4. 4 TheBigN May 21, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    omo: It takes a while before I “get” stuff sometimes. Makes things tiring, but fun when you actually “understand”.

    suguru: Agreed on all points. And as someone graduating in only a couple of days, I hope that I’ve made lasting friendships.

    Darkshaunz: I didn’t really notice it, and I don’t think it’s intentional, but nice mention of it. 😛

  5. 5 Pete Zaitcev May 22, 2007 at 12:48 am

    My graduation wasn’t traumatic. I pretty much continued to do what I was doing already.

    BTW, looks like spamcatcher eats my comments.

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