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Kumagawa Misogi: Perfectly Imperfect | Medaka Box [TRANSCRIPT]


A reupload of the recent episode on Medaka Box, now with the complete transcript!

Hi everyone!
‘Sup guys?
It’s finally here! The last episode of Season 4!
And we know what you guys want out of this one. Not that we could possibly miss it. You guys’ve been preeetty clear about want to see us talk about this.
Almost a year later, we’re finally taking another look at Medaka Box!
And this time we’re dipping into the manga for a bit to talk about a character who wasn’t given a whole lot of time to shine in the anime. We are, of course, talking about the series’s breakout character – Kumagawa Misogi.
This is our look at the Kumagawa Incident Arc!

For all you anime-only fans out there, weeell… sorry! You’re probably not gonna get 99% of this! Just the nature of the beast! Ahaha!
For those of you who have read it, though, let’s just be honest, here. The Kumagawa Incident Arc was absolutely peak Medaka Box.
It really was! And a lot of that was thanks to Kumagawa, himself! He was the character holding up the entire arc and responsible for taking Medaka Box from a standard Shounen Battle manga to something really special!
It’s not really surprising that he’s the MVP of the arc. Hell, he’s close to being the MVP of the entire friggin’ manga. And this arc starts that trend by thrusting him into the front of it all.
Not only that, but Kumagawa manages to be something that no other character before him really is! The perfect foil to such a perfect character. Just by existing, he really puts Medaka under a microscope. It’s a real treat to watch because they enhance each other a lot!
And even setting that aside, the commentary and storytelling gymnastics at work from the moment he’s introduced are just… just game changing, man. It shakes up the whole series.

Starting from the very top, you kind of start to notice something about the arc and ask a certain question. “Who’s story is this?”
It’s not entirely Medaka’s. We said it last time, but up until now, she’s mostly been a Flat Arc character. Someone who doesn’t go through much personal change, themselves, but changes those around them based on their actions!
Here, though? Not so much!. In fact, Kumagawa actively neutralizes that. One of the most defining traits about Medaka is her tendency to extend love to even her enemies. But Medaka finds Kumagawa so revolting that she can’t bring herself to forgive him, let alone try to redeem him. In this instance, her patience and goodwill are being well and truly tested. And it falls on the others to live by the example she set for them before.
So then it’s their story, right? Nope! Sure, each character has a sort of mini-arc in the whole thing, but they’re all side characters. Even Zenkichi barely does anything in the arc, after his fight and his mom’s fight. So that only leaves one character to take the main character crown!
That’s right. Remember the video we did, talking about how Shinjo Akane was the main character of SSSS.Gridman? Well, the same principle applies here. The main character of the story is none other than Kumagawa, himself.
It makes sense, right? After all, he gets more screentime than any other character in the arc – even the title character.
He directly participates in three of the matches. And the other characters spend more time talking about him than any other individual. But beyond that, there’s the obvious thing.
Kumagawa goes through a change arc of his own. Over the course of the story, you get to see more and more of his persona chipped away. He watches his plans get foiled by an outside source once Zenkichi gets brought back to life – long story.
He nearly has a fit when Zenkichi’s mom resists his attempts at getting her to cave under the pressure from the potential possibility of losing her son. Something he successfully pulled on her when he was a child, I might add.
And he has a serious meltdown when one of the few people he actually cares about – a fellow Minus, like him – sacrifices herself for him and Zenkichi. Not because she was on the brink of death-
She got better, by the way.
Not even because she didn’t have to do that. But because she reformed.
She changed her outlook to something more positive. Something more in line with Medaka’s thinking. It forced him to confront the fact that his perception of reality was a lot more fragile than he thought. And, in the end, even he changes after facing that truth – Medaka’s truth – head-on. Sincerely.
And it’s only after he decides to stop pretending that Medaka finally remembers her own truth and acknowledges him. Even when brought down to his level, she stays true to her beliefs, which completely shatters his viewpoint. But at least then he was able to lose in a way he could be content with after finally acknowledging some of his better aspects.
And there’s still more we could add. Like, for example, how Kumagawa is basically ahead of everyone for damn near the entire arc.
Yeah, that’s true! Pretty much all the heroes spend the entire time on the back foot! They don’t get to set the pace at all!
They are constantly reacting to him. Sure they make plans to try and beat him to the punch at times. And Naze does manage to outdo him with her own crazy preparedness during her own fight… sorta. But it’s ultimately all Kumagawa driving the story. You could make a strong argument that he’s one of the protagonists of the story, as much as he’s an antagonist. It’s really great.
One of the things that makes Kumagawa so awesome is his relationship with Medaka. It’s not even really about their direct interactions! It’s just that they contrast each other perfectly! Like me and Riley!
I… don’t think… that sounded as good out loud as it did in your head.
Ahaha! Pro’lly not!
But… she’s right. Everything about them is pretty much entirely opposed to the other. For example, you’ll notice when Kumagawa speaks that his dialogue is almost all in brackets. Those are basically Japanese quotation marks. And it’s a way of indicating that he’s “in character.” It’s a facade. He’s a petty, manipulative sociopath. But he hides it all beneath a humorous, smiling mask that doesn’t look threatening to anyone.
Because of that, it’s really hard to tell if he’s being insincere or not! He lies a lot. And he’s usually pretty blatant about it! Yet you still can’t always be sure.
It’s the exact opposite of Medaka. Sure, she may have one hell of an alien thought pattern, but if there’s one thing you can always trust her to be, it’s honest. She’s blunt, straightforward, and always One-Million Percent Sincere.
Deception doesn’t suit her anyway! She’s all about lifting others up and helping them become their best selves so everyone can be happy!
But Kumagawa… Kumagawa is somethin’ else. He lives to drag people down around him, bringing them all to his level and spreading misery to happy people. He’s all about making a world where the negative people – the Minuses – can live without being looked down on.
Yeah! If anything, there’s one key way they’re alike, though, and that all comes down to their reputations! I mean, both Medaka and Kumagawa are looked up to by the people they represent. Medaka’s loved by her classmates. And despite everything, the Minuses actually genuinely respect and look up to Kumagawa.
By absolute contrast, the Plus students and normals all absolutely tremble at the mere thought of Kumagawa. At least during the time of this arc. And the students of Class Minus 13 hate Medaka. But there is one key difference, even here. At the very end of the arc, something else comes up.
It turns out trying to make everyone miserable isn’t a great way to make friends! Whoops!
Yep. See, the benefit of trying to make everyone happy is that Medaka can easily turn enemies to allies. Or… well… supporters, at the very least. So while Medaka had a crowd of her enemies supporting her during her fight with Kumagawa-
Kumagawa had… no one. At least not that he didn’t already have. And that was actually one of the major things that got him to reshape the way he thought. It was a really great moment, all things considered.
But if there’s one thing I really love about this arc, it’s what it does with storytelling mechanics. I appreciate any story that can play with the rules of storytelling in a really interesting way. The Kumagawa Incident Arc is one of those stories.
It’s all over the place and littered with commentary! But the best of it all is just how much the arc messes with so many of the typical battle shounen tropes!
Don’t get it twisted. It still uses those tropes. But it does so by reconstructing them after a thorough deconstruction period. Not gonna get into the particulars of that here. If you want our breakdown on those terms, check out our first video on Medaka Box and the episode we did on Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru.
One thing I really appreciate, actually, is how this arc doesn’t just try to go bigger than before, though. Sure, there’s that classic rule of Shounen escalation-
Something the series admittedly falls into hard, later on… Probably to its detriment…
But the arc also goes a lot deeper with the story, as well! You’re getting to see into the heads and philosophies of a lot of the characters as the whole thing goes on! And it’s really well done!
Yeah. Unzen might’ve brought on the genre shift for the series to start trending in a more typical Battle Shounen direction, but Kumagawa definitely brought a different flavor to things, making the series skew smarter, not harder.
And there you have it!
Really, Kumagawa is one of – if not the best – character in Medaka Box. The Kumagawa Incident Arc absolutely carries the series and I honestly don’t think it ever reached quite the same peak, in terms of storytelling, after it.
Kumagawa, himself, isn’t just a really interesting, charismatic character who’s a lot of fun despite being pretty awful. He steals the show. Not just in the audience perspective, but literally! He makes the whole show about him, just by appearing!
He’s absolutely as perfect a foil to a perfect character as you can possibly get. And all that does is enhance not just her character, but also his own.
And his entrance into the series really just propels it to way greater heights!
What else can we call him but the MVP?
If nothing else, I’d love to see at least this arc adapted for the anime! C’mon, that’d be amazing!
I… wouldn’t get my hopes up. But, hey, that’s pretty much all we’ve got on that subject. So what do you guys think of Kumagawa? Drop a comment below and give that like button a zap while you’re down there.
We did it! Season 4 is officially behind us! Now it’s on to Season 5!
Work work work. Well, far be it for me to complain. We’ll take us a little break, then we’ll be back in full force with Season 5 soon. Keep an eye out for the teaser, when it drops.
I think you’ll like what we already have planned! But if there are any shorter anime or manga you’d like to see us cover, feel free to let us know, down below!
Don’t forget to subscribe, follow the site, yadda yadda.
This was fun! I already can’t wait to get back to it!
Yeah. But for now, you guys know the drill. This has been Bulletoon!
I’m Rila, signing off!
I’m Riley, bowin’ out!
Thanks for Watching!
Keep up the Awesome! And-
STAY TOON’D!

Rila – Mocha Vampire

Riley – AxusX
also on AstroPill

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