S · A: Special A

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S · A: Special A
Special A cover.jpg
Cover of the first tankōbon volume as published by Hakusensha
S·A(スペシャル·エー)
(S·A (Supesharu Ē))
Genre Romantic comedy, School story
Manga
Written by Maki Minami
Published by Hakusensha
English publisher
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Hana to Yume
Original run April 1, 2003March 19, 2009
Volumes 17
Anime television series
Directed by Miyao Yoshikazu
Studio AIC, Gonzo
Licensed by
Original network Chiba TV
English network
Original run April 6, 2008September 14, 2008
Episodes 24 (List of episodes)
Manga
S・A - Street Fight
Written by Maki Minami
Published by Hakusensha
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Hana to Yume
Original run 2012 – present
Volumes 1
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

S · A: Special A (S·A(スペシャル·エー)?, S·A (Supesharu Ē)), also known as Special A or S.A, is a shōjo manga by Maki Minami. The series started serialization in the bimonthly magazine The Hana to Yume in 2003, and moved to the biweekly magazine Hana to Yume in 2004, after running for four chapters.[1] The series ended after 99 chapters on March 19, 2009.[2]

Special A has been licensed for English-language release in North America by Viz Media and in Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment. The series has also been licensed in Germany, Italy, Poland, France and Taiwan.[3][4]

In 2007, Hana to Yume announced an anime adaptation of Special A, animated by Gonzo and AIC;[1] the animated series ran for 24 episodes from April 6, 2008 to September 14, 2008 in Japan.[citation needed]

In 2013, Hana to Yume released a single volume sequel called Special A - Street Fight.

Setting

Hakusenkan (or Private Hakusen Academy) is the best school in the prefecture. The classes are separated into A–F based on grades. The A class is only open for the top students in each grade. The top seven within the A class, from first year to third year, are known as the Special A or SA class (hence the title). The members of SA are highly respected and are often seen being elaborately greeted by other students with the exception of few that dislike the SA. The SA class has its own building, a 19th-century styled greenhouse dubbed "The School's Paradise". They also have a kitchen, where Akira makes her afternoon tea. Class attendance is optional, but Hikari is the only one who chooses to attend classes. Their uniform is also different from the standard uniform. The members of the SA have been close friends since elementary school.

Plot

Hikari Hanazono has always been second to Kei Takishima. When they were six years old, their pro-wrestling loving fathers introduced them to each other. Assuming that she was the best in wrestling, young Hikari challenged Kei to a wrestling match only to be thoroughly defeated by him. Ever since that fateful incident, Hikari swore to beat Kei in school grades, sporting events or any competition. To do this, she has enrolled in the same school as Kei since elementary. Now she attends Hakusenkan, an ultra elite school for the wealthy, that costs her carpenter father a lot of money. Hikari and Kei are the top two students in the school, with Kei holding firmly to that number one position. While Hikari considers Kei to be a rival and important friend, she is completely unaware that Kei has strong feelings for her.

The series primarily focuses on Hikari and her constant attempts to defeat her one and only rival, Kei, and how she finds love in their rivalry. However, Special A also follows the stories of the other five members of the S.A class – Akira Toudou, Tadashi Karino, Megumi and Jun Yamamoto, and Ryuu Tsuji – and their relationships. Yahiro Saiga and Sakura Ushikubo, two students from the rival academy Kokusen, also become recurring characters in the series.


Media

Drama CDs

On February 23, 2007, a Special A drama CD was released in Japan. It focuses on Valentine's Day.

Voice cast:

A second drama CD was released on June 18, 2008. It focuses around the boys of the S.A class. The CD also includes background music tracks from the anime. A third drama CD was released in August 2008, focusing on the girls of the S.A class and includes more tracks of the background music from the anime. Both drama CDs use the anime cast.

Anime

In 2007's 21st issue of Hana to Yume, it was announced that S.A would have a 24 episode anime adaptation. The anime began airing in Japan on April 6, 2008.

The anime has been picked up for release in North America by Sentai Filmworks; it is distributed by Section23 Films. The first part of season 1 came out on November 10, 2009, and the second collection was released on January 19, 2010.[5] A complete collection was released on April 4, 2011. The series was re-issued again featuring a new English dub on July 16, 2013. In Italy was broadcast on Rai 4 on May 22, 2011 at 10.30am and ended October 30, 2011.

Music

1st opening theme
"Special Days" (episodes 1 - 12)
Performed by Yuko Goto, Hitomi Nabatame and Ayahi Takagaki
1st ending theme
"Hidamari no Gate" (陽だまりのゲート) (episodes 1 - 12, 24)
Performed by Jun Fukuyama, Hiro Shimono, Tsubasa Yonaga, Kazuma Horie
2nd opening theme
"Gorgeous 4U" (episodes 13 - 24)
Performed by Jun Fukuyama, Hiro Shimono, Tsubasa Yonaga, Kazuma Horie
2nd ending theme
"Special Gyutto Good Luck!" (スペシャル☆ギュッとGood luck!) (episodes 13 - 23)
Performed by Yuko Goto, Hitomi Nabatame, and Ayahi Takagaki

Reception

The series has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Katherine Dacey compared the central two characters as "a gender reversed Frank Butler and Annie Oakley", and noted that Kei comes off as "rather sexist".[6] Erin Finnegan disliked the manga, because the secondary characters were poorly developed and she felt the story was misogynistic.[7] Jennifer Dunbar enjoyed the wish-fulfilment of seeing rich kids "getting to do whatever they want" without being conceited about this, but felt the complications in the last volume were boring.[8] Jason Thompson disliked the "action slapstick" of the first two volumes, but felt that even after the two leads became more fleshed out as characters through their romance that the series was "founded on cliches" and felt the rest of the cast was underdeveloped.[9] Allen Moody of THEM Anime Reviews gave a more positive review of series, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and stating that although the first set of episodes focused too much on the Kei/Hikari rivalry, the later episodes were able to develop the characters more and eventually become likable in their own way.[10]

References

  1. ^ a b "Special A Shōjo Manga to be Animated for Television". Anime News Network. 2007-10-04. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  2. ^ "Maki Minami's Special A Manga to End in Japan in March". Anime News Network. 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-03-27. 
  3. ^ moshi_moshi (2011-11-27). "S.A. Special A tom 1". Tanuki.pl (in Polish). Warsaw: Małgorzata Kaczarowska. 318 (2279). ISSN 1898-8296. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  4. ^ "Testata : Sa Special A" (in Italian). Star Comics s.r.l. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  5. ^ "Section23 Films Announces November Releases". Anime News Network. 2009-09-02. 
  6. ^ Dacey, Katherine (2007-11-13). "On the Shojo Beat: Godchild, Nana, and S.A.". PopCultureShock.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  7. ^ Finnegan, Erin (2008-09-10). "Manga Recon » Blog Archive » On the Shojo Beat: S.A, Vols. 2-6". PopCultureShock.com. Archived from the original on 2011-12-28. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  8. ^ Dunbar, Jennifer (2009-12-17). "Manga Recon » Blog Archive » On the Shojo Beat: Butterflies, Flowers and More!". PopCultureShock.com. Archived from the original on 2012-02-22. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  9. ^ "Science Fiction and Fantasy Books, Movies, Comics, and Games". Suvudu. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  10. ^ "THEM Anime Reviews 4.0 - S.A". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 

External links

  • Special A - official site for the anime (Japanese)
  • Special A at Shojo Beat
  • S.A (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
  • S.A (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
  • ANN Sub DVD Collection 1 review
  • ANN Sub DVD Collection 2 review
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