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Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! (がくえんゆーとぴあ まなびストレート! Gakuen Yūtopia Manabi Sutorēto!?, often shortened to Manabi Straight!) is a Japanese manga series created by the animation studio Ufotable and illustrated by Japanese artist Tartan Check. The manga was serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Dengeki Daioh, published by MediaWorks, between December 1, 2005 and December 21, 2007. A twelve-episode anime series aired on TV Tokyo between January 8 and March 26, 2007, and is complemented by a bonus episode released exclusively on DVD on October 10, 2007. A PlayStation 2 visual novel based on the series was released in Japan on March 29, 2007, developed by Marvelous Interactive. The series is set in a fictional future concerning the lives of a group of high school girls.

Plot

Manabi Straight! follows the lives of a group of young high school girls living in the year 2035 while they attend the all-girl Seioh Private High School (私立聖桜学園 Shiritsu Seiō Gakuen?). Since the birth rate has dropped dramatically, schools are being closed down due to the sheer lack of students available to teach. Morale in schools has dropped dramatically, and Seioh is no exception.

The story begins when the main character, Manami Amamiya, transfers to Seioh High School. Manami is an active girl with a positive personality, often shouting her personal motto Massugu Go! (まっすぐ Go!?, meaning "Go straight ahead!") as a motivator for herself to go forward in life. Despite it being the day before her first day, Manami decides to go to Seioh to witness the forty-fifth swim meet where four members from six classes participate in a relay race against each other. On the way to school, Manami, or Manabi as she wants to be called, meets Mika Inamori, a shy student of Seioh who was to participate in the swim meet, despite her not knowing how to swim. After an intense ride together on Manami's futuristic scooter, they end up literally crashing the meet over the fence and into the pool. Due to Mika's inability to swim, Manami stands in for her, though she is not very helpful. The next day during a meeting led by the student council in front of the entire school, Mika, the lone student council member and secretary, tries to rally students to join the council, but is initially met with an apathetic audience. Suddenly, Manami bursts through the doors of the auditorium on her scooter only to be summarily punished for the disruption. Manami shows interest in becoming the student council president, but since she is a new student and has already caused trouble for the school twice, the principal is reluctant to allow Manami to become the president. To show the school how much she wants to lead the student body, Manami begins to sing the school song of Seioh after hearing it for the first time the day before. At the conclusion of the song, Manami is inducted as the student council president and received well by the entire school.

The story that follows pertains to Manami working with Mika, and three other classmates named Mutsuki Uehara, Mei Etoh, and Momoha Odori, in student council matters, despite Manami and Mika initially being the only official members. After some remodeling of the student council room, Manami and her friends set forth to plan for the upcoming student festival.

Characters

File:Manabi Straight! characters.JPG
Manami Amamiya (天宮 学美 Amamiya Manami?)
Voiced by: Yui Horie
Manami, also known as "Manabi" (まなび?), born on August 30, 2018, has a very active personality and gives everything a lot of effort. It is mainly due to her uplifting personality that other students begin to have more vigor in their lives, in contrast to how bland life was before she transferred. After transferring to Seioh Private High School, she becomes the student council president, and sets forth to transform the lives of the students at the school so as give everyone a better experience while attending Seioh. One of her first decisions is to clean up and remodel the student council room into a café of sorts where any student can come and relax. This spurs a cooperation from many of the other clubs in the school, which helps brings the students together under one project.
Despite her enthusiasm to become the student council president early on Manami soon shows an incapability to lead even a joint student council meeting. Manami relies on her close friends for support for the things she wants to put forth for the sake of the school, while simultaneously giving her friends the motivation they need to continue work within the student council.
Mika Inamori (稲森 光香 Inamori Mika?)
Voiced by: Ai Nonaka
Mika, also known as "Mikan" (みかん?), is a shy and clumsy girl who is constantly falling down and bumping into things. As an only child, she has taken advantage of her position and has been spoiled by her parents. After meeting Manami, Mika becomes very attached to her. At first she was the only member in the student council, taking the position of secretary, but was later joined by Manami when she became the student council president.
At first she is unsure about Manami's strange enthusiasm and is unsure how to work with her within the council. As time passes, Mika begins to become more enthused herself by going along with Manami's plans to reform student life at Seioh. Mika seems to be the least mature of the five main characters, even going as far as to believe "little people" finished the work for the school festival promotional video while she, Minami and Mutsuki were sleeping.
Mutsuki Uehara (上原 むつき Uehara Mutsuki?)
Voiced by: Marina Inoue
Mutsuki, also known as "Mucchii" (むっちー?), is an exceptional athlete whose reputation often precedes her. In effect, sports clubs at school have invited her to participate in several club activities as an honorary member. Not wanting to turn them down, Mutsuki ends up participating in a multitude of other sports-club related activities in addition to the work she puts forth for the student council, despite initially not being an official member. This is due to her liking to help out where she is needed. She has a tomboyish personality, often hitting Mei on the back very hard and sporting a short haircut for a girl. Mutsuki's mannerisms are not feminine either and her voice is deeper than the typical female voice for her age.
Mutsuki has known Mei Etoh as far back as elementary school and often tries to get her to participate with the other main characters as a group rather than distance herself more from them. Mutsuki was the first person Mika became friends with upon entering high school. The two share an odd friendship as they have little in common. Mutsuki is eventually inducted into the student council as the assistant.
Mei Etoh (衛藤 芽生 Etō Mei?)
Voiced by: Aya Hirano
Mei, also known as "Mee-chan" (めぇちゃん?), usually appears to be a stubborn girl who tends to be industrious and competitive despite her standoffish nature. Mei secretly desires to be friendlier, but finds it difficult to express her emotions. This is due to an event in her past during elementary school when she was unanimously voted to be the class representative. Before long, the students in her class started shirking their own duties, in effect giving Mei all the work to do herself. After this treatment from her peers, Mei had lost faith in the intentions of people and distanced herself from others. When greeted by other students, Mei will usually not respond and just keep walking, apparently completely ignoring them, but is in fact too shy to engage in conversation. Mei has very little tolerance for school politics and sees school events for the waste of time that they are. Mei and Mutsuki have known each other since childhood, though Mei does not act like it.
After initially trying to organize the work of the student council, Mei gets inadvertently involved with the council's initial projects after Manami becomes the president, such as remodeling the student council room or helping to organize the inter-school dodgeball tournament. Mei is eventually inducted into the student council as the treasurer.
Momoha Odori (小鳥 桃葉 Odori Momoha?)
Voiced by: Saki Fujita
Momoha, also known as "Momo" (もも?), is a quiet girl from a rich family who may seem lazy since she tends to sleep during class time. She does not talk much, which usually leaves her to not get directly involved with student council affairs. She is a member of the journalism club and broadcast committee, which serve as the reporters of school news either through printed articles or recorded interviews. She is always looking for interesting things to report on and carries around a digital video recorder. Her hobby is videotaping the events of the student council surrounding Manami and her friends.
Shimojima (下嶋?)
Voiced by: Takayasu Usui
Shimojima is the male teacher of Manami's class; Manami started to call him Shimojii (しもじー?) and eventually the other main characters followed suit. He has a lazy and self-deprecating personality; he once came to work after drinking a little too much. Despite this, he has shown an interest in helping Manami in her endeavor in making school life more interesting for the students. Once he donated 5,000 yen to the student council and tried to help with the early planning of the student festival.
Takako Kakuzawa (角沢 多佳子 Kakuzawa Takako?)
Voiced by: Nami Kurokawa
Takako is the student council president of Seioh's sister school Aikoh High School (愛光学園 Aikō Gakuen?). Her school is much more organized and has more money for school matters, such as for the student festival. She has a nice and helping attitude and has leadership abilities which likens her to that of the typical student council president.
Takefumi Amamiya (天宮 武文 Amamiya Takefumi?)
Voiced by: Shinnosuke Tachibana
Takefumi is Manami's older brother and is her only guardian; their parents' whereabouts are unknown. While living together, he is in charge of most of the domestic chores around the house as Manami has to attend school. He loves his little sister very much and was very concerned once when her usual energetic attitude was completely depressed. He is dating the superintendent of Aikoh, Kyōko Kibukawa, a woman eight years his senior.

Media

Manga

The Manabi Straight! manga, with story by Ufotable and illustrated by Tartan Check, was serialized in the Japanese manga magazine Dengeki Daioh between December 1, 2005 and December 21, 2007, published by MediaWorks. Four bound volumes were released between May 27, 2006, and February 27, 2008. The first volume contains the first six chapters, which encompasses the story from the first two episodes of the anime. There are no major differences between the manga and anime.

Anime

The Manabi Straight! anime aired in Japan between January 8 and March 26, 2007 on the TV Tokyo television network; it contained twelve episodes. A thirteenth original video animation episode was released on October 10, 2007. The production staff of Manabi Straight! took a new path in terms of direction, effectively removing the traditional "director" position. Instead, a team of studio producers and episode directors called Team Manabibeya (チームまなび部屋 Chīmu Manabibeya?) shared the burden together, a first for an animation production.[1] Team Manabibeya includes the story director Ryunosuke Kingetsu, the animation director and character designer Atsushi Ogasawara, the layout director Takurowo Takahashi, and the technical director Takayuki Hirao.

Episodes

# Title Original air date
01 Extraterrestrial Manami Appears
"Manami Seijin, Arawaru" (学美星人、あらわる)
January 8, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Manami Amamiya transfers to the all-girl Seioh Private High School and arrives with a bang. Before long, Manami is elected the student council president due to her vigorous personality.
02 Straight Ahead Go
"Massugude Gō" (まっすぐでゴー)
January 15, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Manami and Mika start to clean up the student council room but after initially finding it a daunting task, Mutsuki, Momoha, and even Mei help out to turn the room into a café where the students in the school can hang out.
03 Monday is Too Late
"Getsuyōbi Ja Ososugiru" (月曜日じゃ遅すぎる)
January 22, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
As an effort to get the other schools to work together, Manami plans a dodgeball tournament. Afterwards, when the student councils from the five participating schools meet, they start to discuss what to do for their respective upcoming school festivals. Manami initially gets discouraged that she isn't able to help very much during the discussion.
04 The Film Reel of Promo Go
"Puromo de Gō no Kan" (プロモでゴーの巻)
January 29, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
The student council plans to release a promo video led by Mei to promote the upcoming school festival. However, Mei soon drops out of the project due to trauma from her past related to being a class representative in elementary school, which left her emotionally scarred.
05 The Night of the Two
"Futarikkiri no, Yoru" (ふたりっきりの、夜)
February 5, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Manami has come down with the mumps and thus cannot attend school for one week. In the meantime, Mika tries to become closer friends with Mei while they try to decide before Manami's return what the theme for the school festival shall be.
06 Cinnamon Sugar Raised Happiness
"Shinamon Shugā Reizudo Hapinesu" (シナモンシュガーレイズド·ハピネス)
February 12, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
Summer vacation is coming up, which means final exams to take. The student council is working hard on promoting the student festival and the preparations are going better than expected. The night before their last exam, Mika goes to Mutsuki's house with the pretense of studying, but they both end up going out and having fun all night long. At the end of the episode, it is shown that Mutsuki has joined the student council as the assistant.
07 The End of Summer (Bye-Bye)
"Natsu no Oshimai (Baibai)" (なつのおしまい(ばいばい))
February 19, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
It's the last day of summer vacation, and the student council is working very hard in order to finish some planning for the upcoming student festival. However, after working for so long, the group has lost most of its morale. The student council president from Aikoh, Takako Kakuzawa, visits Seioh to see how they are coming along with the planning of the student council.
08 Fight! Seioh Student Council
"Tatakae Seiō Seitokai!" (たたかえ聖桜生徒会!)
February 26, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
The principal of Seioh High School announces the merger of Seioh and Aikoh High School and the cancellation of the Seioh School Fair. In order to try to change the minds of the administration, Manabi and the student council begin a petition campaign. Later, Manabi returns home to find her brother with his girlfriend, Kyoko Kiyokawa — who happens to be the superintendent of Aikoh High School.
09 Our Song
"Watashitachi no Uta" (わたしたちのうた)
March 5, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
The student council has been given a week to try to gain enough signatures via a petition to save the student festival, but are having serious trouble even getting a single signature. When all seems lost, Momoha manages to take over the school's broadcasting room while she shows clips of the student council working to help improve the school. While initially unsuccessful, this endeavor helped re-energize the student council's spirit.
10 Gathered Friends
"Tsudō Nakamatachi" (集う仲間たち)
March 12, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
The time draws near for the deadline to gain at least 70% approval from the students of Seioh for student festival, but unexpectedly the clock in the clock tower blows up, destroying the student council room along with it. Just when things look bleak, Shimojima shows Manami and her friends the old, abandoned Seioh boarding house and they start to clean it up to create a new student council room. Eventually, more students start coming and a huge group effort is underway to cleanup the entire boarding house.
11 We're Also Watching
"Watashi ni mo Mieru yo" (わたしにもみえるよ)
March 19, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
The school festival is finally underway after receiving 76% aprroval from the students of Seioh, and the entire school is having fun in what will be the last school festival for Seioh High School. Throughout most of the day, the student council stays out of the festival's affairs, but near the end of the day Manami is able to sing a song for the entire school.
12 The Cherry Blossom Colored Futures
"Sakurairo no Miraitachi" (桜色の未来たち)
March 26, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
It is now two years later and the girls are just about to graduate from high school. Everyone is reflecting on the past few years at Seioh and are looking toward the future to where they are going. Mika decides to go to America after graduation and study abroad and her friends are there to see her off.

OVA

# Title Original sale date
01 It's Summer! It's Manabi! It's a Training Camp!
"Natsu da! Manabi da! Kyōkagasshuku da!" (夏だ!まなびだ!強化合宿だ!)
October 10, 2007 {{{FirstEngAirDate}}}
This episode takes place between episodes six and seven from the regular broadcast. Manami and her friends raise money for a trip during summer vacation, but when on the day they go, a storm blows through, and they have to cancel their plans. Instead, they stay in a local hotel in a rural area overnight and go back to their town the following day.

Music

Before the airing of the anime, five character mini albums were released featuring the characters of Manami Amamiya, Mika Inamori, Mutsuki Uehara, Mei Etoh, and Momoha Odori, sung by their respective voice actresses from the anime. On February 7, 2007, the opening and ending themes, "A Happy Life" and "Lucky & Happy" respectively, were released on a single album sung by Megumi Hayashibara and produced by King Records. According to Megumi Hayashibara, she was scheduled to voice Manami Amamiya, but she chose to sing the opening and ending songs instead. It was then decided that Yui Horie would take Manami's role. On February 21, 2007, the first original soundtrack went on sale containing two CDs: the first with background music tracks and the second with remixes of the songs featured on the character mini albums. On March 21, 2007, a single album entitled Seioh Gakuen Kōka Band sung by Yui Horie and Minori Chihara was released with the two insert songs found in episode eleven of the anime. On April 4, 2007, a small album called Miracle Straight! was released containing the opening and ending themes to the video game version. The songs were sung by the voice actresses of the five female main characters from the anime. On May 16, 2007, the second original soundtrack was released containg two CDs: the first with background music tracks and the second with original songs sung by the voice actors who voiced the five main female characters from the series.

Visual novel

A visual novel developed by Marvelous Interactive for the PlayStation 2 entitled Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight! Kira Kira Happy Festa! (がくえんゆーとぴあ まなびストレート! キラキラ☆Happy Festa! Gakuen Yūtopia Manabi Sutorēto! Kira Kira☆Happy Festa!?) was first released on March 29, 2007 as a limited edition version retailing for ¥9,240 (about US$82) including tax.[2] This edition came bundled with a thirty-minute length drama CD and two background music CDs. The normal edition released on the same day will retail for ¥7,140 (about US$64) with tax.[2] The gameplay consists of the player interacting with the game by making choices at key times in the story. While the game consists of several different scenarios, the main one takes place during the summer festival. In the scenario, Manami needs the cooperation and comprehension of the town people in order to ensure the success of the event. Manami and her friends go through various missions in the game while they work and help the people in town get ready for the festival. As an original system built into the game, Manami has the power to give her friends "Hustle Points" that she uses to cheer her friends up during their various missions.[3]

References

  1. Newtype USA December 2006 issue. Kadokawa Shoten. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Script error
  3. "Otakudigest.com on the PS2 video game". Retrieved 2006-12-09. 

External links

zh:校園烏托邦 學美向前衝!

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