Kujibiki♥Unbalance (くじびき♥アンバランス Kujibiki♥Anbaransu?), also referred to as Kujibiki "Heart" Unbalance in order to differentiate it from its original incarnation, is a 12-episode Fall 2006 anime series created by Shimoku Kio. It originated within Genshiken, Kio's primary work, as the metafictional Kujibiki Unbalance, a manga (and later anime) series which the characters could read, watch, and discuss on a regular basis.
At the same time, it was an homage to, as well as a parody of, the many clichés of contemporary manga and anime. That version was also made into a 3-episode OVA in 2004, ostensibly as episodes 1, 21, and 25 of the 26-episode anime watched by the characters of Genshiken.
The 2006 version is, however, substantially different from the incarnation originally presented within Genshiken (though it has since appeared there in this form as well), featuring redesigned characters and a new (though familiar) plot line. A manga adaptation of this version, drawn by noted dojinshi artist Keito Koume (with creator Kio handling writing duty), was serialized in Afternoon magazine from September 2006 (November issue) to December 2007 (February 2008 issue); the second and final volume was released on 28 December 2007.
This version of Kujibiki Unbalance has its roots, as with the original, in Genshiken. Within the Genshiken universe, Kujibiki Unbalance (without the heart) is a popular manga serialized in Kudansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazune, written by Yuu Kuroki (a nod to Ken Akamatsu, whose work runs in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine). This manga, in turn, spawns a 26-episode anime adaptation focusing on the initial "Student Body Tournament" arc, which airs some time during Kanji Sasahara's first two years at Shiiou University. Despite the Genshiken's interest in the anime, fans complain that the tone of the series is uneven: the two halves are handled by two different directors, there is shoddy animation quality in several key episodes, and the conclusion, aside from never airing during the broadcast run, doesn't actually conclude anything. As a result, the reception of the series is mixed at best. Later on, a new anime series is announced. Instead of picking up where the previous series left off, however, it is a complete re-imagining of the story, with new character designs and a story independent of the manga. (This situation parallels that of the Negima! anime, whose successor, Negima!?, takes the series in a completely different direction.) This is that series.
In the real world, the anime version of Kujibiki Unbalance that appeared within Genshiken was made into a 3-episode OVA, made up of episodes 1, 21, and 25 of the supposed 26-episode series; that was all that was made for this version of the anime. The second Kujibiki Unbalance TV series was first announced as "Genshiken season 2" by Media Factory Inc. at Comiket 69. This was later clarified in May 2006, as a 12-episode Kujibiki Unbalance series.. Nevertheless, the DVD releases of this series do each include an OVA episode of Genshiken, for a total of 3 new episodes. In addition to the anime, a manga version ran in Kodansha's monthly Afternoon magazine, while a two-volume light novel series was released in late 2006 and early 2007.
While presented in a much more "straight" fashion than its predecessor, this version of Kuji-Un once again delves into metafictional devices through the presence of Genshiken members in the next-episode previews, who comment on what they've watched, and cement the series' place as "fiction within fiction." Moreover, despite airing in its entirety on Japanese television in Fall 2006, it later appears in Genshiken episodes 13 through 15 (included with the DVD release of this series), and the later Genshiken 2, as a point of interest for the main characters. At one point, Kanji Sasahara can be seen reading the real-life first volume of this series' manga, while (contrary to the Genshiken manga), Chika Ogiue and Makoto Kousaka end up cosplaying as characters from this anime.
At the gigantic and prestigious Rikkyouin academy the position of everyone in school is determined through a lottery. The school is ruled by the student council headed by the president who wears a giant helmet as a symbol of status. The anime follows the adventure of the four people who drew the lottery tickets to become next years student council. They must complete a variety of tasks set before them by the current student council, with failure resulting in immediate expulsion. The tasks will usually be of a mundane nature, but will inevitably end up in a dramatic fashion involving robots, aliens, terrorists, spies and so forth.
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Next Term's Student Council
- Chihiro Enomoto (榎本千尋 Enomoto Chihiro?)
- The series protagonist. Up until his entrance into high school, he had always had miserable luck, being plagued by rain showers, getting left behind by others, falling into ditches, stepping on dog feces, etc. At the entrance lottery, however, he ends up becoming a candidate for the next term's Student Council President. After that, his luck changes for the better, and he becomes capable of feats of incredible odds. 5 years earlier, he lost his parents in a traffic accident, and as such, he lives together with his sister Shinobu. He is skilled at doing all kinds of housework.
- Voiced by: Fujiko Takimoto (Japanese), Rich McNanna (English)
- Tokino Akiyama (秋山時乃 Akiyama Tokino?)
- Chihiro's childhood friend, who ends up becoming a candidate for the next term's Student Council Vice-President alongside Chihiro. She has had good luck since birth, not once having had the bad fortune to be caught in a rainshower or just barely miss the train. She has gone through life on luck and intuition alone, so she carries with her a deep faith in luck, as well as a (perhaps groundless) self-confidence and innocence.
- Voiced by: Ai Nonaka (Japanese), Veronica Taylor (English)
- Renko Kamishakujii (上石神井蓮子 Kamishakujii Renko?)
- Candidate for next term's Student Council Secretary. She may be small in stature, but she is a domineering, brazen, vainglorious mad scientist. Because of this fact, she is frequently seen wearing a white lab coat. She treats Kaoruko like a slave, and produces a variety of questionable inventions, such as the mecha used in episode 1. While annoyed at having to work as a team (not to mention the dispositions of her team members), Renko proves on many occasions to be an integral member of the group. She also loves Pandas.
- Voiced by: Ikue Ohtani (Japanese), Angora Deb (English)
- Koyuki Asagiri (朝霧小雪 Asagiri Koyuki?)
- A student at Rikkyoin Academy's Elementary School division. She is extremely shy and introverted, but also very determined. Her house is located right next to the school, and she lives with her sister Komaki, who runs the noodle shop "Umeya" for the student clientele. She has psychic powers triggered by moments of extreme emotional stress, which she tries to keep secret from others; this contributes to her isolation from her peers. With the help of Chihiro, however, she may be coming out of her shell just a bit.
- Voiced by: Kazuko Kojima (Japanese), Michelle Knotz (English)
Current Student Council
- Ritsuko Kübel Kettenkrad (律子·キューベル·ケッテンクラート Ritsuko Kyūberu Kettenkurāto?)
- The current Student Council President. Taking pride in the greatest luck and intellect in the history of the school, she is said to possess the most valuable leadership skills and charisma in generations. She is half-Japanese: her father is a German with noble blood, and a CEO of a major company; her mother is Japanese. She is a childhood friend of Chihiro's, and lives in his neighborhood.
- Voiced by: Ami Koshimizu (Japanese), Anna Morrow (English)
- Kasumi Kisaragi (如月香澄 Kisaragi Kasumi?)
- The current Student Council Vice-President who lives at a shrine. Despite her gentle demeanor and a feminine bearing she is extremely powerfull. She wields a sword but rarely draws it, has martial art skills enabling her to effortlessly defeat Renko's creations, and can use magical Shikigami powers to create paper copies of herself.
- Voiced by: Yukana Nogami (Japanese), Rachel Lillis (English)
- Lisa Humvee (リサ·ハンビー Risa Hanbī?)
- The current Student Council Treasurer. She appears rough, but she makes very precise calculations. She is a good-hearted, sociable, cheerful American girl. She seems impoverished, and lives such a lifestyle. According to some reports, she has 10-figure entries in her bank book, but it cannot be verified.
- Voiced by: Reiko Takagi (Japanese), Dana Halstead (English)
- Kaoruko Yamada (山田薫子 Yamada Kaoruko?)
- Kaoruko is Renko's "assistant" and thus always at her side. She is relentlessly upbeat and often tries to smooth over Renko's temper by putting her outbursts into more tactful form; nevertheless, she receives a fair amount of abuse when her attitude conflicts with Renko's serious, aloof demeanor. Kaoruko also figures heavily in a variety of Renko's inventions, often as the brains of whatever device has been created for the occasion. (While it not stated outright at first, it becomes clear that Kaoruko herself is actually an android, which explains why she interfaces so easily with Renko's other inventions.)
- Voiced by: Yuko Goto (Japanese), Lisa Ortiz (English)
- Shinobu Enomoto (Enomoto Shinobu?)
- Chihiro's older sister and a teacher at the academy. She is well liked by her students and has the outer appearance of a lovable person. In reality she is both mean and violent with a past of being the leader of a gang of delinquents, she also dreams of having an incestous relationship with her brother. Chihiro is completely oblivious of this.
- Voiced by: Yuko Sasamoto (Japanese), Georgette Reilly (English)
- Komaki Asagiri (Asagiri Komaki?)
- Koyuki's older sister and a student at the academy. She is the manager of a small noodle shop that becomes the protagonists favorite spot to hang out after school. Her secret identity is the leader of the R3S special security service that protects the academy against inner and outer enemies.
- Voiced by: Masayo Kurata (Japanese), Mandy Bonhomme (English)
|#||Title||Original air date|
|01||Everyone gets a surprise at school. 7 Points ◐
"Minna, gakkō de odoroku. Nana-ten ◐" (みんな、がっこうでおどろく.7点 ◐)
|On his first day at Rikkyoin Academy, Chihiro and his friend Tokino are selected to be the next term's Student Council President and Vice-President, respectively. Together with Renko, the candidate for Secretary, they must track down their group's Treasurer, who will disqualify the whole group unless they can all make it to the current President's office in less than 24 hours.|
|02||You must be able to keep a promise. 2 Points ●
"Yakusoku o mamorenai to dame da. Ni-ten ●" (やくそくをまもれないとだめだ.2点 ●)
|Chihiro and his team are put in charge of running the school store, then must foil a bomb plot against Ritsuko before it's too late.|
|03||Siblings are a pain. 6 Points ◑
"Kyōdai ga taihen da. Roku-ten ◑" (きょうだいがたいへんだ.6点 ◑)
|Chihiro and company are put in charge of retrieving a panda that escaped from the zoo in order to avoid an international incident. Meanwhile, Shinobu plots to wrest her brother's attentions from the student council by means of a love potion.|
|04||Shall we pay a visit on Sunday? 5 Points ◐
"Nichiyōbi ni asobō ka. Go-ten ◐" (にちようびにあそぼうか.5点 ◐)
|Chihiro's group is reprimanded for their antics while cleaning a pond. That weekend, Tokino convinces Chihiro to come to the school with her and retrieve something she forgot. The trip turns into an exploration of the entire campus, leading to an unexpected meeting with the President herself.|
|05||Maybe friends will understand. 1 Point ●
"Tomodachi ga wakaru ka mo shirenai. It-ten ●" (ともだちがわかるかもしれない.1点 ●)
|It's summer vacation, and confronted with the prospect of spending it with the other Student Council candidates, Renko erupts in rage and stalks off alone to her family's summer house. Her departure shakes the normally-irrepressible Tokino, who holds herself responsible for Renko's behavior. But a chance reunion and a perilous situation, along with a little help from Kaoruko, may help show Renko what friendship really means.|
|06||I'll absolutely keep this a secret. 8 Points ○
"Zettai, naisho ni shite okō. Hachi-ten ○" (ぜったい、ないしょにしておこう.8点 ○)
|Summer break has ended, and Chihiro & co.'s first assignment for the new term is to keep the school newspaper from folding by finding a scoop. However, Koyuki is terrified that with their cameras trained everywhere, her psychic powers (which she's hidden from even her team members) might come to light. Chihiro must find a scoop and protect Koyuki's secret, before the paper's deadline.|
|07||I'll listen to what my superiors say. 4 Points ◑
"Erai hito no hanashi o kiku. Yon-ten ◑" (えらいひとのはなしをきく.4点 ◑)
|The Student Council candidates are told of a massive spy infiltration at Rikkyoin, and are told to capture just one of them within a week's time. To that end, Tokino's classmate Izumi Tachibana is assigned to help Chihiro's group in their efforts. But Izumi is not what she seems, and Tokino's steadfast trust in her puts her in harm's way and at odds with Kasumi, the current Vice-President.|
|08||I've forgotten about the past. 7 Points ◐
"Mukashi no koto o wasurete iru. Nana-ten ◐" (むかしのことをわすれている.7点 ◐)
|Chihiro's peaceful weekend is interrupted by Tokino, who reminds him that it's Ritsuko's birthday. Despite not being invited, they are allowed into her party by a man who turns out to be her fiancé. Amongst the celebrations, memories and feelings (not to mention an elderly chicken) intertwine to make all three old friends question their relationship to each other.|
|09||The fireworks were beautiful. 5 Points ◐
"Hanabi ga kirei ni mieta. Go-ten ◐" (はなびがきれいにみえた.5点 ◐)
|Renko is kidnapped by the aliens from Episode 6, and the others must find her before their next assignment of serving VIPs during the Annual Rikkyoin fireworks festival.|
|10||Though we search for it, it isn't there. 3 Points ◐
"Sagashite mo, soko ni wa nai. San-ten ◐" (さがしても、そこにはない.3点 ◐)
|Koyuki is kidnapped, and her sister is sent to investigate. Koyuki is brainwashed to be a psychic weapon. Komaki finds Koyuki's whereabouts and discovers that their brother was the kidnapper. When she returns defeated, the Student Council prohibits the others' involvement. However, Chihiro and the others resolve to mount a rescue.|
|11||Stumbling in the dark. 0 Points ●
"Kurai tokoro de tsumazuku. Zero-ten ●" (くらいところでつまずく.0点 ●)
|The Student Council Candidates are suspended for their actions in the previous episode. During their suspension, Chihiro is called out by the Vice-president pretending to be Ritsuko. She tries to convince Chihiro to withdraw his candidacy, but she is barely stopped by Ritsuko. Her past relationship with Ritsuko is explored. Chihiro becomes unsure of himself.|
|12||Let's make our dreams come true. 9 Points ○
"Yume o kanaete miyō. Kyū-ten ○" (ゆめをかなえてみよう.9点 ○)
|Tokino loses her good luck while being depressed about Chihiro. She confronts Ritsuko about Chihiro's withdrawal. Ritsuko then confronts Vice-president Kasumi about her rebellion. Afterwards, Chihiro is invited out by Ritsuko in casual dress. The series ends with Chihiro crowned as the President, and as he is about to give his speech, a dove dropping lands on his shoes.|
- Opening Theme
- Ai (あい?, "Love") performed by Saori Atsumi
- Ending Theme
- Harmonies* performed by Tokino and Ritsuko (Ai Nonaka and Ami Koshimizu)
The plot of the manga roughly follows that of the anime, though there are some deviations, as noted below. Additionally, each volume of the manga adaptation also includes a bonus manga at the end, drawn by Shimoku Kio himself and featuring the characters from Genshiken at approximately the same time (in-universe) as the volume was originally released.
|1||ISBN 978-4063144505||ISBN 978-0345506283||2007-04-23||2008-07-29|
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|2||ISBN 978-4063144833||ISBN 978-0345506290||2007-12-28||2008-12-30|
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- Genshiken (progenitor series)
- Kujibiki Unbalance (original incarnation)
- Kujibiki Unbalance: Kaichō Onegai Smash Fight
- "NEWS FLASH: Genshiken Anime Season 2 Announced". Heisei Democracy. January 10, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-24. External link in
- "New Kujian Anime". Anime News Network. May 24, 2006. Retrieved 2006-05-24.
- "("Goods" page on the official Genshiken website)". 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-12. Unknown parameter
- (Japanese) Official Kujibiki Unbalance Homepage
- Anime News Network Encyclopedia: Kujibiki Unbalance TV entry