Saturday, May 31, 2014

Web Toon Review: C-Students

From deviant annasabi101
From the guy who brought you those autistic Sonic and My Little Pony crossovers and the far less polished series predecessor, Seniors, all around swell weirdo James Barkley (aka AnimatedJames) brings us what his sure to be his Magnum Opus that will eventually be given three shorts and dropped for something basically the same, C-Students

The best part? It's pretty good.

In an attempt to improve upon his first attempt of an original animated series, AnimatedJames made C-Students, a slimmed down and cleaner cut animation that expanded on the original concept of Seniors. The story mostly follows our main three characters, Kevin, Penny, and, August, who are pretty much mixtures of the 7 characters from Seniors. Probably the most notable change actually comes with these characters. Their voices are much more clear and well acted and that's exactly what James was going for. In fact, the audio is much clearer than C-Students, save for maybe one or two characters but remember, internet cartoons aren't usually performed in a major network studio.

So the audio is clear, but that doesn't mean characters are interesting. So how they stack up? While I could go in to the extra bullshit about the Blonde Bitch, sassy black teacher, or the pseudo macho gay Italian (which I should have been offended by because, you know, I'm a whop), I think we should just stick to making profiles for Kevin, Penny, and August.

Kevin, the somehow British kid in an American high school, is a complete douche. That's about it. Oh, okay, there's more to him than that but that's the outstanding quality we get from him. A total slacker whose only conquest is to get laid (perfectly summing up the vast majority of people I met in high school), Kevin mostly pines for the touch of his vaginal clad equivalent Scarlet, who rejects him constantly and blah, blah, blah, it's actually pretty funny. I normally can't stand animated relationship quarrels like this but it really is played off for laughs and pays off well. The line about MTV for example:
"Don't you watch MTV? Hot girls always go for the complete asshole! I don't understand it, but then again, I don't question it either." -Kevin
Kevin's a good friend and the sex and idiotic jokes simply ooze out of the guy. The oblivious cloud of hormones, british swagger, and blatant moments make the character, making up for any negative attributes you might find.

August, voiced by the series creator himself, plays the straight man with a love for sarcasm. He keeps the group together and serves observer for the audience. For the most part he's a kind guy, really the heart out of the three. Honestly though, I can see why someone might find him more vanilla than every one else, after all he could have just as easily been a Mary Sue considering he's basically just James in disguise. There's not much to say, he's an established character with nothing incredibly excellent nor anything awful. However, this is what drives the characters along with a level head and just makes it more fun for viewers. Yes, he's average, but don't we need that to contrast with all the other shit going on?

Yes. Yes we do.

And now we meet my favorite character, Penny. What you think she's my favorite because she's my waifu? You sick fuck, my waifu is Frankie Fost- Disregard that. Okay well, what do I like so much about this character? Well simply put, she's the one who brings a bit of emotion in to a cartoon that's mostly focused on the animated gags and bizarre humor. 

While everyone else is usually doing stuff like appearing out of other peoples' stomachs or having homoerotic fantasies (James, if you're reading this, thank you for that first one), Penny is the one dealing with a problem a lot of us have probably faced: Rejection. While it's initially played for laughs, she tries to keep fitting in, but her spirit is broken when she hears her getting mocked in the halls. This causes a break down and, yeah, it was very surprising to see James try something relatively emotional like this. It's personal, it's real, and it was one of my favorite elements of the cartoon.

I'm rambling at this point but I really do enjoy Penny. While she steals good comedic lines, the emotional point really got me, which makes for an overall great character. I mean shit, she wanted to go to a Reel Big Fish concert! Who the fuck doesn't like Reel Big Fish? Heretics and North Koreans, that's who.

So the characters are pretty good, but what about the story? The humor? Well guess what, they're great too...until the end.

It starts with, as I've said, Kevin trying to get with Scarlet. This scene sets the tone immediately to tell you "Hey, this is some cartoon shit so get ready." Literally first scene is just Kevin pulling his best Looney Tune moves and it's a great starting point. From here, Kevin i shot down and August tries to talk sense in to him, basically by reiterating that Kevin has no shot at all with her, but he should act like a gentlemen.

Cut to Penny's opening, conversing with Scarlet, Applebloom, and the cunt bunch who mock her offer to go see musical gods in action because apparently that's being a hipster. Again like I said, she's rejected by others and eventually brought to Kevin and August's group, which includes twins named Dom and Tom, and a lesbian named Nicole, whose daydream gives us...this moment.

Do you want Porn? Because this is how you get Porn.
So we cut to a classroom where stereotypical Italian dude #6942 causes sassy crazy black teacher to almost lose her cool, mainly because he want to know if she plays the tired trope of crazy teacher. And damn it, Ms. Delight (not fucking with you, that's her name) is hilarious. It may be a tired character idea, but I lose it when she's on screen. This really gets to play with the crazy setting this cartoon sets up with, considering we've ALL wanted to see a teacher do this to that one smart ass in class. 

From here we get more recaps on what's going on. Lesbian looks, Student's not doing homework, Kevin's desperate attempts at getting back with Scarlet, it all leads to even more well timed animated humor. Yet again we get another good line from Kevin about the American hang up with the word "cunt" and it too is both funny and true.

Soon we figure out where we get the name for the series, as August, Kevin, and then later we find Penny all getting C's on the project they turned in. We also get another scene from Mr Italian, but this time it turns out to be another sexy fantasy.

We can only imagine how hard this must have been to make.
Alright well after that Penny then overhears the cunt bunch and responds in what becomes the emotional climax. And this was very surprising to see from James, who is known for the humor, so to see a real emotional moment a lot of people feel and have it be responded with real emotional responses you could find in high school was excellent. The monologue Penny gives, as well as the subsequent conversation is something that, not only girls in high school, but people from all walks of life can understand and relate to. We have trouble fitting in with the people we want to, but that can sometimes lead to the people we need to hang out with. The kind ones, the fun ones, the ones that share our interests. It's written great, it's true, and then the conflicting conclusions from Kevin and August both hold their own on just how confusing a solution to fitting in can be.

Then it totally fucks up.

Yes both the ideas that Kevin and August give conflict with each other, but this doesn't mean they have to excessively argue over it. And an argument doesn't require a musical number. Yes, it does lead to a pretty funny dance sequence and some site gags, but it just does not fit. The song has that kind of generic tune you here in a lot of musicals and the voices aren't exactly Broadway quality here either. I mean this just had nothing to do with the cartoon at all, it's not even set up to have a musical number. 

Shows like My Little Pony and, dare I say, South Park have some musical numbers, but they usually fit in to the premise and have a good segue leading in to it. To me it just seemed forced for no reason here. I think this could have played for more laughs with out the music, but alas, no.

Does this ruin the whole cartoon? Of course not. It's still a great piece of entertainment and the style is unique. I've watched it several times and with each viewing I've found something new that I enjoy. Final thoughts? I love the callbacks it gives to other shows, the style it has in terms of humor, and the writing is well done, especially for an internet cartoon. Keep the emotion, keep the characters, especially keep the cartoon humor, but step up a few of the actors' mic quality and any future musical moments need to be dropped immediately. Unless you can get Reel Big Fish. James, get Reel Big Fish.

8/10; more episodes please


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed it over-all. I don't expect people to enjoy every single moment of every single episode.
    But if you hate random musical numbers, you're pretty much gonna hate every single episode of this show. I mean, by putting a musical number in the first episode, I'm establishing it as a musical series. So… get used to musical numbers in each episode… or don't. Either way, I'm still gonna put them in. Just because you don't like musicals, doesn't mean I don't.

    1. Don't get me wrong, I hate most musicals man. Still, it's worth it for the excellence we get from the rest of the material. Please please please keep making more, I love it.

    2. Roger that. Feel free to review future episodes as well. Maybe it'll inspire other people to write their own reviews.