Ebiten is an Original Net Animation (ONA) based on a manga by Kira Inugami and SCA-ji. The series streamed in Japan from July 14-September 15, 2012.
The Astronomy Club at Ebisugawa Public High School is in danger of closing, due to having too few members. The first episode of the series is about a new first year student trying to join the club. It’s quickly revealed that all the current members of the club are weirdos.
It turns out that Ebiten is full of parodies or references to famous anime. As I watched, I figured out the parodies and references to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Sailor Moon, Fist of the North Star, Dragon Ball Z, Case Closed, and K-ON!. According to Wikipedia, I hadn’t figured out the parodies of Saint Seiya, Blue Comet SPT Layzner, the Metal Hero series, and MMR: Magazine Mystery Reportage; this isn’t surprising, though, since I personally haven’t seen any of those titles yet.
When I picked up on the parodies, they were usually rather humorous. My favorites would be the episodes that parodied Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z, because I found myself roaring with laughter when I saw them. For me, a parody is successful if it can make me react that way.
The club’s president, Kyoko Todayama, is a more exaggerated version of Haruhi Suzumiya when it comes to her personality. Her character design also kind of evokes Haruhi as well. Hakata Kanamori is supposed to evoke Mikuru Asahina from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya but is also a much more exaggerated version of that character. The interactions between Kyoko and Hakata are very similar to how Haruhi interacts with Mikuru.
Overall, Ebiten is a very quirky series that focuses on comedy. Of course, a series that relies on parodies would be like this. At first, it seemed like various plot elements were being thrown out there that didn’t really relate to each other, so it was a nice surprise when revelations near the end of the series proved that the earlier episodes were building up to something. The 10th episode is kind of interesting, though, because it doesn’t obviously rely on parody and humor. It’s a rather serious episode, which was quite the jarring shift from the previous nine episodes. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the final episode, but it felt so drastically different from everything else.
My one real complaint about Ebiten would be on its reliance on fanservice. Obviously, I’m not part of the audience that the fanservice was aimed at, so I don’t want to harp too much on it. It’s just that personally, the fanservice didn’t do anything for me. But I’m not going to let the inclusion of the fanservice make me think any less of the series.
Overall, Ebiten was amusing to watch, but I’m just not sure I’d go out of my way to watch it again. I’m glad I finally saw the series, and it was enjoyable for what it was, but it’s not a title I’d be in a hurry to re-watch again.