Note: I'd like to apologize for absence of screenshots, or other visual media. I know how daunting this article may look, but half of it is just setting up the plot of the series. I hope you enjoy my look at the series!
Abnormal Physiology Seminar, or Hen Semi, or Hentai Seiri Seminar, is a short comedy, ecchi, seinen series about a group of around 6 university students and their antics in one of their seminars. Hen Semi, has been running for 10 episodes so far, 13 minutes each. From here on I'll be using Hen Semi and Abnormal Physiology Seminar almost interchangeably.
Whether or not you can tell from the title alone, the seminar is focused on "abnormal physiological behaviour" of the students. However, after watching the first episode you quickly realize that this is more likely a euphemism for "perverted/sex-related desires". Each is episode has a title that sounds like it might be found on the front page of an essay. The title for each episode is structured like, "An Inquiry on the ...." For example episode 10 was titled, "An Inquiry on the psychological impacts arising from indirect contact". The episode explores the characters in a situation where one of the female characters has an indirect kiss with a male character. The characters talk about what is happening, and there is some timed fan service.
Our heroine however, and arguably the most "normal" of the students in the seminar, is the shy Nanako Matsutaka. She's about as innocent as they come and is voice acted by the ever popular, Kana Hanazawa
. She is often put in very uncomfortable situations as the rest of the students talk fairly openly about their perverted desires for the seminar. The interactions between the small cast of characters is subtle. With only 13 minutes in each episode, there is not a lot of room for drawn out conversations or exposition. But the anime still manages to paint a picture of recognizable characters and has some fun showing them in different situations. Some of the characters include: a female ex-delinquent who has a split personality, a guy who likes punk rock and a masochistic girl.
To give you an example of the dynamics between some of the characters, I'm going to have to properly introduce the male student that Nanako has a crush on, Komugi Musashi. Komugi is a pervert, no other way to put it, and proud of it. He's something of a smooth talker. However, he is either not aware that Nanako has a crush on him, or is just teasing her excessively by ignoring her feelings. This often puts Nanako in very embarrassing situations, as Komugi does his perverted stuff under the guise of doing it as homework for the seminar.
If you'll remember, episode 10 is titled, "An Inquiry on the psychological impacts arising from indirect contact". In this episode Komugi has another experiment, he leaves an open bottle on the table, with the assumption that he drank from it and wants a girl to drink from it too, thus having an "indirect kiss". So, a female student (not Nanako), comes in and drinks it, it seems she is aware of the whole indirect kiss thing, and takes her time teasing everyone by erotically drinking from the bottle. It is then revealed that Komugi had intended the bottle for Nanako, and that Komugi filled the bottle with his cum. The female student quickly pukes in her mouth and storms out the room. Nanako is more than a little embarrassed, while Komugi casually passes the whole thing off.
This is the sort of interaction between the characters that you can expect episode to episode. Short scenes focusing around some event or topic, with many sexual undertones. Now that you have an idea of what the series is about, I can tell you more about what I think of the series so far. The series isn't great or awesome or amazing. At best, I would say it is a pretty good or pretty decent anime. The music isn't anything to complain about. The voice actors do their job well enough, while Kana Hanazawa is the stand out. The artwork is interesting enough. The females looks somewhat chubbier than your average anime (which I think is a good thing), while also looking fairly attractive and makes the anime easier to watch. The animation is solid and helps make the character's actions seem more natural and less forced.
When watching this series I can't help but wonder what a seminar like this would be like if it actually existed at a real university. Although the series definitely uses fan service and other perverted tactics to hook viewers, underneath the characters are just humans with desires like you and me. Although it may seem like some of the character's fetishes are "weird" or "abnormal", let's face it, there must be something about each of us that, at some point, seems weird to someone else. I don't know whether I'd be ready or comfortable enough to join a seminar devoted to that sort of thing, which I think is why I keep watching Hen Semi. In a way, it's a relief to see other characters (albeit fictional ones) going through their own desires in a relatively light-hearted comedic way.
For me, Abnormal Physiology Seminar
has been an easy show to keep watching week to week. It doesn't do anything amazing or great, but the characters and situations it explores are interesting enough. Some might complain about the "fan service", but I think the fan service in this anime is used to relatively good effect, and taking it away would mean missing out on the humor.
So I guess if you haven't checked out Hen Semi, don't go in expecting anything amazing. Take it for what it is, and maybe take the time to think about the real-world implications under the sexual innuendos. An episode title that I'd like to see for this series would be, "An Inquiry on the psychological impact of watching 2D characters in questionable situations." ;)