Sket Dance – 28

With Switch’s asistance, Yagi launches a live intra-school lunchtime TV show. She chooses Machiru as her first guest, to do a cooking program. Feeling slighted, Agata and Daisey take exception to his choosing Tabuki and Minorin for his assistants, but when they draw lots and take their place, they’re unmotivated and depressed. The cooking program becomes a farce when the asistants misbehave and Agata gets Machiru drunk on sake vapor.

The TV-show-within-a-TV-show format was a great vehicle for lots of Student Council hijinks, of which we’ve seen too little, from the look of it. Agata, Machiru and Daisey are a decent comedic team with their excellent chemstry and individual idiosyncracies. As one of the most popular students in school, Machiru makes a great first guest, but his attempt to do a serious cooking show is utterly ruined by the horseplay of his assistants.

Fortunately for us, the resulting farce is far more entertaining than if the show had gone off without a hitch. Hitches always lead to more entertainment on this show. As for the Sket-dan, they’re relegated to tamborine duty for Yabasawa’s solo, and once again Bossun looks like a loser in the eyes of his mother and sister. This show is great at abusing its “main character”, keeping him honest by piling on the misfortune and often leaving him out of the spotlight entirely. Next week: more Gackt.

Rating: 3.5

Mawaru Penguindrum – 14

Now that he knows his parents killed Momoka, Shoma can no longer bear to see or hear Ringo, and warns her to stay away from him. Kanba continues to struggle to find the cash to save Himari, and Masako confronts him directly. Ringo goes to a bathhouse with Yuri, who not only knew Momoka, but believes she was her soulmate. She drugs Ringo and proceeds to have her way with her…

Poor Ringo! First she receives the full brunt of Shoma’s angst, only to be spirited away by Yuri in her Jaaag for reasons heretofore unknown. Ringo acts surprisingly normal here; it’s Yuri who completely goes nuts. And of course it all comes back to Momoka. Yuri was the one who stole half the diary. Not an episode of this series takes place anymore that doesn’t contain some twist or turn that changes everything. It’s why it’s stayed so good and so fresh.

While Ringo is on her wild ride, Himari and Shoma are both very moody. Shoma’s angst comes from knowing what his family’s responsible for, but it’s still unfortunate he pushes Ringo away. As for Himari, her illness, whatever it is, has prevented her from reaching her dream, and she feels worthless compared with her celebrity idol friends. Here’s hoping everyone cheers up a little next week. Look on the bright side, guys: your subway system rules!

Rating: 4 

Persona 4: The Animation – 02

Another girl dies, and this time it’s Yosuke’s crush Konishi, after he sees her on the Midnight Channel. Yosuke and Yuu go back to the otherworld in the TV at Junes, where Yosuke meets a doppelganger containing a side of him he’s been trying to suppress, who he then defeats with help from Yuu and Izanagi. Yosuke then gains a persona ability, and the two promise to solve the murders and find the culprit responsible.

We’ll be frank: we’re not big fans of the crazy-ass bear thing who’s always including bear puns with his lines. He had too much to say this week, and we hope to see him as little as possible in the future. Why would an otherwise classy-and-cool looking series decide to design something so…silly? We would have preferred a more lifelike talking bear to him. Like Gentle Ben.

Other than the bear-thing, this was a great episode, following up the developments of last week by making the week’s victim not only everyone is familiar with, but someone Yosuke’s in love with, making him face his inner turmoil. Death is very quiet and sudden in this show; there’s no blood or gore to announce it, it happens off-screen, in the shadows, which while less viseral, makes it more mysterious. Naturally, we can’t have Yuu the only one who can wield power, so Yosuke gets his own persona, and Chie probably isn’t far off from getting hers.

Rating: 3.5