Sket Dance – 36

In the first half, Himeko breaks her beloved Cyclone defending the weak from bullies. After giving it a proper burial, she goes to the store to find a new one. Switch and Bossun tag along and are of little help until the latter finds the real manager tied up in a locker. Himeko grabs the first stick in reach to incapacitate the store robber, and decides to ‘stick with it’. The second half chronicles Himeko’s past as a tomboy new to Tokyo. She befriends Arisa Kanou and vows to protect her from a gang of bullies, but Kanou has been stringing her along; she’s the ringleader. Himeko loses it and trashes the gang with her hockey stick.

This episode’s first half was a pleasant enough diversion (Himeko’s intricate knowledge of hockey sticks was pretty funny), but we’re really suckers for Serious Sket Dance. We still consider Switch’s two-part story one of the best, along with the Bossun’s crush and the Windowbreaker caper. This week it’s Himeko’s turn to get some flashbacks, and look, she bleaches her hair! But even back then, she was willing to stand up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. Only problem is, the person she’s standing up for – Arisa Kanou – turns out to be a stone-cold Bitch.

Arisa is a rich girl who pays off the bullies to make school life more peaceful. But that also means she looks the other way while the gang preys on other weaklings. Arisa resents what she perceives as Himeko’s arrogance and throws her concern back in her face. In response to this shocking betrayal, something awakens in Himeko. She lays waste to the gang, leaving Arisa cowering in the corner, for real this time. On one hand, it was righteous, but on the other, we were dismayed things had to turn out so sour…like a Pelocan. No peace in Himeko’s time.

Rating: 4

Working’!! – 11

Yamada loses her teddy Daisy. Yachiyo overhears part of Sato’s conversation with Mashiba #2 and becomes concerned. Nazuna, eager to grow up, drinks lots of milk, gets lots of sleep, and gets advice from all her older sisters. Eventually everyone becomes concerned with the chief’s behavior, forcing Sato to partially clear the air, while pressuring himself to make a move soon, or quit.

Sato’s outward appearance may exude an air of normalcy in the crazy land of Wagnaria, where some days Kyoko eats more of the restaurant’s food than the customers. But he’s no normal dude, and we’re not just talking about his eye-covering yellow hair. How else do you explain his ability to sculpt Popura’s hair into the most amazing forms? Perhaps it’s better to call him the “most” normal of his peers.

He’s the quietest, most introverted and stoic too, but having coworkers such as his inevitably rub off. He gets impatient with things carrying on too long, or people who don’t work when they’re supposed to (read, Yamada and Kyoko). He also dislikes people getting into his business (Soma) and people misjudging him (Mashiba #2). But where he’s most nuanced is in his feelings for Yachiyo. He took a tiny step towards telling her the truth, but her insistence that they are [just] friends and her twisted upbringing at the hands of Kyoko and her thugs, along with the whole dating coworker stigma, makes his an uphill battle.

Rating: 3

Mawaru Penguindrum – 22

Hikari and Hibari visit the Takakura residence to thank Himari for the scarves, but she’s no longer there. She took off to try to convince Kanba not to throw his or anyone elses’ lives away for her sake. He won’t listen, and would sooner turn the world to ash than let her die. Masako also tries to get him to snap out of his obsession, but he starts an operation of car bombings that get him surrounded by police. He heads down into the bowels of Tokyo to escape, but they’re there too, and he gets shot. Masako decides to protect him by acting as bait.

Kanba’s stint as a terrorist leader is short-lived this week, as he initiates several brazen attacks with his car bomb smartphone bowling app (!), and essentially escapes too slowly. Neither of his siters want him to continue to serve the “curses” of Sanetoshi and the dead Takakuras. But Kanba is a stubborn kid, and he’ll to absolutely anything to save Himari. Her and Masako’s feelings just bounce off him. He’ll die for her…and by episode’s end he’s well on his way to just that.

Kanba, Shoma, Himari, Masako, Mario: it would seem fate was against all of them. Even Momoka couldn’t escape her ultimate fate of oblivion. Love is certainly losing out to fate and curses at this point, but we’re not about to throw in the towel and lebel this series as fatalist or pessimistic. Love, and life, are down, but not out. Double-H didn’t just show up at random at this point in the story: they have to have some deeper purpose.

Rating: 4

Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai – 10

The Neighbor Club spends a weekend at Sena’s beach house. They hang out on the beach, eat food Kodaka cooks, and tell awful ghost stories. Then the girls visit Kodaka in his bedroom one by one because they want him to protect them as they go to the bathroom, or in Rika’s case, sleep with him.

There’s not much to say about this episode…not much happened. Despite having done two pool episodes, they decided the series could bear a beach episode as well, along with a yukata episode next week. So it’s basically now just a vehicle for fanservice.

The true tease is that there would ever be any character development between Kodaka and Yozora. Yozora had another perfect opportunity to bring up the subject of their past friendship, in which Kodaka thought she was a boy – but nothing happened. All that’s still on hold. Boring cliches apparently take precedence.

Rating: 2