Bossun and Himeko switch personalities. Tsubaki is hypnotized into believing he’s a cat. The only person who can help them has no motivation. Saaya is thinking about confessing to Bossun. Switch, who encouraged Saaya, now has to keep her away from Bossun, who is actually Himeko, who has to keep Himeko, who is actually Bossun, away from her body and other girls. Roman, who is omniscient, knows Bossun’s secret, because it’s how she’d write a high school trip anime. Enough going on for ya?
These situations, on their own, would make for pretty thin episodes (or half-episodes). But all of these things are going on in one episode, making for a dense, multifaceted episode with a manic pace. There’s so much going on here, all of which matches the established lore of the characters thus far. It’s no surprise to us that both Himeko and Bossun would think it would be easy to imitate one another, and not think further ahead to all of the awkward situations they’d get themselves into. Something as mundane as bathing with her fellow female classmates suddenly becomes a big deal. Things are chaotic.
Switch’s clandestine role to ensure Saaya won’t speak to Bossun when Himeko’s in his body – despite having prodded her to do just that last week – works well. Saaya’s own constant insistence that Bossun’s a “kind creep” hits fever pitch, and Bossun (with Himeko’s personality within) only fuels the fire. We also like how the generic student extras check off many of the things the Sket-dan has done (mentioning the events of previous episodes) and it’s true, to the mis- or under-informed, it might look like the club screws around more than it helps. But those extras respresent how dull the school would be without the Sket-dan, or their legion of eccentric friends and the student council, for that matter. Such a school would carry no interest for us.
Tsubaki can’t get the image of Urabe naked out of his head, to the point where he’s starting to hallucinate. He gives in an grabs her, activating her panty scissor, but she accidentally cuts his head and brings him to her house to treat the wound. Upon testing the scissors on a picture frame, she realizes she’s lost her acccuracy, likely because of a dream she had about Tsubaki. When he trips and changes direction to avoid landing on her, he hits his head again, but Urabe hugs him anyway. The next day, when Tsubaki’s bandage is replaced by another girl, he asks for the one Urabe gave him back. That earns him another hug from Urabe.
And so, Tsubaki has finally worn Urabe down to permitting hugs…under certain circumstances. Or rather than caving, Urabe realized that embracing her lover was something she needed too. She can’t undo the fact that he’s seen her naked and that he is horny, nor can she deny anymore that she is also horny. For all of her scolding and menacing use of panty scissors, the last thing in the world Urabe wants to do is hurt Tsubaki. To the series’ credit, Tsubaki doesn’t just fall on Urabe and cushion his fall with her boob; another example of a creative spin on archetypal rom-com tropes.
The episode is probably the most animated, clumsy, and outwardly expressive we’ve even seen Urabe, starting with how she reacts to Oka revealing she has a photo of her naked. That incident culminates in Oka trying to duplicate Urabe’s hip-mounted scissor routine, almost to the ruin of Ueno, in a hilarious scene of someone trying to run before she can walk. We also loved the dream sequence, prefaced by a loud march arrangement of the main “circus” theme, and some creepy Urabe dough-dolls she beats out of that gooey rice stuff…in a bunny suit. It’s extremely whimsical, weird, and dream-like…nicely done.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
The real Luca returns from vacation, and Quartz Christie also returns, where the pirates encircle her with guns. Marika agrees to engage her in a fair fight, which she plans to win. Ironbeard butts in, announcing he is there to retrieve Christie on orders from the queen. Ironbeard’s entourage includes the real Kane (his younger twin brother had been filling in for him) and Ririka, who is back to her “Blaster” role. After a huge feast, Marika challenges Christie to a battle, and Christie assents.
It’s all going to come down to one huge battle between Christie, with technologically-advanced Grand Cross, and Marika, with her band of plucky “frontier” pirates. Who will prevail? We’re guessing Marika, but that isn’t decided here. This week, like any good penultimate episode, gets everyone caught up, checks in on nearly everyone, and basically does the housekeeping that will allow the finale to flow unfettered by loose ends. This episode was a buffet of light and tasty hors d’ouvres.
Lberally peppered throughout the episode were fun little moments. Christie trying to avoid the spotlight (literally); a group of EW techs fawning over Coorie in non-hot mode; Chiaki reacting to her singing voice being transmitted across piratedom. While guys like Ironbeard remain mysterious, at least his motives aren’t: he’s there to fetch Christie, whom we imagine to be some kind of priviliged loose cannon who ran away from home to play with her awesome new toy. That being said, Marika challenged Christie to a fight, and he can’t interfere any more than Christie can refuse. So it’s on like Donkey Kong.