Sket Dance – 65

When Council president Agata Soujirou sees his sister Saaya talking to Tsubaki, he grilles her and Tsubaki on their intentions. Tsubaki answers believing Agata is talking about Bosssun, and says he’ll have dinner again. When Agata sees that Saaya wasn’t invited to dinner, he prods her; she answers belieiving her brother is talking about Bossun as well, and asks him out on a date. Tailing her, Agata is angry when he sees Bossun with Tsubaki and Saaya, though it was Tsubaki who was there by coincidence. The four have awkward tea, where Agata incorrectly deduces that Bosssun is in love with Saaya.

While we can see how they would drive some people up a wall, we love episodes like this that take a triangle of people, give them all misconceptions about who they’re all talking about, tangle them all up and run with it. Have you ever been in a conversation where one of you pauses and asks “wait, we’re talking about the same person, right?” This never happens in any conversations, leading Agata to take what he hears and apply it to the wrong people in his 160-IQ brain. This isn’t easy to keep up naturally and believably, but Agata, Saaya, Bossun and Tsubaki pull it off without breaking a sweat. And it’s great to see the normally cool and laid-back Agata getting all bent out of shape for once.

The underlying cause of all these misunderstandings is that on matters concerning his lil’ sis, Agata’s massive intellect betrays him. He worries about her, as any good big brother should, but he over-meddles. His reward is that he comes away from his encounter with the Saaya/Bossun/Tsubaki triangle with completely the wrong idea, and the more he prys, the less legitimate information he gleans. As for Saaya, she actually got something worthwhile, even if her bro and Tsubaki ruined her first date: Agata got Bossun to admit some pretty flattering things about her. The only problem here is that Bossun is still too dense vis-a-vis Saaya. Seriously, where the hell is this kid’s sex drive?

Rating: 6 (Good)

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate – 01

A girl is hit by a car after witnessing and photographing political corruption; due to a scandal, a special student presidential election is imminent. One of the favorites to win threatens to abolish several clubs, including the Food Research Club, whose advisor is her older sister. Rather than vote for a candidate and hope their club survives, the members pick on of their own to run.

It’s true that hybrid cars are quieter at low speeds; electric cars are all but silent. But they still displace wind, and that wind makes noise. In short, we have no idea why the girl in the teaser got run over by a car when she had ample time to avoid it. As strange as this incident is, it at least had more potential than practically anything that followed the OP. Boring guy’s hot childhood friend breaks into his house, jumps him in bed, then slaps him when she sees he has a hard-on. Really? This is what you follow up a premeditated hit-and-run with?

Things get worse as wave after wave of characters load up the screen, in a potpurri of hair and eye colors. We would see up the cat girl’s skirt, but it’s whited out. Cute. They all call each other different names depending on their relationship to each other. We forget about trying to retain any of these names and focus on what they’re do — wait, why is there a beer tap in the clubroom, and why is the teacher drinking at school?

There’s a pint-sized inventor, of course. Distribution of a phallic confection leads to lame innuendo. A girl keeps repeating how another girl has big boobs. The boring guy is experiencing mild hallucinations. The leader of a club dedicated to pigging out on candy cannot eat chocolate. Why do these people need a club? Can’t they just eat candy together anywhere? No, don’t answer…we don’t really care.

Rating: 3 (Bad) (dropped)

Car Cameos: Multiple Toyota Prii, and copies of the  Honda CR-Z, plus a Prius with a CR-Z nose (Why God, why?). Other traffic includes Mazda 2, Mitsubishi Delica, Subaru Impreza, and the Suzuki Wagon R.

Tari Tari – 02

With Sawa’s help, Konatsu is able to recruit Wakana as a non-participatory member of her new choir club, and the principal approves the application and volunteers as the advisor. Konatsu begins to conscript other misfit students with singing ability, including her younger brother. When the day of a dual recital with the official choir arrives, the principal isn’t around. Sawa attempts to track down Mrs.Takahashi while Konatsu finds out the principal is laid up in the hospital from a minor bike accident. She and Sawa make it back just in time, but the bus containing the rest of the choir is late, so they go on as a duet, accompanied by Wakana on piano.

We were a little reticent about continuing on with a show that so closely resembles Hanasaku Iroha in both looks and subject matter, and the fact Sawa and Wakana still looked so similar to us. The scene after the credits of the five characters all talking over each other, having numerous conversations, was also a little overwhelming right out of the gate, but we can’t deny it was very well done. It wasn’t long before we could tell the Sawa and Wakana apart and became invested in Konatsu’s goal of starting up a new choir. It’s hard not to root for someone considering she’s fighting the oppression of a vice principal who has a major stick up her ass. If this is a high school drama, she’s definitely the villainess.

We were amazed how fast everything progressed, from getting approval from the eccentric principal to recruiting a quorum of singers and rehearsing. We also liked Wakana’s running tally of cakes she’s due for all the favors she does for Konatsu, as well as Sawa’s dedication to her friend, including what has to be the most sincere, justified spanking we can recall ever seeing in an anime. Sawa’s delivery of the word “NO” in response to her teacher asking if she’s in the maternity ward because she’s pregnant had us LOL’ing profusely. And Konatsu and Sawa’s little duet at the end was sweet and moving. Konatsu got over her stage fright and rose to the occasion, with sticktoitiveness and a little help from her friends. After this episode, we’re confident this is no Hanasaku Iroha carbon copy, but something else altogether.

Rating: 9 (Superior)

Car Cameos: Mrs. Takahashi’s Daihatsu Move makes another appearence; a Toyota Coaster conveys the choir club to the recital hall; background cars include an Audi A4, Toyota Alphard, and Subaru Sambar.