Sket Dance – 30

First half: Himeko is initially annoyed by Bossun and Switch’s mutual obsession with capsule toys depicting characters from half-baked hero shows, but is soon ensnared herself in the maddening struggle to “collect ’em all”. Second half: Momoka’s former gang comes to the Sket-dan to report a troubling development: Momoka’s many moe voice-acting roles have transformed her into a moe character called “Momotan”, whose verbal ticks and slang render her both sickeningly cute and nearly impossible to understand. By thwarting a paparazzo eager to expose her delinquent past, Himeko dispatches him, firing Momoka up. On a talk show, she comes out of the delinquent closet and quits the voice-acting business. Her moxie nets her a fresh gig as a TV actor.

Like the made-up sports and board games of previous episodes, the first half was a nice commentary on the nature of completing a collection of useless junk. It’s not really about the having, but the getting here. Himeko dismisses the guys as acting like dumb kids, but the first cute character she lays eyes on has her sold on the idea. The first ones the machine spits out for her are totally unexpected and repulsive “Anthonys”, but the trio spend thousands of yen collecting everything, and trade with a very sweet lil’ kid to get the one they were missing, only to descend into “abject emptiness” upon returning to school. They got too caught up in the moment.

On to the second half, it’s a Momoka sketch. It actually makes sense that her character has changed, as we haven’t seen her in so long, combined with her need to become the cutesy characters she voices in order to be successful. Bossun is smitten, Switch is talking like she does, but Himeko doesn’t want Momoka true self cast aside – along with her friends – as the price of success, or as she said it “bury her past and replace it with sci-fi” (which sounds so cool we wanna try that as soon as we’re done typing this!) She’s unsavory; she has to be loud and proud. And lo and behold, doing so nets her a new, more fitting job that lets her be herself. Everybody wins…though she doesn’t gain a persona or a pair of shades…

Rating: 3.5