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.
I predicted that the Sket-dan would win the Bibage Tournament, it was just a matter of whether Roman or Bossun lost their challenge. It turns out, both of them lost. Roman was infinitely more charming than Uryuu, who wooed her target with a fat check. But it was just bad luck that the guy, while totally smitten with Roman, nonetheless chose the girl who was more “his type”. Roman did nothing wrong, it just wasn’t to be.
The final challenge seemingly becomes must-win when the council prez, Agata, raises the stakes: Whoever loses quits their respective club. Their challenge, Pixie Garden, is a game of wits, and the 200 (or 160) I.Q. Agata changes gears from laid back and affable to manipulative and ruthless. He disrupts Bossun’s concentration by bringing up something we’ve yet to learn: why Switch and Himeko are so trusting of and loyal to him. Why he wants to help people. Is he atoning for something?
In any case, Agata keeps Bossun tense the whole way, and is always a step or two ahead in the game. Even when Bossun remembers the order of the cards, he makes one mistake at the end, because Agata correctly predicted everything he’d do. He didn’t just lose, he lost at the worst possible time. His opponent did what he wanted to do: snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It doesn’t matter, since the prez wasn’t serious…though it’s pretty funny how Sket-dan proceeds with a “Farewell Bossun” party anyway.
So yeah, this first half of Sket Dance was good school comedy with a lot of ridiculous side characters and a strong core trio of likable leads. The show never aims to be serious, and for the most part sticks to its strengths. It and its cast are eccentric, yet down to earth. I look forward to what they throw at us in the second half. Rating: 3.5
P.S.: For some reason, the two Bibage mascots reminded me of Panty & Stocking…