Sket Dance – 74

In the first half, Bossun is playing with a collectable toy car in the hallway when he’s scolded by Tsubaki, who breaks it while attempting to confiscate it. Mimorin recognizes the car as the same kind her father collects, and invites Tsubaki, Bossun, and Himeko over to her “house”, which is more like an underground city. In the second half, the ramen shop owner challenges Captain to a rematch, but Bossun’s indelicate words lead to her retiring her “Cap’n Munch” special eating move. Bossun takes her place in the challenge, but can’t cut it. She swoops in and uses a supersonic “Neo-Cap’n Munch” to defeat the shop owner once more, until she learns she ate hard-boiled eggs and throws everything up.

This week was a very special episode of Sket Dance, in which we get an inside look at the living conditions of perhaps the wealthiest anime characters we’ve ever known, the Unyuus. Worth at least 5 quintillion yen (50 followed by eighteen zeros), we learn that all of Mimorin’s boasts throughout the series were justified…and then some. Her family is in fact worth many times more than the whole rest of the world economy, which is fun. More to the point, we love just how over-the-top and uncompromising her wealth is depicted. She doesn’t just have a butler; she has hundreds of servants who live in an underground city with a stark palette. Her above-ground entrance hall occupies several city blocks. It’s nuts, but hilariously so.

The second half can’t quite match the scale of the first, but it exceeds it in passion – or should we say, “Cap’passion”; as in the infectious competitive passion of the captain, Takahashi Chiaki, who gets another chance to show off her eating skills. Like the first half, it starts small: Bossun makes an offhand comment about how quickly Captain eats. It puts her in a self-conscious, sulky mood, and she gives up the “Cap’n Munch” ability. Still, Bossun, Switch, the ramen shop owner, and eventually even Hani and Asahina get all fired up, and their passion then re-stokes hers as she sees Bossun struggling. It’s all very dramatic and powerfully depicted, only to be comically and suddenly cut short at the end when she barfs it all up (off-camera), thanks to the end credits rolling in the middle.

Rating: 8 (Great)

Car Cameos: This episode was replete with some classics, being about collecting cars: Bossun is playing with a toy Mercedes-Benz SSK, and gets an SSKL from the Unyuus after a lot of trouble. Among the model and real cars Rintarou owns are a Mercedes-Benz 300SL, a Volkswagen Beetle (pictured), a Volkswagen Golf MkI, and a Mercedes-Benz 280SL. In Mimorin’s recollection, there’s also a Shelby Cobra, Beetle Cabriolet, and a ’55-’56 GMC Truck. None of the cars and trucks in the Unyuu underground city were detailed enough to be identified, but they looked to be of general 70s-80s vintage.

Sket Dance – 29

In the first half, the Sket-dan assists Dante in the case of a stolen love spell. It turns out, it was mistakenly stolen by his crush, who thought it belonged to her crush. In the second half, Bossun is defeated by a ramen-eating challenge, but when Chiaki stops by the clubroom, they learn she is a champion eater due to her athletic activities. Using teen drama terms, Bossun motivates her to finish the last morsel of ramen – a boiled egg, which she hates. She wins the challenge but has to puke in the end.

As we continue with Sket Dance, it occurs to us that a show like this is not for everyone. It was an acquired taste for us (though we have definitely acquired it), but some might be turned off by the references, frequent breaking of the fourth wall, and everybody typically yelling at the top of their lungs. But all of that appeals to is. This season needs a lark – a frolic – something that’s all ludicrous comedy with no baggage. Although it’s proven it can do serious drama too, Sket Dance’s greatest strength is making us laugh out loud with consistency, through its rapid-fire pace and incredible energy.

This week marked a return to the two-stories-in-one format, and both stories were equally engaging and hilarious. Dante (Gackt) is always good for laughs, especially the way he irritates Bossun and Himeko while Switch calmly translates his sparse, cryptic words. We also love how everything was building up for two lovebirds to unite in harmony, but it turned out to be a misunderstanding. The second story, all about Captain’s amazing eating skills, simpler but no less funny, particularly how the melodramatic buildup almost reaches critical mass. Most admirably, the episode dusted off several characters who’d been on the shelf for some time and breathed new life into them. Well done all round.

Rating: 3.5