In the first half, Katou Kiri pledges serve Tsubaki in everything. This makes Tsubaki uncomfortable at first, but eventually learns he can use his power to turn Katou into a useful member of the student council, as he helps anyone who needs it using his ninjitsu. In the second half, the Sket-dan teams up with Tsubaki, Asahina, Unyuu and Katou to try to cure Usami of her dual personalities. The girls try dressing like guys, but that doesn’t work; then the guys dress up as girls, and Bossun and Switch are convincing enough to prevent her from transforming into Bunny, if only briefly.
Prior to watching this episode, we learned that this would be the next-to-last episode of Sket Dance, which will wrap after a robust 77 episodes. This is a pretty by-the-numbers episode, focusing heavily on the new student council in the first half, then pulling out the ol’ gender switcheroo premise for the second half. While we felt a subtle but distinct hint of going through the motions, this was still an enjoyable episode.
Like previous dramatic episodes in which a character underwent some kind of change, that change carries through to the episodes that follow. Thus Katou will obey any order Tsubaki gives him – including the order to obey the other student council members. Grateful for Tsubaki’s loyalty, friendship, and for saving his ass, this makes perfect sense. Usami, meanwhile, has yet to overcome her personality-splitting ways, despite some very convincing (to Himeko, anyway) “girl talk” by Bossun and Switch (Tsubaki and Katou shrink before this particular task). It showed that the Sket-dan still had something unique to contribute with only one more episode remaining.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Tsubaki and Unyuu try to defuse a victim of bullying who’s snapped, but Katou interferes and Unyuu is almost seriously hurt. Tsubaki gives him an ultimatum to shape up or turn in his armband. Having watched the argument, Himeko reaches out to Katou, who tells her about a horrible teacher who blamed a student for being bullied and drove him off. That same teacher, Kutsuwa Daijirou, just happens to be the new homeroom teacher. He runs down Himeko, making her cry; the last straw for Katou. He kidnaps Kutsuwa and ties him to a tree, putting him on live streaming video to answer for is crimes. Tsubaki and Bossun manage to defuse the situation, but another jab at Himeko by Kutsuwa earns him a punch by Bossun, who along with Katou, gets suspended for two weeks. Kutsuwa quits.
Like most school-based anime, Sket Dance rarely focuses on teachers – the only ones with any kind of screen time have been Chuuma-sensei (who’s more a mad scientist) and Remi-chan (who’s more of a kid-at-heart than many of the students). This week, we’re presented with a new teacher, who is a total asshole. He gets the job through connections, but he’s obsessed with blaming people for their own problems. That’s not a bad thing on its face, but he takes it to the extreme, intentionally pressing students’ buttons and making them feel ashamed and powerless. He has no business presiding over a class of already emotionally-fragile teenagers.
By foul contrivance, he just happens to be the same teacher Katou mentions to Himeko while explaining why he is the way he is. When Kutsuwa works his charm on Himeko, Katou is driven to action. He’s lucky the police didn’t get involved when he resorts to kidnapping, but it’s all thanks to friends he didn’t even know he had that he comes out alright, and the teacher is sent packing (having his sociopathic tirade broadcast live to the whole school helped with that). Bossun, initially a bystander, can’t stop himself from slugging a teacher when Himeko’s name is besmirched. Bossun’s usually a genial guy, but when his friends are being hurt, he’s as brutal and fierce as they come. And clearly, it was worth it. Dude really needed to be punched.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Himeko falls victim to a peeping tom. At first Bosssun and Switch are uninterested, but they eventually determine the tom would have had to spider climb up cedar trees to get vantage point, which points them to Saratani, who has actuallly fallen for Takahashi, not Himeko. Yabasawa alerts the student council, and Katou acts alone to apprehend Saratani.
In the second half, faculty advisor Kezuka pits the Boys’ and Girls’ Manga clubs against each other Saotome Roman chooses Bossun as her partner, and they combine to create a more “interesting” manga that wins the day over Magarfunkle and Sainon’s more generic fare.
This episode starts with another crimefighting mission in which the Sket-dan competes with the new-look student council. We understand that Bossun is usually blind to Himeko’s beauty, so it makes sense that he’d initially shrug off her complaint. Making the peeping tom the very person on TV that was distracting them was also an interesting – and convenient – touch. Tsubaki gets a good laid-back pep talk from Agata, who counsels patience with the unusual newbies.
The second half turns into another vehicle for Himeko’s commentary. She stands in for us as the voice of reason and confusion at the two bizarre manga offerings. We agree that the conditions laid out by the advisor were more creatively handled by Team Roman/Bossun – splitting up the word for sports festival (undoukai) into a romantic dialogue filled with “uns” (“sure”) and “doukais” (“how ’bout it?”) Also amusing is juxtaposition of Roman’s crude, demented character designs with Bossun’s impeccably rendered backgrounds.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
P.S. We have no idea what the deal was with Kezuka-sensei’s little turn at the cosmic piano, but it was damned hilarious.
In the first half, Chiaki brings a student to the Sket-dan who has fallen victim to a dastardly pickpocket known as Kagerou or “Shadow Wolf.” They seek to apprehend him using Himeko as a decoy, but they find themselves outmatched, until ninja descendant freshman Katou Kiri intervenes. In the second half, the student council’s new treasurer Usami Hani is introduced. In her normal state, she hates men so much she completely ignores Tsubaki. When he touches her, her sexy, boy-crazy alter ego Bunny-chan emerges. After getting a headache, Tsubaki insists the final concil slot will be filled by a male – enter Katou Kiri.
Sket Dance’s policy regarding characters seems to be “the more, the merrier”, and in the case of the two new characters introduced this week, there’s no reason to change that policy. Both Katou Kiri and Usami Hani leave underwhelming first impressions early in their respective segments, but then they show an entirely different side of their characters. In Kiri’s case, he feigns slow reflexes to hide his ninja skills, but uses them to bail Himeko out of a serious situation (one of the only times we can recall she’s at knifepoint; while Bossun is unconscious).
Katou Kiri is okay, but of the two, we preferred Usami Hani (voiced by Yuka Iguchi), who has the extemely bizarre quality of totally changing personalities based on which gender touched her last. The relay system she sets up with Minorin tests Tsubaki’s patience, as does her jumping to conclusions when he’s direct with her. Fourth Wall expert Saotome Roman chimes in at a couple opportune times to give her assessment, which was much like ours: uninspiring at first, but turns out to be very quirky and not without potential.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)