Ichiko stops Teddy and Momou from soiling Momiji and she escapes out the window with her. Ranmaru catches them in midair, and they hitch a ride with Bobby to get away. Teddy and Momou are in hot pursuit, but Ranmaru takes on Momou. Using Bobby’s “Jazz Hyper” charm, Ichiko takes on Teddy, but gets knocked out. Keita looms over her when she awakes, and she asks him a “hypothetical” question about Momoji that she already knows the answer to, she races back to Momiji, catching her as she’s falling from the bridge, then dropping her in a passing garbage barge. She returns to her normal, abrasive self.
Well now, that was a pleasant surprise: a finale that tied everything up neatly and entertainingly, completed Sakura Ichiko’s arc, and providing plenty of high-stakes action and more kinetic comedy. The episode juxtaposes scenes of motion and stillness (with appropriate changes in tone) and gives the whole cast something to do – even Nadeshiko has a (real) cameo. Ranmaru and Momou’s duel is particularly badass, with all the requisite pre-battle banter one would expect of a shounen anime. But one reason this episode worked is that its resolution wasn’t as simple as Ichiko’s original goal of saving Momiji.
At the episode’s beginning, Ichiko didn’t want Momiji to change back because “things were easier this way”, by the end, and with prodding by both Teddy and Keita, she decides to not allow Momiji sacrifice her godhood. But she claims, as always, to be doing it for herself – as friendly and lovable as Momiji-chan was, Ichiko knew deep down it wasn’t right, sparring with the insulting foul-mouthed Binbougami-ga was simply more entertaining. We’d also say that Momiji’s mission was successful: Ichiko’s gone from a lonely, bitchy luck-vacuum to someone with friends she cares about and shares her fortune.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
After a hot day, Ichiko needs a bath, but finds hers occupied by a stink god, another of Momiji’s chums. She asks Rindou if she can use hers, but it’s just a steel drum in the yard, so the two resort to the public bath. There they find Keita and his family, and everyone ends up seeing everyone else nude and is nervous about it the next day.
What’s worse than a fanservice episode? One that comes right out in the beginning and points out what it is, thinking it’s clever but coming off as lame and lazy. The bottom line is, this show isn’t really allowed to show anything, so devoting an entire episode to teasing just how close to the edge it can go isn’t all that productive. Worse, Ichiko’s latest development – the amulet that prevents her from absorbing the fortune from others – is totally forgotten this week.
So yeah, 99% of this episode is silly and ridiculous, and not in a good way. For one thing, we were kind of distressed that the monk was trying so hard to peep on the ladies when some of them were small girls. Not cool. Why isn’t he reported to the cops? We did enjoy how Keita turned a shocked Ichiko around after an awkward moment of seeing each other nude, then coyly lying about not seeing anything. Dude, you saw everything. Also, washing Momiji did…something to her. Was her misfortune washed away?
Rating: 4 (Fair)
Ichiko takes in an abandoned kitten and names it Fluffy, but she dwells on Momoji’s warning about her hurting those close to her. Ibuki, the toilet god appears, but when he mentions misfortune, she flushes him out of hand. The next day Momijij kidnaps her cat, which she originally planted. Ichiko summons her demon friends, but Momiji uses a “Dayson” to vacuum them up, along with a good amount of her fortune. The gym they met in catches fire. Ibuki arrives to save Fluffy, but accidentally turns her into a Beckoning Cat god which leads Ichiko to safety. Ibuki gives Momiji a necklace with a “keystone” which will prevent her from draining others’ fortune.
This entire episode is an over-complicated scheme by Momiji to slap that keystone on Ichiko. As Poop-god (we’ve seen a lot of poop lately, innit?) Ibuki points out, she could have just asked her if she’d put it on. As the audience, we know that Ichiko is worried about how all the people she’s getting closer to will be affected by her natural ability to sap their fortune. Of course, if she’d simply asked her nicely, without any insults or pretense, she probably would have agreed, and we’d have no episode. (Though we’ll note this episode is heavily-padded by omake.)
Instead, Momiji takes the long road: planting a cat, hiring Ibuki to go in the house and introduce himself; kidnapping the cat; challenging Ichiko to a duel; foilng her with her latest gadget (which resembles a real Dyson); etc. When Ichiko is trapped in a burning gym, Momiji realizes she may have gone too far, and fortune ends up finding Ichiko in the form of a mistake by Ibuki that turns Fluffy into a friggin’ god. In any case, Ichiko will no longer be draining anyone’s fortune – which seems to go a long way towards Momiji accomplishing her mission of neutralizing that threat.
Rating: 5 (Average)
In the first half, Ichiko and Momiji have a duel in doubles tennis. Their respective male partners – the prince-like Adenokouji Shion and the gorilla-like Gorihara, are quickly taken out of the game of increasing magic and firepower wielded by the girls. The match ends in a tie and a destroyed tennis court. In the second half, Ichiko tries her hand at cooking, but fails miserably each time. Her experimentation is interrupted when Momiji appears with her rival and colleague Kuroyuri, a fellow god of misfortune. Their pincer attack fails, and when they hold a cooking duel with Kuroyuri as the judge, Ichiko’s attempt meat and potato stew sends her into a vomiting fit and she books it back to base, defeated.
We must warn you: if you can’t stand episodes in which almost everyone is yelling at or near the top of their lungs pretty much constantly, you probably won’t enjoy this episode. Having watched 71+ episodes of Sket Dance, we consider ourselves inoculated against high-decibel hijinx. This is an episode of fierce competition between Ichiko and Momiji, in which mundane activities like tennis and cooking are ratcheted up to absurd levels of aggression.
A lesser series would have spend the whole 20 minutes and change on one challenge, but this one made the correct choice of presenting at least two, while introducing new characters in each segment who will likely show up in the final episodes…though we hope those episodes don’t feature a lot of them because they’re not very interesting. Adenokouji Shion is your standard big-haired bishie, while Kuroyuri is a yuri cliche…though her monocle is kind of cool, she poses no threat to Ichiko. Other notable guests included Ichiko’s exploding cake and wailing stew. Of course she sucks at cooking.
Rating: 5 (Average)
Rindou reaches out to Ichiko in friendship, but Ichiko repeatedly rebukes her. Ichiko’s main detractor Tange Akane takes advantage of Ichiko’s distraction to lure her into an ambush using a gang of guys. Rindou saves Ichiko from the gang, but the abandoned school building they’re all in starts to collapse. Safe outside, Ichiko weighs saving Rindou, afraid she’ll still want friendship. Because Ichiko had a traumatic experience with her last friend Kurumi, she doesn’t feel she can trust anyone. Momiji prods her into action, and afterwards, Rindou promises she’ll never use or betray her the was Kurumi did.
Beneath her brash, beautiful, arrogant veneer, Sakura Ichiko is a unsociable misanthrope who is afraid of getting close to anyone. The unbridled friendliness of Rindou puts her off; it doesn’t even occur to her that she could have a real friendship with her or anyone else. Why? Because she was used and betrayed by a so-called friend in the past (this friend is guest-voiced by Rie Kugimiya in full Two-Faced Bitch Mode). Rather than take a chance at making friends again and getting hurt again, Ichiko keeps to herself, and dedicates each day to projecting pride, confidence, and cynicism for her fellow man.
But both Momiji and Rindou have seen other sides of Ichiko. The tender side; the vulnerable side; the side who stood up to Rindou’s father, not just – as she insisted – because he pissed her off, but for Rindou’s sake. Not only does Rindou repay her by risking her life to save hers, she outright refuse’s Ichiko’s rejection of her, wearing her down with her assurances she’ll never hurt Ichiko. Whether Ichiko likes it or not, she has herself a friend. She’ll survive.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Ichiko crosses paths with the tomboyish karate expert Rindou Ranmaru, framing her for shoplifting after being framed herself. The next day, Ranmaru transfers to her class and challenges her to a duel, which Ichiko wins thanks to her luck. After the duel Keita praises Ranmaru, and she gets a crush on him. Ichiko gives her a makeover to make her more girlish, but when she goes home in that state, she’s hit by her father. Ichiko starts a fight with her father, but Ranmaru stops it, not wanting her dad hurt. Her dad lightens up, but Ranmaru is more comfortable dressing as she normally does anyway.
The magenta-haired Rindou Ranmaru recieves a fitting introduction this week, and she’s not what we expected. Well, not completely. First of all, we assumed she was a supernatural being like Momiji or Momou, but she’s just a human (albeit one who can somehow survive a 13-story fall onto a car). Her outfit is…there’s no other word for it…well, actually, there are a lot of words, but we’ll go with straight-up ridiculous. And a little distracting. Isn’t there a dress code? Also, the fourth wall-breaking about the main character’s class getting so many transfers is a bit weak. Everyone changing character design at will was pretty funny though.
What we liked was how this “hot-blooded dumbass born in the wrong era” (to paraphrase Ichiko) provides a fresh foil and rival for Ichiko, as well as a mortal person who could actually become one of her friends, even if that friendship is tense and unspoken. Ichiko plans to get back at Ranmaru by exploiting her infatuation with Keita, but she forgets about it once she sees how happy and excited Ranmaru is to have a new look (which is adorable). Ichiko also stands up for Ranmaru against her strict, rigid ass of a father, and even if her defense proves unnecessary, it’s appreciated by both Ranmaru and her dad. But geez…that friggin’ outfit of hers…what a hot mess.
Rating: 6 (Good)