Sket Dance – 73

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.

Sket Dance – 61

In the first part, the Sket-dan observes Roman tutor her protege Fumi at the manga club. Roman had a one-shot published and is currently storyboarding her second piece. After reading Fumi’s manga, the Sket-dan is weary of Fumi’s chances, but she ends up winning the contest. In the second part, the Sket-dan are doing impressions of student council members, attracting Tsubaki, who lost his contacts and can’t see properly. They run with the misunderstanding and mess with him, and end up having to sit through a council meeting, impersonating the other officers.

We have no idea when Sket Dance will be wrapping up, but if it’s soon, we’re glad they stuck in one more Saotome Roman segment. She can get a little rote, but when utilized properly, her Suzumiya-style control over time and space is something to beheld. This segment plays her relatively straight, laying out her goals and motivations succinctly, then demonstrating that while her art style leaves much to the imagination, she’s a naturally gifted teacher, and her storytelling, while unorthodox, is anything but boring. As is typical during the readthroughs of manga involving Roman, we were laughing almost the whole time, not just at the absurdity, but the reactions of Bossun and Himeko.

While not as good, the second half was a good demonstration of how a practical joke can bite you in the ass if you don’t end it soon enough. When Tsubaki told them getting teased over his glasses netted him a complex about wearing them: that was the time to stop, but they didn’t, and ended up having to maintain their impressions far longer than they bargained for. To their credit, the impressons are pretty funny, as is the whole situation of dealing with someone who believes three people are four other people as his vision slowly improves. As for the circumstances that occupied the real council – the principal just felt like gushing about his grandchild – was amsuingly innocuous.

Rating: 3

Sket Dance – 32

The first half is a period piece in which the Sket-dan are ninjas and Roman is a lord’s hostage. However, she breaks the fourth wall and jumps out of the moon, eliminating the need to storm the castle to rescue her. The second half is a sci-fi piece in which the sket-dan is the crew of a very slow spaceship. They pass the time by playing shiritori, but get in a space fender-bender with Tsubaki, a prince headed to his homeworld.

This week, Roman Saotome presents two more anime genre standbys to the Sket Dance repertoire. But this is Sket Dance, so both segments are rife with side commentary, screaming, and a lot of rule-breaking (there was even a nice little nod to Castle in the Sky, though the -dan shuts Roman up before she can say the magic words). The Sket-dan doesn’t so much bury themselves in their parts as simply carry on as they would in the real world, only in cosplay. In this, Sket Dance continues to perpetuate its chameleon-like identity.

Unless you’ve read the manga, there’s no telling what genre it will take on or what other work it will parody. We enjoy surprises, but even for Sket Dance, we felt these two segments were too-often off-topic and self-critique. Opportunities for a samurai duel – or a giant space battle – were missed, but perhaps that’s the point: no matter what environment they’re in, Bossun, Himeko and Switch aren’t giong to give up their normal, mundane existance.

Rating: 3