When they hear about fellow students being subjected to shakedowns while walking home, both Tsubaki and Bossun answer the call to track down and punish the culprit responsible, but neither knows the other is on the case until they bump into each other staking out the same spot at the same time. Increasingly immature banter ensues until the mugger arrives with his would-be prey. Bossun and Tsubaki spring into action and successfully catch the assailant.
Tsubaki and Bossun would never admit, and likely don’t even see it, but they’re two halves of the same coin. Both are passionate about helping out their fellow students; they just have very different ways of going about doing so. The Sket-dan by nature treads upon the purview of the officialy elected/appointed student council, so conflict is inevitable. Still, the school thus far has been big enough for these two organizations with similar missions but differing methods.
In a neat little bit of cause & effect, Bossun accidentally dousing Himeko with water while trying to hit Tsubaki gave her a cold that put both her and Switch out of commission for the episode, ultimately leading to him butting heads with the fiery vice president. But we wish they’d taken the idea of Bossun recruiting outside help further. He briefly rents Momoka’s gang, butwe imagine characters like Jason and Shinzou would also be appropriate. But Bossun’s right…there’s nothin’ like canned coffee.
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.
This week Sket Dance presented two instances of mucking up, then digging the hole ever deeper. First, Bossun needs a haircut for a photo in the school paper. Rather than go to a professional barber, he avails himself of the dubious tonsorial services of Himeko and Switch.
The results are predictable: they take turns ruining his hair, only to grow it back with a potion devised by their advisor. It works too well, growing hair “like a locomotive”, and after replenishing Bossun’s hair too many times, it fuses into a massive afro. While the premise is somewhat tired, the execution makes this sequence, with lots of good sight gags.
The second part featured the antics of the student council as they attempt to remove marker from a bronze bust of the principal and end up trashing it. It reminded me of a scene in the film “Bean” in which Mr. Bean meticulously and systematically ruins the painting Whistler’s Mother trying to clean his sneeze off. Like the magic hair tonic though, the ultimate fix is Minorin’s vast monetary resources. Two in-too-deep storylets, two unconventional resolutions.
This is the episode where I totally stopped caring about what’s at stake in this ridiculously high-budget competition between Sket-dan and the Student Council, because the show doesn’t really care about it either at the moment, it’s all about the here and now. And it delivered not one but two superb duels – one between Tsubaki and Shinzo, and another between Switch and Daisy. The two matches couldn’t have been more different, but they both worked, and rocked.
Tsubaki probably had Shinzo hook-line-and-sinker had he not called into question his samurainess. The words stung Shinzo deep, and made him remember his master’s teachings. The fact he burst his own second-to-last blood ball was particularly badass, and it made sense why he did it – Samurai only have one life to give; and his only two options are to win or die. So with the teams tied at one victory apiece (complete with victory rock that reminded me of Queen), Switch volunteers for the shoot out with Daisy in a dark warehouse.
Daisy may well be a crack shot who carries out orders without hesitation, Switch arguably scores the first unofficial point by loosing a barrage of information about her character, along with his analysis that she may be into S&M. She returns fire with perhaps the best and most elegant-sounding insults of the whole season – “Dobu De Oborete Shinde Ikikaete Mata Shine”, or “Drown in a gutter and die, come back to life, then die again.” Itai! Another nice touch – the two are kitted out in classy noir costumes.
As I said, Daisy has the better eye (though they both wear glasses; who knows), but Switch has a laptop, which he uses to misdirect and fool her into thinking he’s out of ammo. It’s more chess than pistols, as Switch uses his heretofore ambidexterity to get the winning shot just one-hundreth of a second before Daisy shoots him. Margin for error was zero, but he had confidence. Sket-dan up 2-1. Now, will the ringer, Roman, lose the “love challenge” against Uryuu, or will Bossun lose the last match to the council Prez? We’ll have to find out next week. Rating: 3.5
Sket Dance continues to be silly and slapsticky without getting too obvious or boring or idiotic. This week, in which the Student Council confronts Sket-dan and threatens its existence, was a very richly-told and thoughtful episode. Tsubaki and the other council members aren’t simply evil; their personalities are more complex. I particularly like how the president is so laid-back and pragmatic, indulging his subordinate so that he’d learn a lesson.
Tsubaki is not a very flexible guy, but he definitely develops a bit in the course of the episode. As for the Sket-dan core, they’re as spot-on as ever, with their usual excellent chemistry and immediate retorts, and the play premise was a great way to bring in all the misfit characters they had helped in usual episodes – the samurai, the occult girl, and the cliche’d manga girl. It’s good to see the show hadn’t just forgot about these characters.
Even Momoka and her gang are conscripted, and the performance the group puts on ultimately follows the story of Momoka’s character’s development just a couple episodes ago. It’s clever, and as I said, well-executed. Above all, it’s entertaining. Rating: 3.5
This week introduced a whole slew of characters, including acquaintances of Switch neither Bossun nor Orihime knew existed. Obviously to be as good at information gathering as he is, he must have a host of connections amongst a diverse array of student types. Among them include the newspaper editor, Shimada, and a Sadako-lookalike and occult enthusiast, Yuuko. Sket-dan’s mission is to uncover the mystery of a ghost, but they (being Bossun and Switch; Himeko doesn’t really do anything) discover that there is no ghost, only a ploy by Shimada to manufacture a scoop, for which she is repentant.
Bookending this story are the exploits of the Student Council, a very disciplined and well-organized one at that, engineering their own ploy that ends in the successful apprehension of a blackmailing gang preying on students, the council’s charge. While on the surface they don’t seem to be quite as entertaining a group as Sket-dan, they do lend the all-important rival authority to the series, as well as add even more variety to a cast stocked with oddballs. Their inevitable clash with Sket-dan – two thirds of whom flaunt the dress code with impugnity – should be interesting. Rating: 3.5