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SKET Dance - First Thoughts PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 April 2011 16:19
It's Teppei Sugihara's first day at Kaimei Academy, and no sooner is he settle in the classroom that Bossun, one of his new classmates, sets about trying to persuade him to join the SKET club (that's Support, Kindness, Encouragement and Troubleshooting, for the curious). They exist to offer both practical and emotional support to their fellow students - although their services haven't exactly been in demand lately. Teppei's first impression of the club members is that they're a bunch of weirdos, but somehow he finds himself being dragged into their strange little world...


That title? A corruption of "SKET-dan-su", it seems ("-dan" being"club", if my very limited Japanese serves me well). There is no dancing, apart from around the point. The SKET-dan has three members - founder and leader Bossun, who wears a biker helmet and pulls down the goggles of it when he needs to concentrate (an amazing thing, the intensity of which can be felt by all around him - although it just looked like he was holding his breath to me); information genius Switch, who can talk but chooses to use a speech synthesis program on his laptop computer to do it for him; and Himeko, a former "yankee" (gang girl) of major note who insists she's gone straight - but who can still whip the arse of anyone who dares piss her off. Bossun and Himeko I can like with, Switch less so - the daftness of him having his open laptop around his neck soon wears thin, doubly so when he uses it, while fighting, to generate suitably fighty grunts and groans. ::headdesk:: Less of him, please. Transfer student Teppei seems to be here simple in the role of client-of-the-week, as he's unwittingly just transferred into the same school as the bully who made his life a misery in primary school - and is quite looking forward to repeating the experience now.

It's based on a shounen manga, but fortunately doesn't have much of an emphasis on fighting. Instead, it tends more towards comedy and mystery-solving, and in those areas it works okay - nothing special, but nothing too terrible, either. Bossun and Himeko are good characters to watch, though, and the production values make it a bit of a visual treat as well - although this is just the first episode, and visual flair is usually the first thing to go in any new series.

THE GOOD: It's not as hackneyed an idea as I was expecting, making it correspondingly more fun to watch than I was expecting. And, so far at least, it looks the part.

THE BAD: Switch. Please, do me a favour, and switch him for someone else..? Villains also fall into the "pick your stereotype" category, with this week's bully looking and acting like he was just out of the highschool in Beelzebub. C'mon, guys, try and give your bullies at least a little originality...

SKET Dance isn't bad, then - but neither is it good enough to make me really sit up and take notice, and with it set to be a long-runner I don't know that there's enough here to make me stick with it for the long haul. We'll see. Could have been a much worse start, though.

SKET Dance is being simulcast by Crunchyroll.

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