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SKET Dance (Episodes 1-26) PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00

SKET Dance

Meet the SKET-dan - a highschool club offering Support, Kindness, Encouragement and Troubleshooting services (see where they get the name from there?) to their fellow students. Doesn't sound like the greatest idea for a TV series, but when served with a large portion of off-the-wall humour, it works surprisingly well...

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...

There are three members of the SKET-dan: Bossun, the leader, who's a cheer, outgoing sort who insists on wearing a motorcyle wherever he goes. Whenever times get hard, you see, pulling down the helmet's goggles places him into an intense concentration mode that helps him crack any problem. It also makes him look like he's suffering from a bad case of constipation, though, so thankfully it's a trick that the series doesn't pull out too often. Switch is another strange one, as he insists on speaking only through the voice synthesis module on the laptop he carries permanently around his neck - a high-grade otaku, he also has a surprising amount of common sense. Finally, there's Himeko, a former yankee toughgirl who's now gone straight - although still carries her favourite Cyclone hockey stick, just in case anyone gives her any trouble.

Together, they dish out their unique brand of help and support to as varied a bunch of clients as you could hope to see - wannabe samurai Shinzou, not-very-good mangaka Roman, and her unique "otome-vision" ability that lets her see the world through the eyes of a shoujo manga character; budding anime voice actress Momoka; J-son-sensei, who wears a hockey mask and will look a tad familiar to horror movie fans; and lots more besides. While at first you get the feeling that each person the gang help is just going to be there for their one-off story, it soom becomes clear that that's not the case, and you end up with a huge cast that can be called on to milk the humour out of just about any situation. They're all one-trick ponies, sure, but that makes it easier to keep track of them all. Add in the school's Student Council, a rather unhinged bunch themselves with one member in particular carrying a grudge against Bossun, and you have the elements you need for a surprisingly good high-school comedy.

Which really wasn't what I was expecting, to be honest. This is a Shounen Jump show, and looks set to run for a while yet (the series has continued into a 3rd cour already). I've made my feelings on Shounen Jump shows clear before, but like Beelzebub, this one's confounding my usual disdain for such things - which is a pleasant surprise. I did almost drop the show around episode 4/5, more out of the belief that it was going to be rubbish than any evidence at that point, but I'm glad now that I didn't, as it is proving to be decently entertaining. If the thought of it being a long-runner doesn't put you off, give it a look. It might just surprise you.

Rating - ***