SKET Dance (Episodes 52-77) Print
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Monday, 21 January 2013 00:00

It may have been as lightweight as hell, but I also can't deny that I was sorry to see it go. Here're some final thoughts on SKET Dance, now that it's shuffled off the simulcast schedules...

As I pointed out last time I covered SKET Dance, this is very much one of those shows where I almost wanted to drop it every week, but found myself watching anyway - it may be random and largely pointless, but it's usually fun, too. Last time around, things were shaken up a bit by the revelation of Bossun's long-lost twin brother; this time, we have the introduction of Saaya Agata, little sister of the Student Council President and a girl who's as tsundere as a tsundere can be.

Works for me. She's a deliberate attempt to play the stereotype for all that it's worth, right down to being voiced by Hana Kanazawa (who, in case you didn't already know, voices all the best tsundere girls) and for the first few episodes after her introduction she dominates the show in a very enjoyable way. This being very much an ensemble show, she then drifts into the background a bit - but there's a running thread right up to the end of the series that deals with her, her feelings for Bossun, and the almost-rivalry between her and Himeko over Bossun's affections that never quite drops over the edge into outright confession. It's fun to watch, and oh so sweet, too.

There's also a strong line in sibling rivalry between Bossun and Tsubaki, who despite now knowing that they're as closely related as you can be never quite manage to see eye-to-eye. It's a tension that's played far more for laughs than for drama, in keeping with the usual tone of the show in general - throughout these episodes, Tsubaki's on the receiving end of a number of jokes that make him har less the authority figure he'd like to be and far more a figure of fun. And I can't help but feel that's a change for the better.

Away from those small points, the series continues much as it has since day one, with its extended cast of minor characters all getting episodes to themselves and the storylines running the usual gamut from wacky to (occasionally) serious. Everything I've said about it before still holds true - the idea is, on the surface, weak and not something you should be able to hang a series off, but in its characters and implementation it does a damned good job in making use of what it has to produce something that's aware of, and happy to poke fun at, its own shortcomings; and in the process makes you like its characters and have fun along with them.

Memorable and rewatchable? Probably not, if I'm being brutally honest. Enjoyable one time around? Absolutely - if ever there were a poster child for the sort of series that's ideal for simulcast but absolutely not a runner for a physical release, SKET Dance is it. For as much as I was sorry to see its end, its place was quickly filled by other things. But it's certainly worth some of your time to check out.

Rating - ***

52 - Twin Tail Tsundere Girl
Bossun's been playing dating sims, and one particular girl - the tsundere type - has been giving him problems. But that experience in the game world is about to come into real-world use, when the Sket-dan meets Saaya, a first-year student who's got tsundere troubles of her own and wants the Sket-dan to help her stop being so snotty around boys - and Bossun has been chosen as the test subject. Meanwhile, the Student Council have a tsundere of their own to deal with - Tsubaki...

53 - A Graceful Melody for Koma-chan
The Sket-dan try to help Koma-chan, a huge girl with a tiny voice. Koma-chan wants to find love, but every time she gets nervous, her near-superhuman strength is unleashed - as Bossun learns the hard way after complimenting Koma-chan's chest. And it's hard to find true love when most of the candidates are terrified of you. So, how do you go about making the school giantess a little less threatening..? Later, Dante's back with another problem - if anyone can get out of him what it is...

54 - Get the Fortune Teller!
When Yuuki falls under the influence of a seemingly scamming celebrity psychic, it's the Sket-dan to the rescue! But to take down the fraudulent fortune teller, they'll have to head to her home turf, at a seminar in front of hundreds of true believers...

55 - The Man Who Was Called Laughing on the Outside, but Origami on the Inside
You would think that after all the other mishaps they've had around Chuu-sensei's concoctions, the gang would no better than to sample any of them, but no - after Bossun drinks the latest creation (stored in a Loca-Cola bottle, so I suppose you can't blame him), his feelings and expressions become mismatched. later, Bossun becomes an origami master, but can he overcome nervous jitters to win a major contest..?

56 - May I Come Backstage?
When Switch's laptop is on the fritz, he's left speechless, because heaven forbid that he's use his genuine voice to speak to anyone. When technology fails, there are usually other options - but can Switch finagle a backstage pass to Momoka's concert and be his usually suave self when he's only got a sketchbook to work with? Momoka, meanwhile, seems to be suffering from a case of over-enthusiastic fans, and ir's Switch who comes to her rescue...

57 - You Got Mail
Bossun has a new e-mail friend, as does Himeko, and they're both starting to fall for their respective pseudonymous pals - unaware of the person's true identity. They're not the only ones getting in on the e-mail pals craze, either, with both Takemitsu and Saaya in on the act as well - with Takemitsu in particular showing a surprising flair for the medium, for someone who claims to be an old-school samurai...

58 - Stop! Invisible Man-kun
It's Mad Scientist Week, and while acting as guinea-pig for another of Chuu-sensei's faux-cola potions, Bossun finds himself turned invisible. Which is just the situation a mischevious high-schooler (like Bossun) would love to find himself in. Later, Bossun tries on an artificially intelligent "power suit" created by Switch - but the suit soon develops a will of its own...

59 - Tsubaki and Daisey
When Daisey runs afoul of the leader of a group of delinquents from another school who threatens to trash Kaimei High unless she becomes his woman, Tsubaki takes it upon himself to avenge her honor and set things to rights. Except that Daisey isn't the sort of person who'll willingly accept help from others - as Bossun has already discovered. Tsubaki's not the kind to take help either, of course, but soon finds that he may have no choice...

60 - Go Forth! Everyone Concentrate and Cooperate at the Pelocan Girl Study Group
Himeko becomes the new Pelocan campaign girl for a TV commercial, but her sudden stage fright threatens to derail the whole thing. Then, when the Sket-dan is unprepared for the following day's practice exams, they go to Himeko's house to study - and get to meet Himeko's mom, the Legendary Oniyome...

61 - The Manga Girl Aims for the Wilderness and Has a Meeting
Fumi-chan is a great artist, but what will happen when she tries to emulate Roman's style of manga? It turns out that Roman's a harsh judge when it comes to the abilities of others. And speaking of emulating, when Tsubaki temporarily loses his eye-sight, the Sket-dan plays a prank on him by pretending to be the other members of Student Council - but their prank gets a little out of hand...

62 - Skip!
The students of Kaimei High are going on a class trip, but first, they have to participate in a rope skipping competition to see which class gets the best rooms. Saaya doesn't have an athletic bone in her body, so she's worried that she's going to doom her class to the worst rooms of all, until the Sket-dan tries teaching her how to skip. Then, the students are on their way, but in the back of one bus, Chuu-sensei is playing mad scientist again, and this time his victims are Bossun, Himeko, and Tsubaki...

63 - School Rhapsody, Part I
As the kids arrive at the ski resport where they're having their school trip, Bossun and Himeko's personalities are still switched (thanks to Chuu-sensei's latest concoction), which creates all sorts of complications when it comes time to change clothes or take a bath. And as if that wasn't enough of a complication, Saaya's crush on Bossun has chosen just this time to kick into high gear - but is she crushing on Bossun, or unwittingly crushing on Himeko instead..?

64 - School Rhapsody, Part II
In the conclusion of the mind-switching school trip arc, will Saaya get answers at last about Bossun and Himeko? Will Bossun and Himeko get their own minds back? And in a bonus story, Bossun and company are recast as loser adventurers in the fantasy game world of... Quest Dance!

65 - He's Interested in the Sister and the Brother's Interested in Him
Agata is normally protective of his younger sister, but his genius IQ goes out the window when he becomes convinced that Saaya and Tsubaki are in love with each other. Which of course isn't the case - it's Bossun she's interested in, but once Agata gets an idea in his head it's hard to shift it. And so, Tsubaki finds himself on the receiving end of some very unwanted attention...

66 - Seeking Out TsukkomI
When Switch brings out an invention that can read the minds of animals, he and the other members quickly find out that it can also read human minds - which leads, as you'd expectm, to chaos when the gang just can't keep their thoughts to themselves anymore. Then, Himeko gets recruited by Momoka to go on a TV show, where she has to battle a professional comedian in a war of wits...

67 - Tsubaki's Lame T-Deep Meaning
Tsubaki's hobby is making original T-shirt designs, but when his fellow Student Council members proclaim them lame, he goes to his twin brother Bossun for a shot of creative advice. Then, Bossun's love for a robot anime leads him to an otaku meet-up. But will he be able to fit in..?

68 - Operation Love Potion
Remi-onee-san's in love, with Chuu-sensei being the object of her affections. Problem is, Remi's not at all sure that Chuu feels the same about her. The way to make sure he returns her feelings seems obvious: use a love potion. It's what he'd do, after all (he'd even had just such a potion prepared, for some reason), and his daughter seems quite happy with the idea. Except that Bossun's plan for getting Shuu to take the love drug seems a little far-fetched...

69 - Poop's in Heaven, So Come, Student Council
Bossun tries to answer when nature calls, but it seems the world is bent on keeping him away from a toilet. Then, Tsubaki comes to the Sket-dan for help on yet another art project, this time a Student Council recruitment manga. With Tsubaki's skills at manga being as good as his skills a designing t-shirts (that is, hopeless), it falls to Bossun to make his brother's efforts presentable...

70 - The Last Day of the President
Tsubaki is going to be the new Student Council president, but will his campus crackdown lead to rebellion before he even takes up the post? Then, Agata is made to jump through hoops in order to get his kidnapped sister back on his last day as Student Council president!

71 - Genius Poopman Yearning
First, a Sket fractured fairytail pits crab (Himeko) versus devious monkey (Switch), with Bossun thrown in as a piece of crap. Meanwhile, back in the 'real' world, when Date becomes an enka singer overnight, can the Sket-dan bring him back to his normal visual-kei self?!

72 - Chase Kagerous!
Kagerou, a ninja-like purse and wallet-snatching thief, plagues the students of Kaimei Academy. Can the Sket-dan stop him or will it take a ninja to catch a ninja? Over at the Student Council, President Tsubaki is trying to get used to his position, a task made harder when it appears the new treasurer is off her rocker...

73 - The Time I Fully Came to Know Peeping
A Peeping Tom is the latest miscreant to plague the students of Kaimei Academy. After that business is resolved, it's Roman and Bossun versus the president and vice president of the Boys' Manga Club in a manga artist free-for-all..!

74 - Food Fighter Home Visit!
Bossun, Himeko, and Tsubaki get a huge surprise when they visit Mimorin's house. Then, the old ramen guy from episode 29 is back for revenge! This time, his Food Fight uses Western-style food and Bossun feels obliged to participate..!

75 - Solitude
When a bullying teacher from Katou Kiri's past comes to Kaimei Academy, he harasses the Sket-dan. But will the bully's actions push Student Council member / trained ninja Katou over the edge?

76 - To Build a Better Academy
Katou Kiri has become Tsubaki's loyal retainer, but will the young ninja learn to work together with his other Student Council colleagues in order to build a better academy? Then, the Sket-dan teams up with the Student Council to cure Usami of her hatred for all men - and it involves more than one kind of cross-dressing...

77 - The Academy's Helpers (After That)
In this final episode, the Sket-dan does what it does best... help the students of Kaimei Academy! But there's also time for potential romance, as Saaya sets her mind on declaring her true feelings...

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