A thoughtful response to current anime.

SKET Dance – Episode 2

I’ll get to Hanasaku Iroha some other time.  Right now I feel like something simple but uplifting, and from what I can recall that is SKET Dance.  Support, kindness, encouragement, troubleshoot. I wish I could be that sort of friendly, happy, helpful person.  I admire that.  Selflessness, or to put it more precisely, self-abnegation, is the primary trait that makes me consider someone a hero.  People who get up with a bullet or two in them because what they are trying to protect is more important than their leaking organs.  People who sacrifice not just their lives, but their reputations, their loved ones, their morals, for something they find more important.  SKET Dance isn’t that!  That’s grim, and in places horrifying.  SKET Dance is cheerful and optimistic!  It says, you don’t have to be a grim hero to be selfless.  It’s natural to want to help others!  Let’s clean up the campus so that everyone can have a neat and tidy place to learn!  Hooray!  Let’s watch episode 2 of SKET Dance!

…thirty minutes pass…

Maybe they're grim heroes after all. Look at them staring into the sunset remembering their fallen comrades!

So this episode was actually split into two smaller subepisodes.  I’m not a big fan of that format, but sometimes the stories you want to tell are vignettes, and I guess it’s better than trying to pad out the story of the breast-groping monkey to a full 30 minutes.

First subepisode felt rushed, though.  Maybe it is just my pro-samurai bias, but I felt like there was more troubleshooting we could have done, more time we could have spent on special training.  Yeah, the answer was clear to anyone who saw hit kendo school life comedy Bamboo Blade and therefore knew the ins and outs of competitive high school kendo, but like I said earlier, it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s important.  I would have liked to have taken more time on the journey.

Second subepisode was fun!  A lot of good visual gags.  Ok, so an extended scene where people are chasing a mischievous animal that has stolen something important through various groups of unsuspecting people, that’s not breaking new comedic ground.  But people use it because it works!  And SKET Dance executed it well.  The art was done with an appropriate level of exaggeration, enough to play up the zany comedic aspects of things, but not so much it falls into unpleasant, Yondemasu Azazel territory.  It probably helps that SKET Dance takes a sincere tone while Yondemasu attempts irony – exaggeration and irony do not pair well.


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