A thoughtful response to current anime.

SKET Dance – Episode 18

I kind of feel like SKET Dance has been in a slump since the Summer season started.  I’m trying to remember the last episode where I thought, “yeah, that was a really good ep!”.  I guess the second episode in the competition arc counts, but that was way back at episode 12, and so not part of summer at all.  I had heard the manga got better in later chapters, but maybe this isn’t late enough.  Let’s see how late episode 18 of SKET Dance is.

…thirty minutes pass…

If you want characters and backgrounds, play an RPG.

A pretty good episode!  They changed the OP and ED on me, though.  I’m not liking that one bit.  I dunno why they would change it 18 episodes in, maybe they’re going to go 3 seasons?  18 episodes would be the midpoint, then.  Maybe they’re going to go 6 seasons and change it three times.  I really liked the old OP, especially.  It had the SKET-dan sitting at the edge of a pool, swaying in time to the music.  It had afros, too, everything you could want, really, all set to a solid bubblegum j-pop tune.  RIP old OP ;_;

This episode touched on a personal interest of mine, as I am something of a board games nerd.  As a board games nerd I have to get nitpicky and say that it’s no wonder the SKET-dan minus Himeko’s passion for Hyperion dimmed so quickly.  All the character backstories, all the lovingly sculpted miniatures, all the gimmicky combination moves and unlikely special rules for children climbing in mecha to avenge their fathers, there is a word for this nonsense in the boardgaming community.  It’s called “Ameritrash”, the idea being these features are more associated with the terrible overproduced garbage designed in America, as opposed to Eurogames, the elegant, tightly designed games that come out of Europe.  I guess this game came out of China?  But it’s Ameritrash though and through, basically bolting a bunch of special cases onto Shogi.  And those special cases sound cool when you’re going over the rules, and the first time they come up in play, you are like “wow! sweet!”, but “sweet” is exactly the right word.  Ameritrash is like candy – it dazzles your senses, but it is ultimately lacking in fulfillment, and too much of it can have negative effects on your health.  And if you eat too much of it, you’ll make yourself sick.  As we saw happen to Bossun and Switch.

This is the sort of wacky episode that SKET Dance needs to do more of.  They need to take a comedic premise and run with it, make a bunch of different jokes about it, and not encumber it with a lot of stuff about true love or believing in yourself, or whatever.  I mean, obviously you should believe in yourself, and the SKET-dan is about supporting people, so there will be some of that, but it should be left firmly in the background.  Like it was in this episode.  There were themes of exclusion from the group, and casual sexism, but they weren’t allowed to dominate and drown out the jokes.


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