A thoughtful response to current anime.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu 2 – Episode 12

The previous episode of BakaTest was all backstory about Yuuji and Shouko.  I wonder if that means they’re going to give us an episode focused on that relationship?  It’d be nice to see it treated on more than just the shallow level of “Yuuji looks at another girl, Shouko pokes his eyes out”.  On the other hand, the end of the season is drawing close, so maybe they just wanted to do a Yuuji/Shouko bit before they ran out of time.  I guess we’ll find out in episode 12 of Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu season 2.

…thirty minutes pass…

I don't get it. Hideyoshi's not like a cat-person at all. He's very serious and earnest, and has great dedication to the theatrical arts.

Wow, this is really the plot arc they want to end the season with?  Suddenly, out of nowhere, the Summoned Beings all work differently, turning into strange monsters, but nobody cares, they just use it as an excuse to set up a haunted house.  That sort of nonsensical premise might fly if this were a special halloween episode, because hey, it’s a festival, people do dumb things to celebrate festivals all the time.  The Simpsons runs a series of non-canonical shorts (eat my non-canonical shorts), Schlock Mercenary kills a character, BakaTest can turn Hideyoshi into a cat-person for all I care.  I bet in the original manga run, this was the Halloween issue.  But for the anime, airing with still a month until Halloween, it just seems weird.

They made the best of it, though.  They gave their more minor characters chances to shine.  Mutsurini got to be a badass with his camera, and the Kinoshita Twins got to join forces again.  I’m sure they’re just saving up for a Yuuji/Akihisa/Himeji/Minami focused finale, but I’m glad they didn’t just skip right to it.  Although it’s a little weird for them to focus so much on this silly little test of courage.  There’s nothing really riding on the outcome except the pride of the students.  It’s a game the principal set up on a whim, with no prize or punishment associated with it, but everyone’s taking it so seriously.  I guess haunted houses are fun, and especially so if you get to do battle with the monsters inside.

This episode made me a little uncomfortable, though, in how heteronormative it seemed to be.  I mean, it always treats the crossdresser Hideyoshi and the two gay characters as jokes, but I had figured it was all in good taste, because it treats everybody as jokes, it’s a comedy.  But some of the stuff this episode went a little too far, I felt.  Apparently the two gay characters’ summoned being representations are spirits that lead humanity astray?  It’s hard to argue that that’s not a little bigoted of a point of view.  And then one of the most terrifying “monsters” in the haunted house was a flamboyant man in drag?  Oh, and the way that Hideyoshi was defeated, the thing that made him scream when nothing else possibly could, was the idea that another man might harbor romantic intent toward him.  Now you can argue that these reflect the views of the characters, and I’m not normally one to get all up in arms about this sort of thing, but I was a little disappointed by the regressive portrayal of alternative lifestyles in this episode.


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