This show is really proving itself to be adept at pretty much any form of comedy it tries, as witness the fact that this week’s episode was a big departure from the usual formula, but it still almost entirely worked for me. There were an awful lot of high school girls, not nearly enough of the main trio, and it featured a surprising amount of plot, given the first three episodes. Still, it was funny, with most of the satire hitting the mark unerringly as has usually been the case. We also got the return of the delightful Nago-san, and a continuation of the cavalcade of legendary seiyuu bringing their own brand of hilarity to the proceedings.
My favorites this week were two – the first being connected to the culture festival being held jointly between North High (boys) and East High (girls). Now normally I’m highly suspicious when “shows about nothing” in the Seinfeld vein – and Danshi Koukousei is definitely such a show – start trying to incorporate actual plots (and at four parts, this was the longest story so far). But this mostly clicked, because it highlighted the hilarious misconceptions that each gender of high-school kid has about the other, especially when denied the benefit of interaction at school. The sequence was slightly hit and miss (mostly hit) but the best part was the sequence with Yoshitake and Ikushima acting as greeters for the culture festival. Ikushima prattled on and on about boys, a subject we – and Yoshitake – could clearly see she knew nothing about. Yoshitake’s facial reactions alone were worth the price of admission, but when her friend shows up, things get really hilarious – and the payoff (it’s always about the payoff) is when Yoshitake bails and switches places with his delinquent-faced double, the student council VP (Yasumoto Hiroki).
Not every element of the culture festival sequence worked – I didn’t find the fistfight between the East High President and the North High President (Ishida Akira) all that funny, though the insert song was cute. But the entire exercise was elevated by the hyperactive inferiority complex of said East High President, Ringo (Aoi Yuuki). From the minute she walks up to the school with a backpack full of preconceptions, she’s totally wrong and broken – even taking the extreme politeness of the boys’ council and the neatness of their council room as an affront to her superiority as a high school girl. It doesn’t help that Yasumoto-san is at his slimy best as her North High counterpart, subtly jabbing her constantly with reminders of how much better his school is than hers. Exaggerated or not, I’ve rarely seen the gap in understanding between the sexes at this age-level so deftly portrayed. The other highlight of the festival was the haunted house sequence (very apt just after watching Another) which ends with Ringo walking in on the greatest horror of all – The Prez naked.
Among the other skits, I enjoyed the dialogue-free pre-open – about 30 seconds of Tadakuni lying in his room, doing nothing. You can’t have a show called “Daily Lives of High School Boys” be true-to-life without showing that – but it still takes balls to do it. This is a bit of a set-up for a recurring gag where Tadakuni seems to be a bit ostracized by his two friends, which is what he sought out Nago-san’s advice about in the end. This ties into a couple of misunderstandings where he thinks he’s eavesdropping on them (talking about “dirty stuff” and nonsensical political issues) and it turns out to be the VP and Mitsuo (Okamoto Nouhuko), who looks like the delinquent version of Hidenori. Not sure if this split in the friendship is going to be a running gag or not, or whether the whole thing was in Tadakuni’s imagination.
I did say two favorites earlier, and once again one of them was the inspired “High School Girls are Funky” sequence. I can’t get enough of Kobayashi Yuu in berserker mode, and this time Saito Chiwa matches her almost line for line. The topic once again is girls misconceptions about boys, and the culmination is Yanagin screaming out to her neighbor Karasawa, with Yanagin and Ikushima hurling every insult in their bag at him and asking him why he doesn’t just die. The deliciously deadpan Kawasawa is their perfect foil, and responds by tossing sweets down the them, which turns them into zoo animals at feeding time – much to the horror of Habara, trying in vain to retain a shred of dignity.