I guess it’s pretty much official now that the reports of TV Seki-kun’s demise were incorrect, as it’s now aired two weeks in a row as scheduled this season. I won’t be foolish enough to try and predict what’s going to happen with the series from here, but I will enjoy it for as long as it lasts.
This week’s episode marked quite a change, as there was no Yokoi-san. Obviously given Seki’s role in the narrative someone had to fill in for the ill Yokoi, and that’s Gotou – the twintails girl we’ve met a couple of times already. She makes quite an admirable stand-in, in that her imagination is if anything even more out of control than Yokoi’s, and there’s the added bonus of watching her twist, pull and otherwise manipulate her pigtails to great comic effect.
Seki-kun’s gambit this week is sumo in art class, featuring paper cut-outs and a ring which he shakes rhythmically (nice work by Shimono Hiro on the soundtrack), featuring one traditional paper sumo wrestler and an increasingly ridiculous string of mechanized opponents. It’s one of Seki’s funnier gigs in its own right, but paired with Gotou imagining the entire thing as a metaphor for Seki and Yokoi’s rocky romantic relationship it’s delightfully over the top. When Gotou accidentally skews the results after knocking Seki’s table in her consternation, he even sees Yoki’s ghostly form in her usual spot, glaring at him.
Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara – 02
I guess I have to still call Kanojo ga Flag o Oraretara a guilty pleasure, because I feel kind of guilty for enjoying it. I’m not really sure why, though – and I felt the same way about R-15 at first too, and it turned out I was just letting other people’s preconceptions influence the way I was seeing that show. I don’t get the sense that this series is going to turn out as to be as good as that one did, but there may be a similar effect here.
The second episode was a very odd mix – a sandwich of serious plot exposition at the beginning and end, with a heaping helping of absolute nonsense in the middle. I’m not sure what to make of that larger plot, which has to do with a mysterious girl named Sakura (Hidaka Rina) who Souta meets on a cruise ship, a strange game that looks like chess but isn’t, the “truth of the world” and a missing big sister. Right now I’d put it about on a par with the plot in Noucome – not completely without interest, but mostly a pretext for the comedy to have a reason for exist.
The difference for me, at least so far, is that the comedy is genuinely funnier in this show (and I didn’t dislike Noucome). I like the non-stop madcap energy and the amped-up vocal work, and the sight gags are generally pretty funny. Fittingly in a show that toys with the concept of anime flags, we meet a bunch of new characters that neatly slot into tropes this time. There’s the big-sisterly osananajimi Kikuno (Asami Kana). The ridiculously cute trap Megumu (Kanazawa Hana). The “school elder” Ryuukishihara Tsumugi (Toyasaki Aki) who looks like a grade-schooler in a baby bonnet, and the genki student council president Seiteikouji Mimori (Tamara Yukari). And all of them get together to fix up the ramshackle old dorm I mistook for a derelict hotel last week, with the Prez dropping the bombshell that at least five people have to live there or it’ll be shut down. You can probably fill in the blanks there.
I’m not going to pretend that doesn’t sound dumb and formulaic but somehow, it just works. The screwing around fixing up the dorm and the hijinks after the move-in are genuinely funny, and it helps that there’s less mean-spiritedness to them than you often see in these kinds of shows (indeed, Nanami is the obvious exception and there’s even a joke about her becoming deredere). I’m not going to try and defend liking what I like, and so far I like this series. Will that last? I have a suspicion the plot will have to prove it has legs at some point if I’m to avoid getting burned out on the rest of it, but there’s some evidence of wit in the writing and plenty of time, so I think there’s a good chance that will happen.