OK, I was slightly hesitant after last week’s episode (which was perfectly fine, don’t get me wrong, just a step down), but I’m pretty close to committing after this one. I found it consistently funny from start to finish, and in an authentically offbeat and quirky way too. My only hesitation is that we could be looking at the Star Trek Movie Curse here, good even eps and so-so (or worse, in the case of Trek – though I dispute the charge when it comes to “Search for Spock”) odds – something I hope Joukamachi no Dandelion will decisively dispel next week.
Whoever it was that suggested this series reminded them of Minami-ke will have to forgive me for forgetting who it was, but this was the first episode that really made me feel that way. That was very true in the first chapter, but before that we got a hilarious introduction to Hayami Sho as Borscht the cat. Seriously, what a way to open – and you could hardly imagine a more fitting choice than Hayami-san. His comic chops are underrated, but he can do this sort of thing very well indeed – and he really brings Borscht to life.
I could see where the “Princess’ Skirt” sketch could strike someone as mean-spirited, but I really didn’t feel it was inconsistent with the tone of the first three episodes – it was just absurd in a very Minami-ke way. The reaction shots of the other kids were hilarious, and I liked the new characters introduced – “President” Fukushima, and Akane’s childhood friend Ayugase Karen (Hayami Saori). They’re both sweet on Akane, and both at a loss for how to deal with her mysterious wardrobe malfunction. Karen is especially vexed about how to broach the subject with Akane without breaking her, or indeed whether Akane even knows what she’s done (she does, and she doesn’t).
There was a peculiar sort of Freudian thing going on here that was frankly a bit dark, but mostly this was just a hilarious comedy of errors. I especially liked the moment when Akane announced she was going to the office on the third floor and every boy in her grade rose as one to follow her. There’s also an odd little misdirection surrounding the president of the student council (turns out Fukushima is actually president of the Akane fan club). Also pretty funny is the sequence where everything goes 8-bit as Akane follows Fukushima-kun around the school, trying to figure out just who he actually is.
I’m not as crazy about the reveal that Shuu is actually interested in Akane after all (or at least the #2 member of her fan club) – I’d hoped this wasn’t that sort of series (there’s a brocon thing going on with Shiori and Teru too, but they’re so young it’s relatively normal). And I confess I was surprised to find out that Shuu and Kanade are also twins – I had no idea, though I suppose with four siblings in high school two of them had to be. That might explain Shuu’s determination to prevent Kanade from becoming king – though so might a desire to see Akane win the election.
Borscht, fittingly, gets the last laugh(s). First, Shuu muses that the reason Borscht prefers to lie on Akane is because of her “gentle slope” – even more gentle than grade-schooler Hikari. And then he makes a break for it (“They’ve been fattening me up!”) when Aoi (who’s been less prominent in the story than I expected) announcing that “Borscht is on the menu tonight”. A simple, silly bit of wordplay is a nice way to wrap up an episode – and this one was pretty nice all around.