Not even Sakamoto-kun is immune to natural disasters, it seems.
Sakamoto desu ga? returns to the airwaves, delayed by a week due to the tragic series of earthquakes in Kumamoto. Knowing Sakamoto he’ll have been down there volunteering, single-handedly moving one-ton blocks of rubble and setting an example for the rest of us, so it’s only right that his showcase got the week off. Every time we forget that 20% of the world’s earthquakes occur in this little island chain something like this happens to remind us, and my hearts and wishes go out to the people in Kumamoto. I’ve never visited, but I hope to some day.
I would note that Sakamoto-kun returns unruffled and unfazed, but that goes without saying. Bullying is a common theme in this series (and sadly in Japan’s schools generally) and Kubota steps into the spotlight this week. This obviously isn’t the sort of show where realism matters, so maybe Ishida Akira’s utterly absurd performance is spot-on – he’s not what I imagined for Kubota, though. It’s typical of Sakamoto that when Kubota effectively begs him for help, he doesn’t take the easy step of taking on the bullies himself – instead, he drags Kubota-kun to WcDonald’s and puts them both of them to work, ostensibly so Kubota won’t have to ask his mother for money to pay off the bullies.
Now, the first thing you need to know is that in Japan, asking for a smile is actually one of the menu options at McDonald’s, and Sano-sensei puts that to hilarious use in this chapter. The manager is no fool – she immediately puts Sakamoto-kun to work on the registers and sales skyrocket, which creates extra work on the fries line for Kubota. It all boils down to another valuable life’s lesson from Sakamoto (who lets Kubota take a pretty vicious beating to help him learn it) but Sakamoto’s final straw and gum syrup attacks are worth the price of admission.
I never knew an anime that couldn’t be improved with a shot of Horie Yui, and she joins the cast as Kuronuma Aina, the self-absorbed girl who seduces the boys with the help of her “bible“. One rule of thumb in high school is that girls who are popular wth boys make a lot of enemies among the girls, and Aina is no exception. Of course her womanly wiles have no impact on Sakamoto, but that just sends Aina digging ever deeper into her bag of tricks (here attempt to learn his first name fails in priceless fashion) to try and close the sale. Eventually this leads to a desperation game of Kokkuri-san, which two of Aina’s resentful rivals decide to crash in an effort to throw some sand in the vaseline.
Sakamoto’s ruse of pretending to be possessed is of course one more successful attempt to teach a valuable life’s lesson to his fellow students. But while he’s obviously not really a Kitsune, just what are we to make of Sakamoto’s fourth-wall breaking aside at the end of the episode? Perhaps it’s nothing more than common sense – only an alien or a God could be as coolest as he is, surely. Or has Sakamoto merely unleashed the coolness that lies dormant in the rest of us?