I’m at the stage with Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! where the biggest problem is trying to decide what sort of episode to root for. I like all the characters pretty much equally – girls and guys, mains and supporting cast – and the series has already shown itself capable of succeeding with a wide range of comic styles. With most comedies you sort of focus on whichever characters and elements you like the best and wait for the episodes or chapters where they feature to get really pumped up, but with Kono Bijutsubu it’s an embarrassment of riches.
Given that, it’s hard for Konobi to really go wrong, and so far it hasn’t in my opinion – every episode has been very good indeed, and this one was no exception. The first (and main) storyline featured another art competition, which means another chance for Uchimaki-kun to show off his formidable talent at drawing waifus. Except that he’s (again – and still) quite uninterested in sharing his creations with the world, even when Yumeko-sensei tries to fire up everyone’s competitive spirits (and rather badly). If I had to pick a characters that’s my least favorite it would be her, since the humor is a bit one-note and the fanservice a bit crass, but even Yumeki-sensei draws some pretty good laughs with her malapropism.
You know, I think Subaru would make a fine manga artist – for all I know that’s what he drew on his “What do you want to be?” questionnaire as a first-year (more on that shortly). He’s got a real talent for what he does and he’s quite conscientious as an artist, though he’d certainly have to work on speed and the whole “share my waifu” thing. It’s only when a snot-nosed classmate declares his work to be “garbage” and his own infinitely superior that Subaru gets into the idea of competing – though not nearly as much as Usami, who goes into rage mode at seeing both her beloved and her bijutsubu slandered by a kid whose name she doesn’t even know.
Funnily enough we never do hear that kid’s name – Mizuki cuts him off before he ever gets a chance to say it, and his art never makes the exhibition (which is “winners only”). Uchimaki wins of course, first prize this time – and he gives credit to Mizuki, who posed in a maid costume for him. The posing sequence is surprisingly cute, and the funniest moment comes when Mizuki gets so caught up in the moment that she flashes Subaru a shot of her panties (was drawing them off-limits only because the painting was for public display?). Mizuki’s fantasy sequences are a big part of the episode – Uchimaki’s earlier use of the word “wife” is enough to send her off into another fantasy (even in fantasy Subaru is wearing an apple tie).
The second chapter features the aforementioned questionnaire, and it’s Colette who’s tasked with filling it out. What she chooses – “hero of justice” – gets quite a rise out of the Prez, and even more so of Usami. But that’s only after Col-chan mocks Usami’s earlier answer to that question – “wife”. Usami’s cruel dismissal of Colette’s answer sends her running tearfully (is “one way street” the Japanese equivalent insult to “one track mind”?) into the arms of Imari, who as far as I know Colette has never met. She’s in the midst of some chuunibyou silliness on the rooftop, but naturally she’s a receptive audience for Col-chan’s vivid fantasy life, so much so that she agrees to become Colette’s shishou as long as she and Usami make up.
Colette and Imari are both examples of characters that probably have no right to be as good as they are – on paper, each of them should be really annoying. But both are about as well-executed an example of their trope as you’ll find – Imari is that rare chuuni who’s committed without being obnoxious about it, and a genuinely kind person to boot. But Colette really breaks the mold the most, because as a hyper-kawaii imouto type she has no right to be as loveable and hilarious as she is. But she is – her goofiness is her saving grace (along with the terrific character designs in Kono Bijutsubu) and she carries the B-part quite impressively.