I found my mind wandering back to Dagashi Kashi today – maybe prompted by a tweet from the official account or something like that, I don’t know. But it seems fitting that it was on the day that Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! aired, because these shows fill very much the same niche, both in the anime schedule and my enjoyment of it. I’ve spoken of these sorts of shows before – the quintessentially Japanese quirky comedies with their melding of innocence and mischief – and how most seasons seem to have one of them step up to take on the mantle. And if it was a personal sleeper pick, so much the better.
One thing I know is that this is a series I always find myself looking forward to immensely, just as I did with Dagashi Kashi and Jitsu wa Watashi wa, and Majimoji Rurumo and Tanaka-kun. I’ve come to realize how important it is to me to have that series that I simply enjoy – there’s no hard work or conflicted feelings or deep-seated analysis, just pure affection. An anime season just doesn’t feel complete without at least one of them, no matter how good it may be otherwise. And I always find myself worrying when the season starts that I won’t find it, especially because none of these series I’m talking about every seem to succeed commercially. Yet they keep making them – for how long, I wonder?
This week Kono Bijutsubu brought us three mini-episodes, none of them exceptional in their own right but collectively a worthy representative of this series’ charms. First off was a carryover from last week, with the dreaded “treasure” from last week’s finale the gift that keeps on giving. The Kaichou shows us perhaps his most “normal” side yet, first trying to draw Uchimaki-kun in and then expressing an interest in taking the book home to “destroy” it. But when Tachibana-sensei stumbles into the situation, all bets are off and hiding it altogether becomes the priority.
Complicating all this is that Imari and her new disciple Colette are looking for a “grimoire” – in this case the legendary Necronomicon (the fictional book of dark magic from the works of Lovecraft), though neither Colette or Tachibana-sensei have any clue what it actually is or how to say it. I also wonder about Uchimaki-kun – I guess he really is a purist, because even 2-D girls on the page still don’t pass his muster (presumably because they represent 3-D girls – but don’t his 2-D waifus do that too, in their way?). I think my biggest laugh here was Usami blurting out “I’m jealous” when Colette was trying to wrestle the book out from under Uchimaki’s shirt. Poor Subaru takes the fall here though, as Usami and Imari throw him rather cruelly under the bus.
Next up the kid from Episode 7 reappears – though the poor guy still isn’t known by anything other than “Boy” (Takumi Yasuaki). He’s still in a challenging mood, though truth be told there’s still no evidence he can actually do art. He manages to hound Uchimaki-kun into a ten-minute sketching contest with Usami-san as the model – though it all goes rather awry for him after she pledges her support when Uchimaki pisses her off. Usami may not be aware that she’s seducing Boy, but the irony of her wiles having such a pronounced effect on the wrong subject is hard to miss.
Finally, Moeka makes a reappearance, once again wandering off and glomping onto a boy from the Art Club. This time it’s the Kaichou, who’s cutting class in order to nap and proves himself quite the able minder for the little guttersnipe. She’s looking for her grandpa of course (we know that’s who he is, now), Koyama-sensei – though she does persist in calling the president “Ojii-san” rather than “Onii-san” there’s no confusion as the old man is “Jii-Jii”. This is pretty standard anime cotton candy, but there’s enough tart amusement to make it palatable (like Moeka’s mental ranking of the hierarchy of males at the school). The chapters that focus on the major cast do tend to have a little more traction, though, so I kind of hope ones like this are more of a one-off.