Two finales: Baka to test, Hidamari Sketch

After a wild ep12, Baka to Test to Shokanju‘s finale is relatively tame, no, I take it back; it’s dull.

Yoshi insists on fighting Class-A again, but they can’t for three months. He digs out a favor and convinces the principal to make an exception. She agrees, but with certain conditions. It’s one-on-one between Yoshi and Shouko, the valedictorian. This dropped my interest level. The other battles, not to say other effective moments of the show, were wonders of manic energy, with so much happening it was next to impossible to keep track. It was one of the things that kept me watching. Here it’s just the contestants sitting behind consoles while the classmates squirm in their seats. Worse, before the battle begins we have a few scenes where Yoshi doubts his own abilities and has to get cheered up by other people.

The show does its best. I was amused that they repeated test questions we had already seen. A couple of them I wouldn’t have known before I would have gotten right, just through repetition (Okay, I would have gotten the first question wrong, and sudden death would have been over). And it was sort of encouraging to see Yoshi, king of idiots, continue to get them right. And he wins, probably because Shouko chose to fail.

And so it ends, with a few more wishes granted and turned inside-out. I mostly enjoyed this show. As I wrote before, I liked the energy, and while the characters were all stereotypes, they were likeable stereotypes that stuck up for each other, even Voyeur. But thirteen episodes is enough, actually, twelve was. The show was in danger of wearing out its welcome.

On the other hand, the Hidamari Sketch finale was one of its best episodes. The tomatoes they planted so long ago (As the show progressed we saw them grow) are ripe and ready to eat. The finale will feature tomatoes, and eating! Another simple Hidamari Sketch storyline, and it has charm and humor everywhere, not to mention 36 ripe tomatoes.

First they must be photographed and sketched (these are art students, after all), then recipes must be chosen, and the cooking is divided up into three different apartments. They draw a restaurant sign and put it on the apartment door. Nothing dramatic happens. No one botches a recipe. They just happily knead, cook sauce, chat and grow hungry. In fact, it made me hungry just watching it.

I wonder what's in my fridge ...

And they eat. Enjoying the tomatoes they grew and prepared. The landlady comes over, then work-weary Yoshinoya. It’s all happy-happy. And the entire series was like this. You didn’t watch Hidamari Sketch because you wanted dramatics; you watched because you wanted to enjoy generally happy people having fun doing things together with some silliness thrown in (especially if Miyako was around). Sometimes the lack of action, the endless talk (like the time they talked about what they talked about) did get on my nerves, not every little story worked, but when put together right, like this one, a Hidamari Sketch episode can lift the spirits of the most depressed anime viewer.

Oh, that's right. They also look at a star.

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