Some shows continue, others finish or restart, and two cross over

I thought that The iDOLM@STER 13 was the final episode, but apparently they’re just getting started. This episode does, however feel like a finale as the girls perform their first big show with some minor complications. Like the main act running late because of a typhoon, and then, just for fun, a flat tire, and then traffic. I was waiting for the plague of locusts.

Last-minute show changes.

This all resonates with me. Anyone who’s ever performed knows the feelings the girls go through: pre-show jitters, key performers running late and the scramble to cover, wardrobe malfunctions (offstage), all of which happens to them. Plus, it’s their first really big venue, an important concert if 765 Pro is going to keep getting bigger. How they overcome the big and little crises will come as no surprise, this is a predictable show, but iDOLM@STER is always a little better than its source material.

While each character gets a moment, some characters are more equal than others. Thus Miki gets a lot ot time. As she and Makoto (who, alas, isn’t as equal) are my favorites, I don’t mind a bit. Plus, she still has to make up for her antics of the past two weeks. And so, because they’re adding and mixing up their repetoire to give Ryuuguu Komachi time to get through the typhoon, flat tire, locusts, zombie attack, etc, she has the choice of doing several exhausting dance numbers back-to-back, to which she, of course, agrees. And though it’s not easy, she succeeds. She not only carries the team but she turns some heads in the audience.

Of course, no one fails. They struggle and have panic attacks, but in the end they turn an audience who are impatiently waiting for Ryuu Komachi into 765 Pro fans (Ryuu Komachi finally do show up but we don’t see them perform. It isn’t their episode). Utterly predictable. What gives the episode an extra bump is the collective energy of the girls (iDOLM@STER’s best weapon) and solid direction and animation (its other best weapons). The concert scenes combine the two、 The girls give their all while the camera whips around them and the audience energy feeds them. Nice stuff. Since it’s not the finale after all, I wonder what they’re going to do to top it?

SKET Dance 26 is pretty funny, especially after the two-part downer they broadcast before. I bet I’d find it even funnier if I watched Gintama.

As it was, I could only guess at some of the jokes. Happily, the episode makes things easier for me. SKET Dance loves to break the fourth wall, so it’s natural that the characters from both shows would recognize that this is a crossover episode, and I was able to learn something about Gintama just by watching the characters interact. They play with the fact that Gintama is an established hit and SKET Dance is new, “A poor man’s Gintama,” says Gin-san. Kagura is rude to just about everyone. Shinpachi, I guess, is the butt of a lot of jokes. And then there’s the staff to consider.

Two Tomokazu Sugita characters meet.

You get the idea. Everyone bickers about the other’s show of doing things, discuss their time-slots, and, because I suppose there should be a plot, race through back episodes (while the Gintama characters mock the blatant show padding) in search of Shinpachi, and then his glasses, since he’s fading away from “separation from his primary feature.” Oh, and since they’re using a time machine, Switch tosses in a “Too-do-doo!” just for fun. It’s that kind of episode.

Audience age differences.

The gimmick had the desired effect, too. I watched the Gintama side of the crossover. Lots of jokes about Gin-San and Bossun’s inadequacies as leaders, a direct ripoff of the Toriko/One Piece crossover. Good stuff. The creators obviously had a lot of fun doing both episodes.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni finishes. I can’t say that the second season lived up to the first one. There were too many slow moments where they tried to push the romance buttons, even though the show depends on the characters never actually giving in to romance. Though it’s okay when there’s a misunderstanding that causes Yoshi some grief, if not broken bones. And there weren’t enough battles, not enough frantic manuvering and outlandish schemes. Yes, there were some inspired moments, but they were loosely scattered about. But if they want to take a stab at a season three to redeem themselves, I’ll happily watch it.

And finally, Squid Girl is back. I dropped the first season fairly early, but what the hell? There’s nothing else to watch right now.

Aww, look at the cute widdle vengeful invader!

… And I’ll probably drop it fairly early, again. It’s got a fun idea behind it, a being from the depths of the sea, hell-bent on revenge, who’s just so cute that you can’t take her seriously. Plus she’s got that cool hair, er, tentacles. But the side characters don’t have much to them, and many of the stories just don’t pan out well. It’s most fun when Ika’s in invasion mode, contrasted with the relaxed beach lifestyle she’s trying to destroy. I’d like to spend a day or two relaxing on that beach and watching Ika’s antics, but I don’t know if I want twelve episodes of it. We’ll see.

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