I already suspected this for a while, but now I’m sure: Yamaguchi is awesome. She’s such an adorable character in her innocence and love for art, and that dream sequence at the end of this episode was all kinds of awesome compiled together. I’m really getting more and more warmed up to the characters for this series.
The episode starts with a strange sketch in which Noda theorizes what kind of colours and items would match the different members of the cast. This becomes sort-of a running theme throughout this episode. It seems that it’s an idea she has for a manga, though I suspect that she never really started on it. When she asks what kind of item would match Yamaguchi, it seems that everyone quickly thinks of a pair of glasses.
Next up is another quick sketch in which the cast members start to imitate their classmates, of which Noda’s impression of Nozaki made Nozaki rather angry… The sketch after that is a strange one, which I guess imitates one of those nature wildlife programs and talks about students in their natural environment…
They then turn back to color associations, and how you look at the warmer colours like red and orange, and the colder ones like blue and purple. Noda figures that Tomokane and Yamaguchi both belong to the warmer colours (due to Tomokane’s energetic personality, and Yamaguchi’s warm nature), while Nozaki and Oomichi are the colder ones (Nozaki due to her calm and down to earth personality and Oomichi… yeah). As for the question who Noda is, Nozaki figures that yellow fits best.
Next up Nozaki, who comes up with a magazine that has one of those tests that analyzes people based on their favourite colour. Oomichi, with her favourite colour being black, obviously gets some rather negative results.
Next up is a short sketch about Origami, especially Yamaguchi and Oomichi are good at it (with Oomichi only folding pure black stuff). Yamaguchi is out of a certain colour, and so she goes to buy some new stuff, while Nozaki keeps reminding her not to talk to strangers, et cetera.
Next up is a long series of short sketches about the use of colours and materials, in which the series tries to explain certain terms in art in a playful way. They are:
– Vivid Tone, or lots of bright colours. This has Noda dressed up as a witch who turns Tomokane’s hair dark green and Nozaki’s tea bright green. Certainly vivid. Interestingly enough, when she drinks milk her colours become so diluted with white so that she nearly fades away.
– Pale Tone. Witch Noda is back, this time with pale colours.
– Dull Tone. We somehow turn to the other Art Club for this one as Awara tries to get Homura to draw an oil painting, who obviously has no idea how that works. Awara doesn’t seem to have a clue either. Don’t ask me what this has to do with a dull tone… perhaps it’s referring to the dull tone in which oil paintings were usually painted?
– Dark Tone. We see a very dark picture of Oomichi in a very dark background, and they use the interesting example of how a room with a dark ceiling seems to look much more ominous than if it had a dark floor instead (hmm, never noticed that one).
– Grayish Tone brings us to a setting in slightly grayer colours. Another nice example is having a birthday party in which everyone is in gray. It just doesn’t fit.
– Strong Tone, at the Art Club again. They talk a bit about pencils versus brushes, and how you never seem to need white pencils (so true ^^;).
– Mono Tone. Somehow this involves moldy bread. I’m still not exactly sure why…
The next half of the episode ranks among my favourite parts of this series so far. We see Yamaguchi in a very sleepy mood as she walks to her next classes, and she can hardly stay awake as they try to attend a class about surrealism. I’m not going to bother to try and understand what the teacher says about this, because half of the time people talk right through her.
Anyway, Yamaguchi eventually falls asleep, and even when it’s her turn to read parts from the book there’s no way to wake her up, so Tomokane and Noda try to do some ventriloquism act with her. In the end, Yamaguchi can’t even remember that that happened to her. It seems that she always gets very sleepy after breakfast or exercising. Noda suggests to go to her locker and gets something against sleep.
What follows is a crazy sequence of dream scenes inside Yamaguchi’s head that I can only describe as brilliant. No seriously, the enormous amount of creativity that runs around in her mind is just awesome, ranging from mermaid Nodas to flying staircases. It also builds further upon the Trompe l’Oeil of the previous episode, without even making it seem like the creators were simply reusing the same stuff.
We even get to see an image of a young Yamaguchi drawing. After that there is a bit of an aftermath and after that the episode ends.
Anyway, I may be a bit late in saying this, but this is a very good adaptation, isn’t it? I mean, I haven’t read the original 4koma manga, but I doubt that it was literally the same as what we see here right now. You can see the which sketches were directly taken from the manga, but there also is lots of stuff that really amazes me if it started out in a simple 4koma format. The director really did a great job of adding the energy to this adaptation and adding a few nice things here and there to keep this consistently entertaining.
But what amazes me the most is the following: out of all of the eight episodes so far, every single one of them has been different and unique from the other. They were all dedicated to a different topic, style or mood, and even when they revisit old material, they build further upon it, rather than simply milking out the same jokes like what too many comedies do nowadays. I remember how a previous work of Hiroaki Sakurai (the director) did have this problem: Cromartie High School was hilarious, but it really tended to repeat itself. I’m really glad to see that he realized this and made every single episode new and fresh. This really is everything a good comedy should be.
Also, this is one of the first school series I have seen in a long, long while that actually teaches me something. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?
Rating: ** (Excellent)