I became interested in Sket Dance when it made a list I found of recommended manga. I REALLY liked the list and added all the series I hadn’t yet read to my “to read” list (Gokusen, Ping Pong, etc..). I REALLY wish I could remember where I saw this list, I believe it was made by multiple manga bloggers and I’m kicking myself that I can’t find it again to link it. Well the last few series were listed under a category of favorite series that aren’t licensed yet…Sket Dance in particular caught my eye. The fact that it was a long running Shonen Jump series with three characters that looked so normal and cheerful…I wanted to try it out. Anything that’s over 100 chapters in Shonen Jump is worth trying for me, not to mention it won the 55th annual Shogakukan Manga Award in 2009 for best shōnen manga. So I started reading the manga online, and after a while I started the anime as well. Sket Dance has opened my eyes to Shonen gag/comedy manga, usually my Shonen series have a battle or mystery focus.
Sket Dan is an after school club that is a group dedicated to helping anyone who has a problem, but particularly staff and students within the school. The group isn’t really widely accepted, and they’re seen as handyman, and a waste of club room space. The club is compromised of “Boss-un” (Yūsuke Fujisaki), “Himeko” (Hime Onizuka), and “Switch” (Kazuyoshi Usui) and each member has unique talents that help out in their little quests. A lot of the series takes place in the club room as “clients” show up and ask for help. Sket Dance stays aware that it’s a manga/anime with its jokes and frequently has humorous characters that are a satire/parody of various aspects of manga and other similar forms of media. Although they spend A LOT of time goofing off each member of the Sket-Dan has received new meaning in their school life from helping out others. Each chapter/episode is jam packed with jokes and characters.
The art I really like, one of the reasons I picked Sket Dance out of all the new series I added to my list was the art connected with me. Particularly the character designs of the main trio Himeko, Boss-un, and Switch are by far my favorites. But honestly every character has GREAT designs, the cast of this series is always surprising and a great match to the story. The mangaka draws WONDERFUL funny faces, I can’t help but laugh out loud at so many of them. Sometimes there are entire chapters/episodes where the main focus is a certain funny face (usually Boss-un’s), and seeing it again and again just doesn’t get old. The mangaka also does an amazing time drawing “bad drawings” and for certain gags will change the art style to look like a 70’s shoujo and it’s so spot on! LOL! You’d probably have to read the series to understand why I like those two things so much. They’re connected to one of my favorite secondary characters in the series so I have a soft spot for those gags. I was debating going through and doing a character list in my review, but half the fun in this series is meeting each new character and seeing what odd traits/qualities the possess
The story is wonderful, each character has a lot more depth to them than just all the wacky humor and jokes and that’s really what makes me love these characters so much. The ONE issue I sometimes encounter with the humor in Sket Dance is some of the humor is probably best appreciated if you’re VERY familiar with Japanese culture and know how to read/write. Wordplay puns go over my head a bit as well as the impressions of famous comedians. Although some jokes are somewhat lost in translation, I’ve never once felt it affected my overall ability to enjoy this series. Besides, on the other hand there are a few English wordplay jokes they make that absolutely floor me every time. Because the plot is based on episodic quests that vary so much, it’s easy to feel fresh interest in everything in Sket Dance. I’m a big fan of series that pull together in so many short stories so well.
I love both the manga and anime, if you compare both by where they storyline is at now in each respectively, I’d have to say I prefer the manga since it has far more of the plot completed. After all, as much as I love anime its ability to stay ongoing is a lot less reliable than the source material’s ability to stay ongoing. However, if you compare if I prefer to read the plot or see it in the anime I prefer the anime. The seiyu (Japanese voice actors) breathe even more life into the characters than I imagined they sounded like as I read the manga, I find myself laughing even harder at the same jokes I’ve already read and laughed at in the manga. Plus the anime allows me to experience the series at the same time as someone else and laughter is contagious so it’s a lot more enjoyable for me. Even though I read the manga first and THEN moved onto the anime my recommendation is to watch the anime first! Because the anime wasn’t made until the manga had been running for a few years (3 I think?) each episode has a brisk entertaining pace. The anime stays fairly truthful to its original content, there were only a few slight changes I noticed.
Simply a brilliant series for me, a single chapter (or episode) of this series immediately makes me happier. This mangaka can manage to make the most basic situations incredibly funny. Sket Dance is my newest addiction. The humor is wonderful, it’s one of the few series out there that has me consistently laughing. I’m going to seriously start Gin Tama soon because it’s supposedly such a similar series (the Sket Dance mangaka was an assistant to Gin Tama’s mangaka after all) but I really suspect I’m going to prefer Sket Dance. BUT we’ll see I’m only about two episodes into Gin Tama so far.
PS – Yes if this series is licensed I will buy it officially, we all need to compensate every artist/author for their hard work…I’d probably also buy figures of the trio but it seems unlikely they’d be created as figures *stares at Megahouse…*. Unfortunately I’m not holding my breathe on the anime/manga being released over here since Gin Tama’s manga was recently cancelled in the US.