Of the anime I initially sampled this fall, Hyakko was the one that had the most slapstick/physical humor and though I enjoy a variety of comedic styles including dry, pun-filled, and ironic, slapstick and the like garners the most immediate and primal reactions of laughter from me. (It doesn’t hurt that “stupid” comedies Wayne’s World and Dumb and Dumber are among my favorite films.)
Episode 2 was full of these moments as Torako and Tatsuki competing against each other as the quartet tries out different sport clubs. First, they try baseball and Torako pegs Tatsuki in the upper thigh. Next, they attempt to play doubles tennis but Torako double faults by missing the ball she throws up as part of her “Tiger Smash” serves and accidentally throws her racket at Tatsuki’s face on her second whiff. Basketball follows and they decide to have a free throw match. Tatsuki blocks Torako’s attempts with her own shots and Torako does the same to her when she’s up at the line. Torako spikes a jump ball into Tatsuki’s gut then Tatsuki chases her attacker around for a few seconds before landing a flying kick to Torako’s back.
The group decides to give sports a break and moves on to arts clubs, like calligraphy and plant arrangement, but the bad blooded rivalry continues. Finally, they go down to the soccer plain to stage a penalty kick showdown with aloof Suzu acting as impartial goaltender and Torako slide tackles Tatsuki as she is about to take her kick.
Koji Oe made the connection two months ago between Torako and Azumanga‘s Tomo – the irritable relationship between her and Tatsuki is similar that of Tomo and Yomi or Pani Poni Dash‘s Himeko and Rei. In fact, Torako’s seiyuu – Fumiko Orikasa – also gave voice to Himeko. But, while there is that sort of annoyer-and-the-annoyed relationship, I think of it more as a conflict between an honorable, mannerly upper-class girl (who happens to be the daughter of an electronics company president) and a risk-taking, combative, dimwitted, not particularly ambitious girl who presumably comes from a working class family. Also: Tatsuki’s anger seems to be more bitterly expressed than in the other two duos, which makes it more entertaining to watch IMO.
Anyway, I have enjoyed the four episodes I have seen so far and look forward to finishing this short series over the next few weeks.