Title: Sket Dance
Genres: Comedy, Drama, School, Shounen
Author: Shinohara, Kanta
Artist: Shinohara, Kanta
Publication: Shounen Jump (Weekly)
Start Date: Jul 2007
End Date: Ongoing
Number of chapters at review: 180
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 180
The Sket Dan is a high school club founded by Fujisaki Yuusuke A.K.A. Bossun. The club’s main goal is to help other students (and teachers from time to time ). Alongside Bossun, the other two members of this club are the legendary ex-deliquent Onizuka Himeko also known as “Onihime” and the genius half-otaku half-scientist Kazuyoshi Usui who goes under the nickname of “Switch”. Together, these three endlessly take on help requests from the fellow students and nearly always end up in various comical situations
Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)
Either the various scanlation teams agreed to purposely make Shinohara’s art look bad, or it’s just that art isn’t his strong point. My vote goes for the latter option. Sket Dance is a gag-manga and hence its main goal is to make you laugh and not suddenly awake your hidden artistic talents by inspiring you with an example of way-over-the-fence-quality art. If you can call it a talent, then Shinohara has mastered the basics. The art is solid and maintains a sufficing level of details and realism to make you enjoy the story.
The plot consists of several small arcs. And by the word “small”, I mean it. Throughout the first thirty or so chapters the majority consist of one chapter arcs, steadily switching into two-three chapters arcs later. The longest arc that I’ve seen yet has 7 chapters. And that is an exception, within an exception, within another exception. (INCEPTION!!!) Another case was a 6 chapter long flashback.
Speaking of flashbacks. During the plot, the majority of time you will see humor-based chapters and arcs, but just like the sun can’t shine 24/7 and night has to fall sooner or later, the jokes cannot continue without stop. At times, Shinohara becomes serious (literally) and so do his characters. I won’t be surprised if you actually shed a tear during one of those flashbacks… though… you’d have to be veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery emotional to do that.
As said above, the plot consist of a very big amount of small arcs, all focusing on a little part of our characters inner life. Sket Dance shows a good example of character development. Practically, the characters are the main “attraction” of Sket Dance. Sure, they cannot exist without the plot, but regularly, the thought crosses my mind that it’s not the story that absorbed me, but the characters that are involved in it. The plot is just an excuse to let the characters shine. As I said, the main attraction of Sket Dance lies in the developed characters, what results in them developing a very deep attraction to the reader. Shinohara does a good job of showing the characters inner conflicts and emotions.
The theme can be roughly summarized with two ships. Friendship and Relationship. (I’m the god of puns ). Like I said, throughout the story the characters develop really good, what cannot be achieved without having them interact with each other. This is a shounen, hence the positive aspects of a relationship (e.g. friendship, love, family, etc.) take a more important position than the negative ones like rivalry, betrayal and even hate. To speak in terms of the severely overused Naruto Part 2 lexicon, Sket Dance’s main theme is “Bonds”.
Gag manga? Not original. Three person main cast? Not original. Serious arcs to counter the never ending stream of jokes and humor? Not original…
Having said all of that, one might think that this section should receive a negative number like -4 or something, but it won’t. There’s one simple secret to it. Sket Dance is a gag manga. Yes, the aspect that I ranked as not original is the genre. What on the other hand is original is the content. If you want to survive with a gag manga, you have to make sure that the readers like the humor. And that’s why you have to create new jokes, and new stupid tasks and new everything else. Obviously, there is the possibility that all jokes in this manga are plagiarized, but you know what? As long as nobody finds out, it only means that Shinohara has some f*cking good internet searching skills, if he’s able to find jokes no one before him could. End of discussion.
Sket Dance is a gag manga, which means that in the end it is judged by only one factor. Humor. That what makes it tricky to rate it. Everyone has his/her own specific sense of humor. Sure, these “specifications” often cross, but it still doesn’t allow me to say that everyone will like this manga’s jokes. For instance, it takes a little time for the characters to develop enough so that the reader actually “grows” to them, which is a little obstacle on the way to fully enjoy this manga in the beginning. The art’s not on Death Note’s or Air Gear’s level either, and the plot isn’t the most absorbing in the history of manga, but that doesn’t mean that Sket Dance is a bad manga. It’s a catching little extra story that you might want to read, if you’re looking for a new series. That’s all.
Last edited by alphabeta; March 02, 2012 at 01:01 PM.
chapter 180 (one of the crossover with Gintama). As Gin says, at first it seems like it's plagiarized and you have seen such story over and over, but little by little, the Sket Dance magic works and you forget about the unoriginality to laugh like you rarely laugh in gag manga.