With the Takayuki Konparu “mini arc” completed, I didn’t expect much from this week’s episode, other than seeing Takayuki hanging around with Hinako and Totomaru as she rises to power at Shishiku. I certainly got what I asked for, and some things I didn’t expect.
Kenka Banchou Otome
Now that Takayuki has joined the ranks of Hinako’s friends, we find the trio having a study session at Hinako’s new apartment. Well, they’re trying to study at least. Takayuki seems blindsided by the fact that Shishiku Academy actually gives the student body midterms and finds the practice questions too difficult. Totomaru reveals the questions are aimed at a first-year middle school level, since no one would expect a school full of delinquents to be very academically inclined (and that seems to be the case for Takayuki at least). Totomaru seems to be an exception to that stereotype, as Hinako recalls the homeroom teacher being “moved to tears” by his grades.
The boys are periodically distracted by the many Yuta posters around the room, which Hinako says belong to her “sister” who then barges in on the study group. Hikaru (in his sisterly getup) seems to disapprove of the study session, calling Hinako’s friends “shady-looking.” Their de facto guardian Sakaguchi manages to drag Hikaru out of the room and then warns the guests that there will be hell to pay if they do anything unseemly towards the “young master.” The two boys notice a stark difference between the siblings, even stating that Hinako’s choice of clothing make it hard to be sure she’s a guy (Either she’s that androgynous or they just don’t get it). But after briefly teaching her how to act like a punk, they come to the conclusion that she’s just not cut out for the behavior.
They resume attempting to study, only to be interrupted by Hikaru singing from the other room (probably a song from the idol plastered around the room). The singing is then accompanied by music from the stereo, both of which increase dramatically in volume and are abruptly silenced by Sakaguchi. The studying continues, though Takayuki still seems hopelessly stuck. Hinako teases him by saying she could even beat him at grappling with the state he’s in. This prompts him to tackle her and put her in a hold.
Since he’s clearly oblivious to our heroine’s true gender, Takayuki is surprised that Hinako’s face gets red. She says it was because he jumped her out of nowhere and he finally grasps the awkwardness of the situation. Hinako reaches out to Totomaru for help, but the idiot merely jumps on them. And like any anime adult, Sakaguchi walks in at the wrong moment and presumably gives them the hell he warned them about.
Hinako later sees her friends out, thanking them for coming, as she’d never had fun with friends before. Takayuki then suggests having a training session next time, when Hinako accepts (maybe reluctantly?).
I’d been a bit distracted in the past week, so I didn’t think of much to expect from this episode. I did hope to see Takayuki more now that he’s part of their group, though I didn’t quite expect this level of hilarity. I was laughing hysterically when Takayuki tackled Hinako, probably because I was imagining Shouta-kun doing it. I was a little surprised to see Hikaru in the present timeline and I now find myself wondering if he’s even bothering to keep up the whole Freaky Friday-ish thing aside from clothing. Even Sakaguchi seemed to have trouble remembering who was pretending to be who, so maybe everything will be revealed in the end. It’s really hard not to compare this series to Ouran in terms of a crossdressing heroine, although with Ouran, all the important characters knew the heroine’s true gender. Until recently, I’d forgotten there was going to be a Kenka Banchou dub. As with previous series, I’m always a little reluctant to hear Shouta Aoi’s voice dubbed over, but I’ve survived before so I should be okay.
Episode 1 dub reaction
I was pleasantly surprised to find Hinako voiced by Apphia Yu, who has had my full devotion ever since the Shounen Maid dub. In my experience, she’s been cast mostly as secondary characters so I’m glad to see her back in the lead. Her voice definitely suits Hinako’s boyish role-playing.
Barely two minutes in, I came across a minor irritation when hearing a student say “Konparu Takayuki” which is the Japanese order of his name. I have to wonder if they did that on purpose or if they actually think Konparu is his first name. And yet they used the proper English order for “Totomaru Minowa.” For now, I’m just hoping this turns out to be the only thing that gives me a sore spot.
All the same, Takayuki’s English voice suits him just fine. Although, hearing two punks confront him with “put ‘em up” sounds a tad ridiculous. And Takayuki telling them they can have the top spot seems a little more than what I remembered him saying in the Japanese dub. Totomaru does sound a little more fierce and badass in English. Not saying he wasn’t before, but it has a little something extra this time. And I was more than a little surprised to find Hikaru being voiced by a woman. I guess that makes sense since he decides to sub for Hinako at her school, but I still didn’t see it coming.
Other than it’s one vice, it’s not too bad as far as dubs go. I’ll definitely stick it out till the end, especially for Apphia Yu.