In these episodes, we see Nano settling into her school life in a fairly successful manner, but still constantly worried about having to explain the presence of that ruddy great big wind-up key in her back, and we also get the introduction of a few more new characters…
(In epi 15) A creepy science teacher enters the scene and seems set on kidnapping a certain adorable robot-girl and performing dastardly experiments on her; said robot-girl (again) pleads with a certain child professor to have said ruddy great big wind-up key in her back removed (and is (again) refused, on the grounds that it’s cuuute); Ms. Timid is seen to be carrying on with one of her students by That Other Teacher Who Fancies Her Whose Name I Forget, before his impending heart attack is prevented by the news that Ms Timid has a not so timid little brother; (in epi 16) after school, Yukko offers to hang out with Nano, who swiftly does a disappearing act; Mio is caught with more dodgy drawings; Yukko stalks Nano and somehow worms her way into the Shinonome Laboratory, where she, Hakase, Nano and Sakamoto get along surprisingly well; (in epi 17) we meet a freaking awesome crow; the girls attempt to build a house of cards; creepy-sensei attemps to capture Nano again, but winds up shaving other people’s heads; and Mai tests Yukko’s penchant for punchlines to the max…
(Epi 15) Creepy Science Teacher Alert! Creepy Science Teacher Alert! Seriously, until we realised that the new teacher on the scene was far more stupid than she looked (what with managing to drink her own spiked tea an’ all), I thought Nano was in serious danger. Well, as serious as anything in this show is. Still, her plans to kidnap and freaking experiment on the poor robo-girl were clearly no laughing matter. And speaking of more OTT teachers, it was good to see Ms Timid and That Other Bloke Who Fancies Her again, even if it was rather obvious that Ms Timid is far too, er, timid, to be caught carrying on with a student. Still, the ‘punch-line’ to that sketch was strong in that it confirmed how much That Bloke likes her and his relief at the fact that it was her little brother with whom he saw her, was satisfying, not least of all because it followed such outrageous suggestions made to Big Hair Ribbon Girl regarding what to do with that other poor comatose student requiring his attention.
(Epi 16) This was a great episode! Aside from that coffee shop sketch, only because it was (yes, you’ve guessed it) too long and full of too many overreaction shots, I think that it was well-structured and I (dare I say) liked what they did with Yukko’s character in it. From the Creepy Science Teacher who still has her beady eyes on Nano and Yukko’s offer to hang out with Nano in those opening minutes, to the scene where Yukko and Mio are trying to appease that policeman in their very, um, differing ways, to the brief scene where Mio and Mai successfully troll Yukko’s lame eraser-hiding trick, to the final showdown at the Laboratory, everything slotted into place pretty well in terms of the blend of the briefer, stand-alone jokes (including some more of Goat Guy, Mohawk Guy and even Mohawk Guy’s Daddy this time) with the longer scenes involving the main characters. Of course, what was best about that last scene involving Yukko in the Lab, was the double revelation that Yukko might not be such an idiot after all, as well as the beginning’s of Nano’s realisation that it might not be such a big deal to be ‘different’. ‘Adorable’ is not even the word.
(Epi 17) This episode seemed to focus less on The Nano Show and more on Yukko, leading up to the final ‘punchlines’ sketch with our current favourite megané troll, with a couple of other key moments in between. Firstly: Dat. Crow. At first, I thought the weird chibi crow design indicated another one of Hakase’s weird and wonderful creations (well, it’s not like we haven’t seen more ‘realistic’ animal/ bird designs in the show before), but then it started talking. Never have I seen a more dignified giant beak on legs. If it hadn’t been for Sakamoto’s completely justified outrage at having his hanky nicked, I might have shed a tear too when Crow-san sadly flew away, for it was a great example of how transient and how frustrating our interactions with and attempts to forge relationships with people can be.
Moving on, I thought the house of cards sketch was another interesting way to experiment with sound (or rather the lack/ limited amount of) to convey comedy. Aside from the music track, it reminded me of an early Charlie Chaplin sketch, with the focus on the face (particularly the eyes), as well as the cut away-shots indicating that something else had gone wrong off-screen, to highlight the tension. And, of course, you had Mai’s trolling interspersed throughout. And speaking of Mai… that final key sketch with Yukko… I must say, I never quite ‘got’ (i.e. had the patience to bother with) Yukko’s constant need to state the obvious around Mai’s behaviour, which seemed to be translated as ‘punchlines’ in the subs I was using, but I liked the fact that Yukko – and, more importantly, Mai – sort-of accepted that aspect of Yukko’s character. In other words, it was refreshing to see at least the promise of further development in their friendship, rather than Mai remaining as someone who is simply a troll rather than any kind of proper friend to the girls. We’ve seen great things with Nano’s development and relationships, so hopefully these other characters will be fleshed out a little more in a similarly interesting way too.