This Art Club Has a Problem!
Episode 11

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 11 of
This Art Club Has a Problem! ?

Not only did this episode present one cohesive storyline – which actually worked very well – but it also offered us a tantalizing glimpse of life outside of the art club. Up to this point, This Art Club has a Problem has been good at remaining focused on the eponymous club and its eponymous problems. We know that there must be a school full of other characters out there, because we do occasionally see them interact with not only the club, but also other students in passing. This week's inevitable festival episode actually lets us see some of what's going on around the school. There are sports clubs, a well-meaning teacher who gets taken in by Maria's chuunibyou speech, a second girl with a crush on Uchimaki, and…a girl who likes Pres? Or maybe, based on their body language, his girlfriend? Just seeing these people opens up the whole school to us and reminds us how narrow the series' focus has really been. We don't technically need to see what everyone else is doing or even know what Pres does when he's not sleeping in the clubroom, but it is nice to know that there is more to the story and that the cast does interact with other people.

As promised last week, this episode is about the school festival, that all-important “youth experience” that every high school anime must explore. In this case, the art club actually wasn't going to do anything – as their former adviser explains to a distraught Yumeko-sensei, the club's focus is more on competitions than school activities. However, Yumeko-sensei's zeal is not to be deterred, and she sells the club on the idea of making a sculpture out of empty cans gathered from around the school. Once Usami has put her foot down about waifu or hero sculptures, the group is off gathering cans, de-tabbing cans, cleaning cans, and drying cans. This is definitely more than Pres was bargaining for, and watching his face and posture droop with each successive group shot after they finish a round of can prepping is one of the best parts of the episode.

Somehow Maria, who isn't actually part of the club as far as I can tell, gets involved, which turns out to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they have a lot of cans to prep, but on the other, she causes a pretty serious problem when she makes up a story for a teacher about why she's lugging boxes of empty cans around, leading him to believe they're all burnable trash and destroying their supply. It's definitely one of my favorite moments involving Maria, although I couldn't pinpoint precisely why – possibly because she's just so blasé about the whole thing, never even stopping to think that her words could be misconstrued (and then getting away with it when Yumeko-sensei blames herself and Colette agrees). Maria's really a natural disaster blowing into the clubroom, doing something ridiculous with serious repercussions and then just blowing merrily back out to sea, leaving others to deal with the aftermath. Whether she's aware of it or not is up for debate – I favor that she's not – but regardless, she's always sure to shake things up in a way Colette is too innocent to pull off.

Next week marks the end of our time with the Art Club and their problems, and even though I'm 98% sure that the preview was meant to give those of us hoping for any romantic resolution false hope, there's still that 2% of me that holds out hope. Even if there is no clear finale to the series' romance subplot, it should still be interesting to see how they wrap things up. Let's hope it's happy for Usami's sake.

Rating: B+

This Art Club Has a Problem! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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