This Art Club Has a Problem!
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 12 of
This Art Club Has a Problem! ?
I think this is about how we all expected this show to end. This Art Club has a Problem basically did its best with what it had, and in terms of coming to any sort of meaningful conclusion, that means toying with viewers' expectations of any romantic resolution and ultimately leaving it up to time and interpretation. It's not a bad way to handle things, and it suits the show far better than actually getting Usami and Uchimaki together would have, because this was never a story about resolving things or making much sense. It's always been about Usami trying to maintain her normalcy in a club full of lunatics, and on that front, this finale does deliver.
Of course, first it has to tease her. Having Uchimaki wait for her when he sees that Kaori has run off with her umbrella is both characteristic of his brand of friendship and a cruel way to get Usami's hopes up, especially when she hears him talking to Maria the next day, and it sounds like he's admitting to having fallen for her. Some of you may have figured out the trick here before its reveal – if you look at Uchimaki's umbrella, you can see that it's decorated with a bunny-eared girl named “Usamimi,” who we've never seen before. But there's still a little hope for Usami's romance, although she may not realize it – Uchimaki blushes when Usami steps up next to him under the umbrella, and he does ask to call her by her first name. Sure, he says that it's because he doesn't want to confuse her with his latest waifu, but he could also just be looking for a convenient excuse. While it would be over-analysis at this point, it's also not entirely outside the realm of possibility.
That's what's been consistently great about this show: watching the characters become more comfortable with each other. Where Uchimaki could barely look at Usami in the beginning, since she was a dreaded 3D girl, he can touch her comfortably by the end, and he even says that she's the only person he can stand to model poses for him. Where Usami couldn't stand Maria at first, now she can offer her umbrella without a thought or ask Uchimaki to walk her home under his own. Colette may not have changed much (and she's definitely on the road to becoming more like Maria), but no one finds her as difficult now as they did at the beginning. Even Yumeko-sensei has grown into herself, acting less like she's afraid of everything. Pres may not have actually changed, but the way we see him has – he's less a ne'er-do-well and more a really sleepy smart guy.
As a comedy, This Art Club has a Problem has been slightly more inconsistent, and this final episode is pretty light on the humor. Still, it has run the gamut from slight smiles to outright laughter before, so if this episode focuses more on the slice-of-life aspect, it isn't a reflection of the series as a whole. That's also made this the most difficult show to write episode reviews for – humor is subjective at the best of times, and this series never settled on one particular style for its jokes. While I've enjoyed following it, it's also taken me longer than anything else to write about. Somehow, I think that might please some of its characters.
And so we leave our characters a little better off than we found them. Usami and Uchimaki are making slow progress in their friendship toward a potential relationship, Maria and Colette have formed an unholy duo, and Pres is going to nap his way into a presumably decent future. It's not a bad place to stop, and while I wouldn't object to seeing (or reading) more of their adventures, this feels like a spot where we can safely see them off. So long, Art Club. May your canvases always be bright with apples and waifus.
This Art Club Has a Problem! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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