This Art Club Has a Problem!
Episode 4

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 4 of
This Art Club Has a Problem! ?

This Art Club has a Problem seems to have settled into a comfortable pattern: one segment about the actual art club doing art (which is bound to have either apples, waifu, or both), one segment about someone being weird, and one segment about the awkward romance between Uchimaki and Usami. It isn't always the best use of the show's time – this week's “Colette is Weird” section is notably weaker than the other two – but it's sort of reassuring that you always know what to expect in terms of plot if not content, and that your particular favorite style of the three is nearly guaranteed.

The formula this time goes in Art, Weird, Romance order. The Art segment introduces us to the buxom woman from the opening theme, Yumeko-sensei. She's the new art club advisor after Koyama switches over to the newspaper club, as well as a new teacher all around. Eager to please and nervous about her efficacy, she's the stereotype of all newly minted teachers that holds relatively true – when you start out as a young teacher, you really do think it's important to memorize every bit of information about your students while you fret about them liking you and being good kids, or at least kids you can find some common ground with. Needless to say, at least three members of her new club don't fit this image, and while only Uchimaki actively does anything to freak her out (well, Colette's hall-rolling is weird too), she instantly develops horror over her group. It's particularly interesting that Usami is so darn normal as to totally escape Yumeko-sensei's notice – she doesn't even register that Usami's there until she speaks. In some ways, this is also a pitch-perfect depiction of the classroom – if squeaky wheels get the grease, the quiet ones just sort of roll on by. It's actually fairly impressive that a character as normal as Usami doesn't slip under everyone's radar; the trick appears to be that her crush on Uchimaki is, if not weird in general, at least weird for her. Since the romance segments are largely from her point of view, and with Uchimaki understanding her more than he lets on, Usami's moments of more-or-less abnormality stand out more than they otherwise would.

That's the strongest segment this week, and it's not just because I'm becoming stupidly invested in their relationship. It's becoming increasingly clear that Uchimaki isn't quite as oblivious to Usami's feelings as he appears to be, and while he doesn't seem to return them, he also doesn't mind becoming better friends with her. For the guy who joined the club loudly proclaiming that 3D wasn't his thing, this is pretty good, and the alacrity with which he agrees to exchange phone numbers (with a smile) suggests that he's actually glad she asked. Of course, he also lets her bumble around trying to ask him – as with the indirect kiss issue last week, it seems highly unlikely that he doesn't get what she's trying to say. Whether this is an easy way for him to conceal his own potential feelings or he's just kind of a jerk isn't clear, but he is growing increasingly comfortable with Usami, caring enough to speak respectfully around her creepy, creepy mother. Not that it's surprising that the mom of a fourteen-year-old girl would be interested in the boy her daughter clearly has a crush on, but wow, those eyes…

The only part of this week's episode that really felt tacked on was the middle section, where Colette once again meets Moeka, the little girl whose bag charm Uchimaki lusted after. While I'm sure that the scene was meant to be entertaining while showing us how adorably goofy Colette is, it really just felt like filler, taking up two or three minutes so that the other two segments wouldn't have to be stretched out. As a whole, Colette seems like she was simply added to give us that “wacky blonde girl” character, and I'm not sure she actually adds anything to the show. It's only episode four, however, so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt; especially since it seems like Yumeko-sensei is going to perform some questionable modeling acts for her students involving a school swimsuit next week.

Rating: B

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

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