「バイキン, ゲットだぜ / 神の啓示 / 魔のスゴロク」 (Baikin, Get Daze / Kami no Keiji / ma no Sugoroku)
“Gotta “Catch” `em All! / Divine Revelation / The Evil Sugoroku”
This week’s Asobi Asobase takes on the world of smartphone gaming as Olivia is enraptured by a bacteria-themed Pokémon Go knockoff created in the States named Bacteri Go. “Gotta catch ‘em all” takes on an entirely different meaning as Olivia goes on a journey around the classroom to find as many germs as possible to collect them and, as Olivia assumes, remove them from the classroom. Hanako initially thinks she’s just being weird, but she quickly realizes the horrible reality of Bacteri Go that its detection software is accurate, effectively exposing the entire class’ ecosystem of bacteria. Kasumi’s sterilized desk and supplies help to point this out, but not as much as Hanako’s notepad, which has germs from her cat wiping its hind side against it. The comedic build up towards the extent of Bacteri Go’s abilities hit its peak when Hanako uses it, and ends up triggering an extreme warning siren in response to the turbo germs that reside in Olivia’s armpits.
Similarly, the segment afterwards also brings out the humor in watching a scenario escalate from bad to worse. Kasumi gets the brunt of Hanako’s ire for suggesting her to buy a tacky swan dress, only for her to try to deflect it on Olivia. When Hanako calls Olivia in her act of revenge, however, she is caught off guard when Olivia mentions her dress looking like a popular “virgin killer dress”. Because Hanako is far more out of touch than she would like to admit, she swiftly misunderstands her, assuming the term meant that she was being inducted into a murderous death cult. The further she escalates it to Olivia’s confusion, the more her imagination concocts apocalyptic Mad Max nightmares from Olivia’s mere suggestion to go out shopping.
The episode’s piece de resistance is the game of Sugoroku that Olivia is forced to play with the other two girls after acing a memory game. But the extreme nature of the version that Hanako and Maeda concocts pits the girls in a series of punishment games that challenge their fortitude and dignity. Some involve embarrassing poses like Kasumi having to do koala yells and squat like a dog peeing or Hanako getting in a dog position after being tricked into saying “chinchin”. Others are far more of a blood sport like Olivia having to crawl like a baby while escaping from the Student Council President or Hanako getting spanked by Olivia and a vengeful Kasumi. The most hilarious section of this was when they took it far enough to do penalties in front of the teacher. He didn’t quite understand Olivia’s tongue twister, but as soon as Hanako tried to mimic Sailor Moon’s “in the name of the moon” speech, he got it in his mind to play along, inspiring him to contort himself on the floor when Kasumi comes around to do her best Kamehameha around him. In Asobi Asobase fashion though, the payoff isn’t in how far the scene escalate, but in the truth behind why the situation escalated. As it turns out, Olivia wasn’t smart or lucky, but her memory game victory came from trickery, unintentionally driving Kasumi and Hanako to create a game to prove her wrong. Peeling back the layers to see that it was Olivia’s mere parlor trick that brought them to do all of these absurd things to themselves and each other ended up taking the cake when speculation on whether Olivia might be smarter than she leads us to believe falls flat on its face. Olivia’s ruse that she might be more successful in school if she applied her memory game experience towards studying was all for naught as she laughs maniacally at how great of a trick she pulled with her stunt. It’s just what I’d expect from the show, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.