There are a few chinks in the armor for Baka Test this season that are preventing it from working for me at the same level it did last season. I think they were really issues all along, but for whatever reason they're more noticeable to me now than before.
For one thing (and this has certainly always been true) the girls on this series are just nightmares. Are they worse this year, or am I less forgiving? I don't know exactly but the unrelenting stream of abuse coming from them feels a little more exhausting this time around. Of course, Aki is in the center of it as always. With a full-on yandere and physically abusive tsundere after him, not to mention a perverted older sister, he's got it pretty rough. It's no wonder people ship him with an elementary schooler and a guy (well, a Hidesexual) - the worst thing Hazuki ever does is call him "Baka". The "Penalty Game" skit was fairly clever, and as always with this show the level of detail that went into "Bullshit" was impressive. But psychotropic chocolates or not, Himeji really seems nastier to me this season. She was always nuts but I don't remember a lot of deliberate abuse, just homicidal cooking.
Second sketch was certainly the better, and very funny. With 2-F taking part in an experiment the shoukanjuu are back, but with the very clever twist that they're basically unfiltered representatives of their summoner's unconscious mind. Well, obviously Himeji and Minami are presented with an awkward dilemma there, and when Shuuko shows up things are looking pretty grim for Yuuji. All I could think of was that HimejiNami's summoned beings were a hell of lot nicer to Aki than the real girls were. As for the boys, well, it was pretty hilarious that their shoukanjuuu were basically chibi versions of the full-sized humans - nothing too complicated here. Yuuji and Aki's are happy to look up Aiko's skirt, Voyeur's just said exactly what everyone knows Voyeur is thinking and the worst Hideyoshi's had to offer was that three middle-school guys confessed to Hideyoshi just this month. I was a bit disappointed in Aiko, who I held to a higher standard - she genuinely seemed to enjoy getting Aki and Yuuji in trouble with HimejiNami.
If anything, the other major problem this season is that the humor just doesn't feel as fresh as it did last. I did enjoy the second skit this week because it put a new spin on the summoning gag, and even the Bullshit game was amusing enough. It just feels to me as if the scales have been tipped more towards abusive humor at the expense of the guys (especially Aki) than they were last season, and that just isn't as amusing to me as when this show gets really creative. On the plus side, it's still doing amazing things with visuals - especially in the classroom during the summoning this week, it was fantastically vibrant and eye-catching.