REVIEW: ‘Sonny Boy,’ Episode 4 – “The Great Monkey Baseball”

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Sonny Boy Episode 4

Maybe absolutely everything went over my head in Sonny Boy Episode 4, but it took the show’s penchant for bizarre to a whole new level. Written and directed by Shingo Natsume (Space Dandy; ACCA: 13), the anime original from studio MADHOUSE follows a group of high school students. After their school building is suddenly transported into a bizarre void, they find themselves developing supernatural abilities and traversing worlds in an attempt to get home. While they navigate the strange rules of each world, some attempt power grabs within the social caste system.

Nagara has the ability to move everyone to different worlds, although the story is rather vague on if he can control it. In Sonny Boy Episode 4, we can see the classmates begin to divide into factions: those who want to get home as soon as possible and others who may be starting to like their new lives. Where Nagara lies on that spectrum is an underlying question throughout the twenty minutes. It is unclear if he legitimately isn’t confident in his abilities or if he doesn’t want to go back to his old life. Meanwhile, Asakaze is continuing to descend into his frustration. His character is an interesting concept of gaining all the power he wanted but no recognition or glory.

The rest of Sonny Boy Episode 4 is…well…confusing. With a show like this, sometimes it can almost get more convoluted for viewers as they will try to read into every single thing put on screen. Nagara and his friends challenge a former teammate on the baseball team with the hopes of getting a device that will allow them to see monkeys. Cap tells a story about them all playing baseball and the origins of a baseball legend. The entire twenty minutes is surrealist, and I’m sure many enjoyed it a lot more than I did. Unfortunately, everything with the monkeys was so bizarrely out of left field (pun intended) that it was hard to follow. Additionally, its relevance to the overall plot is questionable. Aside from interpersonal conflicts, a lot of Sonny Boy Episode 4 was spinning its wheels, and while not EVERYTHING has to have momentum, this felt more like it was trying to be the weirdest show on the air simply to do so. It isn’t bad, but it will likely only be enjoyable to a small number of people.

Sonny Boy Episode 4 is at its best when its surrealism feels effortless. The entire storyline with monkeys gave me the impression the show was trying too hard. It has so many ideas and characters to juggle, and it is as though the writing was staring at an overflowing basket of options and still decided it wasn’t enough.

Surrealism is fun, that is for sure, but for me, Sonny Boy Episode 4 tried too hard and struck out (pun intended) with a convoluted storyline about monkeys and baseball. The far more interesting moments were the interpersonal relationships between Nagara and his classmates and his growing confidence in his supernatural abilities. No matter what, fans of the show will stick around, but this episode was a swing and a miss for me.

Sonny Boy is streaming now on Funimation, with new episodes premiering Thursdays.


Sonny Boy Episode 4
  • 5.5/10
    Rating - 5.5/10
5.5/10

TL;DR

Surrealism is fun, that is for sure, but for me, Sonny Boy Episode 4 tried too hard and struck out (pun intended) with a convoluted storyline about monkeys and baseball. The far more interesting moments were the interpersonal relationships between Nagara and his classmates and his growing confidence in his supernatural abilities. No matter what, fans of the show will stick around, but this episode was a swing and a miss for me.