Sket Dance (スケット・ダンス Suketto Dansu?) is a manga series written and illustrated by Kenta Shinohara and serialized in Shueisha's manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. Sket Dance won the 55th annual Shogakukan Manga Award in 2009 for best shōnen manga.
The manga focuses on the misadventures of the "Campus Support Group" or "Sket-Dan", of Kaimei Gakuen, a club devoted to solving any and all problems brought to it by the staff or student body for the general improvement of campus life. Due to its general lack of meaningful assignments and unglamorous 'group of handymen' reputation the organization is treated with widespread contempt and it is composed of only three members.
The story is told through a series of short, self-contained stories focusing on cases undertaken by the Sket Dan, usually told in the space of one to two chapters. Cases to date focus on a variety of issues from more humorous cases like chasing monkeys around the school or helping a wanna-be samurai find out why he cannot win kendo tournaments to more serious cases that hint at Onihime's violent past or deal with near-terminal illness.
Characters from previous cases also often make cameos in later ones and recurring storylines, such as the Sket Dan's rivalry with the school's student council.
- The team leader, an expert marksman and artist whose usually erratic personality is replaced with a brilliant deductive mindset by ceremonially donning his special goggles in a process called 'Connecting'—this allows him to make eerily accurate inferences by concentrating entirely on absolutely all the available evidence, even to the extent of accurately recalling almost inaudible background noise in a brief phone conversation. He enjoys the sense of adventure he receives from helping others for its own sake, but can become very emotionally involved with more serious Cases to the extent of verbally abusing those he sees to be betraying their friends or their best interests. Despite Bossun's deceptively sharp acumen, he is notably socially awkward and especially bad with attractive women. He frequently breaks the Fourth Wall between manga and reader, referring to other manga such as "Bleach" or arguing with perceived deviations from the manga's 'formula' - accusing Himeko of being ridiculous, he cries "Shaddup!!! You're supposed to be the straight man here!! The guest characters are the weird ones!"; he also jealously, vocally guards his position as the main character and protagonist of the series whenever he feels he is being sidelined. However, when he won the Character Popularity contest (which had a whole chapter based around it), he was extremely humble about it to the point of breaking into tears.
- It was revealed that on his fifteenth birthday, he discovered that he was not truly related to his mother, Akane, and his sister, Rumi. His actual parents were Akane's best friends, Ryousuke and Haru. When Bossun was about to be conceived, both of his parents were involved in car accidents. His father died while saving a child, and his mother died from giving birth. He ran away from home and wandered around aimlessly. After meeting Taisuke Mishima, the child who his father had saved, Bossun received the present that Ryousuke had meant to give to Haru after the birth. Bossun read the letters, saying about how he should help other people. However, in anger, he flung down the letters and claimed that he would only live for himself. After watching a student his age be bullied (it was actually Tsubaki, but he had longer hair and glasses then, so they didn't recognize each other after they met again), he discovered that he had truly inherited his parents' blood because he couldn't resist helping other people. He later on returned to Akane and Rumi, and continued to live with them. Bossun continued to believe that he was alone in the world, before the doctor who had helped deliver him came to him on his birthday and told him that he had a younger twin brother. As a result, he realized that his brother was actually Tsubaki Sasuke from the Disciplinary Committee. Bossun felt deep down that he had already known because everybody kept saying that they were similar. Despite knowing that they were brothers, both Tsubaki and Bossun continue to have an awkward rivalry with each other, often breaking in to fights, but slowly getting closer, as brothers should. He also has inherited some behavior from Akane having shown that when ever she yells at Bossun at some point she would end up saying "dummy" repeatedly.
- The "Amazon", or "Yankee" (combat specialist) of the team - a volatile and highly dangerous close-range fighter who serves as the Sket Dan's muscle using her specialized field-hockey stick 'Cyclone'. Already a formidable antagonist, with this innocuous-seeming weapon in hand she is easily capable of defeating multiple opponents instantaneously or shredding a full-grown tree in moments . In the past, Himeko used these abilities as the "Legendary Yankee Onihime" to become a symbol of "power and fear" - more recently, memories of an unknown boy in a school uniform have prevented her fully enacting these violent impulses and she has largely given up her title. She later meet Bossun who reminds her of a hero character when she was young and joins Sket Dan. Himeko feels that she is saved from Bossun which she now become loyal to him despite their contant bickering. Obsessed with bizarre flavours of lollipop such as 'Mackerel-Miso' which almost kill anyone without a powerful "fighting spirit" who tries eating them, she almost constantly has one sticking out of her mouth, which is frequently mistaken for a habit of smoking from a distance. She is also very good at cooking. She holds great faith in Bossun and have feelings toward him.
- The 'brains' of the team (in contrast to Bossun's intuition and Himeko's brawn) in charge of intelligence-gathering and, in contrast to the more excitable other Sket Dan members, largely concerned with "honest, data-substantiated fact". He is called Switch because of the unfortunate death of his brother who was very found of his nickname "Switch" which Kazuyosh then asks to be called by this name. After his brothers death he takes on the appearance of his brother, a short while after this Kazuyosh stops speaking and this is when Bossun comes to his aid. It is believed that switch uses a program his brother was developing as his speaking tool. Never speaking out loud, he instead uses his constantly present laptop computer to communicate using "Speech Synthesis Software" to convey his thoughts, in between constant bouts of forum trolling and dating-simulation playthroughs. Switch is the proprietor of a vast school-wide intelligence network consisting largely of perverts and outcasts, and thus in possession of almost unlimited information on everyone in the vicinity of the school; the ensuing potential for blackmail makes him a bad person to cross. Surprisingly popular with the ladies, he expresses interest in very little outside of his Sket Dan duties - except, curiously, for frequent 'Science vs. the Supernatural' debates with the notorious occult fanatic Yuuki Reiko which seem to be sparked by an underlying mutual attraction. Beyond his computer skills, Switch has shown frequent and unexplained access to high-tech gear such as computerized training equipment and minute homing devices.
The rivals of the Sket-dan, who uphold school rules and handle administrative duties, like the creation and funding of clubs. Within the Sket Dance world, there is a manga series about them, running in Shōnen Jump, and a tie-in game on Vivage City, a cellular phone game company.
- Sōjirō Agata (安形 惣司郎 Agata Sōjirō?)
- President of the Student Council and a Third year student. A very charismatic, laid-back individual, who seemingly does nothing as President. He entrusts most responsibilities to the Vice President, Sasuke Tsubaki. His IQ is around 160 His ability to read and understand people is used to manipulate them to do what he wants, such as motivating Bossun into competing with him seriously. This same ability is why he has the complete loyalty of Student Council members, Sasuke and Daisy. His performance in the Gachinko Vivage Battle's "Pixie Garden" match with Bossun shows that he is a good strategist, who learns quickly, and is adept at lying. Despite his ruthlessness, and professions that he isn't a nice guy, he's against cheating to win. He has a tendency to forget things he's said, such as the bet he pretended to make with Bossun to get him fired up.
- Sasuke Tsubaki (椿 佐介 Tsubaki Sasuke?)
- The Vice President of the Student Council, who takes his responsibilities very seriously, even overzealously, willing to punch a hole in a wall and injure himself to get his point across. He believes that the Sket-dan is useless and should be abolished, leading to conflicts with Bossun. The two consider each other rivals and his desire to defeat Bossun and the Sket-dan motivate him to do things he wouldn't otherwise do. He is a skilled fighter, and the boxing club at their school wanted him on their team. He also researches his opponents weaknesses and uses them to his advantage. He is very similar to Bossun, as many other people had noted. It was later revealed that Tsubaki and Bossun are twin brothers, separated from birth. After the discovery, Tsubaki and Bossun's relationship became even more awkward, but they slowly began to grow closer, with Bossun even inviting Tsubaki over for dinner to meet Akane and Rumi. Akane noted that while Bossun looked more like his father, Ryousuke, Tsubaki looked more like his mother, Haru.
- Mimori Unyū (丹生 美森 Unyū Mimori?)
- The Treasurer of the Student Council. She's the wealthy granddaughter of the Unyuu Group's leader. She is competent enough to know how to allocate hidden funds for the Student Council, but this is countered by her desires to spend frivolously. She believes money is a means to all ends, from love confessions to winning competitions. Despite this, she considers herself an advocate of proper conduct, and even lectures Tsubaki for his uncivilized actions. Outside of her financial duties, she provides refreshments and first aid supplies to the other Student Council members.
- Kikuno Asahina (浅雛 菊乃 Asahina Kikuno?)
- The Secretary of the Student Council, nicknamed "Daisy-chan." She is a Second-year student, who will do whatever Sōjirō tells her to do, from participating in the Gachinko Vivage Battle Tournament to going undercover on a Student Council Operation to catch a ring of blackmailers. She speaks harshly, and insults people on purpose, often saying things like "Drown in a gutter and die", or "Drown, die, revive, and die again." She has good aim, and relentlessly attacks without hesitation. While she seems calm and composed on the outside, she is quick to judge others, and thus, underestimate them. She doesn't handle failure very well, and will console herself by cuddling stuffed animals.
- Michiru Shinba (榛葉 道流 Shinba Michiru?)
- A Student Council Member responsible for General Affairs, and a Third-year Student. He is a narcissist, who loves having his picture taken. He is popular with girls, and also has a very devoted fan club called the "Shinbals". He is an extremely good chef, considered "exceptional even among professionals." Michiru often plays the straight man opposite the quirks of the other student council and is also one of the few people who understands that Sōjirō has a manipulative side.
- Mr. Chūma (中馬先生 Chūma Sensei?)
- The little-seen and inhumanly apathetic "Club Supervisor" of the Sket Dan spends most of his time in his lab instead of minding them, where his only gift seems to be for creating dangerous and unstable explosive devices. As his token support is prerequisite to Sket Dan's existence, he holds the threat of its withdrawal over the members' heads when he wishes to coerce them into some unreasonable 'favour'.
This series is written and illustrated by Kenta Shinohara and serialized in Shueisha shōnen magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. As of April 2010, the serial chapters are collected into 13 tankōbon with the first one published on November 2, 2007, and the thirteenth on April 2, 2010.