Sonny Boy’s Monkey Baseball Episode Explains Nagara’s Powers

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Sonny Boy Episode 4, "The Great Monkey Baseball," now streaming on Funimation.

Baseball episodes in anime have a history of being weird. BNA: Brand New Animal Episode 4, Samurai Champloo Episode 23 and, of course, FLCL Episode 4 are among the wackiest anime baseball contests. Sonny Boy Episode 4 matches that level of absurdity all while keeping such strangeness completely deadpan, if not flat out serious. In "The Great Monkey Baseball," Shingo Natsume's anime take on Lord of the Flies crosses into Planet of the Apes territory, all while delivering sports drama and revealing new secrets about Nagara's powers.

Sonny Boy E4 Monkey

In the episode's opening scene, the students are diving into a black surface. Most of them bounce off it, having a good time. When Nagara dives in, he finds himself teleporting everyone temporarily to a baseball field in what appears to be their own universe -- except a giant ape is on the pitcher's mound (they call it a "monkey" in the dialogue, but with no tail, that's clearly an ape). Jumping back to the island, Nagara is still uncertain about his teleportation powers that everyone else thinks they have figured out.

It turns out Cap has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of this "Monkey League." Much of Episode 4 is just him telling stories about these baseball-playing primates, which serve as parallels to Sonny Boy's own story of violent meritocracy and struggling to be the best. In order to actually see the Monkey League play, however, you need to shine the Monkey Getter flashlight on yourself. Ace, who first taught the apes how to play baseball, possesses the Monkey Getter and won't share or sell it. The only way to get the flashlight? Win a game of baseball.

Sonny Boy E4 Nagara at bat

This monkey stuff is a strange motivating device, but beyond its surrealist interest and the metaphorical value of Cap's stories, the Monkey League is ultimately a MacGuffin for what the baseball game is really about: unlocking and understanding Nagara's powers. Putting his energy into the game, Nagara manages to once again teleport his classmates to other worlds. After analyzing these teleportations, Rajdhani concludes that while Nagara can travel between worlds, he can't control what world he's going to and thus won't be able to bring the class home (for now, at least).

At the end of Episode 4, the students suddenly find some unexpected company showing up on the island: a teacher. Whether or not Nagara teleported the teacher there or if she arrived by some other means is unclear, but this cliffhanger ending promises a big shake-up to Sonny Boy's already unpredictable story.

New episodes of Sonny Boy premiere Thursdays on Funimation.

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