Score: A-

This show is good even when it only has episodes of normal length! It was honestly a good second episode to ease the story into the next phase after the emotional events of the first episode. In a sense the story really begins here. The story of Aqua and Ruby will be interesting to follow from here on out. There is the dual aspect of them following their own paths in the entertainment industry, but also the ominous threat in the background. The death of Ai isn’t guaranteed to be the end of it. The show seems ready at the very least to continue trying to balance the darkness of the entertainment industry with the reason that people want to be part of it in the first place. I’m certainly convinced that it can manage it.

Don’t make Ruby cry

The situation for Ruby was quite the ride in this episode. I get why Aqua is worried and has tried to stop her. There are two levels to this situation. On one hand the idol industry is a brutal thing and there are legitimate dangers with things like stalkers. And on the other there is the personal danger. Ai was clearly killed because the guy she slept with wanted to erase some risk to himself. He tried to interfere both before the children were born and afterwards. And people died in both cases. So, if Ruby or Aqua is found out to be related to Ai it would put a bullseye on them. It’s clear though that Aqua has never mentioned this worry to Ruby and that she hasn’t thought about it herself.

At the same time…it’s not his choice. Aqua is absolutely a jerk here. It would be cruel enough to do this if Ruby was a normal girl. But she’s not. This girl knows the agony of not being able to choose anything for herself. She lived with a body that couldn’t do the things she wanted and chasing her dreams was simply never a choice available to her. She finally has the chance to chase her dreams and to be like the person she admired both as an idol and as a parent. It’s Ruby’s life to risk. Stomping out her dreams without her knowing will kill her heart before any threat gets to her body. I understand loving and wanting to protect his family. But he’s got to find better ways to do it.

What a hero

The MVP of balanced concern goes to Miyako. This woman stepped up in the first place when Ai died. She took in those kids and even when things went to hell, she still raised them as best she could. Even managing to transition Strawberry Productions before it fell apart into a business that could at least still function. Those kids are doing just fine thanks to her being there for them. And she does share Aqua’s concerns without sharing his extremism. And she even helped save Ruby’s dreams. It couldn’t have been easy to take the risk of putting together another idol group. Her business could fail if things go badly. But she’s willing to take on that risk to give Ruby the best and safest path forward. She’ll bet on that girl and that’s the only way to keep Aqua from interfering.

The face of someone that doesn’t want to give up

It would be easy for this episode to end with Aqua just being an annoying jerk. But the episode does a good job balancing things out to make him look more sympathetic. The loss of Ai of course was a colossal hit. He took it both as a fan, a (former) doctor who couldn’t save her life, and as her child. So, getting swept up in a desire for revenge isn’t all that shocking. It’s a proactive goal that lets him chase after something instead of really tackling the loss and grief. He’s still willing to chase revenge. Even if getting revenge won’t change the tragic results and might cost him quite a bit.

The key thing is acting here. At this point he’s mostly given up. That might be a cost of his own reincarnation. In part he has the mind of an adult that chose a path in life and had to give up on other things along the way. Giving up and transitioning to other paths makes sense. But it only makes sense for someone much further along in life. Aqua in this life is still a kid. The art style tends to make the twins look a bit older than they are, but they are still young. The Director is right. It is way too early for Aqua to give up on dreams. More so when he has an attachment. It isn’t just about revenge. The final words from Ai are one thing and honestly, I think there is a real dream of doing that for a living himself.

I have a feel she will be fun

And all that leads to the interesting appearance of Kana. Aqua left a huge mark on her. That girl was on the path to maybe throwing away her acting career. The treatment of staff and her arrogance would have bitten her sooner or later. But one would think she cleared things up and has been progressing in a positive direction since then. As much as the Director, she’s a character very passionate about Aqua’s acting. It’s clear she’s been keeping an eye out for him and was relieved when she thought he was trying again. She does seem to scream love interest. But beyond that I’m curious if she can help heal Aqua’s heart a bit. He needs a real push to be honest with himself in wanting to pursue acting and to just enjoy his life. Living simply for revenge can be painful.

I expect to love this girl

This show is just good. Even an episode like this managed to set things up nicely and continue developing the cast. Now the fun really begins. When and how will Aqua be sparked to chase after acting? I don’t see him giving up on revenge anytime soon, but at least he should go after that while doing something he truly wants to do. There’s also Ruby’s situation to examine. She’s just getting started with that idol group that will start to be formed soon. If her singing isn’t top tier can she still be the star her mother was? How will she measure up against her future idol group-mates? There’s just a lot to take in here. But I’m really looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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