Even when this show is leaving me with mixed feelings, it says something that I still think the show is doing things well overall. This was an episode that was certainly interesting in how it played out. Must admit that I was left a bit on the fence about how Kana ended up getting drawn into the idol industry. I went into this episode expecting her to join and presuming that she’d mostly make that choice for herself. Obviously being scouted involves a degree of pressure and being influenced. But I was hoping that her decision here would be more her own decision. But I will still say that this episode leaves me feeling good overall. I just have to kind of bend over backwards to be ok with how things played out in the first part of the episode.
There’s no avoiding the major issue here. Kana was absolutely manipulated into joining this idol group with Ruby. And that doesn’t exactly feel good. If she put together all the positives and decided she was good with it that’s fine. But having her decide it wasn’t a good risk and then getting pushed into it just feels unpleasant. Not Ai getting stabbed to death unpleasant, but probably the most unpleasant choice the main cast have made to this point.
Kana honestly took a reasonable look at her options which I appreciated. Part of me expected her to make a rash choice based purely on the benefit of Aqua being around. But instead, she kept her eyes on the job. It was nice that she considered Ruby’s potential a positive element. And I appreciate that she was thinking about her own future. If this goes bad her prospects both as an idol and an actress could go up in flames. Even on the good side she’ll lose out on some roles that she can’t take while being an idol. There’s also the point that Strawberry Productions hasn’t done that much lately in terms of idols so it’s not even a powerful company. I can’t blame her for thinking the risks were just too high.
The big thing that can save or sink this is Aqua’s motivations. Was it purely about Ruby’s career and wanting a reliable/level-headed individual in the same group as her? Because that would definitely leave a sour taste. And it’s not like he directly said that he didn’t pull in Kana for that reason. All we really have is that he said he didn’t lie. But that only leads up to covering that he does believe that Kana is cuter than the average idol out there. And certainly, that would mean that he trusts Kana with taking care of his precious sister.
I’d like to think that he isn’t scum and that he was taking Kana into consideration beyond how she could be manipulated. But that means pretty much latching hard onto the line about him feeling that he didn’t do anything wrong. Unfortunately, that’s a line with two very different implications. On the negative side it can simply mean he doesn’t think manipulating people into doing things they had decided not to do is a bad thing. On the positive side can look at it as him thinking he didn’t do anything wrong by Kana. It could show some faith both in her abilities, Strawberry Productions’ ability to build an idol group, and Ruby’s talents. If the group doesn’t fail, then it’s a win for all of them including Kana. I just wish there was more to latch onto.
Maybe what makes it sting a bit more is how Kana was clearly hyped up over the possibility that Aqua was calling her out to confess to her. Obviously, she didn’t outright say that was her belief, but she showed it in her actions. No wonder she looked so annoyed and frustrated when Ruby was there waiting with him. Of course, if she’s got any hope with Aqua it isn’t going to happen overnight. His revenge focus is taking a lot of his time and energy. But at least she’s got some hope since he does seem to really respect her ability and does think she’s cute. I can’t see him falling hard for her all that fast, but you never know about the future.
The one positive thing is that I can see Kana and Ruby doing well together. They started on the wrong foot and this episode showed a lot of the struggles that came from that. The only hope they had was that Kana took the job offer seriously and didn’t disregard it just because it came from Ruby. At least they could quickly bond and unite over seeing Aqua’s reality show dating program. Both flipping out in similar ways due to having a similar perspective. Ruby doesn’t want bad influences around her broth and doesn’t like seeing him act so against his personality around cute girls. Kana doesn’t like seeing it because she likes Aqua and him dating one of these girls is a net negative for her.
Maybe the most positive showing for them was during the YouTube event. Kana did gain more respect for Ruby’s fortitude and effort level. And honestly, they are going to need to like each other if this group has any chance of getting rolling. I guess that’s not true since people can cooperate professionally while hating each other. But it doesn’t exactly hurt to get along.
The dating program side seems fine. The bigger thing for Aqua obviously is finding out the dirt that the producer knows. It’s still creepy to have him willing to go into details like that, but I suppose that’s how it goes. If the guy wasn’t a slime ball, then Aqua’s hunt would get much harder. The biggest thing about this is that MEM-cho is clearly going to get involved with the main story when it comes to Ruby’s idol group. It’s kind of funny since it doesn’t seem like either girl is eager to recruit her. It does make some sense though. If she’s mostly about streaming then she might not have a production company that she’s involved with yet. And targeting girls like that is kind of a necessity for an idol group getting the ball rolling.
Most of the girls seem to have a presence in the OP so I guess it’s safe to say this show will have a decent influence on the plot. It’s kind of funny since Aqua is wearing a heavy mask and doesn’t seem eager to get into romance at all. The Yuki girl seems plenty manipulative herself. I know Aqua took that as evidence that Ruby is a poor judge of character, but even he was played by her before realizing her true personality. And honestly if she’s manipulative then maybe she is suited for Aqua…
This episode wasn’t bad, and I had an easy time talking about it. But I will say the Kana recruitment part was a bit iffy. Plus I just don’t even want to talk about the muscle guy in the weird mask…I’m not big on insanely muscular characters and honestly his existence lowers my faith in the public of that world. Credit to him for making a lot of money…but it’s depressing that he is. Hopefully we don’t see that guy too often…This might have been the weakest episode just because it left me feeling mixed about the main character. But at the very least it still had strong moments and keeps the story moving forward.
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