Score: A

Well, this was heavy! I need go back and rewatch Kana poking fun at Ruby egosurfing to try and balance out the dark emotions this episode was mostly focusing on. And honestly the end focused on Akane spiraling in a dark direction, but the episode did have some light stuff in the early going. This episode just really hammered home that the positives and negatives to the internet and online culture are substantial. The positive side can make a person smile at having easy access to someone complimenting them. The negative side though can just break a person’s spirit. Because some of the worst parts of humanity are right there in the open online.

These two helped me through a dark episode

So, I’m going to start with the nice stuff! It was cute to see Kana teasing the heck out of Ruby. And Ruby really set herself up nicely for it. Doesn’t egosurf eh? Must be someone else on her phone searching twitter for “Ruby Hoshino cute.” And really Kana made some good points. Performers and famous people are content being consumed online. But the same goes for the consumer. What people are saying about people, shows, products, etc are all being consumed by the entertainment industry. Companies want what people are talking about to nail their advertising and coax spending. But some famous people are looking for an ego boost. Knowing that people think they are cool, cute, or appreciated helps give them a jump. It’s mutual observation and consumption.

And Kana really saved Ruby’s bacon there. Once you are a public individual there are limits to what you can do. Ruby is both too famous and not famous enough to get away with insulting a company’s products online. There’s no telling what the future holds. If a company hires her for a commercial, then she’ll drink that awful drink and sell it. But if they find out she’s been badmouthing them online…they’ll find someone to sell their products that hasn’t. Putting a filter on what you say isn’t the worst of things.

Lot of screens this week and not many cheerful ones

Sadly, that’s where the positive tone of the episode ends. The episode really nailed how messed up people can be online. I will not call myself perfect. I know it’s easy to get swept up in the moment and say stupid things. Still though, people can be monsters at just about anyone online. And this episode highlighted that to the extreme. I’m sure not all these people are scumbags. Not every online comment was cruel or meant to inflict harm. Some of them have a thought, throw it out there, and at least don’t feel bad enough about it to delete the tweet later.

But some people are just straight up cruel. Just a quick few seconds of typing, a click, and they are verbally punching someone in the face. That’s not to say that publicly venting isn’t the worst thing in the world. People can chat with friends or grumble on internet forums without directly going after anyone. But the issue is what we saw here. These people just unloaded on Akane. It was as far as you can go without directly walking up to her and yelling in her face. Some people really do relish the chance to ruin someone’s life and day. There are monsters that only get satisfaction through the suffering of others. And wishing death on someone online is just plain horrible.

Nice girl honestly

Credit to MEM-cho because she did offer a fair look at things. Akane didn’t deserve this in the slightest. But it is true that Akane’s reaction and approach to the event was probably the worst thing she could have done. She lives with her heart on her sleeve. Some people do live with a public and private persona. An attack on one doesn’t necessarily feel like an attack on the other. But Akane felt that pain. And it’s also sadly true that trying to interact just made it worse. It sucks because the approach of never apologizing and behaving as if she did nothing wrong would have handled the public response better. I don’t love that because it does feel wrong that people who make mistakes can’t own up to them. But it’s true here. Akane apologizing just made people feel vindicated in harassing her.

One mistake that created a nightmare

What really sucks is that without some dark reveal coming up, we saw Yuki being pretty good about the whole thing. Being angry would have been legit since she was cut and her face is her job. But unless we’re going to get a seriously dark reveal that she stepped into that swipe to get cut on purpose…she really seemed considerate. The girl is manipulative to a degree, but it only felt like on the level of wanting to maximize her chance to stand out. It sucks to have to be suspicious of people. But I’d like to think that she was sincere in trying to comfort Akane who was understandably freaking out and remorseful about getting that hit in there. All this hate is spiraling, but the person that was directly harmed doesn’t appear to hold any negative feelings.

Seems like a decent guy

I also want to give some credit to Akane’s manager. The guy is extremely background here, but in the early going he was legit trying. He accepted that his role and responsibility is basically to get yelled at by the company president. It felt like he tried to be a shield for Akane. To let her focus on her job while he takes the heat over her not being this big star yet. He may not have been fast (or it didn’t appear like he was) in terms of getting a handle on Akane’s Twitter account or guiding her through the crisis. But he does seem to have a rough life in getting yelled at for a living.

Good save here

I really don’t want to go here…but how should we really view Aqua’s rescue there? It’s fiction so people being in the right place at the right time isn’t that crazy. But in a show like this I must wonder. Aqua has shown to be manipulative and kind of messed up. His central focus is to find his biological father and murder him. He’s also shown himself willing to make those he cares about miserable because he thinks he knows best. Trying to shut down Ruby’s idol career before it could get started for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons having validity, but it also showing a lack of respect for Ruby’s right to decide for herself.

So, what was up with that rescue? Did he just happen upon her? Even if we want to be generous and say he saw the message about her going out shopping, how did he know where to look? Wouldn’t he have to know where she lived and be relatively close by? I don’t want to be down on a rescue. In the end Akane would have died if someone hadn’t stopped her. But Aqua went from basically being a ghost in this episode to saving Akane out of nowhere. My personal hope is that as a (former) doctor, Aqua couldn’t turn his back on someone that seemed likely to have suicidal thoughts. At the very least he deserves credit for saving that girl’s life. That is something!

I need a comedy show after this episode

Guess we’ll see where things go from here. Akane’s situation isn’t one easily resolved. I guess if the show isn’t over Aqua can try to guide Akane into leaving a positive impression on the audience of the show. If he sets himself up as a love interest for her or an even bigger villain then that might help. It would mirror his assistance to Kana in the earlier episode. Hopefully not mirroring the manipulation in the following episode though…If Aqua’s gone this far I can’t imagine he’ll just send Akane home and wash his hands of it. Akane has been hit hard by this and she needs some saving if she’s going to avoid killing herself in the future. Here’s hoping she’ll be ok.

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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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