Who would have thought this series would have had some of the largest “infodumps” per episode out of all the series I have been watching thus far? Which is fine, of course, but blogging each episode can be a real challenge. It makes it hard to know where to even begin discussing the episode proper. There is a lot going on here, and a lot that is super easy to miss.

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When last we left off in the previous episode we were given a glimpse of a young lass checking out Plasmagica from a distance while a block faced grown man in a fedora was leaning against a brick wall in the background. It turns out the block faced, fedora sporting figure man be more influential than first glance. He turns out to be an old acquaintance of President Maple and is named Ogasawara. Apparently he belongs to a music agency with a bad reputation (possibly named Dagger?) and is the manager of a girls’ band in a super high class Middle School named St. Midi Girl’s Academy (of whom the young lass is the lead singer) named Criticrista.

But much more importantly, it was someone who looked (and sounded) a lot like Ogasawara who was talking to the evil boss of Unicorn Virtual Music Inc. towards the end of episode 1. It seems this figure was directly involved in unleashing the “dark monster” on the band Trichronika – and if it was Ogasawara then the reasons behind his scouting out Plasmagica take on many different levels, and directly relate to Cyan and Strawberry Heart (her talking guitar). Just how much influence does the boss of UVM Inc. have in general, in the music agency, and in the Academy – it stretches from education all the way up through employment and with the goal of taking control of everything is already well under way.

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The episode opens up with Maple (who apparently also cooks at the Cafe Angelica) telling Plasmagica he has received an invitation to have a Band Battle at a stage hall called “S-River” from Ogasawara pitting Plasmagica up against the new up and coming Criticrista. Plasmagica accepts (in the process we also hear that Midi City has a currency called “sound dollars”), and for some time we are given glimpses into the inner thoughts of each of the band members. Retoree the bass-player joined the band to find friends she could play music with – she is even shyer than Cyan in some ways, and more awkward. We see that Chuchu is actually an incredibly ambitious and competitive person, perhaps even willing to go to the extent of sacrificing others to achieve her goals. Interestingly it was a performance by Grateful King (the world famous guitarist who is practically being held prisoner by the boss of Unicorn Virtual Music Inc. who appeared at the end of episode 1) at the S-River stage hall that inspired Chuchu to become a musician in the first place. Moa is revealed to indeed be a full boar alien – complete with an angler-fish style antennae used to communicate with her mother ship in orbit above the planet.

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It is once again from a conversation between Cyan and Strawberry Heart (whom Cyan has decided to affectionately nickname “Berry-san”) that we receive yet another infodump on the world. These Band Battles are literal matches with tangible results and/or benefits. Each band plays one song, and the ones who decide the victor are the audience, both those present and those watching the match online. Those who win receive an upgrade to their melodisian stones and also receive a cash prize of “sound dollars”. As Cyan is fretting (in an adorable manner) over how to win, the guitar suddenly asks whether or no the main goal of the band battle is simply to win, hinting that there are far more important aspects that could result. Initially this puzzles Cyan, but later on we see that the performances can also serve as an occasion for a band to develop unanimity and be more tuned in to one another musically and on a relational level. As Cyan continues to puzzle it out the guitar suddenly chooses not to answer, and we get a glimpse in this episode that in this case at least it was not just a matter of “vanishing” – it chose to go silent so Cyan would do some thinking for herself.

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The results of the battle are predictable – Plasmagica loses to Criticrista, but in the process their performance ups a notch due to the band getting closer and Cyan contributing some music arrangements to improve the technical side of their performance, creating something agreed by all to be the best performance they had ever done. Criticrista performs plenty fine, and we are introduced to the other members: Holmy on bass guitar, Jacklyn on the drums, Tsukino on the keyboard and Rosia on guitar and the lead singer. After the performance somehow Rosia (the lead singer from Criticrista that both appeared at the end of episode 2 and is shown to have an ambitious and even nasty streak to her) notices that Cyan has done something or contributed something that made their performance better than expected.

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The end of the episode is an odd one. Suddenly we are shown the clubroom in a school and soon discover it is a school apparently not in the city-state of Midi City. The conversation between the club members is Midi City proper and at the end of deciding to go and visit yet another band (we have had four of them thus far) is mentioned … apparently quite skilled and popular and going by the difficult name of “Tsurezurenaru Ayatsuri Megenan”. Umm … whatever that means. Where the story will go from hereon out is uncertain, but going by the first three eps and in very general terms it seems clear that personal growth for both Cyan and Plasmagica is in the cards and eventually it will lead to a conflict with the dark monsters and the evil boss of Unicorn Virtual Music Inc. For the record I am still holding on to the idea that Strawberry Heart might be serving as the transmitter for Grateful King and Cyan might be being cultivated by him to eventually protect the city and world itself. Am very much looking forward to where the story will go from here!

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Currently the “oji-san” of the staff members age wise (in his mid 40’s) yet the most recent addition, he is also a Japanophile from his teen years while not quite an “otaku” who lives in the United States. Came to actively following anime late in life (in 2008), but in general loves the traditional arts, history and culture of Japan as a whole, both ancient and modern.

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