One thing is certain after watching this episode: I want to play Fairies Story 3. That preview we saw in the episode worked too well! I want to know the stories behind all those characters and the world and whatnot.
I realize the preview was designed to imitate various JRPG-style previews, trailers, and OPs in a very traditional style. However, for at least a bit someone had to spend time thinking about these characters and who they are; about this world, and how these people live in it. This sort of thing fascinates me. Starting off with a dancing fairy: presumably this is the (or at least “a”) titular fairy for Fairies Story. We don’t know much about the connection fairies have to this world, but a short way into the preview we see the pink-haired heroine praying in a church before a statue of a fairy, and an image of the fairy we saw in the beginning is superimposed over it for an instant. If they’re worshiped in churches, does that mean the fairies are deities of this world? Given standard party-build, and other context, I assume the pink-haired girl is that healer/white mage/cleric of the group, who calls upon the fairies for her powers? And… *coughs* Sorry. I’ll stop there. I could probably go on for the entire space of the review just talking about and analyzing the Fairies Story PV, but that’s not what you all are here for. It just grabs my attention, because there is a world here. Someone made it; someone thought about it; even if only enough to show us this tiny fragment of it. And that fragment makes me want to understand the whole. Even if that whole doesn’t exist.
Anyway. Aoba and her cube-mates are off attending Tokyo Game Show, where Fairies Story 3 is going to have its first public appearance. TGS is a big thing in Japan, and even though some news industry folks say that the value of expos and the like is declining as more companies make use of the internet for announcements, for the moment the truth still holds that if you want your game to really catch people’s attention, you’ve got to make a splash with it at TGS. Of course, not all the girls are there for the same reason. Hifumi can’t resist this opportunity to cosplay, and she does look magnificent. Even when hiding her face from the others.
When Aoba, Yun, and Hajime reach the Fairies Story 3 booth, they are struck with some powerful feelings. This game they’ve been working on for so long is finally going to be coming out. There are people eagerly waiting for it. Aoba’s been working on it six months and she can feel the intensity, the feeling of having been part of making something that people enjoy. Hajime and Yun have been on it for a year-and-a-half, and now they are finally seeing some of the result of their hard work. It’s an overwhelming feeling, and it leaves them all the more determined once they get back to the office.
The next skit with folks dressing up unusually and having a photo session at work actually occurred after the final build was complete in the manga which explains why folks could spend so much time out of their day not actually working, and why there seemed to be no one else in the office: after the final build was done everyone got vacation, and Aoba (being the newbie who’s been there less than a year) got a week less vacation than everyone else. It feels a little out of place for the anime to have that calmness before the final rush at the end of the episode, but we get to see Ko looking incredibly adorable, so it’s all good.
Heading into the final day, however, one can feel the pressure building. Umiko, who, despite her tendency to use an airsoft pistol to display irritation, actually has pretty good self-control, has bags under her eyes and a clearly frayed temper. Learning about another freeze as they’re all desperately trying to finish on the final day causes her to pound her desk in frustration, scaring poor Nene half to death. She sends Nene and Aoba out to buy snacks and energy drinks for everyone, since they’re going to have to stay overnight to get this done, and when they make a bit of an odd assumption about what to get for her, she snaps at them. I think some of us can probably sympathize with her: I know when I’m exhausted my social graces are nowhere near as good as they should be.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the moment of vulnerability between Ko and Aoba as things are wrapping up. For all that Aoba has had her struggles learning about things on the job, it’s true that she has adapted really well, and really quickly, to working at Eagle Jump. She’s been incredibly fortunate to have friendly, accepting, and helpful co-workers who have made what could have been a nightmarish hell workplace into somewhere that Aoba truly is happy to be working. But this was not the case with Ko. We’ve seen some of the flashbacks, and heard some of the stories: Ko’s start at the company was rough on her. She was jumped lead character designer shortly after she was hired, and employees with seniority did not approve of this newcomer being placed over them. Apparently her leadership style was not well thought of either. So this makes for a curious situation that isn’t clearly resolved yet. For Aoba, Ko is her idol; her goal; the person she aspires to become like and whose success she envies. To hear Ko turn it around and say that she envies Aoba… it must be something of a shock. Perhaps for both of them.
No time is given for introspection, however, as Nene shows up to prevent things from getting too serious. Her goodbye is… touching. As a part time employee, only there for a month or two, one wouldn’t expect her to leave an indelible mark on the place, yet as she’s wandered the office everyone has gotten to know her far better than one would expect from the average part-timer. She’s become a part of their group, a friend in her own right, and everyone is sad to see her go. I suspect in a situation like that I might find myself moved to spontaneous tears as well.
So. Eleven episodes down. It looks like next week will be the final episode. I swear it feels like this series just started… how the heck did the time go by so quickly? Join me again next week to see how we finish up this wonderful series.
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