This was a really enjoyable Mashiro episode. It’s nice to take a step away for a moment from the larger conflict against the Undergu Empire and focus on character relationships. The relationship between Sora and Mashiro has honestly been a driving force in this show from the beginning. That relationship getting some focus is what makes this such a good episode. Mashiro and Sora don’t end up arguing, but rather it’s a chance for both sides to express their feelings and gain a better understanding of each other. It reminds me of the first few episodes (sorry Tsubasa) when the focus was just on these two and how they would build up to becoming a duo. I hope we get more moments like this as the show goes on.
Mashiro is a character that I find easy to like. She doesn’t have that shonen protagonist energy of Sora, but works hard in her own way. There is something easy about getting behind someone like her. Even more so in an episode like this where she steps outside her comfort zone and really works at it. There is no question that Mashiro put in more than enough effort that having a perfectly successful sports event would have been justified. I’m sure there are many students that weren’t training that hard for this thing!
But what really works for me is how Mashiro responded to her problems. When she went down in that race she picked herself back up and pushed to get that baton passed. Even when she was suffering from severe frustration over how things played out, she didn’t lash out. It would have been easy for her to blame Sora for pushing her to participate in the first place. She could have felt useless in that nothing she did mattered because Sora was that good. But Mashiro is a person that is more self-targeting than the type that lashes out at others. The girl ended up mad at how she performed and hating herself for thinking she was capable. And that’s a sad thing to see. But it’s also understandable by anyone that may not be all that confident in themselves.
The biggest win was how Sora responded to all this. Because while Mashiro did run away initially, Sora didn’t leave her alone for long. And they didn’t let this drag out and instead let Mashiro express her pain to Sora. And Sora of course felt the emotional hurt just seeing how much all this affected Mashiro. Seeing Mashiro suffer is the last thing Sora would ever want. It was nice to have that honest admission from Sora that part of her had given up on the race when Mashiro fell. Sora’s honesty is one of her chief strengths. And that honestly let her also admit that seeing Mashiro’s gutsy effort gave her the spark to race as hard as she did. It wasn’t said in detail, but I think it’s safe to say she didn’t want Mashiro’s effort to be in vain. Sora needed to push herself and win.
Both sides got something out of this. Sora got a better understanding of Mashiro’s frustrations and a reminder of how hard on herself Mashiro can be. At the same time Mashiro understood that Sora didn’t simply trust in her, but she just wanted to run alongside her friend. It wasn’t enough to be in the race, but she wanted to be in the race with Mashiro. Good and honest communications can be a beautiful thing.
A big focus for Mashiro is opening doors and showing that her potential is much more varied than she realizes. Others have very concrete dreams and goals for herself while Mashiro is still exploring. And that’s a perfectly find thing to do. She’s got a bright future and should enjoy that feeling of discovery. In Mashiro’s shoes I might be conflicted over being compared to a child that just learning to walk, but I get the point of the comparison. There’s a joy in Mashiro finding out more things about herself. It’s nice to see her finding a reason to want to do better and sensing that drive to win that exists. No reason to be embarrassed or ashamed of realizing that she wants to win at things.
And I’ll still give her a real bit of credit for her transformation into Cure Prism. I know it’s not on the level of Cure Sky and isn’t beloved, but it has its moments. I like little bits of personality bursting out of it near the end. Her cute posing before identifying herself really works for me.
The villain really was a “we need to fulfill our one enemy a week quota” appearance. That being said, there are things we can pick up about Battamonda. Kabaton was all about being strong. He wanted to show off and express his own strength while also calling out others as weak. Battamonda is all about being sleazy. This guy wants to act superior to everyone around them. There’s a clear desire to make others out as the scumbags. The sports festival is about the strong making the weak look bad and imposing their will upon them. To Battamonda it’s not his fault that his attacks will destroy things and cause pain. It’s the fault of those that are harmed and that’s because they are weak. He’s much more about putting others and acting above it all. But he doesn’t have the ability to handle setbacks with any dignity.
One good thing from this fight was taking advantage of the whole baton pass focus of the episode. I hope they continue to make use of this idea in the future. Prisms’ attacks aren’t hostile to everyone. So why not let Sora carry a few so she can really nail the enemies with them? It would of course limit Prisms’ active combat ability since she’d just be serving up attacks for others. But I like the idea of letting teamwork shine. These girls should be able to work off each other more.
This was a fun episode. It doesn’t move the main conflict forward, but it does allow the main pair to really shine. Sora’s masterful dash to win the race was thrilling because of how hard Mashiro pushed herself. If she held back because she was in pain or because she was embarrassed, then the race would have been a failure. This episode gave a fun little training segment, a good race, and gave us a nice showing from both our leads about how they feel. These two are at the core of why this show has been good and why I’ve been able to keep up with it. Even with things changing up next week, I do appreciate what we got here. Hopefully the next time Mashiro gets to partake in a sporting event without falling!
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