In a very familiar setting, the entire Art Club goes out for a couple of hours of good, clean, Karaoke fun. It’s not only Nagi’s first time, but apparently Jin and Daitetsu’s as well. (Takako starts the show with the must-have song…) Everyone shuffles into the booth, and Jin is forced to choose between sitting next to Tsugumi or Zange. He starts heading for Tsugumi, but Zange doesn’t give up quite that easily, so she prompts Jin to come sit next to her, pretending to need help reading the song books. Tsugumi is left in total defeat to sulk by herself. Everyone plays janken to decide who sings first, so the order is chosen fairly and the fun begins.
First up is Tsugumi. She sings a sweet romantic song pretty poorly, but with high spirits, bouncing to the music as she reads from the screen. She blushingly sits down, self-consciously embarrassed at having to sing first. Next up is Daitetsu. Everyone is interested to hear him sing, because no one’s ever heard him before. He nervously sings a smooth pop song with a remarkably clear and talented voice, amazing everyone in the room. Meanwhile, Nagi is absorbed by the song book and remote control (especially the cheers and jeers feature), and Tsugumi is continuously annoyed at Zange-chan’s advances on Jin’s personal space.
After Daitetsu is finished, Jin stands up abruptly to go to the restroom in order to pull himself together. His nerves seem to be getting to him. Next up is Akiba. A cute loli-something song queues up, but he cancels it in favor of something he likes better (original anime soundtrack material), which starts another argument with Takako.
In the restroom, Jin washes his face and gains the courage to return to the room. Full of resolve, he opens the wrong door and walks in on the cast of Lucky Star in room 301. He comes back to the right room to help Takako annoy Akiba by ordering some drinks on the phone instead of respectfully listening to him perform. Nagi joins in on the fun by pushing the button that causes a large booing crowd to echo through the speakers.
Next up is Jin, who is swirly-eyed in fear of singing in front of his friends for the first time. Tsugumi offers to sing in a duet to give him some courage, but he flatly rejects her, as that would be even worse apparently. He blushes through a false start, and mechanically sings a pop song even while an oddly familiar waitress comes in with their refreshments and then leaves again. Nagi pushes the encore-chanting button when he finishes.
Afterward, he escapes to the bathroom, but everyone agrees he was quite brave to stick through ‘til the end (even if it was humiliating and not that great of a performance). Nagi takes a bathroom break too, and Tsugumi joins her for some girl-talk while a familiar song plays on the speakers of the bathroom radio. Tsugumi is really pleased that Jin’s character seems to be changing a bit since Nagi came into his life. He would have never developed the courage to sing in front of friends before, so she’s grateful Nagi is having a positive influence on his personality.
Meanwhile, Daitetsu offers Jin some inspiring words in the men’s restroom, reminding him that everyone’s different, and that it takes time to become talented (even though he did well himself on his first try). Jin looks at Daitetsu with sparkles in his eyes and they return to the booth together.
Tsugumi makes room for Jin again, but he chooses to sit next to his hero, instead. Nagi stands up confidently to sing a food jingle from a CM, shocking everyone with her deadpan delivery of such a horrifying tune. Akiba challenges Takako to outperform him now that it’s her turn, so she makes her move boldly to the front of the room. The next several minutes can only be described as the most horrifying, disgusting, yet talented display of karaoke singing ever, that you just can’t seem to tear your eyes away from. (Kimoi, demo umai.) Only Zange seems to be watching in burning jealousy. She leaves the room briefly to give her other half a pep talk and work on a plan to compete with this level of cuteness.
Before Takako is allowed to choose another song, Zange returns to take the stage. She sings the sweetest, most untalented love song ever, straight at Jin. Everyone stares in shock again, but this time for the complete opposite reason. It seems Zange is bursting with cuteness and bubbles, but no talent whatsoever. When she walks over and sits next to Jin mid-song, Tsugumi intervenes, and spends the latter half of the song arguing with her until the track ends.
It’s decided that the next round will all be duets, which cheers Tsugumi up 100% until Jin chooses Daitetsu without hesitation before she can get a word in edge-wise. At the end of the day, everyone walks out in varying degrees of exhaustion and satisfaction. Jin feels like they’re forgetting something, and suddenly realizes Shino never sang a single song. Takako explains the obvious: Shino can’t sing karaoke because her eyes are never open. Shino responds that it’s not technically impossible, and blinds everyone in the evening’s sunset with a shocking revelation. Takako looks on in glee and anticipation while everyone else cowers in fear…
Well that was a fun and easy to digest episode. I don’t know if any of you have ever actually been to a karaoke bar before, but that was pretty much it. It was a very familiar feeling, which I’m sure was the intention of the writers since they’d be assuming most of the viewers would be intimately familiar with the setting where we spent almost the entire episode. The multiple Lucky Star references were more than in-passing this week, which was really funny.
There’s not much to talk about plot-wise this week – It was just a fun episode letting all the main characters shine in a unique situation. I loved the opposite reaction Takako gave to Shino’s eye-opening display at the end of the episode, that was left unresolved. I guess that blows my general theory about closed-eye characters, but that just makes it even more interesting (and tongue-in-cheek).
This week’s eyecatch is drawn by “Takahiro Kimura & Ōkouchi RICCA.” Kimura has worked on many notable animation projects, including Gundam Seed and Code Geass. Enjoy!