It looks like being exploited for sex isn’t so bad this time around, as Joe’s new manager Yamauchi Naoko and her ties with the Fukumoto Gang actually worked in his favor. The mere mention of the Fukumoto name was enough to scare off the spiteful Five Lemons and their gun-touting manager Tsubouchi when they came by to force their way into the big Western Festival that Joe was going to be performing in. It’s just too bad that wasn’t enough to keep them away for good, as they came back on the night of the festival in the exact same fashion to spoil Joe’s big debut. Regardless, Naoko turned out to be a good thing for Joe’s career since she actually had him practicing under respectable people. i.e. The pianist Kawamata who has a son named Shigeo.

The only real knock on Naoko’s character is that she forced Joe to break off ties with Suppon and the others upon learning that he spent time in the Shonan Reform Institute. As selfish as that may sound, it actually made a lot of sense from a manager’s perspective, since his criminal record may actually come back to haunt him and tarnish his image if he does make it big. It just sucks that Joe had to choose between his dream of becoming popular singer to be reunited with Meg and his closest friends who have been with him through thick and thin. It’s not all that surprising that Joe stuck with his dream even though it weighed heavily on his conscience, but all the other guys never cease to amaze me with how they instinctively figured that his decision to not associate with them must mean he’s desperately working towards becoming a star. The same goes for Suppon, even though he was all bent out of shape about Joe blowing him off.

Their attitude towards Joe could easily be perceived as them not caring what he’s up to since they don’t see one another that often; however, it’s clearly more about giving their close friend the benefit of the doubt and interpreting his actions beyond what’s on the surface. Mario’s decision to speak with Joe one last time and offer him his new address in Tokyo in case he needs anything was a huge sign of friendship in my books. The fact that he would leave the door open to Joe after he’s chosen never to associate with him again was a prime example of the series’ theme about friendship and courage. Undoubtedly, Mario in particular has a lot to feel indebted for after everyone saved him from seven years in prison, but it’s in his character to reach out to Joe even if that never happened. Given how far the story’s progressed, it’s easy to take these type of gestures for granted, but I’m still taken back a bit every time I see them. If nothing else, they always leave me wondering if I could do the same in a similar situation. In return for Mario not breaking off ties, it was nice to see Joe remember to mail a Western Festival ticket for Suppon since he’s like the closest one to him — whether he cares to admit it or not.

As for the cliffhanger this episode, it’s a good thing that Kyabetsu happened to move into the room next door to Mario’s, since both of them look like they’ll make it in time after Joe sent Shigeo off to ask Mario for help. I’m just hoping Mickey won’t go back to the mercury thing from last time, especially now that Meg has come to festival in hopes that this Yokosuka Joe is really her brother. She may be working at a cabaret club as a hostess, but Meg does look pretty amazing grown up because of it. I don’t even want to imagine what she had to go through to get to this point, but at least she has some say in who she sleeps with now (if anyone at all). In terms of overall progression, the story reached Showa Year 33 (i.e. 1958) this episode, so I’m curious as to how much more will be covered in this final year of the second major arc. It looks like we may get into the third arc at this rate, which takes place from 1960 to 1964 after a two-year timeskip.

* I didn’t mention this last time, but “Five Lemons” is like the perfect band name for those wannabe gangsters and their lackluster band. Also, the song heard at the end of episode two makes its return here as one that Joe sings.




  1. Damn, when I saw the opening screen shots and saw Joe’s sister I thought you were blogging Monster for a second until I saw Rainbow. She looks EXACTLY like Anna from Monster.

  2. It’s really cool how the guys still back Joe up and understand why he is ignoring them even though he was acting pretty cold. In the end, Joe managed to accomplish his objective by getting Meg’s attention, who I thought would be working as a prostitute rather than a hostess. She sure did grow a lot in, what, 3 years? Unfortunately though, she looks really tired and depressed, so it’s obvious she didn’t have friends like Joe did to keep her spirits up. I’m really hoping Joe makes it to stage and doesn’t miss her next episode.

    Speaking of that, I think those guys are planning something other than just barging in the room and sticking a gun at Joe and the manager. That’s basically what they did the first time they came to Joe and Yamauchi before running with their tails between their legs at the mention of that gang. They must have some kind of ulterior motive. I’m thinking that they’re going to try and get Mickey to sing on stage and take all the credit. Of course, I’m hoping they fail hard and Mario and Cabbage beat the crap out of them and send Joe on stage. Joe would looks pretty fucking awesome singing on stage while bleeding and bruised lol.

    Anyway, the producers really know how to end an episode, and I can’t wait to see what happens next week. Cross my fingers and hope we don’t get a bad end. >.<

    Btw Divine, is/was the Fukumoto a real gang?

  3. I’m spoiled. This is the roller coaster I was expecting from Angel Beats and got partially. This series never stop to amaze me and the emotions and turmoils it gives me! Going up: The sexy manager (compared to the old witch lol) delivers in coaching Joe. Going down: Joe has to cut his ties with his friends. Going up: Joe get his chance to perform. Going down: Stupid five lemons re-appear. Going up: Manager has an Ace in her hand with her own real gang. Going further up: Mario and the rest deliver in the friendship department taking a back sit and giving Joe the space to accomplish his goal. Going 90 degrees down: ARGH !!! that ending evil guys return and it looks really bad. It felt like the whole universe is against Joe. cliffhanger: nakama to the rescue! I had tears of joy mixed with tears of anger. I wanted to kill someone I wanted to hug my panda. I was confused I couldn’t sleep. Thought in the preview we see Mario and Cabbage fighting in this series that doesn’t mean a happy ending. BTW did anyone felt the loneliness and solance when Mario move into his Tokio apartment? Then Cabbage show his happy face! Cheer I’m next door!
    If they stop at 26 episodes it will be sad this can go easy for a 52 run easy!!!!!

    Island Esper
  4. Yep you’re right Divine at least his new manager isn’t a bitch she really helped him a lot.And Meg ‘s situation is exactly like you said too, the narrator said it too she struggled to get to the position she’s now,it could be a lot worse.I liked the pianist and his son I hope nothing will happen to them. Run Shigeo ruuuun!!!
    And fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck this episode have like one of the best cliffhangers I saw this year looks like next Episode Mario and Kyabetsu are going to kick some ass hard I just hope they come in time so Joe manage to sing and see his sister it would be too sad otherwise.

    And of course Meg is a beauty now~~
    Man, I really can’t keep my emotions inside each time I comment about this show.

  5. I just caught up with the manga (sans volume 22) and I don’t think 26 episodes is going to cover the entire series one iota. They actually cut a bit out in the episodes already made, such as Cabbage’s past Show Spoiler ▼

    I’m really looking forward to seeing Meg the next episode. I’m also wondering if Show Spoiler ▼

    will be animated, since that was an interesting side story.

    Skins Thunderbomb
  6. I just picked this up.. I read all your other raves about this series so hey why not..
    I have never seen a series this graphic.. I’m very interested in how these guys will turn out.. but I can’t say that I’m as emotional invested as I am with other main characters of different series.. the story is somewhat compelling but it just seems a bit melodramatic.. this should be called Manly Tears: The Series… lol every ep baaaws from the 50s
    their friendship seems too perfect.. too absolute. which makes it unrealistic. IMO


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