「ジェラシー・ローズ」 (Jerashii Rouzu)
Alright, so I know you guys will cover the cute base for me in the comments, so I don’t need to focus too much on that part here. Naru and Hana make a purely cute couple together and this episode furthered that notion to the max. Yaya wasn’t the only one rose-colored this episode by a longshot!
What I’m going to focus on instead is the character development and the drama, specifically on how Yaya is introduced into the group. Here goes…
For episode one, we focused a lot on Naru’s insecurities and her defeatist complex. That was some deep stuff and was surprising to see for episode one. It worked well and really roped some people in. Many people in the comments pointed out that they could easily relate to Naru’s troubles, which apply to anyone at any stage of life.
This episode spread the focus out a whole lot more. In addition to continuing to explore Naru’s struggles to step outside of our bubble, there are also hints of Hana’s own nuanced history bubbling up too. We saw a glimpse into what roped a foreigner into the art of yosakoi in the first place–while parkour may be a fun sport, as Hana points out, it can be quite a solitary one. Her dramatic theme blends in well with Hana’s–while Naru is helped out by Hana in becoming a dazzling star, Hana finds closeness in being with Naru. Cue the yuri hints as these two blush together.
While that worked out well, what I felt didn’t work too hot was Yaya’s introduction. I fear that it is in part because I don’t find the appeal in her character, but I’m confident that at least a part of my mixed feelings comes from her execution. It sort of felt like the show was compressing what could’ve easily been a two or three episode arc into one episode, therefore losing a lot of setup and nuance that could’ve made Yaya’s introduction and development much stronger. For example, the story pretty much panned out with Naru and Hana doing something cute, then switching back to Yaya who just can’t control her jealousy. Although jealousy is something that people can definitely relate to, it was hard to emotionally connect with her struggle. We get this tense confrontation between Yaya and Naru at the steps of the school, only afterwards to see this really quick flashback that attempts to tell Naru and Hana’s history together through still images. For me, this was nowhere close enough to form the bond needed to sympathize with Yaya’s desires, mainly because they were never illustrated. Thus, when we reach yet another conclusion on the rooftop, the reconciliation felt weak–a weak end to a weak setup.
Now, I am not giving this show a bad rap, because in all other ways, the show is doing wonderfully. The art is simply a pleasure to look at and Naru and Hana are still very likeable characters. It’s just that when a very predictable message is rushed over without much explanation, I sort of feel cheated out in the process. Hence, my apologies that this post took longer than usual–it was a struggle to find a balance to articulate my feelings on this episode.
Looking forward, I still have high hopes. The hints of the yosakoi dance being beautiful are still way up there, though I imagine we won’t see a dazzling performance until the entire group of five (we have ‘Ha’, ‘Na’, and ‘Ya’, we’re waiting for ‘Ma’ and ‘Ta’) assemble. I’ll continue to look forward to this show in the coming weeks in good faith, because the potential for this show to be great is there! It’s perhaps just needing some time to warm up.