「トライ・トライ・トライ」 (Torai Torai Torai)
“Try Try Try”
Despite all the corner cutting to avoid as much intensive animation as possible (I’m looking at you, band scene), today’s episode featured a relatively sizable amount of yosakoi. It’s both a relief to see the yosakoi club finally do a clean performance and also humorous that we saw more dancing this episode than at the yosakoi festival itself. Aside from that point though, it was great that the show showcased their moves. Now that we’re halfway through the series, the dancing is a good visual indicator at the amount of growth we’ve seen from the yosakoi club. From episode two where stumbling was between two people, we’ve seen a ton of improvement, especially from Naru. In addition to improving her skills despite her natural klutziness, she’s poured a sizable amount of passion into the club, channeling skills that she herself may not be aware of. With all the poems, art, and oratory skills that she has, I wouldn’t be surprised if Naru was a budding artist in disguise! This sort of gradual progression is something I like to see from shows like this–instead of relying on the mere passage of time, we see an actual chain of events progressing through, helping tie all of the episodes together in a satisfying chronological manner.
These sorts of skills are also a good point about the characters. Everyone has something to contribute to the club in fairly equal amounts, synthesizing their personal lives and club lives together. Hana’s skills in physical strength (reflected in parkour and episode 1) allow her to choreograph, while Tami’s skills at the piano allow her to compose songs easily. Naru’s tendency to imagine and form poetic symbols allows her to create meaningful logos, while Yaya acts as the grounding voice of reason that allows the club to actually move forward. The tight-knit synergy and well-constructed characters are something I applaud, but I’m unsure if it’s something refreshing for the audience. Commenters, for any of you who have watched K-ON!, did you see similar well-developed characters utilizing their past skills for the band, or was it more of a ‘they’re just good at it’ situation?
On another note, we continue to see glimpses into Hana’s life, though small and ambiguous. Today’s episode confirmed that Hana does indeed have a home which looks comfortable enough to not indicate any sort of poor lifestyle. At the same time though, there was another subtle hint that throws a wrench into Hana’s history. If she indeed is from America and assumedly has a good grasp of English, why would she rank so low on an English test? Maybe I’m not getting something with how Japanese test for English (perhaps their tests are harder than natives?), but it seems like a fishy situation for Naru not to get at least an average score. The hard part though is tying all of these weird observations into one clean formula. Do fairies have homes? Can lonely children really leap between torii gates like it was nothing? What do you guys think?
Finally, we have the perfect Yaya facing some disappointment and failure in her life next episode. It’s interesting to see that we’re already reaching the second round of developments, especially since we still have no sign of Tokiwa Machi becoming a member proper of the club. We do see her in the preview, but it looks like she’s playing a minor role once again, which is a shame since the group seems incomplete without that fifth member. If they keep moving back Machi’s proper introduction and development, will they have enough time to do it? We’ll have to see as we approach the second half of the season. From here, we just have to look forward to the hero that is Naru to save her childhood friend from despair and sadness, much in the same way she consoled Tami. So far, the band has been dreadfully backstage as a plot element and seems awfully placed as an anime-original element. Perhaps with the band’s failure, we could possibly see a mixing of band and yosakoi for a grand performance at the end.