「ミッション．イベント」 (Misshon Ibento)
Oh boy, a lot sure did happen this week. Yay for yosakoi and all the animated goodness that comes with it–Naru even overcame her fear of public performance for awhile! However, nay for Naru having relapses, that poor girl. Yay for Machi finally getting a proper role in this episode and the upcoming ones, but alas, it’ll be wrapped up in sibling jealousy and identity issues. Let’s tackle these one by one.
Despite the montage here and there to save on production, we’re finally getting really close to a full-on yosakoi performance. It’s not a dazzling performance like what we’d see in the OP, but the core dance itself is satisfactory enough to keep the audience satisfied for now. I liked the charm that they added with the 8-bit music, since it shows the progression of the dance getting closer to the OP, while letting Yaya contribute to the group immediately. Performance aside, it was satisfying to see the lead-up to the dance, where all sorts of funny troubles shook our novice yosakoi troupe, such as overreacting over weight loss, or worrying that your best competition is against a clown.
Other than these silly comedic troubles, the group is fairly stable save for Naru, whose trauma was the closing act for this week. Bless her really, but after that flashback, it was inevitable that she was going to mess up (and lose the first place trip for Sally-sensei). It seems like well-treaded territory at this point, but now we see a small peek into her backstory. Her tendency to find safety in averageness makes more sense now; it’s unhealthy thinking, but it’s common when past experience has scared you from stepping outside of the box. This provides a good opportunity for Machi to chime in with her thoughts, as her whole character is centered around Naru’s struggles. From what we’ve observed this episode, I’d guess that Machi will impart wisdom on Naru regarding failure and not meeting expectations. With the time we have left, there is only enough room for two more “character development” episodes, each devoted for Machi. Since Tami and Machi seem to have a stable enough relationship to one another and judging from the preview, it seems that Machi will take the reins in instilling some “man up and suck it up” attitude into the group, especially for Naru, who needs it most.
Other than providing a newfound source of support for the yosakoi club, Machi has her own issues to deal with. Most likely, Machi is cursed with an inferiority complex, where she cannot hope to achieve her own goals in the footsteps of her own sister. Although Sally-sensei sure doesn’t look the aspiring type, this episode shows she has some wasted potential in being a substitute teacher, especially considering her age. We’ll see Machi trying to find her identity away from academic achievements (which her sister probably had as her strong point), which will inevitably lead her to yosakoi, where she can find her own success without comparing herself to her big sister. It seems in the past they had their scuffles, but now that they’ll have to interact in an advisor-student setting, we’ll see them make up with amends by the time the show closes.
The goal is cut and clear–every character development so far hasn’t been too surprising. However, the emotional impact is what really matters, as well as the path taken to get there. We’re finally reaching the end of this series, so I expect a lot of bang for these last few episodes now that the entire cast has been assembled. My only concern is that not all of the loose ends will be tied up by the series end, mainly that concerning Hana and her mysterious past. Given that we only have a few episodes to tackle both Machi’s integration, the final yosakoi performance, and Hana’s past, I sure don’t want to see loose ends left hanging without at least acknowledgement that they exist. Even if the manga is ongoing, I hope they’ll revisit Hana and at least shed a bit of light before having to close the books on this series.