「敵か味方か新キャラか」 (Teki ka Mikata ka Shin Kyara ka)
“Friend, Foe, or a New Character”
Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for since the 00 special is here! Megumi’s ponytail has arrived!
What, you were expecting a new girl? Well, there is one of those, but it’s not Tomoya’s cousin. Enter Hashima Izumi (Akasaki Chinatsu), the little-sister-type kouhai who, it seems, used to be a sporty tomboy until Tomoya converted her into one of his people. She’s fairly well-equipped to be a new source of competition in Saekano‘s harem wars, but her main role is as a foil. Being part of what can be considered a rival coterie, she plays opposite Eriri at the Comiket ego battles, and her pure passion for her craft also contrasts her with her brother Hashima Iori (Kakihara Tetsuya). Iori is, if we get all hipster about it, somewhat of a poseur (and also a poser), more concerned with being some sort of otaku rockstar (which sounds stupid already) rather than championing any particular nerd cause. This difference in motivation compared to Tomoya (though not much difference in methods) makes him the nominal antagonist for our story. I didn’t actually know the world of Japanese amateur production had so much politics and intrigue, and frankly the entire fallout between the two ex-friends still sounds a bit dumb. I guess that’s the point though; it’s a lot of drama over very trivial things, but that’s what being an otaku is all about. Internet flame wars have started over less.
It really should be Sawamura Eriri Spencer, shouldn’t it?
The more notable conflict, coming from Iori is that he wants to recruit Eriri for his circle, which also makes him a rival employer, I suppose. Judging by episode 00, she’s not going to defect anytime soon, if at all, and we haven’t really seen much reason why she would. It’s likely that we’ll see a lot more of Eriri’s circumstances, now that Utaha’s backstory is more or less done. The relative Eriri focus should be apparent by how we basically started with Eriri trying to rope Tomoya into very strange roleplaying (I know I say Utaha is raunchy, but one must remember that Eriri draws porn as a hobby) and retaining much of the camera’s attention the entire way through the episode. Utaha has faded into the background, which pushes everybody forward—even, surprisingly, Megumi. Eriri’s story, having more about the whole indie works thing, is evidently more closely tied to the main arc, which is, in turn, ramping up.
‘Actually, ponytails turn me on.’
Speaking of Megumi again, if it wasn’t for episode 00 (and if she didn’t say anything), I could easily mistaken her for a completely new character. Tomoya is sort of right about hairstyles, especially in anime. Hair is such a distinctive part of character design that changing it really does alter the perception of that character. For audience members tuning in only once a week, hairstyle and colour coding are important aids for remembering who is whom. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence Megumi’s new ponytail comes in an episode where she has relative prominence in the foreground, and the plot is shifting gears upwards. If it was a deliberate choice, then I must say: clever girl. Saekano is sure making a sneaky point.
Full-length images: 27.