「エリカ, レイヤーxレイヤー」 (Erika, reiyaa × reiyaa)
“Erika, Layer x Layer”
You know what could really help you sort through these important issues? Akibahara Shopping Spree! While it is fun to see everyone take a stroll around the Akiba strip and discovering merch from shows and movies the series references, a lot of the fun comes from the conversations that happen as they walk about. After Kai discovers merch for his best girl, him and Miko find common ground in his admiration of her knowledge of his best girl’s actions in the light novel. In the process, we also learn about Erika’s penchant for cosplay, and how Minoa will eventually be pressure to join her upon finding out about her bunny costume antics. There are funny moments throughout the episode as well with the girls taking delight in the yaoi teasing that the two boys of the anime club display on-stage, or Miko and Kai discovering their mutual love of a specific series through an intense LN battle scene.
My favorite interaction was the meta analysis of the “Three Episode Rule”. The characters are actually well-versed in the rule as they examine why viewers decide by Episode 3 whether they are hooked on an anime or gave it a big skip, complete with a throwback to the Madoka shocker. Part of me thinks they’re just trying to make us guilty in case we drop Animegataris, but it’s clever moments like these that have me admire their dedication to capturing the spirit of the anime fandom through the group dynamic that these characters have. By having every character reflect on a specific attitude that viewers have about 3-ep-cutting, it provides a funny and genuine approach to anime fandom which shows that the writers are dedicated to understanding the subculture.
The episode’s central conflict and resolution might not follow the cast’s description of marking a turning point for the show after a third episode, but it does hint towards a deeper meaning for why the student council is aggressively trying to dismantle the anime club. For most of the episode, they are slapped with the label of the killjoy authority figures to the point of them pulling a “Stop, we have to get him off-stage before he delivers a truth-bomb” moment that is prevalent in 80’s movies when Kai delivers an inspirational plea for the school to let the anime club do their thing. The supernatural vibes the show has and the ominous feel when their president said “It’s happening again,” makes me think that there is a reason why the student council wants to ban them other than trying to ruin their fun.
While the conflict wasn’t as interesting, I’m getting more and more curious about the characters themselves. Kai had the most development this time around as we see him finding some common ground with Miko, and getting familiar with Minoa. He also showed off his full potential as he took off his glasses to summon up the burst of confidence it took for him to tell everybody how anime inspires him. It’s the bond Minoa had with Kai that also has me thinking that there might be something between them considering that Kai is taken aback with how accepting Minoa is of his quirks as an anime wizard, and actually wants him to tell her more about what he loves about anime. Minoa’s inability to hide her feelings also caught Erika’s attention considering how, until now, she was the only person who was close with Kai. Whether there’ll be some dramatic love triangle or if the show won’t go too far with it will be neat to see develop.