「わんにゃんにゃんわんまつり」 (Wan Nyan Nyan Wan Matsuri)
“Woof Meow Meow Woof Festival”
For as many times as we’ve seen Kaos deal with rejection after rejection for the drafts she submits to her editor Mayu, Episode 08 confronts how she really feels knowing that every measure she’s taken to step up so far has been dragged through the mud. Despite Kaos’ best efforts to try to improve her abilities, she continues to be shut down by Mayu for not creating manga that’s up to par with what a serialized manga should be like. It’s heartbreaking to see her reflect on all the hard work she’s taken to improve her manga be torn apart constantly, and her seiyuu Akao Hikaru portrays her pain in excruciating detail. As Kaos’ voice starts cracking, it’s hard not to react like Rukki did by pulling her close and reassuring her that she’ll slowly come around. She’s still unable to find quite the right approach towards making a draft Mayu can confidently approve of, but every detail of Kaos’ manga from being highly unpopular to only getting a fan letter from her mom, it tells a story that makes it impossible not to cheer on Kaos as she tries to find that one idea that clicks, and gets the ball rolling on her manga.
However, the center of attention for this episode was Mayu, and the emotional tug-of-war she goes through having to reject Kaos when she respects the tenacity and effort she puts into presenting each new draft. She sees a pattern where she’s slowly getting better and wants to cheer her on, yet notices that she has a knack for laying it on thick with Kaos’ drafts. Mayu’s sense of guilt in feeling like she hasn’t done enough to encourage Kaos to keep making manga kicks in as she feels responsible for the constant failure Kaos finds herself in. It’s a powerful episode with how many tears were shed between Mayu and Kaos, and made for a goldmine of meaningfully arranged scenes. The back-and-forth Mayu and Kaos had through text was particularly strong as Mayu takes it upon herself to lecture Kaos into not letting pessimism weigh her down, and, for the first time, actively encourage her to continue sending drafts her way in hope of reaching the point where she can gladly accept her proposals. To see Kaos respond by being proud of having Mayu help to keep her focused on manga cut to her core as she took it upon herself to call her and tell her to stay motivated. Because Mayu sees herself in Kaos as a former mangaka whose niche was in the same genre, she feels personally tied to Kaos and wants to cheer her on even with her material. Despite acting as the quality control for Kaos’ manga, it’s nice to see Mayu’s perspective, how personally she takes getting Kaos to succeed, and rooting for her while she tries to strike the right chord.
Speaking of Mayu, we also learn that she was once a comic girl herself with her, Ririka, and Nijino-sensei as a friend group who formed a manga club (If you really want to feel old, they most likely formed the club in the early 2000’s). They reunited lately for some drinks as they talk about old times and Mayu mentions her current conflict with trying to shape Kaos into a better writer. Her two friends see a lot of her own work in Kaos as she drew similarly cutesy manga while Ririko drew yuri manga and Nijino was into yaoi. Despite all of them falling away from writing their own material, they still find themselves drawn to manga and making sure that the four girls are able to enjoy their work to their fullest. It was fun to see how great the chemistry was between the three as they chimed in whenever one or the other was having an amusing drunk moment and convinced Nijino to put on a school uniform. But even though there were plenty of funny scenes between the three, there is underlying tension as they are aware that the dorms could possibly be closing down soon, making it hard for the four young authors, especially Kaos, to carry on together. I can see this being the focus of the last couple episodes as the girls fight to keep their dormitory from being shut down, but for the meantime, the show has been consistently impressive with how it creates and manages conflict that is taken seriously by the cast all the while retaining a light and comical tone.