「ウェディング・ベルが鳴る前に」 (Wedding Bell ga Naru Mae ni: The Bride Can`t Help It)
“Before the Wedding Bells Ring ~The bride can`t help it~”
Our third episode of Akanesasu Shoujo concludes Nana’s near brush-in with matrimony by explaining both Nana’s personal motivations for being where she is today and some of the inner mechanics of the Fragments. While the latter is making the concepts of the series far clearer, it also spells it out too neatly with how the goal of the series is set clearly with the hunt for the King of Twilight constricting the scale of where the anime can go from here.
The episode made strides in giving us insight on Nana and her reasoning for the actions she takes within this fragment and with her family life. Her explanation for why she got cold feet about the marriage she was initially excited for was very funny in how she was too focused on how her name would look even sillier if she went through with marrying Chiba that marrying a celebrity barely mattered at that point. But besides getting back on the wagon of returning to her timeline, it was the exploration into her past that makes Nana a more interesting character after this episode.
As a girl who is into popular trends and has another circle of friends with similar tastes, Nana would feel like a mismatch with the Radio Club, especially considering that she’s brushed Asuka off several times when she was asked to join. Despite vintage radio equipment having hardly as much appeal in popular culture, Nana’s interest in the club’s gear turned out to tie into why she is closely tied to her father. With her older dad’s fascination with a vintage radio, Nana’s motives for hanging out with the Radio Club hold sentimental value with how much it meant to get invested in the same hobby as her dad. At the same time, we also see how much concern Nana’s step-father has for her well-being as this universe’s version of him is the one person who disapproves of her getting married with accordance to the law and personally kept her older father’s radio to hand down to her. In turn, this gesture reveals that despite knowing he is under the shadow of her older father and that she is unhappy with him taking his place so quickly, he still wants to make up for not being the exact same person as her old dad and find ways to keep his new step-daughter protected and happy.
At the same time, we get further insight into the mechanics behind the Fragments. Although meeting one’s self in a parallel dimension can create a complicated situation, because the three Asuka’s ended up meeting each other, this Fragment’s Asuka ended up more excited about the divinity behind the fortune of seeing herself than having a time paradox-ensuing meltdown. A Clutter surfacing in the fragment along with the bunnies, now dubbed Noizies, would only revert the environment towards the golden snowscape from the first episode. With Nana discovering her own potential as an Equalizer, it also opens the door for the other girls to find their resolve to join Seriousuka on the battlefield. And speaking of Seriousuka, her underlying motive in destroying the King of Twilight, who gives life to the Clutters, is said to be the key to both ending the disturbances in the Fragments and giving Seriousuka a better idea of how she can save her little brother.
The anime plays its cards early in giving us a clearcut trajectory with the rest of the series focusing on the girls helping Seriousuka fight enough Clutters to reach the King of Twilight. It paints an end goal for the series to reach, but while it is convenient for the story to have a pathway instead of being an open-ended trip through different Fragments, it also narrows down its approach by focusing solely on which Fragments they need to visit in order to fight the King of Twilight. The sense of adventure or mystery is somewhat diminished with how many of their treks will probably involve reaching a certain goal of clearing their Clutter to find the King of Twilight instead of stumbling into different realities haphazardly a la Quantum Leap. Nonetheless, Akanesasu Shoujo still has potential to be a pleasant surprise as the rest of the girls are given more to work with and the scope of the universe expands beyond the Fragments we’re familiar with.