「ヒーローの条件」 (Hero no Jouken)
“The Hero in Me”
Akanesasu Shoujo’s second foray into the Western frontier helps to cement the campiness that the series has only slightly embraced up until they found this Western-inspired fragment. With a world as outlandish as this, it was only natural that they would want to go gung-ho with the theme as Mia hunts down outlaws and the only escape from certain demise in a televised duel is broadcasting corruption in the town’s Coliseum. There is a sense of normalcy to the town as the conclusion comes quickly as the town agrees to be diplomatic in handling the court case against the judge and sheriff while assisting the Chloe/Nana outlaw duo in their orphanage. Even if every loose end is tied up quickly enough to get the arc over with, there is still an element of fun with how far the series is willing to go to turn the Broadcasting Club’s encounter with the Western version of their reality into a comical romp through the West.
At the same time, the anime gives Mia time to shine as we learn about her desires. Whereas the marriage world gave us insight on why Nana’s connection with her dad’s hobby drew her into the club, it was the respect that Mia was given by the club that made them friends worth hanging out with. Despite her love for heroics and adventure, she felt shoe-horned into liking cuter things than being a hero. But for Asuka, positioning Mia as a hero for joining her club was something that drew her in and would eventually be what would motivate her to build the resolve to have her own Walkman in the parallel universes. While the revelation of why a more popular girl like Nana would have a good time with the Broadcasting Club was a more fascinating development, it was nice to see Mia enjoy herself and find her calling as a hero with a magical girl form that has dual pistols. It also helps that her time in the West has given her the inspiration to be more open about what she likes and what she is interested in so that she can be upfront about her interest in the less cutesy things that she enjoys.
The biggest development of the episode turns out to be the show properly identifying another dimension’s version of Yuu as the mysterious girl that is pulling the Broadcasting Club into all of these different fragments. Hilariously enough, Asuka was so easily allured by Ero Yuu’s playful teasing that she was tricked into agreeing to her trap to get them caught up in the heist that would get the group arrested. But with the information at the end of the episode with Seriousuka confronting Ero Yuu about her involvement with leading the girls into parallel worlds where dangerous amounts of clusters are present, it all but confirms that Ero Yuu has her reasons for wanting to get involved with pushing the girls into danger. It’ll be interesting to see what role she plays in the future given her mysterious motives and her adversarial relationship with Seriousuka calling into question which fragment Ero Yuu originates from. One fun thing about waiting for an episode of this series is that whenever an arc is over, it’s a guessing game as far as who will be the next girl chosen to be separated from the group.