「若き才能たち」 (Wakaki sainou tachi)
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. They sure blitzed through a lot of source material, which is a departure from the steady pace they opted for in the first three episodes. However, I think the losses were fairly minimal, they managed to convey the overall essence of cut content and I can see the endgame Ezola have in mind. That said, they fell short when it came to the relationship between Chiyuki and Ikuto. Cutting out the moments they spent together felt extremely disappointing, because while I understand that toiling through the fashion industry has always been the primary focus, it discredits the romantic aspect of Runway de Waratte that makes the characters way more compelling. My hope is that they can dedicate some time towards fleshing out Ikuto/Chiyuki and Ikuto/Kokoro. At the very least, I hope they don’t completely eschew the romantic aspect to focus solely on fashion.
Ikuto’s Work/Life Balance
Cuts aside, at least they gave his family some deserved screen time. Ichika’s simply the cutest, soul-healing little thing there is! Ikuto’s three younger sisters really remind me of the Kawamotos from 3-Gatsu no Lion with how much they enrich Ikuto’s life, and serve as his pillars of emotional support. Everything he does is for their sake. However, his self-sacrificial outlook also exacts a toll on them. None of them want their dreams to be realised at his expense. To see how deeply they cared about him warmed my heart to no end. Fortunately, the misunderstanding is resolved. The part time job that Ikuto slaves away at, which he failed to tell them about, is actually with a reputable fashion designer. He has been striving towards his dream this whole time. And best of all, it seems that Ikuto’s decently paid which permits him to adequately cover Honoka’s summer school expenses.
It might seem difficult to believe when fashion is such a ruthless industry where entry level positions typically feature exploitation and minimal wages. Despite his asshole attitude, Yanagida is definitely a good person who carries a lot of integrity towards his trade, in expecting more from himself and his employees when it comes to achieving high standards – kind of like Gordon Ramsay if you think about it. Which is why I can respect Yanagida and feel stoked that he was able to procure a significant deal.
Enter Toh Ayano
What seemed to be an issue with lack of staff since Moriyama left is swiftly resolved. Ikuto’s ability to notice an extremely minute detail intrigues Toh Ayano to such a degree that the prodigious designer agrees to assist Yanagida in his venture. Although we know that Ikuto is talented, and some might viewers might have been skeptical of the designer who criticised him last episode for his shabby stitching, I appreciated how this episode demonstrated the unparalleled gulf of experience an inexperienced high schooler like him and a bona fide fashion professional like Toh. We’re reminded that even though he’s managed to put his foot through the door, there’s an extremely long way to go before Ikuto can compete with the actual heavyweights. The way he was absolutely outclassed by Toh has got to sting, but with such an excellent rival, he will definitely be developing at a much quicker pace.
And you had to feel so bad for Kokoro! Well, at least I did. With how keenly she brought along a notepad and meticulously took notes, it’s obvious that she has a real passion towards fashion design. Yet whenever she tried providing her own input, somebody was always there to shut her down. Everyone behaved rudely and dismissive towards her. And at the end of the day, she made pretty much no contribution whatsoever – which has to hurt. Nevertheless I’ll be quietly rooting for her!
On the other hand, Toh might have given off plenty of negative vibes. But if this episode showed anything, it’s that he’s really just a weird dude who’s genuinely passionate about fashion with his own personal motives that drive him fowards. If he really was nefarious, being the grandson of an extremely famous fashion designer, he most certainly has the money and influence at his disposal to tap up Ikuto and lure him away from Yanagida’s start-up brand. The way he acknowledges Ikuto’s talents as well as his honest approach to Yanagida should indicate that he’s not a bad person. That said, it remains to be seen what they’ve both noticed in Ikuto and whether Yanagida will even budge. Anyway, that was about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you next week to find out whether Yanagida will acquiesce to Toh’s proposition!