「デザイナーの器」 (Dezainā no Utsuwa)
“The Designer’s Capacity”
Ikuto really can’t catch a break. His mum suffers a relapse at the hospital, forcing him to quit working for Yanagida and Ayano so that he can take up part time jobs to cover her medical bills. Ayano offers to pay away the hospital bill with a caveat – he purely desires Ikuto as a pattern maker, and derides his skills as a designer, openly declaring that Ikuto has no talent in that respect. Refusing to give up on his dreams, Ikuto refuses to take up such a compromise. Worse still, Kokoro’s manager is very much aware of Ikuto’s financial distress – and attempts to leverage it against him with a bribe to hurt Kokoro’s feelings in such a way that she gives up on fashion design.
It really goes to show that in a world where dog eats dog, being born into poverty leaves you with no real choice. Yet Ikuto remains steadfast in his convictions. Although there are moments where he’s well and truly tested – such as when he lashed out at his younger sister, he ultimately refuses to compromise on his principles and avoids making sacrifices. So I was elated to see him being rewarded by an appropriate financial compensation – by Chiyuki’s father no less. Though I have to wonder, would he be so kind if Ikuto didn’t have that close connection with his daughter? Nevertheless, good on the man for not exploiting Ikuto, even if his motive was to push Ikuto towards comforting Chiyuki after her completely unsuccessful trip to Paris. And everything ends well when Ikuto asks her to be the model for his show – an offer which she accepts with tears of happiness.
Can Ikuto become a fashion designer? There’s the million dollar question, and a fantastic shounen trope which I’m a sucker for, echoing back to Deku being told by All Might that he can become a hero. It’s emotional to see the character with a good heart doubting themselves, being offered reassurance by a respected figure. But here’s where my gripe resurfaces. At the beginning of the show, we already see that Ikuto and Chiyuki have both made it! Which takes away from the tension and suspense of seeing whether they will make it or not.
The gauntlet is thrown down. Amusingly, Toh doesn’t even really care about the other competitors. His sight goes way beyond the Geika Festival as he aims to beat his grandmother’s record, so that he can be worthy enough to escape the shadow of her legacy. Teaming up with Ryuunosuke, Ikuto has set out to prove himself. And in a last ditch attempt to establish their precarious positions within the fashion industry, Kokoro as the designer and Chiyuki as the model go all out in the hopes of winning the Geika Festival – against formidable adversaries like Ayano, Ikuto and Kaoru. I wouldn’t really fancy their chances. Kokoro is an extremely hard worker, but hasn’t really demonstrated anything extraordinary so far – though the manga did showcase some of her special skills as a designer prior to this point in the story. And Chiyuki, regardless of her aura, is a significant handicap in itself due to her height. It would require an extreme upset that would disturb the story’s balance, in my opinion, to crown these two as winners.
To be honest, regardless of how she can justify her choice, I felt disappointed in Chiyuki for dropping Ikuto like that on such a short notice – throwing him into a difficult situation where his planned designs became obsolete, and forcing him to scramble in search of a new model. He was the one who threw her a bone and acknowledged her when no one else would, so to repay his kindness like that sits poorly with me. However, I guess he doesn’t really mind. He cares a lot about both Kokoro and Chiyuki, and wants to see them succeeding within the industry. He’s truly the kind boy that nobody deserves.
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. At least it seems like Ikuto will still give it his all – since his mother and sisters will be coming to watch the Geika Festival. I’m not sure I’m ready for what will come next. But I can promise you, it will be really special. As always, thanks for reading my post and see you next week to see how the final preparations for the Geika Festival wrap up!