If Ikuto’s showing was a love letter to his family, then the one that Kokoro and Chiyuki put up was a combined front against the fashion industry as a whole, which seeks to pigeon hole them into roles they do not want.
I really like how there are no fake niceties between these two characters. They really don’t like each other, and don’t try to pretend otherwise – Chiyuki hating how Kokoro has everything she wants yet chooses to forgo it, and Kokoro disliking Chiyuki because she’s a rather forceful personality who willfully strings her along. Perhaps the final touch which I really enjoyed was how Ikuto factored into all of this. While the anime somewhat holds back expanding upon the romance so that it can focus on fashion, the manga doesn’t really try to beat around the bush, with regards to how Kokoro and Chiyuki both have feelings for Ikuto – and thus see each other as rivals for his affection. And what made it so great was how it wasn’t overblown in the slightest – like what you’d get in most melodramatic love triangles where rivals go at each other as if they were cats. It’s pretty realistic to see tensions bubbling below the surface like that, with both parties restraining themselves for the sake of civility – while making their issues known. This specific interaction between model and designer is golden to me – and I hope it illustrates the fun intricacies within the character developments for Kokoro and Chiyuki.
And having agreed to disagree, while clearly stating their goals in mind – Chiyuki wanting to outperform Kokoro as a model on the stage, and Kokoro wanting to put on the best show she possibly could. They work together to achieve this goal – and you know what? I think they made it happen. Kokoro’s show was innovative, exciting and bold – while highlighting her work ethic and existing talent as a designer. Chiyuki proved she had one heck of an aura which could circumstantially make up for her lack of height – if given the opportunity to walk down the right runway. It was so good that the stubborn Hasegawa even conceded the errors of her way in harshly managing Kokoro, and gets emotional over the easter egg dedicated towards her that Kokoro thoughtfully included in the show.
But here comes the most important question. Was Kokoro able to surpass Kaoru and Ikuto? In my opinion, the clothes she came up with did look a lot nicer than the ones Ikuto came up with – if we look past the sentimental value in his runway collection. So far, Kaoru’s the one to beat – and for me, it’s a close call between these two. In terms of a singular dress, I’d have to go with Kaoru’s final piece. But if we’re evaluating every single dress, Kokoro edges it out to me. And will it be Toh who surpasses them all? No matter how the series tries to cut it, in a straight on competition, it’ll be nigh impossible for these small-time amateurs to hold a candle against his insane resources and wealth of experience. Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. Apologies for delays on my end, but I hope people will understand – new job, coronavirus, Spring Previews, etc. Also, hope you’re all doing well and safe too. As always, thanks for reading this post – and see you next week to find out what kind of show Toh is about to put on!