「選ばれし乙女」 (Erabareshi Otome)
“The Chosen Maidens”
KOUKA WINTER TROUPE
Much to Iinchou Sawa-sama’s
dismay happiness, it seems like Sarasa’s Kouka knowledge relies solely on Berubara (Versailles no Bara), so an opportunity presents itself for the girls to go check out the Winter Troupe’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet. Before watching the performance we’re introduced to the current Number Two of the Winter Troupe, otokoyako Satomi Sei-sama who, according to Kaoru and Sawa, might just be the upcoming Number One! A curious fact that caught my attention was how the older Kouka girls refer to their teacher Andou-sensei, as Phantom. This screams backstory! A teacher who has problems fitting with the other teachers and who turned out to be one of the two people who vouched for Sarasa’s acceptance into the academy.
It took us five episodes, but we finally got a glimpse at an actual Kouka performance. Should I be honest? I was a little disappointed with how inconsequential it feels to the plot. Maybe we’ll have to go through everyone’s backstories before the plot starts to focus more on their personal ambitions. I know relationships and personal struggles are what lay at the heart of this series, but I was hoping to see a little more acting and pursuit. Fortunately, we still have seven episodes to go, so not all hope is lost! We even got thrown a bone with Sarasa’s display of raw talent, reciting Romeo’s lines after seeing them just once–big Kitajima Maya vibes.
Ai has been officially upgraded from feral stray to adopted kitten and all she wants is to be friends with Sarasa. What follows is a lovely sequence of scenes where she tries (and fails) to call the taller girl by her given name. With a change of mindset, Ai has a new ambition that she shares with her fellow classmates, she wants to make it to the top of Kouka. Our girl has come a long way.
THE CASE OF YAMADA
While I agree that a backbone is necessary to succeed, I also think it’s the responsibility of an educator to guide their students, especially after pointing out areas in which a student needs to improve. This is, in my view, where Tachibana-sensei has failed as a teacher, not in her bluntness–I feel like I should mention that I don’t agree with Yamada’s weight loss or even that she was ‘fat’ in the first place, but that wasn’t my main issue with Tachibana’s role as a teacher.
If students need to look a certain way to become the pristine Kouka package, the minimum that the school should be offering is nutritional counseling. If there’s one thing I learned from being closely involved with the health industry, it’s that it’s 100% possible to lose weight without being radically restrictive, so long as you’re 1) moving your body, 2) eating enough calories and nutrients, 3) getting quality sleep, 4) managing your stress levels and 5) keeping track of your blood sugar levels.
I don’t think I’m an idealist when it comes to education, but I had the opportunity of attending a Waldorf School so I know it can be a lot more than it traditionally is. And speaking about educators, we had an unexpected star this week: choir teacher Onodera-sensei, who went beyond what was expected of his role as a teacher (in a Japanese institution) and broke school regulations to be supportive of his student and future Etoile, Yamada.
If we all agree that Kageki Shoujo!! is heavily inspired by Takarazuka Revue (their school is basically the same), then the role of the Etoile (meaning star, in French) is most commonly performed by a musumeyako who is often the most prominent singer of the troupe. This performance is not strictly a solo, it can also be a duet and it can also be performed by an otokoyako. But it seems like Yamada is the number one contender for this specific role.
Full-length images: 36.