「九校戦、開幕です」 (Kyuukousen, Kaimaku Desu)
“The Nine Schools Competition Begins”
I knew there was a reason Shizuku was best girl. Deadpan expressions? Bashful cuteness? Quiet determination? How about telling it how it is and making it sound nice in the process? I wasn’t expecting Yuutousei to blurt the obvious thing on everyone’s mind, but I’ll gladly take your entire offering. Even if later events happen to dull the effect.
After seeing how previous arc was handled, the Nine Schools Competition thus far is a veritable breath of fresh air. Although initial pacing largely reinforces how one should not expect amazing storytelling or richly fleshed out events here, the change in approach is very much welcomed. A lot of the initial developments for this arc, from the bus attack to fun with water sports were handled as previous ones should’ve been – i.e. mentioned mostly in passing without unnecessary attention and featuring of characters not already shown in the show. Knowing about those antics is a boon of course, but you don’t need too many specifics to understand the premise of this arc: the juniors are going to do their best because First High School needs them to do their best – and you are damn well going to love them doing their best because best girl Shizuku demands it.
It’s in terms of doing that best where this arc is also an improvement: the competition requiring it. Outside of familiar faces in Masaki and Kichijouji (who together won’t be that big a feature outside of certain peculiarities) the main antagonists will be a trio headed by Airi for fairly self-explanatory reasons. Need to drive Honoka into further (admittedly adorable) Tatsuya-gasms? Just give her some pompous arrogance to bounce that pure and wholesome personality off of. While nothing spectacular should be anticipated in terms of action or serious character growth in the upcoming bouts (Yuutousei has well-established it’s all about the eye candy first and foremost), we can at least rest easy knowing it should be fairly unique material. After all, there’s quite a bit of kouhai struggles which happened outside of Rettousei’s Tatsuya-Masaki showdown, and this series is all about letting that cast shine.
We’ll just have to see which parts of those struggles wind up making the cut.
Full-length images: 06.