From half-naked guys in pools to guys who gyrate their hips regularly; seems fitting!
With this episode, I suspect that A-1 really does have us completely figured out; they know why we are watching, and while they know they have to adhere somewhat to the games so that the gamers don’t get angry, they also know how to have a good time with it. If you thought the underlying problem in last episode was bad (Shou is bad at jumping!), well… this episode just manages to give us an issue that is even more stupid and absurd while also being incredibly anime.
Masato, our taciturn, traditional guy gets asked to audition for a samurai drama, since apparently the folks in charge of casting could somehow see past all the sparkles and questionable sartorial choice that was his musical debut. And since they’ve already gone straight for the jugular with the whole “traditional” shtick, it of course follows that Masato’s stumbling block is that he, uh, is unable to bring himself to hug women. DUN DUN DUN.
This, by the way, is why Ichinose is in a women’s kimono in the above screenshot.
There were some seriously draggy bits throughout this episode, but it was a clear cut above last week’s material. In the first half we are treated to some show-within-a-show stuff, as the other boys get a hold of the samurai drama’s script and we go right into a version of that drama starring STARISH. Everyone has a pretty good time with it, although Masato is in full brooding mode afterward and tells everyone to scram. It is fun while it lasts, though! We get to see Ichinose playing the lady again later in the episode, too, the excuse being that he’s got the most experience in the idol business out of all of them, so he’s the best to use for practice.
The more serious moments work better here than they did for Shou (excepting the bit where Haruka tells him that its fine to be a fan of an idol even if one is an idol, too). There’s some mildly interesting old vs. new material, as we watch Masato’s grandfather encourage him to go into show business as an extension of the training he’s already had in the performing arts while growing up. His grandfather in particular compares ikebana with the idol business, which is an intriguing juxtaposition in part because in some ways it isn’t that much of a juxtaposition, although this may be more to do with my Western perspective than anything inherent.
Sadly, Masato’s insert song isn’t all that great. I didn’t think much of his song last season, either, though – just not nearly enough cheese. If I had to come up with a comparison, I’m tempted to go with Mr. Children – there’s a slight sappy tinge to it, but its neither terrible enough to be delightful nor good enough that someone who doesn’t watch the show would be willing to get the single. I think these boys need to work a bit harder if they want to make it in the industry!
Once again, Haruka has a cute outfit on for part of this episode. The boys either look ridiculous or totally unremarkable, so I’ve generally been surprised this season when I note that she’s got cute clothing. Well, and, also, that horrible skirt and blazer combo on the winter school uniform last season, holy crap! So forgive me for being surprised for the third time in a row or so that they can actually design decent outfits for this girl.
And, finally, I’m proud to announce that you may now add “Ichinose x Masato” to the pantheon of understandable UtaPri ships. Speaking of, where the hell is Tomochika?! We haven’t seen her in ages!