To work and work and to not be noticed. To still not surpass others. To still just be like everyone else. This is what Junna Hoshimi struggles through every day, and the dream to be the Top Star is what gives her the drives to keep on going. But when Karen decides to interrupt, it makes her drive stronger, for good and bad.
Junna was the star of this episode as she and Karen would later duel each other near the end, but also because of what led up to that audition. First of all, Karen has no clue what had happened. Typical to her archetype, Karen jumped in without thinking and has the dream of wanting to stand on stage with Hikari, like they had promised when they were children. At the end of the first day of auditions, Karen was accepted to partake in them, with Hikari being opposed to it. Karen doesn’t understand what happened so she tries to ask both Hikari, who ignores her, and Junna. What’s interesting is that the giraffe warned her not to speak of the auditions as they are confidential, and there’s a possibility she could be fined though the details weren’t specific. During dance class, Junna and Karen are paired and when Karen asked about the audition, Junna learns that Karen wasn’t even supposed to be there, sending her into a rage. When they finish dancing, Junna ends up passing out in class.
Junna’s anger toward Karen is understandable. Junna’s entire character is understandable. It all stems from feeling worthlessness. This time in the audition, the stage is set much differently from before with large columns and mirrors suffocating Karen as Junna hid. Glasses were very prominent this episode with the glasses on stage, the zoom in on Junna’s glasses when she passed out, and her glasses symbolizing herself in the audition. Junna has issues being just like other people, wanting to stand out from others and be special. She works extremely hard, practicing in the early mornings and late after school on top of everything she does while in school. She takes notes, she’s studious, but in the end she still can’t stand up next to the two best performers in her class, Tendo and Claudine. Her outburst for the class to being mesmerized by their dancing was telling of how seriously she takes wanting to improve, where just sitting by idly is not an option. She practices so hard, so the fact that Karen randomly beat her in the first audition without the permission of being there enraged her. To work so hard just so another person can take away what you want like it was nothing? It’s painful and humiliating, and I can understand why she had gotten so angry at her.
But what was most heartbreaking was the mannequin with glasses that said “Junna Hoshimi, Age 8”. The mannequins all look and act the same, conforming into their world and being like anyone else. What was heartbreaking was at the age of 8 Junna already felt worthless and in the background. She didn’t feel special, and at such a young age it’s really saddening. Even now she still continues to blend in with the background as she hid among the mannequins as she fought against Karen. However, her shooting arrows through the glasses and breaking them symbolizes her wanting to break free from being hidden in the background. She wants to make someone of herself and to stand at the top. Her dream of wanting to become the Top Star gives her the drive to stand out.
However, in the end, Junna loses but accepts it. She becomes friends with Karen and works with her so more than one can be on stage. This is sealed with two glasses shining two lights upon them, instead of just one.
This show is full of symbolism and I feel like I may have missed some, but what an incredible episode. This definitely isn’t your run of the mill “idol” show. I feel like the creators put a lot of thought and heart into this and I’m having fun watching it. I feel like the Giraffe-san may be a symbol of his own as well. I thought about it and looked up what giraffes symbolizes around the world, and one interpretation I found that I thought was very fitting with this show’s theme was the giraffe’s long neck symbolizing reaching new heights and dreams, and reaching high into tomorrow and to the stars. To the Top Star?
Next week it looks like we’ll focus on the two stars of the 99th class, Tendo and Claudine. I’m excited to learn about their backstories and the competitiveness they have against each other. From what we’ve seen by Giraffe-san’s Top Star Leaderboard, Tendo is at the very top.