Following up from last week’s event, Rei has gotten a hair cut and smartened up about her shoe choice to something a bit more practical for running in. (Haha, good to see she took Sousei’s critique seriously, also her new hair cut is super cute!). It was also nice to see her acting more confidently/less of a pushover when it comes to recruiting the candidates than she had last week with Sousei. This week Rei focused on recruiting the members from Revel: Hiyama Takaomi (Leader of Revel), Otani Hatori (President of the IT Company, H&O Holdings), Kagura Aki (Fashion Designer and candiate to be the next director of Flayage), and Maki Keita (Vice President of M-Toys).
Hatori was especially helpful in getting her into their circle by bringing her along to their usual hangout spot. He seems to have already more or less agreed to participate with STAND (unless Takaomi has anything to say about it). I was quite surprised by how good the chemistry was between him and Rei. It’s almost a shame we didn’t get to see more of it, haha! It was hilarious how he played the “make-maker” of a sorts by helping Rei get the chance to speak to Keita alone without Aki getting in the way, who was having none of it of having an outsider hang around them. In fact he was incredibly childish with the way he would lash out against her just having a conversation with Keita, or would snap at her when she accidentally knocked her glass over. To make matters worse, he even dared her to prove her drug immunity (luckily, it was only a vitamin pill), and yet when she complied he didn’t uphold his promise to talk with her if she did it. He showed us he is also incredibly protective of Keita, which is an understatement since they are childhood friends and he knows what had happened to him. Fortunately, his attitude did improve over the course of the episode, having realizing Rei isn’t someone they need to have their guard up around.
Besides Hatori’s meddling, the character who was in the spotlight this week was Keita. We actually learned a number of things about, such as his relationship with the members of Revel (Aki, childhood friend, while he met Hatori and Takaomi in high school). We learned they began working as informants in college, and Keita was the last to join them due to somehow getting dragged into it, which tends to happen all the time (poor guy). He is good at remembering people, he has a kind heart and is fiercely protective (to the point he loses control of himself and has been involved in a number of incidents that resulted in some injuries) because of his trauma of being kidnapped by a suspected killer (the Anonymous Case) when he was younger. Like Hatori, he is another character I thought had great chemistry with Rei. I adored the scene of them having ice-cream for desert together, because even though it was a bittersweet moment, the conversation between them was still quite nice with the way Keita politely told her he doesn’t want to get involved because he fears he will only cause trouble. But most importantly, he also doesn’t really believe that he is as kind as Rei and Aki claims he to be due to his self-awareness of how easy it is for him to go out of control and wounding others in the process when those who are important to him are put in danger.
But we also got to see those who his heart trusts are able to help snap out of it. We saw that both with Hatori and Rei today when they both were able to diffuse the tension by intervening. Also, it was the SWEETEST DARN THING FOR REI TO GO OUT AND BUY ICE-CREAM FOR KEITA AFTER THAT! AHHHHHH I love the little things like that, and I also really liked that Rei was able to give him a bit of comfort with her words by telling him he has great friends he can rely on. Though I must say, it was hilarious how she decided to take the opportunity to follow it up with “please consider joining STAND”, hahaha! Wait to tackle the opportunity!
Compared to last week’s premiere, this episode was a lot more relaxing in regards to taking in all the details. If I had to make an estimate of how many more episodes of introductions/recruitment process we are going to have to sit through before STAND’s objective is finally set into motion, I think it is safe to assume there will probably be at least two more episodes, presumingly with the duo as seen in the Opening (who will be featured next week), and Soma’s
mafia squad. This is based on the assumption they have already finished introducing the DCD and IS1 squads (with Aoyama Itsuki and Arakida Sosei as the respective focus during the first episode).
I was also surprised by their decision to put the spotlight on one member of the group and have Rei spend a lot of one-on-one time with them. By doing so, it makes the other members of the squad serve more as supporting characters. I would certainly like to see that there’s a greater purpose of doing this, by following up with the characters who were given time for us to learn about them (like they did with Keita today), to play an essential role later on, or at least forming a believable relationship with Rei (be it platonic or not).
I am also glad they gave us (albeit a brief) hint in regards to the plot’s future developments. The reveal of a secret relationship Kujo Soma and Hiyama Takaomi implies there is something else going on behind the scenes with how they are keenly aware of the the efforts being put together to tackle the unsolved drug cases. And with the combination of a death threat against Takaomi, dark rumours circulating around Soma, and my suspicions of Soma either being a mafia leader or has hand in circulating illegal drugs in the black market makes me hopeful that these two will at least be playing a more unique role that either may be helpful to STAND’s investigation, or be detrimental to its objective (perhaps as the antagonists of the story). If Rei’s job will evolve into weeding out potential moles that they had recruited into STAND, then I am absolutely here for it!
Next week, Takaomi seems to have asked Rei to meet Tsuzuku Makoto, the author of The Silent Roar of the Waves. He is seen watching over a woman in a hospital bed, alongside some other dude (I DIDN’T NOTICE HIM THE FIRST TIME I WATCHED IT!!!!!! WHELP!). I am curious to find out why Takaomi has referred her to him!
PS: Kotaro’s reaction to Rei cutting her hair was freaking hilarious! He wanted her hair in hopes to discover the secret behind her drug immunity. He also had a dramatic reaction when the guys said supposedly she is going out on a date with a celebrity, haha!