Ensemble Stars! Episode 20

Alright, so not EVERYTHING was being super frustrating as I thought it was. However, because of this series’ dumb habit of telling what happens, this episode felt very underdeveloped. It probably needed at least one more episode to really have built up the conclusion. Though I will admit that this episode did finally break the build up vs conclusion curse. I do feel that this episode was a lot stronger than the previous, build up episode. However, because there was just way too much telling, certain things didn’t have the right punch. Thus a rushed conclusion.

I’m glad that Trickstar was actually more on guard than I gave them credit for and was only pretending to fall into Adam’s trap. But the fact that they had to explain EVERYTHING they were doing was a bit annoying. But why should I be surprised? I’ve only been complaining about Ensemble Stars’ nasty telling not showing habit in almost every review. But then why would they even pretend to fall into Adam’s trap at Fushimi’s inn when there are no surveillance on them there??? That would be the time to show us that they really weren’t thinking of actually joining CosPro.

While we didn’t get a lot of him, I definitely appreciate Hiyori even more. I already liked him since his appearance, but he’s definitely the most likeable and understanding one of the bunch. Especially unlike how he interacted with Eichi, he acknowledges Tsumugi as one of his dear friends and understands the seriousness of the situation and lends his help despite Adam being the other half of his unit. His flashback with Nagisa was also very sweet as they seemed to support each other through their dreams of becoming idols. I definitely wasn’t surprised when he decided to help Tsumugi and the others out, while Sazanami was more reluctant. I appreciate you, Hiyori. Never change. Though I must fault him for committing such a setting sin, taking the others to a cafe to talk. Since I’ve been taught to avoid having expository scenes at a cafe or general places to eat since it’s been so terribly overused. I’m only half joking on that.

Speaking of Nagia, his whole backstory felt really weird. Though I feel like a big part of it is pacing. The fact that they didn’t really build up to what his backstory could possibly be and proceeds to just force feed us all of this information made me feel like I still don’t really know the guy. Same as last episode, it felt like I was just sitting in on a history lesson without much engagement with the information. Not to mention his backstory was just so out there compared to everyone else that it didn’t feel like it was a part of this series. He was hidden from the world by his father who ruled the entertainment industry? What??? Also I wished they addressed Nagisa having been inspired by Akehoshi’s father in the previous episode. At least have him react a little to Akehoshi instead of spending so much time on Isara.

Hokke Papa was definitely a surprise and I admit I laughed pretty hard when Hokuto started freaking out after seeing him. It’s always fun to watch characters who are more on the serious side spazz out over something. I know that the episode wanted Hokke Papa to be a big factor, but he honestly just felt like he was there. So that was a little disappointing since Hoke Papa was built up to be a pretty big deal in previous episodes. Also am I the only one who is mildly bothered by the fact that despite being a dad, he still has a baby face? It’s most likely because of the style, but it’s still really weird to me.

Also, I really hate this series’ use of “flashbacks” when they could have just as easily showed those things happening in real time. A big factor of Hoke Papa not making that big of an impact for me was that they only talked about how he was able to get a large audience for Trickstar, but not actually getting to see him do it. I can see they were trying to go for surprise factor, but it just never translated to an “aha!” moment and more of an “oh” moment.

Also the conclusion to the Isara drama wrapped up pretty quick. On one hand I’m glad they didn’t dwell on it too long, but then on the other because it went by so fast it didn’t feel necessary. Especially since everyone had the typical response of telling Isara that he is shining brightly. Honestly, it felt like there were too many things happening that Isara’s drama felt like an afterthought. I actually kind of forgot he was having confidence issues until they brought it up again… Guess it just shows how much I cared about that needless drama.

Despite my complaints throughout the episode, I admit, I actually really liked Trickstar’s performance. Their song style was a lot different from their usual more happy, pop music. Though I’ll admit I am more of a fan of more intense and serious music, so that’s definitely a bit of preference bias on that front. The choreography was pretty good and had a good sense of movement flow. The transitions from 2D to CG weren’t jarring either. And honestly, this kind of song definitely suits what Trickstar represents. As they said within the episode, they’re revolutionaries.

And after seeing that, I couldn’t help but yell FAVORITISM considering the shafted performance that knights was given a couple episodes back. Though I have to admit I feel like Adam got shafted the most as their performance mostly composed of fluttery still shots with minimal movement. I don’t even think they showed any full body movements from them. Though I guess it didn’t matter to me personally, since they were made out to be the antagonists of this arc. However, considering they were made out to be a big deal, it also kind of lessened the impact of how strong they were supposed to be. Since we didn’t even get to see their full performance and WHY they drew the crowd back to them.

And while Ibara is a terrible snake, he’s honestly pretty amusing. He’s legit a typical “muahahaha” villain and it’s hilarious. Not to mention his freaking line “I’m truly glad I’m a jerk!” just sent me laughing hysterically. What kind of thing is that to say?! He’s so absurdly evil that’s it’s funny to watch. Especially when he just laughs maniacally at random times. I wouldn’t say he’s a favorite, but at least he’s fun to watch.

I’m glad that this arc is seemingly over due to all the needless drama and such. And at least they gave an entertaining performance. Though I’m not sure how I feel that Trickstar is always being favored in the GOOD performance department while other units get shafted. We’ve made it to episode 20 so I’m wondering just what they plan to do before they end the series. Or if they’re planning to go beyond 2 cours… I certainly hope not.


A passionate yet somewhat awkward individual who just wants to talk about anime

2 thoughts on “Ensemble Stars! Episode 20

  1. I actually enjoyed this episode a lot more than last one. Seiya was a delight, Ibara was a REAL delight, and Breakthrough is actually one of my favorite Trickstar songs. (It also helps that I have read up a little on Subaru – because of a thread someone did on twitter – so I appreciate him a little bit more – even if I still feel Trickstars are show stealers and DEFINITELY the bias of the production team…

    1. I did enjoy this episode more than the first of this arc… Though it probably had to do with the performance with a pretty epic song lol.

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