Ensemble Stars! Episode 23

Well that was certainly UNEXPECTED. Unlike last week’s episode, this week had a more coherent plot structure and it didn’t feel like they were throwing around so many different plot points all at once. Though I suppose it’s because they mainly focused on Trickstar and wasn’t trying to cram as many characters and plots in all at once. There were times where I rolled my eyes whenever they’d just drop random pieces of information that were hardly ever mentioned beforehand… again. However that ending was quite an upset. Definitely wasn’t expecting something like that to happen.

It’s Trickstar vs all of Eden this time around and their out for revenge from their previous encounters. And it’s pretty obvious that Eden is trying really hard to get an advantage over them considering they’re in “enemy territory” this time around. It was also pretty interesting to see the two groups combine in the opening. I actually really liked that and it made it pretty obvious that Trickstar and Eden are basically reflections of each other in a sense. I actually didn’t realize that both units shared the same colors until I saw Eden all together with their colors on them. It makes sense that Eden would be “the final boss.”

However, it bothers me that they didn’t establish Nagisa and Subaru’s “rivalry” when they first met. Especially since their fathers actually knew each other from way back when. There’s supposed to be some sort of connection between Nagisa and Subaru, but because they focused so much on the Isara drama, they never got a chance to interact and had to drop their connection in a passing comment. We got some sort of rivalry between Makoto and Sazanami along with Hokuto and Hiyori, which was established well enough. However, I didn’t get the same sense between Adam and Subaru and Isara. Instead they focused all of the fall out on Isara’s side, leaving Subaru’s connection to Nagisa nearly feeling like it came out of nowhere.

Speaking out of nowhere, while they did sprinkle in hints to Subaru and his past with his dad, so many of them were forced besides Subaru admitting that his dad was his inspiration. They could have shown characters questioning Subaru more about his motives or even Subaru reacting more to certain things that reminded him of his dad outside of the Eden episodes. But of course that would be more showing and not enough telling. rolls eyes This anime drives me crazy sometimes… Not to mention they freaking reveal that fact that Subaru’s dad is actually dead in a passing comment. My reaction being: “WHAT?!” It completely took me out of the moment and I feel like I couldn’t connect with that bit of information. Especially when it was delivered so casually as if it weren’t that big of a deal. I wish it was set up better so it could have hit me with emotion rather than confusion.

Also, how the heck can Makoto be so chummy with Izumi after that kidnapping incident. I’m all for forgiving someone… but he hasn’t exactly done anything to warrant being forgiven. Not to mention he still acts pretty possessive and makes me a little uncomfortable watching him interact with Makoto. But man, was there some serious ship bait this episode, it was almost ridiculous. However, I do appreciate that both Izumi and Ritsu came in to actually help Trickstar when Isara and Makoto (mostly Makoto) got duped into going against Eden at a mall concert. Considering knights have not been the most pleasant unit Trickstar had to deal with, I guess it’s a step up in how they’ve been portrayed thus far. Though I am disappointed that we didn’t actually get to see Trickstar and knights perform together. Especially since we didn’t even get a performance this episode.

Every time Hiyori appears, I respect him more and more. He’s the one who lets knights perform with Trickstar, even going against Ibara’s, his own unit member’s plans. Have to give the guy credit for choosing a fair fight rather than an underhanded one. I also appreciate him for just being a ray of sunshine within a group of pretty depressing band of characters. Even going to hug and console the other members. Nagisa even comments on how he should be there for Jun just like he was for him in the past. Which is actually a pretty sweet comment. I feel like I’m not supposed to like him as much as I do, considering his tv trope page lol. He sounds a lot worse than he’s being portrayed it seems.

Trickstar still doesn’t feel like they’re that strong. They definitely felt like they are getting better from their last performance, but I honestly was never convinced that they were a force to be reckoned with. Same goes to Eden actually. I never got the impression from their performances that they were that strong. Especially with the sub-par performance the anime gave Adam with barely moving stills. And I wonder if we’ll actually get to SEE them compete against each other.

BUT LET’S TALK ABOUT THAT ENDING. I was NOT expecting something like that to happen. Though once the scene ended, my reaction was basically “Wow, that was rude.” Now, I’m not even sure if Eden had anything to do with this or if it was done by a separate party. Nito, I thought you were working the tech booth to make sure things like this wouldn’t happen again! YOU HAD ONE JOB! Jokes aside, I’m not sure how I feel about that twist. On one hand, I like that they had one final twist that completely caught me off guard. While on the other hand, there was definitely not enough build up for Subaru’s dad for this to be a thing. Which is probably why it wasn’t such a good idea to completely drop the plot after Trickstar “beat” fine. If they wanted to make this such a big, emotional moment, they should have just focused on Trickster, developed them and their problems so I could actually care about Subaru before this happened. In any case, the biggest question now is what exactly happened to Subaru’s dad and what exactly is Subaru doing that is causing him to be called a criminal? Or maybe he’s just being framed for something.

Well, I can definitely say with confidence that this episode was a lot better than last week. While there was a lot of random information dropped this episode, I admit the end caught me off guard and I’m interested to see what will happen. There were also a few parts that had me chuckling. Especially the part where Wataru just suddenly drops from the ceiling, already in a lying down pose and lands perfectly on the couch. That was completely absurd. And also the part where Nagisa mistook Ritsu as Rei. In any case, I’ve appreciated Subaru in the past, however, I can’t say that I’m especially fond or care that much for him since the development of Trickstar has always been lacking. So the sudden reveal that his dad was a fallen idol came more as a “what the” rather than an “oh no…” I’m not sure if next week is going to be the final episode or what is going to happen to this series, but I guess all we can do is wait and find out at this point.

Shadow

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

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