And we’ve finally made it, the final act of the Geika Festival. With everything on the line, how do our characters fair? Will this be the beginning of their journeys in the professional fashion industry? Or will they fall short and watch as their dreams come crashing down? But first before we find that out, the presumed winner must give us his show as the masses come to see his newest creations.
I want to take few steps back before jumping into this episode to say that I really liked the head of the Geika Fashion School. She is in a very prestigious position, but she is nothing but supportive to all of her students, or at least the ones we see. I was fully expecting her to become mean like Kokoro’s manager to simulate just how brutal the industry is, but instead she chose to use her position to lift others up and encourage them to do better rather than work on tearing down their dreams. It was quite refreshing to have her appear because everyone else, the managers, other models, designers, and just countless others seemed like they were ready to attack anyone who even had the slightest mistake. Perhaps she took a position of kindness because she knows the industry is like this? No use in creating negativity when it isn’t there. And having her be such a positive voice throughout the series was wonderful despite her role being pretty small. She was there when others needed it, but never opted to coddle any one character and I really appreciate that.
But back to the focus of the episode because it’s time to talk about Toh’s show, which absolutely dominated the rest of the festival. Honestly, I was expecting a lot more conflict with Toh surrounding his show considering we left him in Ikuto in a rather aggressive state. But over the course of the past couple episodes there have been no attempts for the two to either make up or work together again so I figured that there would be some sort of battle between the two on the runway. There were definitely plenty of opportunities between the two especially since it was revealed that they were going to be working with the same theme, but in the end… Toh really blew Ikuto out of the water. Ikuto’s show was very stunning and had wonderful designs (albeit he didn’t push the boundaries of fashion which would come back to hurt him) and had a great message in the end, but Toh? Oh man, Toh was bold and he really did put everything into his designs. I loved the concept of having a high fashion version of a single outfit and something for the everyday citizen. It definitely gave off the “Any one can be fashionable vibe” which I wish they would have been able to explore more with the journalist girl, but I digress. I think one of the main reason the concept of the fashion industry has been so lost on me is that whenever I see what people where on the runways my immediate thought is “Okay, but would they wear that out in public?” And yeah, some of them would, but the general population usually admires from afar. The average person can’t really go out on a regular basis with huge frills and long trains (You definitely can!) because they aren’t something that is comfortable or familiar with the general public. So seeing him create another fashionable, but practical, design accompany the boundary breaking design was really neat.
And so, once the festival comes to an end he’s swarmed by many people looking to buy his designs while the other participants wait in the lobby area incredibly anxious for the results. We get a few nice moments sprinkled throughout the tension. Ikuto and Kaoru have a nice moment where they are able to exchange nice words and almost actually commit to the fact that they are rivals. (Personally, I really wish that they would have done more with Kaoru because she seems like a really interesting character who knows how brutal the fashion industry is! Having her be a peer rival to Ikuto would have been incredibly interesting given their backgrounds! But instead she was reduced to a side character that was ready to rub salt in the wound as needed.) We see a little bit more of the journalist girl who is absolutely gushing about Chiyuki (Again! I really wish we could have seen more of her! I loved the episode where she first saw Chiyuki and I just want to see more of her!) and lastly a debriefing moment between Chiyuki and Kokoro in which Igurashi, Kokoro’s manager makes an appearance. Knowing that that was really the last time the two would talk in person, it feels weird that that was the last interaction… No apologies, no congratulations… just “let the results speak for themselves”…
With that interaction out of the way, it’s time to head back and find out the results of who won the fashion show! I fully expected Toh to win, it would have been a pretty easy victory and potentially a way for all the other characters to fall in close behind and pull the good old “Just you wait! I’ll surpass you in no time!” type moment. But instead Toh pull out of the competition leaving the number one spot open for someone else. Still, if he had stayed in the competition this would have been the most probable outcome. But instead the first place goes to Kokoro! and I AM SO PROUD OF HER AND CHIYUKI!! THEY DID IT!! It’s just really exciting to know that she can now pursue her dreams of being a designer rather than a model and in the same way Chiyuki also gets approval that she can make it as a model. When they called up Kokoro’s name I was really surprised, I definitely thought between everyone it would probably have been Ikuto to take the prize, but I guess her victory makes a lot of sense. Kokoro worked well with her theme and she did a fantastic job of drawing attention to her skill but also to Chiyuki’s talent without giving away the larger plan as a whole. I loved that Sara (Seira?) was the one to give her the flowers especially considering the two had previously worked together. And Sara could see the passion that Kokoro had for designing. I do… however think that it was weird that the manager just accepted it especially after all the work she’s done to keep Kokoro at the agency. Still, I guess this means that Kokoro can pursue her passion and her model, Chiyuki also receives an exclusive job because of it. Good job you two!
Ikuto on the other hand doesn’t even make it into the top 10 who performed in the fashion show. But, I mean he also wasn’t in last place so I always think that’s a victory. Instead Ikuto misses the mark by one place and ends up in 11th place that… absolutely destroys him. I’ll be honest, I don’t really feel all that bad for him if anything I did get a little bit peeved. His feelings are definitely valid, and as a high schooler, it’s probably the biggest rejection he’s ever received. But! I wish more people would have had the chance to tell him just how lucky he is just to be given these chances. He’s competing on a college level as a high schooler! If Chiyuki hadn’t picked up his post high school grad plans none of this would have started. Mr. Yanagida who? Geika Festival? Nope! Even the opportunity to put on a show wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the support and lucky breaks that he received. He’s in a position that a lot of people would kill to be in. But not only that, but he’s in a highly competitive field so having the girl tell him “This is only your first show, don’t be so depressed” was honestly really nice to put it into perspective. Yeah, I’ve been cheering for Ikuto for a while, but for him to even make it that far? It’s incredible! And the way she says it, means that he’ll be able to have more shows. Ikuto!! It doesn’t end here! But, he ultimately seems to get over it after a conversation with one of Toh’s assistants and I don’t really know how I feel about the wake up call. I think that they didn’t have the opportunity for a relationship or development of the character so it just felt like they needed a third party to tell him it was going to be okay. I mean, having that conversation they can show that Ikuto is talented, but I wasn’t able to gather any emotional investment from that moment. But it did seem to prove effective in having him snap out of his post show funk. (And also thank you Chiyuki for rubbing your success in his face because it was actually a great way to push your rival !)
All in all I think for an ending, I think they did a pretty good job of wrapping things up, but I must admit that I have some mixed feelings about it. I mean, truly, everyone got a happy ending. Chiyuki gets an exclusive gig, Kokoro finally gets approval from her manager, Toh finds his own form of happiness and self-worth, and Ikuto receives the application for Geika to pursue that dream that was so far out of his reach from the beginning of the series. It’s a happy end and definitely one that is open. I’m satisfied, but at the same time I wish I could see what happens to everyone after this.
But I will admit, when the ended the episode with the same “This is the story of….” between the two of them I was definitely emotional! THEY ENDED THE SAME WAY THEY OPENED THE ANIME and it just makes me really happy.
Runway de Waratte was one of the series I was most looking forward to this season, and while it didn’t end up playing out how I expected it to the anime certainly did not disappoint. A shounen anime about the fashion industry, it sounds like the two would absolutely clash, but boy was I wrong the two went hand in hand. Bright eyed young individuals who are underdogs in their respective fields having to prove themselves to others through trials and tribulations? Heck yeah!
I’d like to preface the remainder of this impression by saying that at the time of writing this entry I have not read the manga. With that being said, I absolutely adored every episode of this anime. For an anime that only ended up being 12 episodes I felt that they were able to narrow in and tell a compelling story with a satisfying resolution given the time that they head. Now, that being said I do wish we would have seen more character development and interactions, but I don’t know what I would have been willing to sacrifice for them. If anything, I just wish there was more, and it pains me to know that a second season won’t be happening for a while if at all.
I think one of the biggest things that kept me coming back each week were the characters that we were presented with. The characters were phenomenal and those that received development were really engaging. In the first few episodes, I was quickly invested in the dreams of Chiyuki and Ikuto because I couldn’t help by cheer them on. Chiyuki wears her heart on her sleeve and she’s willing to do anything to make her dream a reality. Ikuto on the other hand puts others in front of himself and has to realize that he does, in fact need to put himself in front of others. And these two weren’t the only ones that I enjoyed. As the anime progressed and new characters were introduced I continually found myself adoring new characters. Kokoro, is timid, but has talent and ambition! Toh, is following the success of his grandmother and wants to make a name for himself. And at the end of the day even if I didn’t like a character or their actions, I enjoyed the role that they had in the anime. The growth and change each of the focus characters had overtime was absolutely wonderful. They’ve come such a long way. (Also, even though he was a minor character I adore Mr. Yanagida a lot and the role that he had to play in helping everyone grow closer to their dreams. Even if it was with tough love).
This anime certainly delivered on intense and emotional moments. Some more so than others but as each of our characters experienced their own difficulties the pain they were experiencing definitely came across and hit pretty hard. I don’t know if I officially cried in any of the episodes, but I absolutely got teary eyed. Looking back on it now, these characters, especially Ikuto certainly had a lot of bad things come to them.
Now that I’ve completed the series I’m honestly trying to think if there was anything that negatively impacted to over all anime. If anything, definitely the lack of development of some of the characters left some moments very flat. We didn’t have a chance to form that bond with them, so when bad things happened to them or they would speak up? I often shrugged it off because I hadn’t had the chance to be emotionally invested in them. It’s a downside to the amount of episodes the anime received – they have to pick and choose who gets development and how much of it. So even if they were to give, say the journalist girl, more chances to shine… where would they put it? If I were to come up with another critique, I’d say that the pacing wasn’t…. always good. Due to the limited amount of episodes, some conflicts definitely felt rushed. I didn’t have quite enough time to even process what the conflict was before it was resolved. It felt like the characters seemed just got over things really quickly regardless of the severity of what had happened.
As a whole, I would give this anime a solid 8/10. It was an absolute joy coming back to this series every week and I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s even remotely interested in checking it out!