After last week’s emotional bombshell, I have to say this episode was not as grim as I was half expecting it to be. Sure it still hurts, but it did help to see members like Nagi and Yamato being hyper aware of everyone’s mood, and did what they could to control the situation so that the team wouldn’t fall apart. This isn’t something that will be resolved overnight, but as long as they support each other, they will be able to weather this unforgiving storm.
But perhaps the biggest and most frustrating issue that is at the root of all of this are their fans. It has gotten so bad, that it is not only affecting the members, but are also beginning to turn off other fans from being engaged with the group. I can certainly vouch for that, as fandom toxicity really can totally ruin the experience.
As result, all I could think of when I was watching this feud go on was how the agency should really do something about it. I know not much can be done, but a statement perhaps, maybe from the members themselves (albeit, I recognize that can also potentially add fuel to the fire, so really it can go either way) outright requesting fans not to be so hostile to each other, and explain how it’s putting them in an awkward position because they care each other.
This crisis was exactly why Iori didn’t want to take the center position to begin with. He knew there was a risk of this playing out, and most importantly, he doesn’t want Riku to feel like he lost his place. For him, Riku is the star, and he is just filling in for him for the time being.
As for Mitsuki, he just wants to be loved by their fans. He understands he won’t be able to please everyone, but for Mitsuki, it is so important for him to receive acknowledgement from their fans. Without that, it feels like he doesn’t belong. We saw how hard he tried to balance air time between other members besides himself, but as Yamato explained to us today: The role of an MC is keep the light on the guys who look good, and off the guys who look tired. They help keep the conversations flowing so it doesn’t become stagnant. It is a difficult and and in this instance, a thankless job to do, especially since it is not the spotlight that draws the attention, but the people in it.
That being said, [SOBS] I am really proud of you Mikki! It is hard for him to open up, but I am so glad that he finally allowed himself to be vulnerable in front of Nagi. This guy has been trying his best to get him to accept his support, and I am so glad he never gave up trying, because this is exactly what Mitsuki needs right now. It is not good for him to keep his insecurities all bottled up. I loved how Nagi straight up asked him who hurt him, because it sure looked like had Mitsuki dropped a name he would have personally gone after them, ahahaha! (Nagi has a soft heart, but mess with those he cares about and he is bound to do something about it. The guy is a freaking enigma after-all, I wouldn’t put anything past him!)
I also really loved the way the scene was put together as well. One of the things this show has done a phenomenal job with is playing with imagery. Mitsuki was positioned on the lower end of the slope, a wall behind him and he is standing in the shadows. The wall is too high to climb, obstructing him from moving forward, he is being overshadowed by Nagi who is standing out in the open and the sun on the elevated angle of the slope. And when Mitsuki opened up, Nagi was finally allowed toacross the line that Mitsuki had drawn between them, and was able to extend his hand into the shadow. He even lowered himself to try and be on the same eye-level of him. This scene gives me a lot of feelings okay!!!!! These two are my best boys!!!
Also I can’t believe the way they plugged in the Mitsuki art after all that! YOU’RE PLAYING OUR HEARTS LIKE A FIDDLE! LOOK AT OUR SUNSHINE. HE IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WHEN HE IS SMILING AND LAUGHING FROM THE HEART! WE JUST WANT HIM TO BE HAPPY DAMN IT!
Nagi wasn’t the only one who was worried about him. Yamato was equally as concerned, but it seemed he didn’t really know how to approach him about it. Even Sogo told him to just tell him what he had just told him! Sheesh! But I get where he is coming from, not everyone is able to get him to open up. Nagi is problem the lone exception who can actually get away with it, considering we always see him get on everyone’s heels when he knows they are keeping something to themselves.
Needless to say, it Mitsuki’s problem was something only Nagi could do, so Yamato shifted his focus on the things he can do. As the Dad of the group, Yamato knew he needed to get things under control and fast. So what does he do? He moves in quickly to nip the bud of the tension that has been festering between Sogo and Tamaki. Honestly, say what you want, but I thought it was an ingenious move considering how well it worked out. He knew exactly how to appeal to Tamaki. And my god, did his magic do wonders! And it’s not that anything he said was a lie per say. Sogo deeply cares about Tamaki and wants him to shine, that’s why he looks out for him and tries his best to manage him. It is just Tamaki isn’t used to receiving that kind of form of love., and Sogo isn’t exactly the greatest at communicating that. When Yamato explained all of this to him, Tamaki was genuinely touched and it made him happy, so thank you Yamato for being the middle man between these two!
Best of all, we were able to see the fruition of Tamaki accepting that love when he made the effort to follow Sogo’s guidance. It was so cute to watch, especially when Sogo acted like a proud mama when Tamaki was praised for his politeness and his performance during the shoot. It was even more hilarious when Sogo had a momentarily crisis when Tamaki asked him to hang out with him on their next day off.
Although things between these two seem to have smoothed out a bit, with Aya in the mix it is bound to get complicated again. So we might as well enjoy this mood between them while it lasts, ahahahaha! But gosh, seeing him act mature for once was a freaking breath of fresh air! I also found him to be a lot more endearing when he was affectionate with Sogo. It’s a charming side to him, and it’s something I would like to see more of in the future.
As for things on Sogo’s end, he had his own share of problems today. The toxic crap going on within their fandom is reminding he a lot of the stuff he witnessed his uncle go through. It frustrates and pains him when he is unable to protect the ones he cares about. We also saw him carefully tiptoeing around the circumstances regarding his encounter with Tamaki’s sister. As expected, Sogo seems to be taking the investigative route first before he brings it up to him. He had hoped Tamaki had a picture of her for reference, but unfortunately he doesn’t (as he pointed out, he would have shown it to them if he had one to begin with), which it quite sad. It would break his heart if he heard that she doesn’t want to be seen/found by him, though I suspect she has her reasons, such as not wanting to spoil his career, or maybe it’s the family she’s with, the list goes on of the possibilities. For the time being, just checking up on him is enough for her.
Last but not least, with the toxicity of unhappy fans being the focus of the episode, what better way to end it than to have what looked to be looking bleak with three fan girls expressing how they were falling out of love with Idolish7. As mentioned earlier, I can relate, but gosh I was like, “NO WE NEED GOOD FANS LIKE YOU TO STICK AROUND!” Thankfully it appeared they fell back in love with them again after they ran down the memory lane of the good times and how they became a fan in the first place. But then a solemn shift when they take notice of the graffiti sprayed on RE:VALE’s poster. It just goes to show, nobody is immune to this kind of hatred, be it a fan or someone else who doesn’t like the fact they are doing a cover on it.
Overall solid episode that gave is a decent breather from the emotional torment they have been putting us through. Looking forward to the next one, so see you next week!