It’s the training camp episode, wahoo!! It’s the perfect time for individual growth, mesh with your new team, and just learn more about things in general! I’m just surprised that all of it happened in one episode though – as fun as it was, I felt like it was a whirlwind and kind of wish it could have been broken up into two episodes.
There were just so many little things going on in this episode, I had some trouble keeping track of everything that was going on. There were cuts to characters that we don’t know very well, and there was a very brief conflict with the team. It really seemed like they wanted to include so much in this episode so they were ambitious and by god they did it. It all fit in there, but I do think we had to sacrifice some of that nice simmer from reflection. It’s a little bit sad, but we’re already halfway through the season so they probably have a lot more content that they’d like to add. I just hope we get more time with the Shamisen club and their personalities and relationships. They’re fun, but I feel like we don’t get to see them all that often and when we do, I feel like they don’t add very much aside from some comic relief. But I can see that changing in the upcoming episodes.
But I will say we got to learn more about Kaito in this episode so that’s great! I’ve had mixed feelings about him, but at the end of the day I don’t think he’s a bad guy. Just hotheaded and has a lot of emotions he still needs to deal with. When he first blew up at Setsu for not giving proper critique on Shuri’s playing I definitely made the :/ face as he was yelling. It really seemed like he was making up beef that wasn’t even true. Like I haven’t gotten the feeling that Setsu feels that he’s better than everyone else. I guess I can see how it comes off that way, but really if he were that kind of person, I think he would straight up say that they aren’t worth his time. I mean! He went to the training camp with them and stayed a member of the club. He’s doing his best but might not be the best at conveying it. But back to Kaito, his storyline in the episode seemed to pick up speed really fast. As soon as he blew up, we got his tragic backstory about his soccer injury followed by lofty goals from his parents. Then they made up pretty quickly and were friends again. Listen, I’m not one for long drawn-out dramatic fights between club members, but it just felt really off since it all happened so quickly. I’m glad it happened though, it’s nice to hear where he’s coming from. I hope what we learned about him does come up again in the future.
We got some other good stuff in this episode – Wakana makes his reappearance! For a character who doesn’t get a lot of screen time, I sure am happy whenever he does show up. He seems to know the right things to do and say to push Setsu in the right direction. And I suppose that’s just the big brother in him wanting his sibling to be happy and successful. Another great thing from the episode was the conversation overlooking the ocean. I think most of it went over my head, but it was nice that Setsu was able to have a realization and come a little bit closer to understanding his Grandfather and his experiences.
And then finally there’s Shuri. The girl who put together the club but is struggling the most. I’m actually surprised that she had another “arc”. I suppose she’s the best fit – Rai, Kaito, and Yui just don’t seem to be the type to beat themselves up over their struggles or at least as outwardly as Shuri does. If anything, it gave a nice moment to hear some more of Setsu’s playing before she came to her own realization. So good job Shuri! You made it! Now you can keep up with the rest of your club members and you have a fighting chance at the tournament!
All in all, a solid episode with some decent growth for our characters. Despite thinking there was a lot to cover, I think they did a decent job of getting it all to fit. I just hope that future episodes don’t move quite as fast as this one did. But before I finish out this entry, I want to take a minute to acknowledge that opening?? That was pretty unexpected, but Burnout Syndromes is a good surprise. I did enjoy the opening, but musically I’m not sure if it fits the tone of the anime. Plus, a change on episode 6? That’s surprising! I’ll have to check out the lyrics to see how they fit. And I think my final thoughts are: It’s a catchy opening, but the original just seems to fit the tone of the anime a bit better. But maybe my thoughts will change if it’s going to stick around till the end!