And just like that, that competition is on its way! I feel like we really cruised through to get here, so much so that this episode really felt like quite the whirlwind of introductions. This is definitely another one of those episodes where there setting us up for what’s to come, but it was kind of hard to catch all the pieces. Who are all the characters of note? What are their stories? What threat to they pose? I’ll be honest up front… this episode wasn’t really my favorite.
There was just a lot of tension in this episode… and that’s just not something that I’m really a fan of. I really feel like we didn’t go anywhere until the last few minutes. And that’s honestly something I give this anime kudos for! I’ve noticed that it takes me a little while to warm up to the episode each week, but by the end of it they’ve managed to provide something that was worth waiting for. This time… well for me it fell flat. And that’s not to say that I don’t appreciate what we were given I love that we were able to see some growth in Setsu… though I wish we could have seen more of it and let it blossom. I really wasn’t sure what they were trying to do with Setsu during this entire episode. He peaces out from his group meets a stranger, reappears, gets yelled at, yells back, listens to music, and stares off a balcony. It… just didn’t flow very well for me.
And regarding Setsu, I’m glad that he was finally able to voice that he wants to win! I think that’s something they all need to hear… even though I feel like that’s been made clear in previous episodes. He just seems like the kind of character that if he doesn’t want to do something, he won’t. He’s stuck around this long, why is there doubt in his willingness to participate? This kid literally left home one day for Tokyo with no plan. If he wanted to leave the Shamisen club, he could do that no problem. It was good to hear him say what he said, and to have it further elaborated by Wakana, but it just didn’t leave a very punchy impression.
But I think the thing that got to me the most this episode was Kaito once again. I’m trying really hard to like him… but he just keeps starting the same beef with Setsu. “We’re not good enough for you! You keep looking down on us because we’re beginners”. It’s just… how many times do we have to go through that fight? It really feels like a re-hash from last week’s episode. Perhaps I’d be a little more forgiving if it came from someone else in the group? But for now… I’m just frustrated that it happened. I don’t blame them for getting mad at him for just up and disappearing from them during the competition. They could have definitely called him out on it. Perhaps they could have convinced him that it’s actually good to listen to other people’s sounds! But this squabble just left a bad taste in my mouth.
Despite me ranting for most of this post, there are some tensions I was okay with! First and foremost, the tension between the mom’s is great. No yelling, just some solid quips exchanged back and forth. I’d like to see a little bit more of that rivalry in future episodes. Also, the little fight that broke out between Mai and Yui was fun! I loved them calling each other out based on their internet personas. I hope the two of them get to interact a lot more in the future. So even though this wasn’t my favorite episode, I still think there were some good things to come out of it.
Overall, I’m interested to see how the development from this episode impacts what comes next. I’m curious to know if these significant Shamisen players just influence Setsu, or if they become genuine rivals. As of right now, it seems that they are potential rivals, but that doesn’t seem to be decided by the players, but rather the parents who actually know Setsu’s background and story. I’m looking forward to what intensity next week will bring!