It’s time for the official first day of school and the competition between these girls is already underway. While most of them are quick to pick up on it, it seems that Sarasa chooses to think of them all as friends rather than foes. Just another aspect of her that makes me want to root for her. She’s not trying to put the other girls down or “win” she’s just here to do her best. But that doesn’t change the fact that she’s got quite the competition from not only her own class, but from the second years as well.
I’m excited that we get to meet a couple of girls from the second year as well, especially in the big sister / mentorship role. That’s probably going to a much more stressful competition earlier. Though, I do wish we could have seeing some pairings aside from Sarasa and Ai… I’m sure we’ll get to meet them later, but it would have been a great way to learn more about the girls in the centennial class. But! As for those two pairings, they seem pretty interesting! Ai is paired up with Hijiri Nojima who seems like a really kind person on the outside but looks to have a mean streak within her. I wish we got to see the meanness come out a little bit more when she was working with Ai but given that Ai isn’t super expressive it would have been a little bit harder for her. However! I am excited to see if Hijiri has any tricks up her sleeve to demoralize Ai in the future. I mean, she’s going up an ex-idol, she’s got to prove her dominance!
On the other hand, we get to see Sarasa and Risa Nakayama. Risa was definitely ready out of the gate to shut Sarasa’s dreams down, but it really seems like she’s a big softie. Perhaps it’s because she sees a little bit of herself in her mentee. Being told you can’t be something you want to be is always heartbreaking, but how one reacts to it is completely up in the air. For Risa, Hijiri quickly shot her down by telling her that she doesn’t quite have that youthful and young nature that is needed to be one of the top, instead she’d do better playing the more mature villainess. Wow Hijiri! You don’t hold back! And you say it all with a smile. And so, all of these words eventually become things that hurt hear and eventually you start believing in it. However, upon seeing Sarasa’s absolute devastation she immediately switches up the story to talk about the curse of the cherry tree (though in all honesty, I think the height thing is a valid thing to bring up). And I love the way Sarasa quickly goes against that claim and says that she has to prove it wrong! Go Sarasa! I believe in you! But I think what really made that moment is watching Risa give her support so quickly, I look forward to seeing if she’s going to go after her dreams and prove that she’s more than just a mature villainess character.
The meeting of the mentors was definitely the biggest focus of the episode for me, but there were a couple of other things of note that I want to talk about as well. Number one, the beginning of the episode was hilarious with Ai giving the absolute minimum effort in waking Sarasa up. Good job, Ai at least you tried, but maybe next time you should throw something bigger or use your voice box a little bit more. Thankfully, Sawa was there to save the day. And I loved all of Sawa’s moments in this episode! She’s a bit of a perfectionist and can seem like the student council-esque character, but she was a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to learning more about her and the others in future episodes.
And speaking of learning more about characters…. there are some men who appeared in this episode that definitely send the creepy crawlies up my spine. One of them is from Sarasa’s side of things and the other from Ai’s. Akiya, the boy who did dance lessons with Sarasa seems pretty okay so far, if anything he has a little bit of a crush on her, but nothing too big. But the guy who came in to take the iPad away… definitely makes me suspicious. Sir, why do you need the password to that account? Why don’t you get your own? And of course, the other man that has all sorts of red flags is the Ai fan who travelled all the way to Kobe to find her. His admiration goes… a little bit too far and he just seems to be getting closer and closer, I’m nervous for when he actually gets to see her in person. I hope that both of these potential worries turn okay in the end, but I’m sure it’s going to get darker before it gets any better, so I’m bracing myself for that. Good luck girls!
I love that we got to end the episode with the girls on a tour of the backstage. I think it gives credit to those behind the scenes and also lets us see how excited they all are seeing the beautiful costumes and hand painted sets. But it was wonderful to see Sarasa on the stage with the spotlight (albeit completely against the wishes of the teacher). She’s already aiming to be a top star, but a moment like that definitely pushes her even further. Plus! It was nice to see Ai acknowledge the stage presence of Sarasa! I hope one day she gets to stand on the silver bridge as a top star!!