Dang… what a way to end the first part of the third season. Though I admit, how this episode was done was an absolute 10/10. They absolutely nailed the tone of helplessness with everything that was happening. I just felt this overwhelming sense of anxiety while watching the episode because we knew bad things were going to happen. Even if last episode gave us a small semblance of hope.
The plans that were carried out by everyone went as well as we all expected. None of them were going to be able to get through to whoever they were going to talk with. We knew Trigger was set up to fail from the start so we knew both parties were doomed to fail. When we saw that Mitsuki, Nagi and Gaku were going to meet up with Ryo, we knew right away this wasn’t going to end well. Considering what happened with Momo, this guy just cannot be reasoned with. If only Momo was able to warn them or at least tell them that it wasn’t worth their time and energy to try and talk with him. Because YIKES. Ryo came at them swinging. We knew Ryo always likes going for the low blows and the group who went after him had to learn the hard way. And while I don’t particularly care for Gaku, Ryo coming out and telling him his dad never loved his mom and only viewed her as a rebound was absolutely disgusting. We knew it was true, but that was neither here nor there and it was obvious he only said those things to try and provoke Gaku into attacking him so he’d get ammunition to ruin Gaku’s image as well. And if Mitsuki and Nagi weren’t there, Gaku might have fell for the bait because he was out for blood after Ryo said that. However, lashing out violently when someone says terrible things never helps and only causes the situation to escalate.
When Ryo then turned his provocations towards Mitsuki and attacked his insecurity of people not liking him, I was honestly afraid Mitsuki how he would react. But I am so glad and proud that Mitsuki’s development from last season shined through and he was able to deescalate the situation with his maturity on the topic. Ryo is always looking to create a reaction and by reacting maturely and not giving into provocations, Ryo’s plans were foiled for the time being. So good job, Mitsuki for not giving into your insecurities. Unfortunately, nothing was gained or settled in that interaction, leaving our party frustrated and defeated.
Also wow, I was also just so distracted by Ryo I also did not realize Minami was in the car until I went back and checked.
As expected, Yamato and Tenn weren’t able to get through to Hanamaki either as Torao had his hooks in her and was basically using her as a puppet. I have to respect Yamato for how he handled the situation. Especially since it basically showcased his growth from this season. But I appreciate that there are still things about it that still bothers him. Since while he was able to most past it in general, that doesn’t mean he isn’t still bothered by it. He’s still working on it and it will take time and I really appreciate the writing for depicting this. When Hanamaki essentially asked to be his mistress, essentially setting him up to be like his dad, that must have really hurt him. Because not only was she insulting his circumstances, but also comparing him to his dad again. If this had happened before confronting his past with his dad, I’m sure Yamato would have lashed out at her or ended up saying something he most likely would have regretted later. So I’m glad that he was able to calmly as he could steer the conversation away from it without getting emotional.
Tenn ended up being a great asset to the conversation. Instead of fighting fire with fire as Hanamaki was determined to keep using scandalous information to keep them from using the recording, Tenn praised her for her abilities as an idol. And I love that Tenn brought up that whoever is making her do this, doesn’t respect her. Tenn absolutely nailed the situation on the head as it is obvious to the viewer that Torao thinks very little of her and is just using her. Unfortunately, not even Tenn’s words could get through to her as Torao seems to have completely twisted her around his finger. It’s sad really. Especially when she seems to believe wholeheartedly that Torao is an amazing guy despite the fact he’s having her do these kinds of things.
I understand Hanamaki has it hard with how Tsukumo has been basically working her to death and that Torao is basically just stringing her along for his own gain. However, that doesn’t excuse the fact she still chose to resort to underhanded methods is still incredibly frustrating. Especially to do that to Ryu of all people. But girl, have some self respect! To throw her whole career away for this garbage man is just incredibly sad. Not to mention he most likely isn’t even going to uphold that promise to marry her and just throw her aside after she’s served her purpose. Thinking about it, she probably found herself in such a dark place emotionally and mentally because of how she was being overworked, Torao probably just came in at the right time to sweep her off her feet. And because of how desperate she was to escape her situation, clung to the only bit of hope that appeared in front of her. Sadly, her “hope” essentially ended her up in a toxic relationship that has clouded her judgement and made her into a deplorable person. She wanted a means of escape and chose to do some rather deplorable things to save herself. A tragic circumstance, but still doesn’t excuse her actions.
Also EW to that part where Torao whispered in her ear and I could hear it in my earbud. GROSS. rips earphones out
But holy crap, hearing people talk about Ryu so poorly was incredibly frustrating. Especially how they talked about him as if he were Torao. Since what they were saying about Ryu and Hanamaki was literally what Torao was most likely going to do. Dumping her as soon as he was done fooling around with her.
Speaking of disappointment, I am incredibly disappointed with Toma. I knew he was letting his petty anger get the better of him, but for him to say that Trigger deserved being taken down like this honestly made me angry. Especially when he claims that promotion and creating popularity was playing dirty. Like, SIR, THAT’S NORMAL. He also makes it sound like Trigger didn’t put in any effort to get where they were and that they were always popular. BOY, they had to WORK for it. Though I will say that while Trigger themselves may be genuine in their endeavors as idols, I can’t say the same for Yaotome Sr since I can’t say whether or not he actually pulled shady actions to promote them. Considering what happened with Idolish7. But that’s on Yaotome Sr, not Trigger. It’s rather hypocritical for Toma to be okay seeing Trigger fall by shady means. Guess “it’s okay if they started it” kind of mentality with this guy. Again, DISAPPOINTED. But I do find it sad because of his crushing defeat at Trigger’s hands, Toma feels as if he can never sing earnestly ever again. However, just because you were hurt, doesn’t justify the fact you are hurting others.
Tenn and Haruka have yet another confrontation where Tenn actually runs after him. I’m not sure why that was so surprising to me, but it was lol. Anyways, Haruka truly lives up the nickname “brat” as he holds himself up so haughtily and just wants to prove Tenn wrong. I also found it interesting that Tenn didn’t get offended until Haruka referred to the fans as “idiots.” Say what you want to him, but don’t disrespect the fans. With that, Haruka and Tenn are basically complete opposites. Haruka has no respect for the fans and views them all as people who can be manipulated. While Tenn is someone who holds his fans to the highest regards and puts his all into performing to make them happy. Haruka probably looks at things emotionally while Tenn looks at things logically.
I also found it interesting how in the shot where there is a very wide and obvious divide between Haruka and Tenn, while Tenn has posters with a bunch of writing on his side, Haruka has nothing. It’s probably too early to really understand what it means, but if I had to wager a guess, I would assume it means that Haruka may be empty or lacking anything at the moment while Tenn has things he has to do and live for. But then he has something looming over his head while Tenn does not… I feel like this is definitely symbolic of their characters but we haven’t been given enough information yet to really understand the significance. There are probably a lot more things going on than what lies on the surface with Haruka and I’m actually kind of interested to see what he is really all about. Best to keep it in mind while moving forward with this series.
I absolutely loved how the ZOOL performance was done. Especially with how it just seemed to really hammer the feeling of dread of the situation with shots of the characters’ reactions to it. The way it was just portrayed felt like this was the start of a dark period or something long those lines. These guys are absolutely terrible and the audience is none the wiser. It just kills me to see them rise to popularity despite their personalities and how they had to defame Trigger to do so. Though I admit I really did like the performance… >_> They definitely feel more like a boyband with the singers actually pulling off acrobatic moves and such on stage.
ZOOL’s performance also seemed to be a foil to both Trigger and Idolish7’s debut performances. Though I’m not sure whether or not Diamon Fusion was Trigger’s debut song, how it was portrayed in Vibrato gave me that vibe. Anyways, back to my point, Idolish7’s Monster Generation and Trigger’s Diamond Fusion performances gave an overall sense of hope and wonder of just how far these two groups will go. In Vibrato, while Trigger’s Diamond Fusion performance was being broadcasted, it showed reaction shots to a bunch of the i7 members before they were a group and were looked on as an inspiration to some and overall portrayed in a positive light. However, with ZOOL, it definitely gave the feeling of foreboding that something bad is going to happen or in this case, already happening.
But man, Ryo’s plan really does seem ingenious and it kind of mirrors Hanamaki’s situation when I think about it. Hanamaki was nearly at her wits end and ended up falling for the wrong kind of person just because he was there at the right time and place. And with how everyone’s opinions of Trigger started to fall due to the scandal, Zool’s appearance was at the right time and place as it enticed the people who had turned their backs on Trigger and made themselves out to be “heroes” that would bring back hope into the idol industry.
And then there’s the placement of the ending theme (no pun intended). I also just read the lyrics and realized they basically go hand in hand with their inevitable fall in the series. Which makes them disappearing at the end of the song hit a lot differently. As if they’re disappearing from the idol world. And not only that, but right after we see the rise of ZOOL with their first performance. They sure knew how to end this first part of the season with a bang.
This season, well first part of the season, was AMAZING. It was so well written and dare I say probably the strongest so far compared to the first two seasons. I had an absolute blast watching this first half of the season and I cannot wait for the second half. Especially since ZOOL has finally revealed themselves and have already been causing all sorts of trouble. Especially Ryo. Holy crap. I knew that guy was shady but I didn’t expect him to be this CRAZY and unhinged. The man legit scares me and I hope we get to see his downfall. WE NEED JUSTICE.
Troyca has been absolutely NAILING all of the symbolism and foreshadowing this season. I’ll have to go back to season 2 to see if it had as much symbolism and foreshadowing. But dang, I am honestly super impressed by how Troyca handled this season. They did a fantastic job with the cinematography, shot composition and 2D animation. They definitely have been stepping up and giving this series the care it needs to be a wonderful anime. Even going above and beyond at certain points. This has to be one of the best if not the best mobile game to anime adaptations I have seen.
The standout characters for me this season had to be Yamato and Yuki. Yamato is a given since the first half focused on him and his past. He’s definitely grown on me as a character as he was actually extremely relatable in how he felt about himself and his circumstances. He had such great character development this season and seeing him finally open up and embrace the rest of i7 as true friends was great. Especially since he seems to be making a genuine effort to connect to the others better and want to help them open up as well.
Yuki was a surprise for me this season. I didn’t care too much about him in the second season. He was fine, but there wasn’t that much that interested me in him as a character. It wasn’t until this season where we get to see more of who he is as a person and getting to see where he came from in the past. How he is still learning to connect with others made him much more interesting and compelling. Not to mention he’s made me laugh pretty hard this season on several occasions. He definitely flew up in my ranks.
Having read the first half of the 3rd part of the story a year ago, I started wondering if I was remembering ZOOL correctly and started questioning whether they were as bad as I was recalling them to be. Was I overreacting? But watching them this season… no, they were THAT bad and I wish to smack all of them in the face, including Toma. While it was nice for Idolish7 to get along with their rivals so far with Trigger and Re:vale, I think it was a good thing to shake up the formula a bit with this group of jerkwads. Makes for interesting drama even if it doesn’t feel good at times. Especially with how incredibly petty all of these guys are. Though I am eager to see how they shake up the dynamic between all the characters. But I admit I do want to see Haruka get unintentionally harassed by Tamaki and Iori again lol.
Also I had an epiphany a while back about ZOOL’s members’ names. At first glance it seems like it breaks the number naming trend all of the characters so far have. However, their names have Zodiac animal names… which coincide with the numerical calendar. So while they are not directly named by numeral conventions like the others, their names STILL are related to numbers. Which honestly blew my mind.
They also remind me of an antagonistic Quartet Night from Utapri. The teal haired kid is the youngest in the group, the platinum blond haired character has a connection to a distantly cold western country, flirty brown haired member is the oldest in the group and there is a member who is associated to canines while also angry for having come from a broken up group. Though Toma seems to be a mix of both Reiji and Ranmaru. Not to mention Poison Kiss and Poisonous Gangster >_>. I literally could write a whole essay on how Idolish7 essentially used Utapri as a base for all their characters.
I think my only real complaint for this series would have be the lack of performances we got to see. Which is probably why ZOOL’s performance left such a big impression on me. I think the only other performance we got to see was Sakura Message and Our Incomplete Selves. Hopefully there will be more in the 2nd part. Just a nitpick though.
I’m so glad to have gotten the chance to cover this series since it’s probably one of the few series where I’m super passionate about. Enough to commit to buying all of their nendos when they get released
Yes I have all of them that are available right now and all the fanbooks. And don’t get me started on all the rubber straps I’ve collected for them. I may or may not have a problem… ANYWAYS, I’m looking forward to what the second part brings especially since I haven’t read the second half of the series. While I know some of the big plot points, I don’t know all the details or what happens that leads up to those points. But we know stuff is going to go down and I’m here for it. Thanks for coming along this wild ride of a series with me and dealing with my long winded posts lol. Until the next part comes out, I’m giving this part of the series a solid 9/10. Hopefully the 2nd part lives up to the score XD.