I knew coming into this episode as a Trigger fan, this was going to be an emotional one for me because the last week’s post-credits already had me getting teary eyed, and sure enough, it did lived up to its expectations. There’s one kind of fear of starting out as the unknown, and then there’s the fear of climbing back up after being knocked down. Now it’s up to Trigger to prove to everyone that they are capable of climbing their ways back up. It will be their raw talent, perseverance, and their love for each other that will help them get through this storm.
And today, our boys did just that! With the positive pep talk starting with Ryu saying the rain is a blessing from the Heavens, Tenn taking to heart of the words Riku once told him, of as long as he has allies, he will continue to sing till the end of the world. They are still determined to show the best version of themselves. [SOBS] I’m so proud of them!
Despite the crappy weather, they still managed to form a humble sized audience, many which consisted of their most faithful fans who have been anxiously waiting for their return. But the size didn’t matter, as at the end of the day, it was the love and support from the few they received from them was the greatest gift they could have received.
While both Ryu and Gaku were able to keep their composure, it was Tenn who actually ended up losing his, revealing just how much it meant to him to receive so much love and support from their fans, when he expected nothing in return. And we know how much Tenn values their fans, which is why he never wants to let them down, but today, the fans were there for Trigger. And thanks the love and support they received from the audience, it overwhelmed him to point he broke down into tears.
Unfortunately despite the fans wishes for an encore, they were only able to do one song (most likely due to the permit limit), but they were able to express their gratitude, communicate and give them assurance how they will keep singing,and even showed their unwavering ambition with Gaku declaring they will take their fans back to Zero Arena once again.
They say the fall from glory was disastrous for Trigger, but if anything, despite the uphill battle they will inevitably face, it’s because they are starting from the ground up again that they are able to experience such gratifying moments like they did today. It is at times like this, the fans who do show up are the ones that will give them that boost of morale, and they will certainly help them propel forward knowing that they haven’t been completely forgotten, and there are still those eagerly and anxiously waiting to see them perform again.
It was really sweet with the way Ryu and Gaku stepped in front of Tenn to hide his crying face— if Haruka saw it without the context (of Tenn being touched and grateful to his fans), he probably would want to gloat at him for days about it. Bless Gaku for asking them to please not post his face online (though you’d have to hope the live-feed been cut by then, otherwise whelp, we might still see it go viral anyways). I just love how close Trigger has become with each other.
I also wanted to give Anesagi a big hug because she are doing her absolute best to promote Trigger, and it absolutely breaks her heart to hear the awful things people have to say about them after they fell from their throne. But she is doing her best, with single-handily rolling up their promotion poster for the stage, and setting up the live-stream for their surprise street performance. Anesagi knows Trigger is strong, and they wants to do their uttermost best to help them climb their way back up.
Then there was Riku who was there to see Trigger’s performance gained a lot of insight as to how his brother treats his fans. Trigger’s performance, and the way Tenn responded to the love from their fans really made Riku think more deeply on an issue that has been plaguing his mind for a while now. Lately he has found himself to be lost as to how he and his brother feels about the changes in the voices they hear from their fans. He has been wondering, if the fans hurt them, then if they are not supposed to care about them, then who is he supposed to be singing for? He realizes that Tenn doesn’t hate anyone, and we know that’s precisely because he doesn’t expect anything in return.
However Riku is overwhelmed by the duality of opinions regarding the way they should perceive their fans’ opinions on them. He has seen first hand both how supportive and how fleeting fans can be, making them a double-edge sword. It’s a scary thing, and he doesn’t really know how to cope with it at the moment.
And gosh, I’m so glad we finally got a chance to get a glimpse into what’s been going through Riku’s head. On the surface he hasn’t really expressed much concern about the recent developments, but there is a bubble of unease that has been gradually growing inside. All of this is confusing to him because he doesn’t understand the cause for this change of perception, and he doesn’t know where to find the answer for it. His only clue is that some fans had told him he had ‘changed’ by becoming more ‘charming’ as of the late, but this makes little sense to Riku because apart from the changes of their reputation and circumstances, both he and his brother haven’t changed anything about themselves. They are still the same people inside, and yet the voices they hear have changed.
All of this confusion and uneasiness is affecting him so much, that Riku actually lost his composure during their performance of Perfection Gimmick (which of course, like Monster Generation and Sakura Message, carried symbolism in the story’s development, the exact moment of: “I’ll seduce you, with an unknown and special spell”.) Something none of the members saw coming, but it was at this moment that Iori figured out why Kujo refers to Riku as a monster.
And the reason for that is Riku’s Allure.
What makes Riku’s Allure so dangerous is he subconsciously plays on people’s emotions. As Iori puts it, he forces them to submit and empathize with his will. We saw this play out when Riku lost his composure during Perfection Gimmick, the fans instantly connected to the distress Riku was feeling in that moment. This served as a great contrast to how Tenn performed today, displaying a perfect example as to why Kujo likened him to an “Angel”. Tenn doesn’t expect anything in return and has deep emotions when he sings, he is a ‘giving’ sort. Meanwhile Riku is liken as this “Monster” that will devour everything around him by making the audience submit to his emotions. Take the way all the fan stick lights were switched to red, which was another sure-fire sign of raising the alarm, which are also ironically, Red.
And holy shit it makes so much sense. We have seen this play out since the very beginning of the series, as well as off-stage when he has interacted with other characters. Whenever Riku is desperate to reach a means to an end, he draws in people’s emotions, and forces them to submit and empathize with his will. In fact, this finally pin-points one of the things that have always bothered me about Riku’s character. He has a habit of behaving in a way that he tries to garner pity and support to get what he wants when he’s desperate for something. And more of than not, it’s thanks to that allure that he often gets away with it, which… isn’t a good thing by any means because it makes it more difficult to hold him accountable for the things he needs to be responsible for. There already have been several instances where he thoughtlessly acted upon something without considering the potential consequences that will not only affect him, but Idolish7 as a whole. This is something I hope we’ll see him grow into in the future, and perhaps this whole danger with his allure might serve a stepping stone to that much needed development.
Although Iori’s way of describing the ominous nature of Riku’s allure could be said to be over-dramatic, I felt it made a lot of sense to explain it this way because he needed to paint the big picture as to why it poses as such a serious threat. Given Riku’s short fuse when it comes to handling his emotions, and his lack of foresight when it comes to the consequences of his actions, you could say they got a time-bomb on their hands. There’s no telling when it will blow, which is the exact reason why they are afraid what will happen if they were to lose control. Perhaps this is also what Kujo meant when he said Riku being a “falling star” that would make him sad, and would be responsible for Idolish7’s demise. The fact they even dropped in a falling star, served as a reminder that a falling star burns up into nothingness, and this could either be referring Riku himself, being overwhelmed by his popularity to the point he crumbles, or the allure itself is only temporary spell, and his popularity will soon drop again as he was supposedly not the most popular from the start. Or perhaps, it could be even both, which would explain why Riku has been caught up with the way the fans voices have changed for both him and his brother. This would also highlight why Riku was sitting in the darkness when he was talking about this matter, while Iori was still sitting in the light.
But how do you fix this, and more importantly, can it even be fixed? Riku’s allure isn’t something he consciously puts to work, it’s a weapon he uses without even realizing it (hell, it would be even more terrifying if he did!) That is why Riku has been struggling to identify the cause in the first place. Becoming conscious of the problem might even exacerbate it because we all know that Riku cannot hide his emotions, and this isn’t exactly the kind of twisted revelation anyone would want to hear. But at the same time, perhaps he might handle it better than one would expect because he senses something is amiss. That said, I am going to be frank with you, if they were to talk about it, I don’t really see Riku taking this very well. If anything, it would horrify him to the point that he might become so self-conscious of himself, that it could paralyze him from even performing properly. Identifying the problem can certainly have that kind of effect, especially if Iori were to explain it the way he did to Tsumugi, which… would probably be just as bad in a different sense of the way Tenn bluntly ordering Riku to quit being an idol in S2. Like seriously, who wants to be described as a black-hole or a monster? It doesn’t feel like there’s any real good way to go about it without experiencing some sort of fall out when it comes to someone who is as emotionally sensitive as Riku. If anything, the best outcome would probably be Riku figuring this out on his own. Coming to terms with it himself would be a huge step in the right direction of self-awareness. It requires some deep self-reflection on how he has behaved up until now. Fortunately, Riku has started doing that this week, so hopefully this is a sign to come that he’ll be able to figure it out on his own.
And then there poses another problem that has been simmering for a while now. Although Iori sees the danger, we see he is still fixated on the promise of making Riku into a superstar. This stormy scene followed Kujo’s point of wondering who was the Demon King that promised the wish of this monster in the first place? The scene had shifted between Iori and Tenn, both who play instrumental roles in Riku’s growth. Tenn as his rival, and Iori who promised to support him do just that. But what is even more alarming about Iori as of the late, is a striking parallel to Kujo’s obsession of creating a new star that can finally surpass Zero’s legendary status, and his fears of being left behind. Look no further with the way Iori whispered “Didn’t I promise to make you a superstar?” and “Don’t go anywhere without me.” Remember, one of Iori’s greatest flaws is his tendency to be a bit of control freak, and we saw how it blew up in his face in the first season. We might be seeing a bit of that resurface now that he feels threatened that he might be left behind by Riku, which would also mean losing control of him. So we now also have to worry about Iori potentially unraveling once more.
With that said, although Ryo himself has been quite a storm for Trigger, Idolish7 is about to face the storm of their own with the way things have been quietly brewing respectively between Riku and Iori. It’s just another problem that’s been stirring in the pot of troubles waiting to reach boiling point…