UniteUp returns with our trio participating in a commercial shoot with LEGIT. It is a big opportunity, but the obvious lack of experience posed as a problem, one which had LEGIT rightfully concerned. And to make matters worse, Akira being the weakest link of the three, has found himself struggling to keep up when it comes to learning how to dance, and quickly found himself being consumed by the fear of being responsible for the shoot’s failure.
Daiki (as expected), was having none of it when it came to the involvement of the three newbies. Besides the fact he didn’t want them to blow their opportunity, he also doesn’t believe any of them possess the skills to debut. In fact he even said it was merely a fluke that they got into sMiLea, which just goes to show he doesn’t acknowledge them. Geez, this guy is really not doing himself any favours when it comes to likeability, though I do understand where he is coming from when it comes to his concerns for how it would impact their shoot. That said, it was rich of him to fall back to claiming they should have JAXX/JAXX do it instead when those guys are their seniors. As Eishiro said, that would only cause backlash and hardly be appropriate.
Since the trio were basically a mess when it comes to their dance level, Eishiro decided it would be best for each of them to teach one of the boys individually, which was frankly the best way to go about it. The one who was paired up with Daiki was Chihiro, who is shown to be the most level-headed and determined one of the three. He would be able to keep up with Daiki’s instructions and have a thick enough skin to tolerate the critiques. I don’t think Banri would have been entirely comfortable with him either, which is why it was good that Eishiro was the one who took care of instructing him.
So naturally was a huge relief to see it was Fuga who was assigned to work with Akira. He isn’t the type who is going to trample on him for all of his mistakes. Fuga did his best to break the choreography down and walk him through it, even showing patience when he knew that Akira’s performance was still subpar, giving him a chance to make gains between the time of their independent practices and the group practices where Eishiro does the evaluation. Perhaps Eishiro might have been a better choice, having the ideal balance of sternly training him. And with Akira’s lack of confidence, it doesn’t take much to make him crumble, just as we saw today.
But to make matters worse, it’s not like Akira is half-assing it. He busted his ass off, and we saw how shredded his feet has gotten from practising so much. I’m actually glad they addressed that because it’s certainly points to how much time he has put into it. As result, it just made it even harder for him to deal with because he felt like his efforts wasn’t coming to fruition when he needed it to.
Much to my relief, they touched on the roots of Akira’s shredded confidence and fear of failure. It came about after blowing a crucial baseball match that he knows his team (known to be a power house) should have won. The winning the tournament also had scholarships at stakes, and sadly, Akira believes most of them didn’t get anything because of his error. And although he was forgiven and the coach told him not to worry about, Akira tried to continue playing but what used to be fun for him turned into something painful, and he left the sport since. As result of that incident, Akira has been crippled by the fear of being the one responsible for letting people down again. And now, the fact this is a profession, the stakes are so much high and failure can cost them everything. That was the kind of weight that is keeping him from being able to move forward. And can you really blame him? When there’s stuff like scholarships, and now careers on the line, yeah that kind of weight of being the one to contribute to a loss is absolutely crushing. But it also goes without saying, letting something like that haunt him for as long as it has isn’t healthy either. It just serves to sabotage and cripple whatever he might have been otherwise interested in pursuing, and also prevents him from doing things that he enjoys.
Ultimately it was thanks to Chihiro that Akira was able to face his fears by challenging on how long he will run for, and putting it into perspective of what’s driving him. For Chihiro, he has no support for his dreams, that’s why he must succeed, and to do so, he must not let any opportunities slip past time. And when Chihiro talked about how he perceives Idols, it helps Akira remember why LEGIT’s performance resonated with him. It made him think that he could become the hero he always admired if he stood on that stage too, and regain all the things he had given up on. Remembering that was crucial to pulling Akira out of that slump of doom and gloom, as it was what inspired the resolve to become an idol.
And for that exact reason, Chihiro’s is probably my favourite character of the lot so far. He has been the group’s rock when it comes to facing their fears, challenging them when they are too afraid to challenge themselves. He was the one who ripped off Banri’s mask because he saw the guy was suffocating, and now he helped Akira remember his newfound drive to push through his fears. On top of that, he knows how to confront their fears tactfully, without coming across as haughty or unsympathetic.
I have to say, I did get a little emotional seeing how the three of them had the resolve to practice as much as they had together, it was so wholesome. The video calls so that they could all practice together during day and night not only helped them become even closer to one another, but also did wonders of helping each other make the strides they needed within the four day deadline they had left to for Akira to get up to part with the rest up them. It was just so heartwarming to see.
Overall I have to say this was a good way to return to the series. Admittedly I was a bit concerned about whether I’d still be interested in this show because it feels like it’s been a while since the last episode, but I’m happy to say that this episode did the group of reinforcing that interest.
I am also really glad that this episode didn’t just clear Akira’s backstory relating to why he behaves the way he does, but we also got the chance to learn about Fuga this week. Although he had been dancing since he was a kid, he actually he debuted as a model before becoming an idol. And as it turns out, during that time he had been given opportunities to sing songs as solo acts, but after a while, he started to think about what his value is as a product. Those kinds of train of thoughts can be quite harrowing, so it was pretty hard on him, but thanks to meeting Eishiro and Daiki, he has been able to keep going.
With that all said and done it, it looks like Lin is already planning to launch their unveiling– which I have to admit, feels a bit insane given how all I don’t think (apart from Chihiro), Banri, Akira are mentally prepared for it to happen this soon. Then again, it’s kind of hard to grasp how much time has passed since they’ve joined, and we’ve seen and been told they have been doing their vocal and dance lessons, and now having participated in LEGIT’s commercial as backup dancers, I suppose things have been speeding along more quickly than I had intially thought. Though I did wonder exactly when exactly they had planned to debut these guys given that this is only going to be a twelve episodes. Well, we’ll have to see what Lin has in store for them!