Oh my gosh, I wasn’t expecting to be swept by the sea of emotions this week!
After coming off from the announcement of preparing the reveal of Banri, Akira and Chihiro ahead of their debut, I definitely didn’t expect them to suddenly shift to covering Anela’s backstory this week. Admittedly, in the beginning of the episode I thought the arrangements between the past (covered in the documentary) and present (with the preparation for the new launch) to be a bit jarring, but fortunately by the end of it, I felt they were able to pull it together in a satisfying way. And for that reason, I ended up getting a lot more emotionally invested in this episode than expected! Damn you feels.
Before Anela had formed, Lin had been working in the acting industry since he was a child, and Maoto had been following his father’s footsteps of pursuing the path of a composer. Given their personalities, it was no surprise to see it was Lin who had asked to meet Maoto, and the moment they did, Maoto knew he had found someone who understood him, and the rest was history.
But their days as Anela came abruptly to an end following an accident that ruined Lin’s leg. (How it happened, they didn’t specify). It was heartbreaking to see Lin struggling with the frustration of being unable to dance on par of how he used to. That’s why it didn’t matter that he could still sing and eventually be able to walk without crutches again. He knew he could no longer meet not just the expectations of those who fell in love with the Anela that could flawlessly sing and dance, but most of all: his own satisfaction. That’s why, despite how much he loved being an idol, he didn’t feel comfortable with continuing on.
Luckily for him though, Maoto was the best partner he could ever ask for. Maoto knew he was struggling with his injury and was ready to support Lin in whatever decision he was going to make for their group going forward, and thus they retired. And gosh, there was such a beautiful depiction of Maoto’s love and support that in the ending card this week– it actually choked me up– ugh, MY EMOTIONS!!!!!!! Ugh, I just love their expressions and the way Maoto is embracing Lin, I have so many feelings about them!!!!!
Speaking of Maoto, although he has difficulty expressing himself in words, and finds it easier to do so with music, I think it goes without saying that he is the type whose action speaks louder than words. And we see that with the way he has carefully nurtured and tended the plant Lin had gifted him when they first formed Anela. It grew from a tiny potted plant, and a splendid bloom that needed a new and bigger pot. It really embodies the growth and tale of transitions for Anela as a group, as well as the formation of sMiLea Productions, which leads me to the next point!
As it turns out, it was Maoto who suggested they form sMiLea Production. It came about not too long after they’ve retired and Lin had mused while he didn’t know what he wanted to do yet, he knew he wanted to continue being involved with idols. And when they told Harumi about it, the woman didn’t even bat an eye to say she’ll leave Groovy and join them on the next chapter of their lives, what a QUEEN! They are so lucky to have her! It really goes to show how tight knitted these three are, and it would be an understatement to say they are basically family.
When one door closes, a new one opens, marking the next chapter of their lives as producers. They’ve now passed the baton onto LEGIT and JAXX/JAXX (formerly, Popping Zoo before Gakuto joined them), and next it will be Banri, Akira and Chihiro to receive it.
In regards to the trio’s reveal, well actually– that didn’t quite happen this week. Hilariously they only showed their silhouettes and the teaser for their name reveal was promptly cuff off with a cliffhanger. That was certainly one way to get everyone at the edge of their seats!
With that said, I am quite glad we got Anela’s backstory and they were the ones who actually drew my interest from the get-go during the premiere. But as they have taken the backseat now as producers, it makes sense why we don’t get to see them a whole lot now, so naturally I was pleased to be able to learn more about them. And after watching this episode, I have definitely grown more fond of Anela as a pair, and each of them individually.
I also found it greatly entertaining how Lin is my kindred spirit when it comes to sweets. The way he was looking at the deserts in the shop, and then buying a whole bunch to eat– yup that’s me. Though I have to admit I do feel a bit self-conscious and embarrassed about getting so many because I fear I’m being too greedy hahahahaha! BUT THERE NO REGRETS AFTER EATING THEM!
And lastly, it was interesting to see that Gakuto is actually the most recent member to join the newly formed JAXX/JAXX. And boy, we already knew he was a prankster with that spider stunt, but he has proven to be quite a troublemaker. My god— I couldn’t believe it, the audacity to not just take one, but Lin’s ENTIRE STASH of snacks?!?! Goodness… Lin’s gonna need to put a freaking lock on that cabinet and snacks box for extra measure!