Alright… so this is definitely not where I expected this episode to go. We come back from an incredibly emotional episode where Aqua reveals that MEM-cho was the one to set out looking for Akane since she hadn’t come back after going out in the typhoon. Makes sense since MEM-cho did seem like she was the most worried for Akane. Thankfully Aqua was smart enough to figure out where she’d be just in time. And as I expected, he knew that if he didn’t act quickly when it was obvious that Akane was in a dire emotional state, things really would have turned out terribly.

I do like that they bring up that getting hate online is nothing new, especially for entertainers, but there are just some people who are not capable of taking the heat on things, especially if they accidentally make a mistake like Akane did. Not to mention that those sorts of comments would certainly effect you more when you’re not emotionally or mentally up for it. And it’s also a factor that Akane is still just a child and teenagers especially are incredibly sensitive to being hated and not being accepted by others. And I think Kana’s statement of the “illusion of your life is over” is a good way to explain the situation. But it also worrying that she must have been susceptible to such thoughts as well through her career. It’s honestly sad how people’s words can have such an effect on our emotional and mental states. Not to mention just how despicable people are so quick to gang up and bully others with a twisted sense of justice when they don’t even know the fully story on things.

My heart did go out to Akane during her interrogation with her mom desperately wanting to know why she didn’t tell her all this was happening to her. And I definitely felt it when she told her mom she didn’t want to worry her. It’s clear both of them care so much for each other, but Akane is still developing and didn’t know how she could communicate it to her mom. Which is sad, but hopefully they do get to work on their communication and be able to depend on each other when they need to. I even teared up when Yuki ran up to her crying before hugging her in relief. I’m honestly glad that Akane is surrounded by such supporting people right now and that none of them have ill intent and genuinely get along and care for each other. Which I’m sure contributed to her wanting to tough it out and finish filming since I’m sure if she were surrounded by people that didn’t like her or treated her poorly… I feel things would have been so much worse.

While I agree with Aqua over how the production staff and the people online were despicable to push Akane so far, I’m not sure how I feel about putting Akane’s suicide attempt into the eyes of the public. I definitely had the same feeling as Miyako when she found out what Aqua had done. While I do understand the want to show people what their bullying has done, there are definitely going to be those who feel no remorse and continue bashing on her and take her suicide as an attention seeking stunt. I do feel like this could have been handled with a bit more discretion or at least more privately. Especially if it could be triggering for that person to see someone else talk about their suicide attempt. It’s a pretty big gamble on Aqua’s part if not slightly insensitive. But honestly, what else is new with this guy.

The idea that I did like, however, was the cast members essentially putting together a “behind the scenes” type of video for the public to see. That for sure would at least curve the hatred a bit and see just how genuinely the cast gets along. I figured MEM-cho would be the one to upload the video in the end since she is the biggest internet influencer on the cast, not to mention the person who was the most worried for Akane through out the whole thing. She also does a great job in explaining how the haters are generally not the majority and are also just a very loud minority. The majority however tend to just stay silent and watch how things unfold before taking a side so to speak. So if they were to show them irrefutable evidence that shows that things were staged and Akane is not the villain so many people have made her out to be, while it won’t get rid of all the hating, it can help sway the majority’s opinion on the matter.

But oh my gosh… so Yuki was still keeping in mind where the cameras were and wasn’t AS genuine as I thought. But the fact she remains that she still cares for Akane so I suppose there’s that lol. So there were STILL fixed cameras rolling despite the majority of cameras being shut off after the slap happened. However, upon finding out that the crew DID have the footage of their makeup but specifically chose to not use it was definitely foul. It’s honestly disgusting how they’re willing to basically use Akane as the scapegoat just so that the bashing doesn’t get directed towards the show itself and only they framed her as the villain to get a reaction from viewers. Uncaring how this could emotionally effect a 17 year old girl. While Aqua was talking to one of the staff members, at first it seemed like this guy was just a scumbag who didn’t care about trampling over others if it meant good ratings. It definitely became a clash of business over emotions at a certain point and I found it so interesting how Aqua’s star eye went from dark to light when he appealed to the staff member’s morality of an adult protecting a kid. It was almost as if his manipulation tactics were not the right way in this instance and instead, he chose to be genuine and spoke from his heart without any ulterior motives. Which definitely doesn’t happen often.

Also dear goodness, they basically made Aqua pull several all nighters to get the video done. But it definitely was for a good cause. And I’m sure that video meant a lot to Akane since it also showed her how much her cast mates care for her and all of the good times they’ve shared on the show so far. Something I’m sure she needed to see since all the recent negativity must have blind-sided her. Thankfully, the video turned out to be a success as it helped viewers see the real Akane and not the perceived villain a lot of people pegged her as. And as Aqua said, online criticism never truly goes away, it at least has become bearable to be able to continue on without being criticized every step you take. On one hand, it did feel like the situation got resolved really fast. However, how it was handled did feel believable and I am glad it was done peacefully without too many dirty tactics. Everything about how things are handled do have an underlying sense of manipulation. Even I’m not fully sure what is acceptable and what is not in terms of how manipulation is used. In in this instance however, it does feel a bit more acceptable since they were trying to show who Akane genuinely is and not build a narrative. They didn’t cast blame on the TV show or point any fingers at anyone, they were just honest. It is sad how tone and intent are often lost when posted on the internet and everyone have to be really careful on what they say in fear of it being taken the wrong way. It’s a harsh truth, but definitely something to always be mindful of.

Now that Akane is officially returning to the program, the others suggest she play a character rather than be herself. Since if she were to get criticism, it would be towards the character and not her personally. Akane had been herself through the majority of the reality show and didn’t have the proper armor to protect herself when she was dealt with intense negative feedback. Though I do wonder why she didn’t act to begin with since she was a professional actress… but I digress. Anyways, Akane becomes determined to act like the type of girl Aqua likes, who they happen to pinpoint as “someone” like Ai. I was about to respect Akane’s resolve and researching skills… but then it got kinda scary. Paired with the fact she was doing this research in a dark room and just how much she got just from her research. Not to mention the slow shift to a foreboding soundtrack. It started sounding more like an obsession rather than simple research. And my gosh, it was so unsettling in that one frame where her eyes were devoid of light with all the Ai images in the background. I know she’s taking her role as an actress seriously… but it feels like she’s trying to become Ai rather than just play a character. And that scares me. But then I got incredibly spooked when the next day of filming started, she acted EXACTLY like Ai down to her tone of voice, mannerisms, the way she moves, even down to the freaking stars in her eyes. There’s no denying now that she is a great actress, but everything that happened near the end freaking scares me. I was right to be wary of her at the start. Also I couldn’t help but notice when she started thinking about taking on the roll of a girl Aqua likes, she went from walking in the sun into the shadows and never came back out in that scene. <_<

I went from feeling indifferent towards Akane but overall empathy towards her situation, to being freaking scared of her. That whole last part was so unsettling. She definitely took a turn I wasn’t expecting and I’m not particularly on board with her specifically. I just got bad vibes from her upon seeing her for the first time. I didn’t expect THIS. And from the look Aqua was giving her, he too had not expected this and also looks to be quite unsettled by the uncanny resemblance as well. To me, that didn’t look like a look of awe, it looked like it was distress and disbelief. He certainly has to eat his words after this, for better or for worse. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait two weeks to see how this all plays out since we won’t be getting a new episode next week.


A passionate yet somewhat awkward individual who just wants to talk about anime