While this episode’s pacing felt a bit weird in the first half, there are quite a few things to talk about, such as all the different set ups that could lead to good or bad things in the future. To start off, Iori is trying to gauge what do with the knowledge of Riku’s charm point. Not going to lie, I really am not a fan of Iori’s obsession with Riku. It always bugged me how Iori would favor Riku and give him special treatment despite this being a group and not a solo act. It makes me uncomfortable sometimes due to it feels like it’s toeing the line similiar to that of Kujo’s obsession with Zero. I do hope we get some more development out of Iori since he seems to be stuck in this role of revolving around Riku’s circumstances while completely neglecting himself as an individual.
While Idolish7 is doing really well for themselves with having two radio shows (to which the dynamic between Riku and Nagi is something I wish we could get more of since they seem to bounce off each other fairly well), Trigger has been having it quite rough. Just as Banri had warned when they were looking for venues, while they would be pretty popular in their street performances, the crowd would unfortunately bother the neighboring businesses or people living in the area. So much that a venue ended up not allowing them to perform there again. Which is incredibly frustrating, especially when Trigger is desperately trying to get their names back out there. Unfortunately, so many things are getting in their way. Even when Riku brings them up in conversations on shows, it just ends up getting edited out. It just feels like a losing battle and understandably disheartening. The only way for them to be able to perform without worry is if they could book a larger venue, which unfortunately costs a lot of money that they don’t currently have. Which inevitably leads back to Ryu asking for Sogo to try and work things out with his family due to the venue they were interested in performing at was part of the FSC.
I love Ryu, but even I was getting a little frustrated with how pushy he seemed to be towards Sogo’s family situation especially when he doesn’t know all of the details. I know his heart is in the right place, but he really needs to learn that not all families are able to reach an understanding, even if you do talk to them. I could hardly blame Tamaki for getting angry on Sogo’s behalf because he’s right, Ryu DOESN’T understand what it’s like to deal with a terrible family. Ryu has been blessed to have been born into a very loving family, but trying to force his beliefs on someone who didn’t grow up in similar circumstances just felt rather insensitive. In some cases, talking it out with a parent does end up working, like it did with Yamato. However, even then, the circumstances were still very different compared to Sogo’s. Which is probably why Yamato didn’t say anything since I’m sure he wants to help Sogo, but he also knows that every family problem is different and there isn’t one sure fire way to settle it.
Also I love the shot of where Tamaki was disagreeing with Ryu about how “it’s best for families to get along,” the camera is focusing on Tenn and Gaku, to which both come from “broken” families. Which does beg the question as to why Ryu is only pushing for Sogo to make up with his family but not Gaku or Tenn who both have very complicated relationships with certain members of their family.
Both Tamaki and Ryu bring up fair points, but they’re not completely right either. They only have their own experiences to go off of and not everyone’s situations fit into that mold. Both of them were trying to force their beliefs onto Sogo, which didn’t feel very fair to him. Especially when the thought of his family brings him a lot of anxiety. I’m glad that Tenn was able to deescalate the situation by taking Tamaki on a shopping trip. I’ve really come to like Tenn and Tamaki’s dynamic, which is a shame because we don’t get to see it very often with them being in different groups. However, out of everyone in the cast, even Riku, Tenn seems to be a bit more soft when he’s dealing with Tamaki. And as I said in a previous post, Tenn does seem to be a bit more open when he talks to Tamaki, even if he still leaves certain reasons out. Though I feel like it says a lot that out of everyone, it’s Tamaki that Tenn chooses to disclose his plan on becoming Zero so he can put an end to Kujo’s dreams. Which is a bit alarming with how he isn’t saying he’ll surpass Zero but will become him. What does that mean, sir??? I’m almost a bit disappointed that we didn’t see Tamaki’s reaction to that. And it makes me wonder if Tamaki will share this with the others or keep it a secret. Though from the after credit scene, it seems as if he hasn’t told anyone else yet.
This conversation with Tenn also just highlights how young Tamaki is with how simple he is and is going through a lot of complicated feelings. On one hand, he is trying to protect Sogo’s feelings, but he’s also scared that if Sogo does end up making up with his family, he would be losing someone he considers family again. And taking into account of what Tamaki went through growing up, it does make sense for him to feel incredible anxiety over being alone or left behind again. And with what happened with Aya, it also makes sense why he would be more desperate for Sogo to stay. To Tamaki, it feels like everyone he saw as family are choosing to be with others rather than him. Which definitely wouldn’t feel good in any aspect. I’m glad that Tenn didn’t make any excuses, didn’t criticize him and just listened and apologized when needed while also comforting him in his own way. Which is something Tamaki probably needed at that moment. There is a time and place for criticism, but right now, Tamaki needed understanding and a safe place to vent his feelings.
Speaking of Tenn, while the source may not be completely reliable it still seems plausible that Tenn willingly let himself get adopted by Kujo in order to pay for Riku’s medical expenses. Something, I’m sure that Riku wasn’t expecting and most likely feels incredible guilty for not even thinking. This basically goes along with the theme of how Tenn always gives even at the cost of himself, while Riku always takes without realizing. In hindsight, Riku did act kind of like a spoiled child who only thought of how he felt and not at all how Tenn must have felt. Granted, they were kids at the time and something like that must have been very scarring. But I am glad that Riku at least realizes that what Tenn did wasn’t out of ill will, but did it for him. So I suppose it will be interesting to see what he does knowing all this moving forward. Because Tenn really has done A LOT for Riku’s sake.
I know everyone hates Ryo and if he were just this one dimensional psychopath for the sake of being a psychopath, I probably would hate him too. However, it’s when he has these small moments that hints as to why he’s like this that makes him a very interesting character to me. That moment where he suddenly related to Riku was both intriguing that he seemed to actually connect with someone on a more personal level and also terrifying. Ryo doesn’t take interest in people personally since he isn’t able to understand them emotionally. So the fact that he seemed to be able to actually relate to Riku’s feelings about being left out of decision making must have meant a lot to him. He honestly acted like someone who found another person with common interests for the first time with how he wanted to talk more with him if it wasn’t for Toma’s intervention. We KNOW that when something interests Ryo, he hones in on it. So what that means for Riku is left up in the air at the time but it’s guaranteed to be nothing good. I already knew that Ryo would take an interest in Riku since I’ve looked into things way before this season came out so I knew that much and I thought it would be because of Riku’s ability to draw people in without realizing. But I didn’t think that he would develop an emotional attachment to Riku. So that was definitely an interesting surprise. Though it was pretty unsettling how he started looking more into Riku and even started copying him.
But man, I as much as I want to feel bad for Toma, I just can’t right now. He let his pettiness get the best of him and put himself into this situation. While I do appreciate that he helped Riku get away from Ryo, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes when he seemed surprised that Ryo would threaten him for getting in his way. Like, bruh, did you not think this sort of thing would happen? You KNOW Ryo is dangerous and his mood changes at a drop of a hat. Did you honestly not think that if you got in his way in any kind that he wouldn’t threaten you? He’s not abiding your wishes, YOU’RE abiding his. And as long as their goals align, he wouldn’t mess with him. It makes me wonder how far Toma is willing to go before taking a step forward against Ryo or if at all. I want to like him, but his current mindset rubs me the wrong way and he has a lot to make up for. Either way, he’s going to have to learn the hard way that his decisions have consequences and he’s just now starting to see that.
This episode definitely gave us a lot of things to think about. Not only with the heavy topics that I discussed earlier, but it also begs the question of just how are people going to view idols from now on with how much spotlight is being shown on ZOOL who hardly care about their fans. And I think it’s fair for Yamato to worry just where ZOOL is steering idol culture. With how quickly people were to turn their backs on Trigger, it’s understandable how much anxiety it places on other idol groups. But despite all the heavy topics, there were still moments of levity sprinkled throughout the episode. I absolutely lost it over how much Sogo was able to earn by investing as a kid. Especially with how the music cut out once he said it XD. Things are definitely going to get messy though, considering how Sogo is now determined to try and talk with his parents at the after credit scene. Not to mention who knows what will happen with Ryo’s attention now turned towards Riku.
Off topic, but I’m so sad I won’t get to cover the “Pen Situation” since it looks like it will be covered next week. I’m a little bummed since that was one of the highlights for me when I was reading the game story. >_< (If you know, you know)