Kumiko hears about everything first, and Reina is consistently the voice of reason. This time it’s Asuka in the drama spotlight – with an issue all to real for many in high school and beyond.
We’ve had some idea that this was coming for a while now. Asuka has been a pretty mysterious character beyond her ever-lively exterior until this point. There were slight hints towards her more complicated side that were occasionally well-placed, and other times not so much. It’s about time that we sorted it all out.
What we have here is a classic helicopter parent – which would be cool if that had any relation to actual helicopters, but it does not. It’s just the new way of saying a parent is hovering over their child, continuously monitoring and ready to swoop in at any moment to take control. A lot of people are under the assumption that this has been a purely recent trend in parenting, but I assure you that as long as there have been parents there have been those that want control over their child’s life. And it usually goes the same way every time, with varying degrees of seriousness – “you will be a doctor”, “her grades are my concern too”, “you can’t be friends with them”, “you can’t eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting.” OK that last one might not be bad advice. But on the whole it can be quite problematic for a growing individual to learn how to make their own decisions and be happy with what they are doing. Asuka seems to be somewhere in the middle of standing up for herself and going along with it, but we don’t really get a true resolution here! And although her mom was sorry for hitting her, I feel as if Asuka is doing this on her own accord now with the turnaround of feeling sorry for her mother. Don’t let yourself be guilt-tripped.
The less blatantly dramatic story of this episode, and far more interesting one to me, is the president grappling with her position and how everyone is reacting to Asuka’s problems – but even more importantly, taking charge! Her solo in the performance at the end (once again by a professional) was an outstanding display of growth for her character. It’s that heartwarming vibe that this show does better than anything else of recent memory. This still doesn’t change the fact that I can’t remember her name…
Finishing with the technical aspects of the episode (visuals are still fantastic obviously), the musical performance at the station shines as another masterpiece of animation and direction. These kind of genre-specific shows aren’t usually all about their actual genre but rather the characters living it, and despite the fact this series is very much on that level it manages some of the most fantastic genre set-pieces possible. Great production value all around makes for a great series.
Summary: Asuka’s drama takes center stage leading up to the performance at the station. And once again the music hits all the right notes.
– Don’t let anyone tell you to quit what you love.
– Lots of nice establishing shots here, and here.
– Her mom might be sorry, but the feeling has been planted.
– Once again Kumiko sees and knows everything.
– Wasn’t this the friend sad about losing? Marching band won I guess.
– How is a collection of band geeks imposing?
– Nobody really plays the soprano sax in high school.
– That was one badass solo indeed.