Announcement: I regret to announce that we’re going to have to drop our coverage of Fate/Stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works Season 2. This isn’t regarding the quality of the show itself (it actually did improve from its first episode), but the timing. Both me and Junko will be far too busy in the next two months and I did actually consider dropping Show By Rock!! as well, but I’ll continue it for as long as I can cos it’s fun and relatively easy to write about.
As for why I’m busy – firstly, I just found out I’ve been accepted to work at a camp in the USA for about 2 months, which is going to take a lot of preparation. It runs from early June to late July – and then, not long after I return is Sydney’s SMASH convention which I’ll hopefully be tabling at again in the artist circle. If so, I’m going to need to get all my preparation for that done before I leave for the US, which will make me busier still. So again, apologies to anybody who was looking forward to or enjoyed the coverage of this show – I’m still going to watch it, and might do some kind of writeup about it when I return.
Obviously this also affects the First Impressions for the season that begins in July. Since Junko will also be absent (working at the same camp I will be, actually, as well as preparing to move to Japan in late July) it’ll be up to Skins and Ariana, and how much they’re willing/able to review is entirely up to them. I would apologize for what will likely be a drop in blog content but hey, this blog has always been a hobby, never a job or an obligation, and it will never take priority over such things.
Anyway, back to my cute animal girls.
It’s time for Cyan’s first performance with Plasmagica! They’ve been given a gig as part of a Battle of the Bands with a rival agency – and their opponent band is the famous idol group Criticrista. While the Plasmagica girls are initially excited, their confidence soon takes a plunge as they realize how good Criticrista is (not to mention their legions of otaku fanboys). Least confident of all is Retoree, who had intially joined Plasmagica with the hopes of making friends. Given that she is still too awkward to have truly made friends with the others, she becomes stressed to the point where she wants to give up.
Cyan, however, is determined to make her first live performance with Plasmagica a good one and eventually overcomes her own shyness of talking to the others in order to help everyone do their best.
I was hoping we’d get to see Cyan perform soon, and this episode makes a pretty decent introduction to the concept. It’s a little cheesy and predictable that she is the one to cohesively band Plasmagica together and fix the problems they didn’t notice, but the plot still works. It also hints more at the fact that Cyan is a musical genius – since she knew exactly how to improve everybody’s performance.
I actually do like the fact that Plasmagica are so disjointed and barely really know each other, because I feel like this kind of thing is rare in these kind of shows. Usually, everyone just automatically seems to be best friends and we’re supposed to take that for granted. Here, they’re a group of girls who are friendly to each other on a surface level but don’t seem to know each other very well at all. Retoree’s plight is given the most attention in this episode and it was done rather decently – merely joining a group was not the answer to her troubles in finding friends when she doesn’t even know how to actually talk to them. While I wouldn’t exactly be calling her the best representation of someone with social anxiety in anime, she’s definitely presented as more believable than ‘generic shy girl’ to me. And again, it’s nice to have a ‘nice’ tsundere character because it feels like forever. I’ve forgotten how much I actually love the tsundere trope since it’s been used on way too many awful characters lately. Basically yeah I still love Retoree the best and would buy a nendoroid of her in a heartbeat.
There’s also Moa, who potentially only views her bandmates as alien specimens – it’s unclear if she does view them as friends or has any emotional attachment to them yet. Chuchu, who seemed to be the most gentle and together of the group, has a very determined streak that suggests that although she may not necessarily dislike the other girls, she’s still viewing them as necessities for her to be able to make it to the top rather than friends. Undoubtedly it will be Cyan who ends up making the girls realize they are all best friends forever and I imagine this will actually be one of the main plot threads in the show. I did wonder before how they’d stretch out a rhythm game into a full series, but this is a key possibility.
I also like that, despite Cyan’s best efforts, they didn’t win. They did they best, had a great time, and still lost, but everyone was okay with that because it was a graceful loss rather than a humiliating one. Given that I expected them to win, this actually surprised me, and was a nice bit of ‘realism’….because lets be real, no matter how good Plasmagica are, and even though they are clearly better than the Generic Anime Popstars Criticrista…Criticrista are the ones with the legions of scary otaku fanboys who will stand by them no matter what. Hey, maybe you can take this as commentary on idol groups always clogging up music charts in Japan solely due to the frightening loyalty of their fans.
As for whatever big danger exists in MidiCity, there’s still no update on that. We still havent seen a big music monster since the first episode. I don’t mind, though, the performances were fun and the promise of the prospective character development of Plasmagica is also a huge plus for me.