Aion has been infected by a Dark Monster, which is feeding off any negative emotions inside of him and amplifying them. It’s a pretty easy task for it, given that he’s in ShinganCrimsonz and his band mates are constantly arguing and insulting each other and him. No one notices this because everyone is busy getting read for the Grateful Rock festival. There’s a slight hiccup with Plasmagica’s application – apparently they can’t qualify unless they’ve done at least one live show, and their Battle of the Bands with CritiCrista doesn’t seem to have counted since they lost. Maple decides that the logical thing to do is…have a rematch Battle of the Bands with CritiCrista.
During ShinganCrimsonz’s own preparations for the Grateful Rock fest, Aion finally snaps at them all, announces that he has quit the band and leaves…enraging Crow, who can’t stand the thought of anybody saying the Q word so lightly. Consumed by the dark energy, what does Aion do…?! He uh, stands on top of a building dramatically. For hours. Until Trichronika notice him in their helicopter and eventually notify Rom and Yaiba when they run out to search for him (but not before Syuzo drops a whole load more implied backstory between him and Rom). Then Rom punches Aion in the face and everyone is friends again. No, that’s actually what happened.
Hm. This episode was a little weak plot-wise, to be honest. I still enjoyed watching it a lot but after it finished, I couldn’t help feeling how almost comically anticlimactic the whole thing with Aion was. Having it as a cliffhanger in the last episode implied it was going to be a so much bigger deal than this, and I went through the whole episode waiting for him to change into a Dark Monster and for Cyan to need to defeat him. His possessed state culminating in him standing dramatically on a building was so ridiculous I actually laughed, although I laughed a lot more when Rom punched him in the face because at that point it was getting harder to tell if I was meant to be taking it seriously or not. It’s a pretty thin line when it comes to Aion after all – his whole character is a big Chuunibyou joke – in fact the only reason Rom was alerted to there being something off about him was the fact that he didn’t pose when he was speaking. (When searching for him, he describes him as being ‘a shut-in with a communication disorder who can’t speak unless he poses’, and again, I’m not sure if this is a serious revelation about Aion being autistic or another joke, although it could easily be both.) The whole incident was basically just a way to give ShinganCrimsonz their own little hurdle to overcome and grow closer to each other as a result, but it felt more half-assed and less sincere than Plasmagica’s incident before. But I’m a sap, so I did like seeing them all band together in that cheesy ‘no matter what, we’re a team!’ way in the end. But still – yet again, Cyan doesn’t get to fight monsters. (Props to her for theorizing immediately that Aion was infected by a dark monster, though. It’s really annoying in shows where things like that happen and no one figures it out until the last second.)
I was happy to see Trichronika again, although it’s more and more obvious that Syuzo’s charming front is an act, something even the Twins have picked up on. (I really want to know if there’s any backstory about how Syuzo met these twins and decided to make a band with them. The backstory between him and Rom is obvious, but I really like the twins) Syuzo is even intentionally an ass to Rom, what the hell. I imagine there will be a more in-depth flashback about what went down between them eventually.
Another thing revealed in this episode is that Strawberry Heart (Aka Mr Berry, Cyan’s guitar) is not always sentient, and sometimes ‘it’s like his spirit isn’t there’. Like its preoccupied somewhere else. His real identity is getting slightly more obvious, but I’ll still wait to see where it’s headed. However, I haven’t mentioned this before but Mr Berry often lapses into a feminine style of speaking, ending things with ‘wa yo’ (a speaking style that gives a lady-like impression, and also being the preferred style of ‘okama’, ie cross-dressing men). The official subtitles have been translated as ‘darlin’, and every time this happens, Cyan criticizes it, saying ‘stop talking so feminine!/big-sister like!’ I know Japan has rigid gender roles and all but this always struck me as bizarre – although mostly because it’s only ever Cyan that does it, and criticizing somebody’s method of speaking (or criticizing anything, really) just seems so out of character for her. But lately, I’m wondering if the only reason she does it is in order to draw attention to it…I’m not yet ruling out the possibility that it’s an important clue. That would be better than it being a pointless gag, anyway.
Problems with the plot of this episode aside there were certainly some great visual gags in it – such as Aion trying to make a dramatic entrance to band practice and banging his head on the door frame, and the end of Trichronika’s limo taking a hilariously long time to come into frame. It’s also nice to see that past the half-way point the usual visual punch is still all here – I really liked the scene where Plasmagica and ShinganCrimsonz ran around MidiCity looking for Aion, for example. However, now that we’re well and truly in the second half I’m getting a little more concerned about how the pacing is going to be handled, because it’s really going to affect the shows overall grade. Here’s hoping it makes it work.