The girls find themselves in the former Imperial Captial, and once again in the thick of a fight between powerful Bests. Their lack of power is painfully noted as the kidnapping of a Best sees them quickly marginalized. However their luck may change, as the people of Kyoto treat Moonlight Stones as cursed objects, and they are told a stockpile might be lying somewhere in the area.
I want to keep liking Rolling Girls, but they have been making it a hard job as of late. After last episode, there still is this overwhelming feeling that this show would be infinitely better if our titular girls were replaced with some other main character, or if the anthologies were just let to run by themselves without the need for these milquetoast girls (and Ai) as viewpoint characters in the first place. Every problem I’ve had with Nozomi, Chiaya, and most especially Yukina is magnified by the way they’re treated in this episode. Again we see the girls cower in the presence of the power of real Bests, and no matter how much spunk Ai’s got, she can never match their inherent advantage.
This is not to say that having the girls need to be Bests, but what it does mean is that the girls need to have more going for them. One thing that does seem to be changing is that they are not getting blown away by Best blasts the way normal people do. Is there a possibility one can build up a resistance to the power? That kind of development would actually cool. Elsewhere, to be truly effective as mediators they have to have abilities that would actually help them negotiate with people. With the characters we get, they have no presence and lack any kind of wile or savvy that would allow them to manipulate events and mediate conflicts. Instead we get a nice girl who can’t get anyone to listen to her, a quiet girl who just creeps everyone out for no apparent reason, a girl who’s only personality trait is getting lost, and a willful girl with an unfortunate lack of brains. It’s no secret that Ai is my favorite of the girls, and that’s because time and time again she’s been the one to try and improve their situation or fight back against their enemies. If she were to become a Best I feel like her fighting alone would make this show a lot more enjoyable. It would work to even just have them keep the power as a good bit of insurance. Rodger Smith was a good Negotiator, but he still had his giant robot.
That said, at least the show remains incredibly pretty, this time continuing the roadtrip further westward into Kansai. The Bests remain engaging and colorful, and as always there is a new twist on the crisis the town is facing. This time, instead of two regions in conflict over the right to rule, it’s two gangs in a clash of cultures. I find it interesting that this is the first area to think of the Moonlight Stones’ appearance as a bad thing considering their incredible destructive power. It also seems we’ve finally confirmed the reason why the form: strong emotions. We’ve seen them pop up a few times in times of near death, but now that we know they can form just from rock concerts, it finally seems to imply simply a connection to emotions, and also that it is not an uncommon event anymore. One must wonder if anyone is exploiting this fear to hoard the stones much in the same way Tokorogawa is. With the newest Takumi threat coming in the form of Buddha missiles, I’m looking forward to whatever weird escalation these weapons bring.