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Days later and Sapphire is still feeling responsible for Hazuki’s hurt feelings. After a quick pep talk from Hazuki, everyone focuses back on the audition.
Fresh off of Hazuki’s rejection and Reina and Kumiko’s date, I wondered where exactly the show was heading. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised the answer was back to business as usual. If it weren’t for Sapphire, you’d hardly tell the last episode happened at all. I’m glad they took the time to show how what happened last episode would affect her as much as Hazuki. It’s incredibly mature of Hazuki to try and overcome her heartbreak not only for her sake, but to cheer up Sapphire. I’m still worried that the scenes talking about Kumiko and Shuichi are going to try and backpedal on the relationship development we’ve already seen.
Thankfully, Reina gets some time to say her own piece. This show has done a good job at showing the friction created by the social hierarchy of Japanese high school. Kumiko has hinted to some trauma over jealous seniors, but she can’t afford to let that get in her way now. She finally knows that Reina has her back, and perhaps that was really all the push she needed. Knowing the one person that cared about performance the most believed in her had to at least help. It’s been pretty clear that Natsuki isn’t jealous of Kumiko’s ability, more that she finally feels regret about her own lack of discipline, and that she wished to also compete at her and Asuka’s level.
I can’t say the same about Reina. While Natsuki was a true slacker before the band’s revitalization, Kaori has always prided herself on her ability. Seeing that actually lost to an upstart first-year might finally break the shell of niceties she’s given towards Reina thus far. I think the great thing about having KyoAni animate a show like this is their ability to tell a lot through simple body language. Kaori started out confident and friendly, but every scene in this episode she seems visibly shaken by the possibility that Reina might be better than her, a possibility that is finally made reality by the end. Who knows what might happen to Reina now that she’s been thrust into the spotlight.