Episode 5 is… hard to watch, largely because Ayako’s story feels drawn out of real-world struggles with disordered eating and diet culture that are afflicting teenagers both in Japan and across the world, which are often born from institutions that seek to regulate and discipline female bodies. I cried when I read this arc in the prequel manga that Kageki Shojo!! draws from, and I teared up here as Ayako tried to do her best, but the floodgates well and truly opened when Mr. Onodera knocked on Ayako’s door and reminded her of her worth because… who hasn’t needed to be told that they matter, that they have something to be proud of, in spite of their body?
It’s not often that you see such a candid exploration of abuse in anime: it’s even less often that you see someone actually have to pay penance of sorts for being a problem. And like I said, it’s definitely not perfect: Ai is still living with her trauma, Mr. Stalker Otaku still retriggered her and ultimately can’t undo stalking her even if it was for an apology, and there’s a ways to go before Ai is able to reconcile with her own past and ongoing trauma.
I have high hopes for Kageki Shoujo!!, and feel confident that my gut feeling that this will be Summer 2021’s strongest show will play out like a grand ballet: fluidly, thrillingly, and beautifully week to week. That’s thanks to PINE JAM‘s animation, as well as the stellar voice acting from Sayaka Senbongi (Sarasa) and Yumiri Hanamori (Ai), both of whom convey just who these two girls are at their core. Those elements, combined with the other voice actresses, the music, animation, and sound design, really elevated Kageki Shoujo!! in my eyes, and make it an easy, “Why aren’t you watching this?!” kind of recommendation.
Idoly Pride Episode 12 pits Sunny Peace and Moon Tempest against each other in the Next Venus Grand Prix, only to end with a pleasant twist.REVIEW: ‘Idoly Pride,’ Episode 12 – “The Story That Begins With Goodbye — But Why Tho? A Geek Community
Idoly Pride Episode 11 changes perspective to Moon Tempest and Nagase Kotono, who is still struggling to be the kind of idol her late sister was.REVIEW: ‘Idoly Pride,’ Episode 11 – “A Place That Cannot Be Reached Alone” — But Why Tho? A Geek Community
Idoly Pride Episode 10 focuses on Tendo Rui, a member of competiting idol group TRINITYAiLE who dreams of going beyond Nagase Mana’s legacy.REVIEW: ‘Idoly Pride,’ Episode 10 – “A Place That Cannot Be Reached Alone” — But Why Tho? A Geek Community
Idoly Pride Episode 9 refocuses on the late Nagase Mana, a character whose shadow still covers Kotono and Sakura as they strive to be the best idols.REVIEW: ‘Idoly Pride,’ Episode 9 – “Embrace the Courage You’ve Been Given” — But Why Tho? A Geek Community
Idoly Pride Episode 8 kickstarts the final arc with major wins for Moon Tempest and Sunny Peace as well as character growth for unit leaders Kotono and Sakura.REVIEW: ‘Idoly Pride,’ Episode 8 – “You’re Good Just the Way You Are” — But Why Tho? A Geek Community
Idoly Pride Episode 7 steps back from the plot with an easy-going day off for the girls of Moon Tempest and Sunny Peace.REVIEW: ‘Idoly Pride,’ Episode 7 – “Shining Smile” — But Why Tho? A Geek Community
Idoly Pride Episode 6 gives viewers what we’ve all been waiting for: Sunny Peace and Moon Tempest’s big debut concert! Find out how they go here.REVIEW: ‘Idoly Pride,’ Episode 6 – “For a Precious Stage” — But Why Tho? A Geek Community