Shounen Hollywood: Episode 09

“Shining Pathetically”
「みっともない輝き」

SH 9 - 1 SH 9 - 2 SH 9 - 3 SH 9 - 4 SH 9 - 5 SH 9 - 6 SH 9 - 7 SH 9 - 8 SH 9 - 9 SH 9 - 10 SH 9 - 11 SH 9 - 12 SH 9 - 13 SH 9 - 14 SH 9 - 15 SH 9 - 16 SH 9 - 17 SH 9 - 18 SH 9 - 19 SH 9 - 20

Yet another episode that resonates quite poignantly to a lot of lost, wandering people who don’t really know what they want out of life.

This was probably an episode I’ve been waiting for because it focuses on Shun, voiced by the lovely Ono Kensho, whom I love, and I think Shun has been my favourite character so far, due to his often dry remarks and sometimes sulky personality. It’s not spoilt, but rather unsatisfied with his situation and the things happening around him, but he doesn’t quite know how to get out of the rut yet.

Shachou has given a number of companies the use of Shounen Hollywood, which leads them to star in a number of C-listed shows and advertisements and game shows that only get aired at 2am or later. While the others are initially embarrassed by having to do such low-class jobs, they figure that it’s only a means to an end, and Tesshi reminds them all that every idol has to go through menial work on their way to the top. This doesn’t satisfy Shun one bit, and he actually ends up skipping his lessons one day in order to audition with his guitar and possibly get accepted by another music agency. The first thing they look at, though, is not his music or his lyrics, but the fact that he’s quite a good-looking guy and I think this really depresses him even more.

His frustration comes to a head during another game show, where he and the other boys are treated like crap by those running the show, and he meets former Shounen Hollywood member, Oosaki Kou in the dressing room. Kou blithely reassures Shun that all this embarrassing work he’s doing at this age is really nothing to feel ashamed of because he’s still young and still going to ‘shine’ no matter what they get him to do. But Shun, frustrated and depressed, blows up that he’s sick of all of it and all he wants to do is write songs and perform for people. And that’s when Kou really cuts him down – in a very nice, but blunt way – and asks whether that’s what he really wants to do, because if he did, he’d be singing songs on the roadside, no matter what. He tells Shun that maybe all he really wants is fame and popularity, for girls to swoon over him and for people to admire him. You can really see Shun get smaller and smaller in the face of the cutting truth, but it pauses when Kou admits that that’s what he was like at their age. He understands that it’s hard but that those who work hard despite this duality somehow manage to shine in their own right in the end and find something else along the way.

Needless to say, it’s sort of a happy ending; Shun apologises to Shachou and continues his role in Shounen Hollywood, admitting to Shachou and Tesshi that all he wants is to be famous, to be adored and fawned over, and Shachou distantly reminisces on a certain other individual having said something very similar a long time ago.

I won’t say that I disagree with the contrived ending; people do get a boost of confidence when someone tells them the right things. But I just wish that it was made clear that this hope isn’t going to last and that it’s going to need boosting again and again. People don’t change overnight, and I wish that was brought across in this episode, especially with this scenario. Nevertheless, I think there are still some deep things to take from this episode and they’re very relatable to people in lots of different circumstances. So I did enjoy this episode in the sense that it struck true to a lot of things people are going through, I just wish it maintained that atmosphere all the way through to the end.

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