A far better episode than the previous one and quite heart wrenching as well.
The boys are practicing hard for their Christmas concert but Kakeru stumbles across a huge number of letters in Tesshi’s office, spurning hatred and indignation towards Shounen Hollywood, and calling them sloppy seconds in comparison to the original idol group. While he doesn’t tell them, they all know that tickets aren’t quite selling out and this just creates a whole lot of tension amongst the group members. Tempers rise, especially against Makki, who is only trying to remain upbeat and positive, though his dancing and choreography aren’t up to standard. Shun and Kira get on his case a lot, calling him lame for thinking that positive thinking is going to outshine his bad dancing, and Kakeru, in his bitterness suggests that maybe Shounen Hollywood isn’t that ‘special place’ that Makki is looking for.
I didn’t quite like how everyone apart from Tomii ganged up on Makki, who was clearly trying his best to get himself ready for the concert and I thought the way they kept criticising his dancing was unnecessary because they’re obviously not going to help him by doing so. He leaves in a huff and doesn’t turn up to practice the next day, and Kakeru skived as well in order to hang out with his classmates. During practice, with just Tomii, Shun and Kira, the three wonder whether the concert is going to be able to go on with only three present members, but they all end up agreeing that no matter how many members they are and how many people are going to turn up, they’re not going to embarrass themselves, and strive to work until the very end. I still don’t like the obnoxious way they acted towards Makki, but I guess there’s always going to be times when people think they’re right even without reason.
The saddest part of the episode, though, was when Kakeru was out and noticed Makki handing out fliers to people. When he waved, though, Kakeru just rolled his eyes and walked away until he noticed a paper trail of thrown-away, stepped-on fliers on the ground. Upon picking one up, he realised that Makki had hand-drawn them and was manually trying to advertise the Christmas concert. He realises that he’s the only one who wasn’t working hard towards the concert, too down-trodden – understandable, of course – by the criticism they received from original Shounen Hollywood fans. It was a sad but harsh lesson and people, friends especially, are bound to be cruel to one another and get into fights, but I really felt for Kakeru and Makki in this episode and I really think that it was one of the best episodes to date in terms of expressing the brutality of stardom and the disappointment, anxiety and insecurities of young kids who are putting themselves out there.
This was such a different episode from the previous one and I was very impressed with the way the issues were handled. Only a couple more until the end and ultimately we’ll see Shounen Hollywood’s fate and what their futures might hold.