At last we finally meet the mysterious Escalator Girl.
Here’s my review!
I will say I was a bit caught off guard as to what to expect from this new girl. My initial impressions of her when we see her on the escalator a few eps ago, then seeing her last week had me totally imagining something else when her reveal finally came around, but after this ep she’s totally not what I expected, but that’s not a bad thing at all. If anything, she’s actually a very welcome addition. But who is she though? Let’s jump in and meet Akari Ooshiro!
Akari is an idol. Well… kinda. She wants to be an idol again like she was back in the day but this time instead of being in drink commercials, she wants to be on the cover of beach volleyball magazines as the Valkyrie Cup champion. All in all it’s not a bad goal to work towards, striving to be like the great ones, but for Akari it seems like she’s only interested in the being famous part of it all, not so much the actual game. It’s something Kanata picks up on which is key to the plot of this ep.
Instead of going with the trial membership to the beach volleyball club, Akari wants all in right off the start. She’s even bought a swimsuit and everything. Nice to see that type of motivation right off the bat. But, as soon as she meets Claire and Emily, things take a sudden turn. She wants to pair up with one of them and form a strong team that will carry her to the cover of magazines and the fame and fortune that await her. Of course that’s not going to happen, though as the Thomas girls are already spoken for so they can’t break their team to join a newbie like this. It hits hard for Akari as her beach idol dream is sudden dead in the water. She storms off, completely defeated. Oh and she forgot her bag too.
The middle part really brings this ep to life in terms of the plot, which is actually pretty heartfelt when you think about it. As energetic and bubbly as Akari is, she’s actually quite lonely. In fact, she doesn’t have any friends at school, as Haruka and Kanata learn when they go try to return her bag. It’s surprising to hear, given that she’s a local girl widely known for being in a commercial for a local drink, so you’d think she’d be the most popular girl in the school. A classmate of hers actually says something really interesting though regarding this. Pretty much since she’s been a local celebrity since she was a little girl, her classmates feel she probably doesn’t want to be friends with any of them. They feel that she gives off too much of a mature vibe that she must not need regular old friends like most girls her age have. It reminds Kanata of Narumi when she first transferred to her school and how she gave off a similar vibe that turned people off from her. But the reality of it all is that she wanted to make friends, she wanted to talk with her classmates but because of this preconceived idea everyone had about her, they never interacted with her that much, which in turn made it hard for her to reach out to them.
So really, Akari just wants to make friends and this chance she has at becoming a beach volleyball star has now just struck out. Her master plan to finally be the most popular girl in the school has failed and now she’s back to square one, which involves eating lunch alone in the stairway. Maybe to some it comes across as a little cheesy, another plot about a character trying to make friends, but honestly it’s an important part of growing up and life in general. Kanata sees this situation Akari is in and wants to help her somehow, while Haruka was a little apprehensive she still agreed to help out too.
Really quickly I need to mention the whole Haruka blowing into Kanata’s ear scene. Wow, I didn’t see that coming. Haruka sure knows how to get some payback on Kanata for taking advantage of her weak spot in the last ep. She also adds a little something to the tune of, “I’m your girlfriend now, so stop bringing up Narumi all the time.” I mean, she’s got a point. Anyways though, these two make such a great couple. I love seeing them do these little couple-y things like this, ahh I love these girls so much!
The back half of the ep as per usual is the volleyball part. Much like how Kanata invited Narumi out to play some beach volleyball, she’s doing pretty much the same with Akari. Although this time it’s more of a bet than anything, but the heart of the matter is she’s inviting her out to play. Akari also reminds us to always apply sunscreen before spending long amounts of time out in the sun. Wow.
The bet between Akari and Kanata was one Kanata knew from the moment she made it that she would win. Akari’s volleyball skills are practically 0, so every shot she makes is extremely easy for a veteran player like Kanata to read. In the end it’s a blow out win for Kanata, but the score was never the point of this whole match. As Haruka explains, sports are a great way to draw closer to other people. She grew up playing lots of sports and made a lot of friends in doing so, today was another example of that. So while she might not admit it right away, Akari is grateful for the gesture Kanata, along with the rest of the club, has made towards her in taking the time to hang out with her for the afternoon and play a casual game of volleyball, so in turn she decided to fill out the application and join the club.
We end with 5 of them out for a walk the following day and running into a familiar face on the beach. Marissa Thomas. Yes it’s finally time for The Hype Twins’ mom to make her appearance. The Hype Mom is here!
So there you have it, another wonderful ep that also had some heartfelt moments too. See, it’s not all fan service in this show. Anyways it was great to finally meet Akari and get to know her a bit and what she’s all about. I have a feeling she might end up being a manager or something of the team as it was hinted at by Kanata at the end of the ep, and also because there are two teams already and I’m pretty sure no more characters are joining the cast, so with this uneven number it would make sense she would fill a position such as manager or something like that. But we’ll have to wait and see how that all plays out.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts on this ep, so feel free to leave a comment here or hit me up on Twitter and we can talk about this ep and how great it was.
And before I end, I’d like to extend a huge thanks and shout out to my man Joe for letting me use a lot of the pics and gifs he made in my review. Be sure to give him a visit over on his blog and check out his thoughts on this ep. I also pulled some additional gifs from a Google search, the site they originated from being this one.
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you right back here next week!
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