It’s finally time to put the spotlight on the shy pink haired girl of the group and get to know her better. It’s time for The Mask!

Continuing on the journey of the Nijigasaki girls, we’ve now arrived at Rina “The Mask” Tennoji and it’s finally time to see how this mask came to be a thing. It’s pretty easy to tell Rina is a shy girl and not one to talk a whole lot. I think up to this ep she really didn’t say too much in the previous 5 eps, aside from a few lines here and there, but this week she finally opened up and spoke her mind, expressing herself to the rest of the group as she strives to change.

I think her story will be relatable for a lot of people as I know it can be hard to properly express yourself to others and be confident about yourself. It comes easy for some and not so much for others, as is the case for Rina, but her way of working around this is what makes her story so encouraging to watch. We start the flashback with Rina trying to talk with her classmates about the local arcade, a place Rina knows well, but her anxiety and shyness gets in the way and she bails at the last moment, leaving them standing there confused about what just happened. While Rina wants to change into someone who can express themselves, it’s a hard thing to do and not something that can happen overnight. Thankfully she has her own fateful encounter with someone who slowly but surely helped her change.

The ball started rolling once Rina met Ai, the happy and cheerful blonde girl of the group and she was able to connect with her more so that she was with her classmates. Ai is easy to like as she’s such a positive and cheerful girl, Rina could relax a bit around her and over time the two grew closer as friends. We pick things back up in the present as Rina, Ai, Yu, and Ayumu are at the arcade, a place Rina is very familiar with from times past. It’s here that they learn about how local school idol groups have been putting on performances at the arcade and to everyone’s surprise, Rina speaks up and says she wants to do that as well.

Of course all the girls are supportive of Rina in her quest to put on this concert and are willing to help out wherever needed. Rina’s got a lot of work ahead of her though, especially when it comes to singing, dancing, and expressing herself while on stage. The previous 5 eps, each girl didn’t have such a big struggle with shyness, so it was easier in that regard to perform, Rina however has a lot to work on if she wants to make this concert a success. Little by little Rina is improving and as the day of the concert closes in, the excitement is building.

However all of that comes crashing down as Rina still has one problem she hasn’t overcome just yet, that of being able to smile. Smiles are a much talked about aspect in any idol anime and for Rina smiling just isn’t something she can do easily. When her classmates see her practicing for her performance in the coming days, she tries once again to talk with them but at the last moment notices her expression in the window and suddenly all her fears came back in an instant.

An emotional bug very good scene was when all the girls come to visit Rina at her apartment after she failed to show up for practice, a day before her concert. It’s honestly a scene worth watching because how all the girls come together to help out Rina in this moment is truly special. And I’m sure you know what this leads into now, the long awaited Rina performance! As always I’ll update this post with the video of it when it gets posted on the Love Live! YouTube channel next week. Until then enjoy this screen cap from it.

All in all Rina “The Mask” Tennoji has an emotional backstory yet a very relatable one and really that’s what makes her such a great character, you can relate to her. Sure each girl has a quality we can all relate to, but shyness and commutation skills are something many struggle with, so seeing this girl overcome her struggles with the help of her friends and her determination to do so, it’s rewarding and really makes you feel good.

So there you have it, he origin story of The Mask. Really enjoyed this ep and seeing Rina come to life and be the idol she’s meant to be. How did you enjoy this week’s ep? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to read and reply to all of them!

Up next it looks like the sleepy idol of the group, Kanata, takes center stage and we learn more about her. Also another girl is seen in the preview and I’m very interested to see who she is.

That’s it for me this week. As always stay safe, wear a mask, and practice social distancing!

Until next time!