YYwYdA takes a second week off from the Vertex to focus on the girls, their relationships, and surprisingly very little on how they are coping with their do-or-die status as heroes. This week it’s Itsuki’s turn to stand under the spot light and man is she worried…about singing in front of her fellow music classmates!
Playing the episode so low stakes actually works really well. We learn some important details (Fu and Itsuki’s parents were killed by the Vertex some how and the world has been cleansed by a plague some time earlier) but the girls are given tons of breathing room and it sells their relationships. It sells them as people.
Alternatively, while I may find those stakes low, Itsuki obviously doesn’t. She’s lived in her sister’s shadow — willingly — since her parents were killed (somehow?) and is desperate to carve out an identity. A reason to carry on.
Tarot reading plays a role in this episode too, and it was a great framing device for what is no doubt going to be a massacre next week.
Like everything else, the Tarot is played for smiles and laughs. Itsuki keeps flipping death and she’s worried that it means she’ll totally bomb her music singing test.
So everyone comes together and the core of this week’s mission is established: help Itsuki pass her test. Obviously, the best place to do that is a karaoke bar!
Even with a bathroom confrontation scene between Karin and Fu, the bar scene is totally understated, cheerful, and sells Hero Clubs internal friendships. (Everyone jumping to military attention when Togo sang a military marching song was my favorite highlight.)
With their help and repeated support, Itsuki finally gets over her fears, wins the admiration of her class (she’s a year younger than the other heroes) and finds what she wants to do: sing.
Then she flops another Death Tarot from her bag while recording a song on her laptop.
…and the Vertex arrives.
Giving us such a long break from monster fighting, with no expositional dumps in the process is a fantastically brave move on YYwYdA. It not only lulls us into a super comfort zone but it actually gives us enough time and sense of place to care about the girls that I hope get butchered horribly next week.
If YYwYdA does that, then no matter what it does later — no matter how much it wavers — I will be satisfied.
have I just typed that?