Out of ammo after their last match, the C3 club enters in the 5th Annual “Field Queen Contest” with 16 other hopefuls, to win a year’s supply of BBs. Daishichi gives the play-by-play while Sono gives color commentary. When matches last longer than ten minutes, the winner is chosen by the audience, hence the need for showmanship and flair. Karila makes it to the final after defeating Yura and Aira, while Honoka defeats Rin with psychological warfare. Honoka and Karila’s match goes over ten, and Honoka wins the vote of the people.
With the main story arc all wrapped up last week, this was essentially a bonus episode, with little in the way of lasting impact, but was nevertheless a fun and entertaining end to the show, efficiently utilizing the skills, personalities, and yes, “assets” of both the main and supporting cast. Sure, things got a little corny at times, and we hasten to remark that Yura could easily win with her supernatural powers, but the mood was charmingly chipper and the pace was quick and confident, never bogging down as the pageant bracket filled out.
As an innocuous bonus episode, there was plenty of (very mild) fanservice, a product of the contest being more than just shooting your opponent, but also currying favor with the audience. Rin’s self-introduction in sailor fuku was pretty amusing, as was her ultimate defeat to Honoka after hearing all burdens that will befall her should she win. We were glad Yura and Rin didn’t progress that far, and the spotlight instead fell on her teammates. Honoka was the master strategist right up to the end, keeping Karila at bay while making sure she showed enough skin.
Rating: 6 (Good)
After Sono defeats everyone else, Yura returns and goes one-on-one with her. They battle hard, attracting the attention of Rento and the others, who watch from afar and eventually rejoin the fray. They battle until the sun is almost down, but Yura changes the world by restoring daylight and temporarily turning Stella Women’s Academy into one huge airsoft school where everyone is a combatant. Afterwards, with Sono gone abroad, the C3 club is short a member again. Yura, hearing two new students disillusioned by their high school experience, decides to try to recruit them.
Last week Yura hit rock bottom, but only she could pull herself out of her rut, live with her past misdeeds, and reconcile with her friends and Sono in particular the best way she knows how: with an airsoft battle. There was really never any doubt that they’d forgive her; and Yura even learned to enjoy herself again without fussing over tactical details. We liked how the battle started off with just Yura and Sono, but the others couldn’t resist jumping back into the battle, making it an even more exciting 2-on-2-on-2 that continues all day until the bells toll its end. That is, until Yura decides otherwise.
Using her supernatural powers, she not only extends the day, but makes an army out of Stella’s entire 1,800-girl student body. It’s a stunning move that shocks her teammates, though not enough to be disturbed by how Yura came to possess such godlike powers. Perhaps wisely, the series has avoided long explanations about the nature of her power, but in our opinion, it would have been nice to see in operation more often. Instead we must be satisfied with her revising a small chapter in Japanese history and then giving her senpai one hell of a send-off. And once Sono leaves (saying she’ll wait for Yura), Yura makes it her duty to find a new member.
Rating: 8 (Great)
The 24-hour airsoft tournament commences, and the Stella girls excel, though Yura’s imperiousness irks Yachiyo and Karila. They fight throught the day and night until Stella and Meisei are the last teams standing. Yura meets with Rin before the last flag drop, and Rin half-confesses to shooting at Sonora. In the final showdown, Yura gets hit by a stray pellet, but doesn’t report getting hit, and shoots Rin.
We knew this tourney would go down one of two ways: either Stella would lose by the narrowest of margins but Yura would show rin her new-found fire, or Stella would win but Yura wouldn’t be happy with how they got it. During the truce before the final round, Yura, desperate to learn the truth, seeks out Rin. Through Sonora Yura has learned about how deep airsoft can get, and the lessons it can teach about living life. But Rin has none of it; airsoft is about one thing to her: the simulation of war. And in war, the winners live and the losers die; it’s as simple as that.
Those words don’t wound Yura so much as the ones that follow: because Rin sees this as a life-or-death struggle, she’s willing to do whatever is necessary for victory, including taking out Stella’s ace. She says Yura is no different; and it’s likely she can see it in Yura’s eyes; while Yura doesn’t consider this war, it’s absolutely imperative that she beat Rin to avenge Sonora. And win Yura does, but only by cheating. It would seem the cameras didn’t catch the pellet that hit her, so only Rin knows, and it’s something she’ll always know, making Yura’s victory taste as bitter as defeat.
Rating: 8 (Great)
- In our books, being a zombie player for a split-second is nowhere near as bad as targeting your rival in the real world with a high-powered rifle, but on principle, she’s correct that Yura was willing to break the rules to win.
- Yura may have been a single-minded tyrant and cheat in this episode, but they wouldn’t have gotten as far as they did without her intricate, highly successful strategy.
- We loved the moment Yura pulled her gun on “Karila”, who was actually her twin brother in disguise. For a split-second, it seemed like she was going to shoot her for losing the flag!
- Rin is voiced by Seto Asami, the voice of the bubbly Chihaya Ayase, but here she’s all serious business.
- Rin is also the latest in a long line of raven-haired, dark-eyed female characters who play the villain, though she pretty much shares that role with Yura this week. Yura’s innocence = zero.
- We have a feeling Sonora envisioned things potentially going this way for Yura after witnessing her obsessive behavior. Maybe she saw the Rin in Yura?
While walking home from the airsoft supply store, Sonora and Yura are shot at by an unknown sniper using a rifle illegally modded to fire high-pressure shots. Yura runs towards the source of the shots, and Sono has to rescue her from being hit by a car. Sono ends up with a concussion and sprained ankle, and will miss the 24-hour tournament. The rest of the club wants to quit, but Yura compiles comprehensive tactical research and assumes the role of acting leader, whipping the club in shape so they can win the tournament for Sono.
While neither Sono nor the C3 clubmates blame her for Sono’s injury, Yura is still of the age where she shouldn’t be running headlong into traffic, and she should thank her personal god she and Sono weren’t more seriously hurt or killed. This is an episode full of Yura making forceful decisions on behalf of the club, taking it by the scruff of its neck and whipping it into shape for the tournament, Sonora or no. But while she exhibits plenty of charisma and dedication, her head might not be in the right place.
She still kicks herself for surrendering to Haruna Rin in her first skirm, and once her suspicions grow that Haruna was the sniper, her desire to fight her grows even stronger. There’s a fire in her belly, and so driven to victory is she that she can’t even enjoy the festival that accompanies the tournament. She can’t have fun, and Sonora isn’t there to keep her grounded. The rest of the group accepts her as their leader, but by the time they realized the monster they were making by acquiescing to her extreme training, it may be too late. She’s so wound up, even a win over Meisei may not exercise her demons as she hopes.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
- We’re really curious what unforgivable thing Sonora did to Haruna that drove her to try to shoot her with a high-powered BB gun (if she in fact is the culprit).
- The diverse airsoft teams include Team Meisei Team Seto, Team Karila’s Brother, Team Cop, and Team Active Marines…tough competition, all.
- It was a nice touch portraying the training montage as a series of (very good!) drawings in a sketchbook that is handed to Sonora in the hospital when it’s done.
In order to afford the upcoming 24-hour airsoft tournament, the C3 Club must have a profitable school fair. After striking out with goldfish and haunted houses they set up a “cosplay firing range cafe” using what they have on hand. Business is slow due to harsh competition from adjacent clubs until Mutsu implements the “Get Wet Strategy,” in which the C3 members face off against each other in swimsuits with paper targets and water pistol quick-draw. A momentary distraction allows Yura to beat Sonora. By the end of the fair, they’ve made enough to fund the tournament.
It’s clear even before this episode that Yura has long since been accepted by the rest of the C3 Club as one of their own, and her exploits with said club are both fun and formative. And yet she still can’t shake flashbacks to a time when she didn’t fit in anywhere, and her peers took advantage of her meekness to walk all over her. It’s that past, combined with her defeat at the hands of Haruna Rin, that continue to haunt her and fuel the overachieving that could become reckless if unchecked.
She seems to use her “powers” to change her environment (as she sees it anyway) to her advantage, imagining a western duel in defeating Sonora in quickdraw. What followed was a quite awkward interaction to a duel between friends. Yura, who is almost embarrassed to have won, is given the cold shoulder by Sonora either because she was concerned with the girl who ran into Rento, or because she’s sore about losing to a newbie, or a little of both. The fair was fun enough for all, but it didn’t resolve any of Yura’s insecurities, which will surely come to the fore at the 24-hour tournament.
Rating: 6 (Good)
Yura wakes up on a yacht with the rest of the C3 club, heading to an island for a friendly skirmish against Kansai’s Team Seto, led by Aoi. C3 storms the beach and claim victory in the first skirmish, with Yura notching three hits. After barbecue and various activities, she goes to bed, but has a pessimistic dream she tells herself to ignore. The next day Yura is even more aggressive, taking a leadership role and giving orders in a center flag match. They’re victorious once more, but while Yura is ebullient, Sonora looks concerned.
The C3 Club obviously can’t happen upon a shrine inhabited by a wayward spirit for Yura to assist every week, so we’re back to gunfights, only this week mixes it up with an exotic island field, and, for the second of two battles, are fighting in swimsuits. Yura’s cute little two-piece belies her newfound confidence. The first battle is reminiscent of a WWII amphibious landing, while the second battle ends with the girls striking a pose not unlike the American soldiers at Iwo Jima. This could suggest Yura is actually creating these worlds, though it remains ambiguous whether transforming her surroundings gives her advantage here or if it just adds to the excitement.
In any case, despite Yura’s great success on the trip, Sonora projects her concern with subtle facial experesions that Yura is too busy being awesome to notice. The efficacy of Yura’s metaphysical powers aside, is she simply taking all of this way too seriously? It’s understandable after two past events: letting her team down by surrendering, and having an real, if slight, impact on history last week. It’s good to celebrate a win and one’s quick growth in the sport, but one gets the feeling when (not if) she loses, she’ll be just as devastated as she is ecstatic when she wins. Living between such extremes is stressful. As the Seto leader remarks, it’s better to be of the attitude where you have fun regardless of the outcome. Victory isn’t everything.
Rating:7 (Very Good)
Yura participates her first high school airsoft tournament with the C3 Club. She’s the one to capture the flag in their first battle and things go fairly easily in the others, but their last opponent is Meisei Girls’ Academy, led by Haruna Rin, a partner of Sonora’s in America. Stella launches an all-or-nothing attack, and get picked off one by one until Yura is all that’s left. She runs, hides, and surrenders when she realizes Rin is going to hunt her down. She disappoints Sonora, but the rest of the club tells her not to worry, as there will be plenty of chances to redeem herself. She resolves to improve, cutting her hair short as a symbol of her desire to change.
On the one hand, airsoft is all fun and games; a means of sharpening coordination, teamwork, and general killing skills, which can then be applied in other, less military areas of life, while developing bonds with one’s teammates. On the other hand, for some (like the likes of Haruna Rin) airsoft is not a game at all, and fun is the mind-killer, along with fear, doubt, and hesitation. Yura still has all of those qualities in spades, making her the one weak link in Stella that Rin and Meisei mercilessly exploit to win. And exploit they do: they not only won, but shook Yura to the bone, ruining a day that was supposed to be (and started out) fun.
Every rival club or team seems to have a Haruna Rin, and we 100% agree with Karila: her obsession with form over fun makes her boring, and her unseemly mind games make her a bitch. Airsoft is supposed to be fun. If she really finds Yura’s wavering and forfeiture in her very first tournament to be “despicable”, then she needs to kindly get a life. Sonora isn’t mad at Yura because they lost because of her, but because Yura gave up. Rin expected to be able to overwhelm a rookie, and Yura played right into her hands. It was a depressing loss, but Yura learned a valuable lesson that’s as important in sports as it is in life: the only thing to fear is fear itself, not one’s own imagined limitations.
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Han Solo has a few words for Yura after winning her first battle: “Don’t get cocky!”
- We like how all the mock battles trigger Yura’s vivid imagination, and when things turn sour, it turns into a sinister war scene that overwhelms her. Maybe skip the ‘shrooms next go around?
- Karila does her Matrix-like acrobatics again, while we see Sonora kicking ass for the first time. We like how everyone has their own unique style of fighting to go along with their unique weapons.
- Whatever Rin won’t forgive Sonora for, Sonora doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to apologize.
- After two episodes with an ED featuring crudely-scrawled illustrations, this week we get a far better-produced sequence.
- As part of her makeover, Yura will not allow herself to be addressed as anything other than “Yura.” We were finding all the nicknames a bit distracting, too…though we kinda liked “Lil’ Yura.”
Yamato Yura is excited to be starting her sophomore year of high school at Stella Women’s Academy, but has troulbe making friends and doesn’t like big groups. However, when she’s walked in on by a member of the “C3” club, they take an instant interest in her. She meets Hatsuse Karila, Hinata Yachiyo, Kirishima Rento, and Mutsu Honoka, who participate in mock battles akin to war games using airsoft rifles and pistols. She’s initially weary of joining, but Kirishima insists. She participates in a “Rambo”-style battle with Karila as Rambo and the other four as sheriffs. As the battle heats up, Yura starts to get it, and “steps in to a new world.”
Ahh, Girls With Guns. For some people, it will never get old. We’re some people. Especially since they’re not real guns; it’s all good clean fun with “airsoft” weapons (and candy bars for knives), while the club drinks tea and eats cake when not going to war. Parallels to Girls und Panzer are inevitable, but this episode felt a lot less “aw shucksy” and earnest than that series, with more of a chip on its shoulder and a potential for more comedy. We’re still learning the girls’ names (and their guns of choice), but the C3 club has a looser vibe to it; no one’s getting disowned and the fate of the school isn’t on their shoulders.
And yet, once the battle begins, the girls are all business, with Karila operating as a one-woman wrecking crew and the others working together like a well-oiled machine. Yura, who is searching for somewhere to fit in, knowing it’s not with the cliques of chatty, gossipy “normal girls”, is in awe of the spectacle before her, and the moment she gets into the swing of things, triggering her vivid imagination, is the moment she realizes she may have just found that place where she’s accepted for herself. She only has to embrace the weirdness…and learn to hold her gun correctly!
Rating: 8 (Great)
- Yamato Yura’s roommate, senior Kashima Sonora, only appears at the very end, showing great proficiency with the always menacing Desert Eagle .50. They’ll meet next week; the others warning that she’s the biggest weirdo out of all of them.
- Yes, all six members have famous Japanese battleship family names. Those Japanese love their battleships. So do Americans, for that matter…we named most of our states after them! :D
- Everyone has their own pet name for Yura: Karila calls her “Lil’ Yura”, Yachiyo calls her “Yuracchi”, Honoka calls her “Yurara”, and Reno calls her “Yurapyon.”
- We’re not familiar with Kirishima’s rookie seiyu Nishizaki Rima or Yamato’s seiyu Makino Yui, but the other girls: Kayano Ai (Karila), Yonezawa Madoka (Yachiyo), Saito Chiwa (Honoka), and Sawashiro Miyuki (Sonora).