Ruby and Kana are like two cats who for whatever reason just don’t like each other. Yet Kana is Ruby’s best chance to become an idol ASAP, so Aqua agrees to help set up a meet. Kana’s preferred junk food comes in the form of positive online buzz. When she reads a comment that, like her, has all kinds of feelings about the creepy hot guy, she can’t help but blush,
Then she gets a text from that very guy, and it sounds like he wants to confess. Kana’s disappointment over it being a meeting for Ruby’s sake is overcome by her fascination with Ruby. Kana’s been around long enough to know when someone has “It” in the way Ai did, and Ruby has that same “It”. Remember that Kana has no idea Ruby and Aqua are Ai’s kids.
That promise she sees in Ruby, combined with Aqua reading her like an open book and picking the proper method to persuade her, results in Kana signing on the dotted line to become a Strawberry idol beside Ruby. With that settled, Kana at least looks forward to having more opportunities to see and work with Aqua. Then she asks Ruby what Aqua is up to.
Ruby pulls up the reality dating show bearing the title of this article, and features six gorgeous entertainers looking for love. The Aqua who appears and introduces himself bears no resemblance to the boy Ruby and Kana know, but as Miyako points out, he’s putting on the performance he needs to in order to make the show a success.
Ruby and Kana’s reactions to Aqua flirting with other pretty girls are fun, but Miyako snaps them out of their initial resentment and gets them to remember it’s all an act. But even if that’s the case, Kana is disheartened by the prospect of Aqua actually ending up in a relationship with one of those girls…even kissing her.
But as Miyako says, that comes with the territory. Aqua is doing this for vital intel on Ai’s male companions he can’t obtain by any other means, so he’s going to give it his absolute all. Even if the bubbly YouTuber Mem-Cho is a tremendous bore, he’s going to smile feign interest.
It’s when he ends up beside the pretty first-year model Sumi Yuki that a bit of small talk ends up becoming a conversation about the complicated love he’s “trying to get over”. Sumi is intrigued and digs deeper, eventually drawing in close to say they’ll just have to get him over that old love.
It’s just ambiguous enough whether Sumi is putting on a show for the cameras she only later reveals to Aqua (a rare case of not minding his surroundings brought on by her charm), or she’s being genuinely open and friendly. It’s probably a bit of both truth and lies, like so many real interactions! In any case, Aqua scoffs internally at her self-professed timidity.
Back home, Ruby tells Aqua she’ll be choosing the girl he should go out with, and ends up picking Sumi. What a coinky-dink! As for her nascent idol group, they don’t have any songs or even a name, but Miyako jump-starts their notoriety by having them collaborate with Strawberry Productions’ top earner: a muscle man in a chick mask named Pieyon who is super popular with the kids.
I shared Kana’s bewilderment with what young people are into these days and how that reflects on how warped society has become, but when Pieyon tells her how much he rakes in a year, she immediately apologizes for negging him. Pieyon offers pointers on quick ways to gain lots of subscribers, like having him pull a prank on them. But Ruby wants their very first gig to be bereft of lies.
While she’ll soon learn that always being honest in show business is literally impossible, she and Kana do a fine job keeping up with Pieyon’s hour-long workout dance. He was fully prepared to edit the video to make it seem like they danced for the full hour, but between Kana being a regular runner and Kana being full of youth and determination, there’s no need for movie magic.
Then the big moment comes when they get to remove their chick masks and reveal true faces and names. Ruby gives the camera the old Hoshino charm, while Kana is a little more self-conscious, which is actually fine: demonstrating different personalities will help them cast a wider net of fans, the first group of which will come from Pieyon’s followers.
When Pieyon asks what the name of their unit is, Kana leaves it to Ruby, who goes with the nostalgic choice of B-Komachi. That’s right, from these humble, goofy, swole beginnings, Ruby aims resurrect her mom’s legendary group, for which Strawberry retains the rights.