IDOLiSH7: Third BEAT! Episode 22

Eva’s Impression

It was nice to have a change of pace this week, somewhat less intense with the exception of the “Pen Incident”. It started off on a hilarious note when Sogo came prepared with freaking documents laying out the advantages and disadvantages to Tamaki about the plans to reconcile with his family and help Trigger. Sogo please! This isn’t a board meeting! The whole point of it though was to highlight to Tamaki that he will always the number one priority and concern. So if Tamaki said he didn’t feel comfortable with him going after hearing the advantages and disadvantages, then Sogo wasn’t going to go, simple as that.

In the end, Tamaki accepted Sogo’s initiative to meet with his family again and asked to be brought along with him. Honestly I think that’s for the best, not only because that gives Sogo a pillar of support in a place where he has had no one else looking out for him, but it also allows Tamaki to witness how the events unfold. This is much better than leaving it to his imaginations that would only likely feed into his biggest fears. And although Tamaki accepted the plans, we can see that there’s part of him waiting for this to blow up in Sogo’s face, as though to prove a point not just to himself, but to anyone else who doubted him that on the claim that people don’t change that easily. But now that Sogo has finally found his voice, I am curious to see how differently (if any at all) will unfold. And there’s one other major difference: Sogo isn’t alone this time. He got Tamaki by his side, and that may help him find enough courage to say everything he wants to say after-all these years.

Anyways, I know said this plenty of times already, but I really can’t reiterate how beautiful it is to see how far Sogo and Tamaki have come with the way they communicate with each other. There’s still work to be had, after-all as Tamaki said himself, the best way to let him know he is being thought of is to get him King Pudding, haha! But in all seriousness, the fact they’ve progressed to the point that they are able to hear each other out, open up about their insecurities is a huge. Thanks to that, instead of refusing to open up about it, after Sogo’s insistence on trying to understand why he isn’t happy, Tamaki finally explained it was because he doesn’t know the “Rich-Boy” version of Sogo, and feared that he would leave him behind and pretend he doesn’t exist the same way Aya did. And gosh when he puts it that way, it’s really so sad and messed up that frankly, it makes perfect sense why Tamaki has so much fears around being abandoned by the people he has grown to love and care for. Of course way to be dragged out of that sober moment with the way Sogo had scolded him for missing the point that upsetting him was the number of thing that is to be avoided at all cost. Though in all fairness, Tamaki was right to say that Sogo should have said that from the very beginning instead of kicking off the conversation with Trigger hahaha. He might want to rethink the chronicle order of listing the points next time!

This week also put a lot of spotlight on ZOOL, with various circumstances and conversations drawing out the sides of ZOOL we don’t usually get to see. And they do make a fairly entertaining bunch because their rather savage exchanges with one another makes me laugh really hard. Though I suppose most of the credit goes to Toma’s expressions (which were relatable moods) such as when it comes down to the shit that comes out of Torao’s mouth, Haruka going on about “WHEN I GROW UP–” (oh gosh, that part made me laugh so hard), or the fact he pointed out he wanted to visit his classmates (presumably the Izumi’s family bakery) but was too embarrassed so he asked Minami to run the errand for him.  Meanwhile Minami is doing what he does best, roasting people, because I suppose that’s just how he breathes. As for Torao? Well, it was just garbage coming out of his mouth as usual, nothing new there.

Finally when it came down to greeting Re:Vale, that was when we saw how Toma was pretty nervous to meet them again. The first time they’ve met was when he was with NO_MAD, so he had wondered whether they remembered him or not. It was actually super cute to see how happy he was when Yuki told him that he remembered him (spoiler alert: he didn’t. Not until two seconds ago before Momo reminded him who he was!! I’m DYING!!! YUKI PLEASE)! Although he has learned Yuki and Momo can be quite intimidating individuals when messed with, it is important to note that he still holds them to a high regard, just as he had back in his NO_MAD days. And honestly it makes perfect sense why Toma had always looked up to Re:Vale. Their success story from an indie group to stardom is a dream for many, especially when they chose to sign with a smaller agency. So this pretty much confirms that Toma’s bitterness is exclusively reserved to Trigger at the moment.

That said while Toma would like to form a good relationship with Re:Vale, the other members of ZOOL– not so much. Torao in particular seemed to be determined to make it known that they are the ones in control as he didn’t hesitate to jump on the opportunity to make the case known that Ryo told them of their weakness, and they won’t be afraid to use it should they feel the need to do so. Little did he know it was a bad idea to pick a fight with Re:Vale, because these two are the ultimate duo. Mess with one, and the other is going to bite back twice as hard as the instigator did.

Of course that didn’t faze Re:Vale, on the contrary they gladly accepted that challenge (maybe too excitedly), and they were able to carry the first half of the program on their own due to ZOOL’s refusal to cooperate. Eventually  it did evolve into an tense situation where Yuki had successful cornered Torao after challenging him to take a good look at him and declare whether he’s unimpressive as the “other two” (Gaku and Ryu) who were in the running for the sexiest man. It was pretty clear that Torao was uncomfortable with the fact that he was no longer in control of the conversation, and unfortunately he kept true to his word of retaliating with their weakness, in this case, pointing a sharp object (a pen) at Yuki, who did lose his composure and needed to be rescued by Momo.

But if there was anything to take away from this, Torao gets uncomfortable when he’s not in control, he doesn’t like being probed on his preferences, and he definitely doesn’t like being called cute. Still, what he did today was stupid, and it was not a good look on him, especially having resorted the underhanded means of utilizing one’s fear/trauma just to “push back”. Of all the members of ZOOL so far, Torao definitely has the most work cut out for him for him if he wants to become a likable character. (And no Torao, just because your UR cards like to come home a lot doesn’t make me like you!) I swear to god, the amount of shit this guy does and the crap that comes out of his mouth…. but boy, did Momo give him one hell of “fuck around and find out” warning shot.

You don’t fuck around with Re:Vale, period.

Anyhow, for better or worse, this incident did in-fact blow up ZOOL’s plans to sit around like statues and refuse to properly engage in the program, as they ended up having to cooporate to cleanly resolve the matter. So I suppose you could say it was a win for Re:Vale in this case, but not without bruises so to speak. But to Momo’s credit, he didn’t let the stupid stunt Torao pulled stop him from offering his contact information with a warning them that Ryo is dodgier than they think, and how they made find themselves in a position where they will need someone’s help in the future. Makes sense, because once Re:Vale initiates the counter strikes against Ryo, there’s no telling what kind of manner he will respond to it, and ZOOL might find themselves in a precarious situation as result of it.

But while the others brushed off the gesture, it was Toma who decides to accept and keep Momo’s contact, and I’m really glad he did. There is value of at least having an amiable relationship with other members from other groups, outsiders who can lend an ear about things he knows or feels can’t discuss within his own circle. Whether he feels comfortable of doing that is a whole other matter, but the fact the opportunity is there is what makes it count. This is especially important when you have Ryo as well as ZOOL’s overall antagonistic/obnoxious behavior creating a tense and hostile environment where they are creating a lot of enemies within the industry.

And with Re:Vale being the seniors of the industry, and the group he looks up to, we saw how Toma had expressed his desire to talk to them more about music and Black or White. And I think the part about discussing Black or White is actually pretty important, because I feel like there’s part of Toma that’s hoping to find some comfort and guidance from his seniors about NO_MAD’s disbandment, as well as the current position he is at now with ZOOL. So I do hope that he takes the leap of faith to open up to Momo about some of the things that he has all buried up inside. Now I’m not saying Momo should be his counselor or anything, but I do think he might be able to help him come to terms with how his grudge against Trigger is pointless and misguided, and help him persuade him that it would be in his best interest to let that resentment go. It would certainly help to have another individual (besides Riku) with more maturity and understanding of the kinds of struggle they face in the music industry. And after what transpired last week between Ryo and Riku, Toma experienced firsthand how little it takes for Ryo to potentially flip on them. So all the more reason to take Momo’s word on how ZOOL might need their help in the future.

But while ZOOL as a whole don’t really care about their group, much less each other, we can see that Toma is hoping to change that. For a guy who says he doesn’t want to sing earnestly anymore, he is sure trying hard to bring this disjointed unit together. It’s obvious that is what he desires to experience a sense of camaraderie that he most likely had with NO_MAD, and so what does he do? He arranges them all come out to a freaking butler cafe on their day off!!! I CAN’T! TOMA, PLEASE! OF ALL PLACES TO CHOOSE FROM!!!!! Unfortunately this is still a one-sided thing, so both Minami and Torao left imeaditely. Haruka on the other hand, ended up sticking around thanks to his sweet-tooth.

But you know what? Bringing the gang to a butler cafe actually worked out in Toma’s favour. While the other two left, it was the thanks to the sweets that gave Haruka a reason to stick around longer than he otherwise would have. And thanks to that, this gave Toma a rare opportunity to have a talk with Haruka why he wanted to become an idol. What was interesting though was how Toma kept pushing Haruka to tell him of his plans following one after another. First it was to make certain jerks admit defeat, the next was to surpass Zero and become the most popular star to he can laugh at Zero, Kujo and Tenn, and then he’ll laugh at his fans too, and when Toma pushed him to think even further, suddenly Haruka was stumped. The whole point of that was to make Haruka realize that life doesn’t end there, there is still so much ahead. And it did, because it finally dawned to him that Toma was right.

And as if that wasn’t sad enough, this episode did a great jobs of highlighting just how lonely and empty Haruka actually is, as well as the seemingly never ending sense of fear of constantly being overshadowed by another. The things, or rather his short-term goals… do they really make him happy? Maybe for a little bit, but the feeling will be short-lived and then he’ll feel like an empty husk all over again. And the saddest part is how he always goes on about about how he doesn’t need friends, but man I think we can all agree this kid needs some! It’s pretty nasty how Torao and Minami make fun of him for the lack of it, but in reality, Haruka never had anyone to lean on, and when he thought he did, he was cast aside for someone else. And unfortunately, with Ryo honing onto Riku, it is creating this awful sense of déjà vu that is sure makes it look like he is at risk of having history repeat itself– only this time it’s (ironically) with Tenn’s brother. Man that’s rough. This is actually making me a bit concerned about how Haruka is going to respond to this development, as if he were to lash out against Ryo for not being the center of attention, it feels like he could pay the price for interrupting Ryo when he’s invested in his new and greatest interest at the moment. Really, there’s no telling what that guy would do. And that’s why he’s scary, because he’s so unpredictable, but I digress.

So who is there really for Haruka to depend on? Frankly he doesn’t have a lot of options, mainly because of a combination of he already gotten on the bad side of so many due to his obnoxious and bratty attitude, which self-sabotage of refusing those who attempted to befriend him– and gosh dang it, because Iori and Tamaki would also be such a perfect fit with how wonderfully their chaotic energies all mesh together! So far their interactions at school and the way they had bombarded Kujo have all been a real treat to watch. But it’s going to be a long while before Haruka gets around to even being open befriending these two, so who does that leave us with? Well after this episode, I think the best candidate to fulfill that role is none other than Toma.

Of course we know that Toma isn’t perfect, he is full of flaws of his own, but there is a special quality about him that sets him apart from Minami and Torao. And that’s his ability to be compassionate with others. We know that deep down Toma is a considerate and soft person at heart. But most importantly, I think Toma has shown us that he isn’t a fickle person when it comes to forming relationship with his unit members. Even though his efforts are very much one-sided at the moment, he’s still trying. And the fact he was even able to initiate that deep conversation about Haruka’s future with him just goes to show that he sees there’s a problem with the way Haruka is going about his life at the moment. He could have ignored it, but he didn’t. He pressed on about it because he recognized it was something that needed to be talked about.

And honestly I am a bit surprised at myself for having not considered this sooner, but after watching how Toma was able to gently have this eye-opening conversation with Haruka about what he wants to do in the future, I realized there is great potential for these two to form a brotherly relationship, similar to the likes of the kind of brotherly relationship that has formed between Sogo and Tamaki. I’m not sure what’s in store for these two, but it is certainly something I would love to see evolve going forward!

Finally, it was quite nice to see the managers all gather together (who also happened to be at the butler cafe). It sure feels like it’s been a while seeing them together in a much more lively atmosphere. It was a short scene, but otherwise exceptionally cute and as always nice to see the four of them hanging out with each other. Oh and it’s also worth mentioning it was cool to see Yaotome working together with Okazaki on how to deal with Tsukumo. While it doesn’t look like it on the surface, we definitely know there is a lot of work that is being done behind the scenes. They have been certain to plug in teases here and there to show that orchestrating the plan to take Ryo out is an active development that shouldn’t be forgotten.

In the mean time, there seems to be political problems brewing in Northmeir that is putting pressure on Nagi to have to return. I’m curious to see how this may come to affect Idolish7, though I’m not entirely sure whether it’s something we’ll actually see explored this season. Needless to say, Nagi is pretty ticked off about the whole thing. Yamato actually fed us some crumbs thanks to doing some quick research where he had learned Northmeir is a really rich country that’s got this great social systems,and it was some teenage aristocrat who reformed them. GEE, I wonder who that might be?

And lastly, we got to see Trigger struggling to find some new appliances, but they can’t order online because Gaku and Tenn are butting heads based on their methods of purchase. Gaku only buy appliances from a specific manufacturer, while Tenn wants to find the absolute best option based on design, function, release date and price— and Gaku, I gotta say, I’m with Tenn on this one. This is the most pragmatic way to shop for appliances, ahahahaha!

Next time, we’ll see the how the whole family reunion plays out between Sogo and his father/ Of course the first thing he says when they walk in is the expressing the expectations that he wants money. Good grief. Well, as I said earlier, I’m glad that Sogo has Tamaki with him. He got backup if he needs it. GO SOGO! YOU CAN DO THIS!