Girlish Number recovers from previous blunders as Chitose starts getting what she deserves, both professionally and in her personal life.
Quite beautifully, this episode is very much about Chitose… precisely because she’s fading to the background. Nanami is only getting more successful; the senpai is getting left behind by quite literally everyone, including a complete newcomer.
On the very day of her birthday, it is none other than Nanami who steals the show with the announcement of her CD debut. Chitose’s birthday, meanwhile, only gets a tame backstage celebration. Her grandiloquent antics aren’t enough to give her importance when everyone is progressing while her “fans” speak of “moving” to other actresses. She tries to satisfy herself with the words of others (including Nanami’s, ironically), but she’s increasingly aware of what a position she is in.
A nice aspect of this episode is how the family theme is kept, but this time in a manner most relevant to industry issues.
Gojou used to be a voice actor, too. But he quit early and with only one big role to his name; a situation similar to Chitose’s. The girl realizes as much, but in her self-centeredness had never thought to research the matter. Yet now she can’t ignore it anymore; the end of the episode in which she listens to recordings of him and ends asking herself why he quit exemplifies this perfectly, and hopefully proves a thematical bridge to the next episode.
Back to this entry, her change in manager leads to a rift between her and her brother. Gojou had always hated his sister’s attitude, and now he’s taking care of Nanami, Chitose’s problems are even more apparent to him; plus, he has no professional obligation to encourage her.
Furthermore, it seems Namba is pressuring him into making her “arrive” as fast as possible; as such, he is keenly aware of his sister’s urgent need for progress.
Between his issues with her and work separating them, Chitose is left largely lonely. This emphasizes her work issues. There’s no one else she’s close to, and being alone at home heightens the feeling that she’s been left behind.
What’s worse? It’s Christmas, a supposedly special time to spend with the people one loves… but here she is, staring at the snow in a perfectly anonymous manner (she didn’t need to hide her face after all). And Gojou didn’t even give his birthday present, even though he had indeed prepared one. Although Momoka’s relationship with her mother presented a family link already harmed by work, here we have a connection in the process of being stained by work. Their closeness had served to hide this, but now it’s finally all exploding.
Yet, given all the parallels between her and Kuzu, there may still hope for Chitose. He’d been spending time fishing and thinking he was alone in the world, yet in the end, Towada called him and told him he was needed for work.
In an amusingly confused exchange, he runs back toward work. It wasn’t too late for him; he had gone bad, but had still managed to do enough for people to need him. His main partner still wanted to work with him. Will Chitose, a largely unimportant person in the industry, be given a similar chance?
And will Gojou be the one to give her the lesson she so desperately needs? It’s largely possible, given the episode’s ending as explained above.
And while the episode progressed into a depressed mood, let’s not forget it started with the laughably over-the-top attitude of Matsuoka, Chitose’s new manager. Although he’s impossible to take seriously with his professional sportsman attitude, he understands that Chitose needs to work harder, and even pushes her to voice background characters, knowing that this kind of work is a requisite for up-and-coming seiyuu such as her. If only she understood it as well as he does. Finally, although this may be a coincidence, his over-the-top antics have the effect of, even from the start of the episode, pushing Chitose to the background. In terms of having a flashy attitude, she’s thrashed by “Matts”.
In the end, it’s no stretch to call this entry a good one. It started with the usual Chitose, but comedically introduced the crux of her current issue in order to sink into a moody atmosphere that indicates the push is coming to shove for Chitose. We’ll finally get to know Gojou better in the final episodes; and with this, we hope a satisfying conclusion can be reached for these two siblings (although Chitose may not deserve it). Girlish Number had erred, but it seems to be finding its way again at a decisive time.
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