Aikatsu – Episode 7

Alright everybody, let’s get back to Aikatsu. Last episode was a pretty important turning point for the series, and by that I mean “last episode was good, unlike the previous two, which were unfortunately bad.” Contrary to what many angry fans may think, I actually vastly prefer watching good things to bad things – I’d like to spend my very limited time on earth appreciating things that I find interesting or meaningful, not laughing at stuff that doesn’t work for me. “Ichigo undergoes rigorous/absurd training to improve her signature-writing” is a hell of a lot better than whatever the previous episodes were doing, so I’m hoping things stay kinda ridiculous from here out. Aikatsu ho!

Episode 7

So I guess instead of an opening song, we just get an explanation of the show’s premise via Ichigo voiceover. I guess that makes sense – this show has more strict narrative progression than many shows for this age bracket, and so you kinda need to make sure people just tuning in are up to speed

Gotta be that Pop Pon Crepe Campaign Girl!

Kinda interesting that this show doesn’t glamorize the actual nature of what idol promotions generally entail. Idols in Love Live are there to inspire the dreams of the youth, idols in Aikatsu sell crepes and hand sanitizers

Though I suppose this show is probably aimed at an audience that’s more interested in idols as a general hobby, and so exploring the nuts and bolts of their work is more natural. You can’t really be an idol know-it-all without accepting that a lot of their work is not particularly glamorous

Aoi’s motives are pure. She truly believes in the power of Pon Pon crepes

This universe has KiraKiratter, which is undeniably better than twitter

“Want me to set it up for you?” NO ICHIGO DON’T YOU CAN STILL ESCAPE THIS MEME HELL

“Beware the Blog!” Aikatsu understands

“You’ll need good fashion sense to get accepted.” Presumably this still just means “can correctly identify all of the clothes items that are pink,” since none of our heroes have really evolved past that stage

Wow, some actually solid animation for Bepp performing his usual antics. His baggy outfit doesn’t make this easy, either

“Hai minna BE SILENT” goddamnit Bepp

Oh no, the Vivid Girl and Pon Pon auditions conflict. The girls don’t seem put out by it, though

What the hell, Aoi and Ichigo are already more popular on twitter than I am

“Doesn’t it make you realize there are a lot of people cheering for you?” Nah, it mainly just prompts anxiety and fear of social ostracization

Their idol activities still seem to mostly involve walking in a straight line

Apparently the secretive rock singer Nao is on twitter, and also clearly the handyman who delivers packages and cleans the grounds. Look, everybody’s gotta have a hobby

Ichigo has already learned how to translate Ran’s tsundere dialect

Ran don’t give a fuck about the internet. Good policy

“I much prefer eating together like this.” Ran is unsurprisingly old-fashioned in her social philosophy

She’s also entering the Pon Pon crepe arena

The main three have an okay rapport now, though they’re still kinda leaning on archetypes. Ran in particular really isn’t there yet

Aoi feels insecure about Ran entering the audition

The show’s evening colors are as pretty as ever

Aoi decides to look up Pon Pon training tips online, which seems about as effective as diagnosing medical conditions online

Oh no, she took advice from her followers, what the hell is she doing

Her explanation for their balance beam practice actually does make sense. They’ve become accustomed to walking in a straight line on the ground, where there’s no pressure – but push that line a few feet into the air and they fall apart. Their actual auditions won’t be a carefree controlled environment, so they can use the balance beam to simulate performing under pressure

It’s nice to see Aoi get a focus episode. She’s always been Ichigo’s perfectly competent support so far, so seeing her insecure and under pressure helps her feel a lot more real

Aoi getting more and more sucked into internet stuff

“Apparently Megu-tan does muscle training every day.” Yeah, you can’t really compare yourself to the internet at large. You’ll just stress yourself out over all the potential people you’re not living up to. The internet makes us think everyone is more competent than us in every way, but that’s only because we partition the combined talents of everyone else into a big “things I can’t do” folder that only depresses us

Oh goddamnit, Aoi’s gotten swept up in conspiracy theories

Aoi now lives inside a giant triangle. The triangle is her master now

“That’s not even a good pun!” Yep Ichigo, twitter is where we all go to tell jokes that don’t even work

Ichigo has lost her friend to the triangle god

“We think twitter will connect us, but it actually just makes us feel insecure and even more lonely” is such a sharp and accurate take on twitter. Where the heck did this episode come from

Fleeing to the support of her online followers, Aoi neglects her reliable real-life friend. It’s a simple moral, but damn if it doesn’t feel relevant

The cruel bargain of Online is that as easy as it is to make new friends, it’s just as easy to lose them. Real life friendships are often messier, but it’s precisely that messiness that teaches us to stick by each other, even when we’re not presenting our best possible selves

That’s not to deny the validity of online relationships, of course. But the internet is a strange thing

“Do you think you can win just by following the Internet.” GOD DAMNIT WE’RE GONNA TRY

The Headmistress has no fucking time for Bepp’s nonsense

Aoi is better suited to this kind of self-doubt drama than Ichigo. Ichigo’s strength is that it’s pretty much impossible to dampen her spirits – but Aoi prides herself on knowledge and preparation, and seems far more prone to bouts of insecurity

Aoi seems to be figuring out the moral of this story, which is good, because I certainly haven’t

Apparently Aoi is also considered a hot contender in this audition???

“The current high score is Shibuki Ran.” God, these audition systems are brutal

Ichigo left her audition early to come support Aoi. FRIENDSHIP

Aoi decides to wear her new spacesuit after all

I am getting extremely tired of this “Love goes shoot shoot” song

They both tried their best. But there can be only one Pon Pon Crepe Campaign Girl

“May your dreams tonight be as sweet as a crepe.” Thanks, mysterious handyman rock star boy

Or WAS IT MIZUKI???

And Done

That was another fine episode! What this one lacked in overt absurdity, it more than made up for in weirdly sharp thematic resonance. It arrived at a pretty nuanced view of twitter while actually, even if accidentally, touching on the ease with which we lose ourselves in online forums. And the ultimate competition was still pretty darn silly, so I can’t complain!

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