Content material warning: this overview (and episode) comprises dialogue of consuming problems.
Episode 4, “Tears Overwritten,” picks up instantly after the emotionally-charged occasions of episode 3 with Sarasa and Ai’s confrontation with the otaku Ai beforehand known as a creep. Solely…he is right here to apologize to Ai, which is a bitter capsule to swallow contemplating her earlier and unresolved trauma surrounding her mom’s sexually abusive boyfriend. But Kageki Shojo!! leaves room for this to turn into an earnest apology from Ai’s would-be stalker, and whereas it is not an ideal decision to somebody stalking a highschool scholar, it does give room for context in a approach that feels much less “two sides to each story” and extra “I made a mistake, here is why, and here is what I am making an attempt to do to really take strides to not letting it occur once more,” which I commend Kageki Shojo!! for.
It is not usually that you just see such a candid exploration of abuse in anime, and it is even rarer to see somebody really need to pay penance of types for being an issue. And like I mentioned, it is positively not excellent: Ai remains to be residing together with her trauma, which Mr. Stalker Otaku nonetheless triggered, and he in the end cannot undo stalking her even when it was for an apology, and there is a methods to go earlier than Ai is ready to reconcile together with her personal previous and ongoing trauma. But you allow the entrance half of episode 4 feeling like this was a step ahead of types, and that in the end…Ai will discover a method to transfer on. Like I mentioned: it is not excellent, but it surely does maintain Mr. Stalker Otaku accountable whereas providing a approach ahead for all events concerned.
But that is not what impacted me probably the most throughout my watch of episode 4. It was one other character: Ayako Yamada, an unassuming teenager rocking a bob and blunt-cut bangs. It is right here that I will provide some set off warnings for this episode, particularly for consuming problems (primarily, bulimia) and weight-reduction plan/weight loss plan tradition. That is, in fact, instantly in reference to who takes heart stage later within the episode. We have seen her loads of instances, and it is sadly been within the context of her being “too fats,” which is surprising for the reason that poor lady cannot be greater than 55 kg (about 122 kilos) soaking moist. And even when she was double or triple that, that would not essentially be a hindrance to her capacity to be an artist and performer: there are many IRL fats performers who’re masters of their craft. Actually, I type of bemoan the truth that Ayako is not allowed to have a physique that may be a instrument whereas additionally…being a bit chubbier. However fatphobia is alive and properly in Japan (even in its fiction) and so it seeps into Kouka, which presents probably the most historically stunning our bodies it probably can as a part of the aesthetic of the theatrical efficiency.
Sadly, Ayako, and her physique as an entire, are cruelly judged and pushed towards disordered consuming, which saps her energy. On the finish, we see her carry her head from a rest room after purging, and it hurts so, a lot. She appears to be like wan, pale as a sheet, and her eyes are glazed over. It is wrecking havoc on her, and we have solely seen the beginnings of that. I anticipate that we’ll get extra into the weeds together with her ED and doubtless will attain some type of decision subsequent week. Whether or not or not it will likely be satisfying is tough to say. I understand how I felt concerning the manga’s dealing with of it, and assume that I am going to have related emotions right here as properly. However extra on that when the anime will get there.
Numerous plot is squeezed into this episode of Kageki Shojo!!. As properly, there may be lots of setup for the subsequent episode and the subsequent little bit of character development. Whereas a bit fast-paced, issues match collectively like puzzle items, providing decision to Ai’s plot—and Mr. Stalker’s personal sub-plot—whereas making ready viewers for Ayako’s character development and hopefully her eventual decision. We even get to lastly see Ai and Sarasa as true mates, bonded collectively by means of an earnest act of kindness and understanding on Sarasa’s behalf. It is a actually candy second, and actually endeared me to Ai, a personality that I already appreciated, however now love as an equal deuteragonist.
I am positively nonetheless right here for the present: between the drama are real-world matters being handled in a way more easy method. There isn’t any drama in terms of stalking, trauma, or disordered consuming: as an alternative, Kageki Shojo!! presents them in a really grounded approach, stripping again to the softly harsh world of Kouka Academy to only…take care of the damage. I deeply respect the present—and the supply materials—for doing that, which is a big a part of why I am nonetheless very into this collection. Finally, I anticipate nice issues from Kageki Shojo!!, particularly subsequent week: I actually imply it after I say that I am fairly excited to proceed reviewing this present by means of each emotional beat.