Galaxy – Now The Stars Shine
“Can you hear how much fun they’re having?”
The episode opens with a stage show by the stride team from Saisei who double as idols to boost popularity, and I assume that it helps with sponsorship as well. The Honan team meets them afterwards. Introductions are done but I remember all of one name. They seem to be quite a friendly team but Nana and Riku are awed all the same. Saisei also has a fanboy of ex-Honan stride player Kyosuke, the long-haired guy whom the OP tells us is important.
After the pre-match shenanigans comes the match itself. It’s something else; not too long but stunning while it lasts. The character interactions between each pair prior to the match adds an interesting undercurrent to the whole thing. Riku and Heath give a good but unremarkable performance while Ayumu’s primary interest being shogi and not stride causes him to be considerably slower than his opponent. Takeru and Hozumi are the ones who shine, the former performing an incredible acrobatic leap and the latter overcoming a notable disadvantage to catch up to his opponent.
Saisei vs Honan line-up
Despite putting on a decent performance, Honan loses by 4 seconds which is a sizable difference given the nature of the game. But Diane doesn’t withdraw her sponsorship and instead gives them new jerseys, along with the typical threat to not lose when they’re wearing it.
The boys and Nana are cheer up and set their sights on End of Summer (now the series subtitle makes sense), East Japan’s biggest stride summer event.
Above are the bare bones of the plot but this episode did give me a lot to think about.
We finally get our first official Stride much and I gotta say that it looks like a lot of fun. You’d probably have to be skilled as hell to pull off some of the fancier stunts but it seems fun to learn and to play, which is one of the things this episode touches in passing. It’s not just winning that’s important but also enjoying the game. Sounds pretty basic but it’s easy to forget all the same when competition rears its ugly head.
See? Fun but with the potential to break your face
Saisei’s members seem to thoroughly enjoy the race while Honan’s feelings are more mixed. Riku, for all his cheer, seems to have a lot on his mind and I get the sense that stride is a complicated subject for him. Knowing how stories are wont to develop, I’d wager that it involves his brother who’s mentioned twice in this episode as well. Heath and Hozumi seem fine but I can practically smell Ayumu’s upcoming crisis about holding them back. We see its beginnings even in this episode and his personal time being the best out of them is probably only a temporary consolation. As for Takeru, he sure is skilled but I’m beginning to doubt that the guy even knows what fun is. Nana is clearly nervous about her role as Relationer and that’s pretty much all this episode shows of her.
Fly, Takeru, flyyyy
I’m not saying that not having fun is the reason Honan lost. Their teamwork doesn’t seem all that stellar either. There’s the sense that they’re all just running their part of the race unlike Saisei who are more unified in their goal. But Honan’s new team is a work in progress and the results look hopeful. And well, they are our main team – they kinda have to pull it together. Narrative logic says so.