And so the last of the supporting cast is introduced in a rather interesting episode. And again my experience and insights from prior jobs flavored my view on the silliness of this episode incident of the week, and I’m here wanting for the main antagonists to show up. Also, it seems like the station chief or security chief from episode one (Oonimato Osamu) is a very big fan of the character being introduced today.
VIP protection seems to be the role K4 was tasked in this episode, as they follow around the famous idol, Kashima Nao (voiced by Chihara Minori). Nao is the usual idol, an overworked young woman who has a great body, singing voice, but can be utter arses when off the stage. Naoto’s enthusiasm for trains is evident. As usual.
Arriving at the platform, an admirer approaches Nao, pushing past Nao’s manager, who is pushed into Naoto, who is pushed into Nao. The lucky guy.
Recovering at Nao’s changing tent, probably receiving a nasty concussion from the fall, Naoto wakes up in the middle of Nao changing, though Iida manages to keep him quiet. Iida is handed a magazine cut-out threat letter, stating that this job is going to be Nao’s last performance, and even with the threat, she still intends to sing.
Handing Iida Naoto’s stamp book, she states it is her thanks for saving her in the incident with her fan earlier, revealing that she got it stamped for him. Back at the stage, Naoto is slowly coming to grips with his new role as the head of the team (with Iida guiding him), tasking the group to keep on the look out for suspicious persons and then removing them.
After seeing Nao in her swimsuit, Iida states that one should always be in a swimsuit while at the sea, and we are treated to more fanservice. Like how Sakurai is rather timid or something when nude, and that Haruka sleeps naked.
After the rather chaotic changing session, Iida explains that with only five members of K4 defending the idol in such a large area, standing out would benefit them as a bit of deterrence. I can see where they are going with this, letting the girls surround Nao, while the men, who would be harder to see, vector in and ‘guide’ any would be attackers away.
Meanwhile, at the stage rehearsal, Nao is warned in a rather dramatic way by utilizing flash paper made into confetti. Regardless, the show goes on. Back at the hotel, Naoto presses for her to cancel the event, even though Nao wants to continue, to prove she won’t lose to the likes of them.
Pressing his worries, he inadvertently enters the women’s bath, and is promptly slapped in the face. Meanwhile, Nao explains she had gotten far just by singing, noting that people once didn’t listen to her when she started singing in the street, and doesn’t intend to stop.
The next day, the stage curtains drop darkening the venue to a pack crowd, and the power and energy of the singer set everyone afire (Note to self: wait for this song to come out). Naoto and others appreciate the event, only for Naoto to notice a suspicious person in the background. As Iida and the JNR’s mascot do their presentation with Nao, Naoto reasons that if the perpetrator can smuggle the flash-paper confetti into the venue, as a staff member, he can get access to places he shouldn’t be able to. Acting on this, he gets close to Nao just as the suspicious person makes his move.
Iida and Nao play on this and try to pass it off as part of the presentation, to keep the guests calm, while Aoi and Shou come to Naoto’s backup. In one moment though, Naoto gets stabbed in front of everyone. Subduing the perp, Aoi seemed surprise that Naoto is fine, no doubt due to the stab-proof vest and the fact his stamp book was in the pocket he was stabbed in of the vest.
Keeping up with the act, he salutes Nao before he and the rest of K4 leave the stage. And no one in the audience is aware it wasn’t an act. After the event, Naoto seemed more concerned that his stamp booklet had a hole in it, and while saying it was a spur of the moment thing for him, thanks Nao for stamping his booklet.
Heading to their next job, Nao recounts the incident on stage, and notes that Naoto gives his all for others, no doubt appreciating and falling for him as well.
For an introduction episode for what seems to be the last of the recurring characters, I felt it went better than last week’s episode. Tasked with VIP protection duty, it was a very reasonale chance at a beach episode. It wasn’t a cobbled together, let’s go to the beach kind of episode which would’ve totally ruined the characters in my opinion. I doubt apart from Shou or Haruka, Naoto would’ve thought about going to the beach. He seems more enamored with trains that any holiday he’d get would be filling his stamp booklet.
The amount of fanservice in this episode had just raised the bar. A convenient censoring scene as well as letting the audience’s imagination going wild when Iida was choosing swimsuits for Aoi and Haruka was pushing it, while the emphasis on the sex appeal of the show off putting at times.
But of course, there is something that irks me. Something that makes my suspension of disbelief cry out. But then again, I worked as a local stagehand during college, so I kinda understood that. I’m chalking up the perp being able to don staff clothes meant he’s been stalking her for the longest of times.
A note about the whole scene, I thought it was over the top, though well handled even if I thought it was kinda ridiculous. In any other concert, security would be so on his ass so fast it wouldn’t be funny. But the fact there seems to be no other security staff in the venue struck me as odd. For the sake of the story and all that. Hell, one doesn’t need to have worked on a stage to understand. Go to a concert, especially after such a security concern came up? You would see a lot more yellow-shirted or lettered security, as well as the staff on high alert.
I dunno, the show needs to get off the silliness I personally know wouldn’t happen or would be handled better (liquid nitrogen bomb diffussal anyone?), to stuff that is more in line with ‘just believe us because believe us’. I think it’s just me though.
Now, I had to check Wikipedia for it, but it seemed like Naoto was made into K4’s actual leader with Iida stepping down. I’m not too sure, it might be because I do get my episodes from sources with rather lax QC in their translation, but regardless, it seems like Naoto’s enthusiasm is slowly melding into a sort of lead-from-the-front type of friendly leadership. I doubt he’ll change into something like a hardass leader like Gonou Hitomi (the instructor from episode one) but he’ll do well.
As for those wondering where the plot is coming, it’ll come soon. Already we’re tipped off with the main baddies of the series, the JR group, which intends to violently force the privatization of the JNR, back in episode one. The fact that Naoto’s batch of OJTs were pushed regardless of preference to Public Security is a clue, and no doubt the bomber would be linked to the JR group. So we’ll see.
A note though on the girls. I’m liking that this isn’t an all out harem anime, and that the harem is slowly (if at all) forming around Naoto by the girls he impresses by his personality, and I think that, unlike a certain powered armor protag with a skull thicker than anything known to man and nature, he may even acknowledge one of the girls!
Meanwhile I’m rewatching this episode because of Aoi in that rather sexy swimsuit.