Ikuto and Chiyuki share a friendship that is going to turn heads. But let’s start from the top.
— When we last left off, Ikuto offers to fix the Chiyuki’s oversized dress. Dickhead designer then replies, “What could you possibly do, Bob?” First, what’s with the Bob thing? Second, dude was about to have a breakdown just moments ago. You’d think he’d be appreciative of any help that he gets. As they say, choosers shouldn’t be beggars. Look, I’m a petty person and I have no problems admitting this. If I was in Ikuto’s shoes, I’d let this guy crash and burn. Maybe failure will humble him.
— In the end, Yanagida has no choice. He has to let Ikuto help… I think? I mean, I still don’t understand why one missing dress spells doom for the entire fashion show, but maybe something just went over my head. Wouldn’t be the first time.
— From my layman’s point of view, the original dress looks kinda simple and boring. I get that this is just an anime, but it does ruin my immersion a bit. I know I’m not looking at something that is well-designed.
— I’m actually watching the dress altering stuff with earnestness, ’cause I just don’t plain know anything about sewing or dressmaking. I’ve never done it my life. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve picked up a sewing needle. All I know is that Ikuto is freaking the fuck out, and it’s up to Chiyuki to calm him down. What better way to demonstrate the partnership between the designer and their models?
— I just feel like the show is a little too… demonstrative. Freaking out internally is one thing. Ikuto, however, is bent over a table and hyperventilating. It reminds me of his meeting with Chiyuki’s dad in last week’s episode. The emotional displays in this anime is cranked up to max. Tone it back a bit. If everything’s a big deal, then nothing is.
— Chiyuki does the trick by offering up a bit of positive reinforcement, which is a concept that is probably alien to Yanagida. Her hands are also trembling, which helps Ikuto understand that he’s not alone. He isn’t the only person who’s scared. The girl’s scared too, but she’s putting on a brave face.
— They’re both kids in a grown up world, so it makes sense that they have to lean on each other. It’s just too bad that the adults around them seem too stuck up to serve as better role models.
— And just like that, an idea for the final design appears in Ikuto’s mind… but I’m pretty sure I could find something like that at my local TJ Maxx. No, I’m not a fashion expert, but I mean… you can’t convince Joe Schmoe that a hot dog is haute cuisine. There’s a limit to this sort of thing!
— I thought we were passed this. In last week’s episode, Chiyuki told Ikuto that models often had to get naked because there’s no time for puritanical modesty during a fashion show. That made sense to me, so I didn’t even bother commenting on it in last week’s post. So why are we freaking out about this sort of thing now?
— As Ikuto is frantically working his magic, we get to see one of Yanagida’s other outfits. Dude really loves the color red, huh? Not even multiple shades of it. No way, man. I want only this red and this red only!
— The kid actually runs out of time, but the entire team helps out by simply doing the fashion show slower. Walk slower, play slower music, etc. I guess everyone’s nice but Yanagida.
— Well, yeah… not in that frumpy outfit. It looks so old-fashioned and even a bit childish. It hides her body completely. It doesn’t seem appropriate for a casual night out with friends. But I’m just a layman so what do I know?
— Our nerdy journalist feels like a fish out of water. This fashion show simply reinforces the idea that there’s an entire world that is shut off from women like her — women who don’t fit the ideal model aesthetic. A bit dramatic, but this anime is kinda like that…
— But I guess the point here is that Chiyuki is inspirational. After all, most women are not tall like models. When you see these 6 ft models looking gorgeous, it’s hard not to feel left out. On the other hand, Chiyuki is someone that a woman of average height can relate to. You could thus argue that a successful short model like her can help the fashion world feel more inclusive. But this salient message doesn’t quite land as hard as it could, because just moments ago, Ikuto was raving about his partner’s oh-so-perfect proportions. She’s just short, he says. Otherwise, her proportions are the same as any top model! Well, I’d venture to guess that the average woman does not have the body shape of a model either. The show’s message isn’t bad, but I also feel like it isn’t complete. It doesn’t ask the relevant follow-up questions.
— But of course, as soon as Chiyuki steps on the runway, everyone in the audience wakes up. Our heroine and her dress completely steals the show. So much for Yanagida’s amazing fashion line, right?
— To be fair, Ikuto’s final design looks a little more done up, so maybe you can’t find it at TJ Maxx. Maybe you gotta go to Nordstrom Rack.
— So everything’s good, right? Well, we still got ten minutes left in the episode. As a result, we suddenly learn that Chiyuki had been given broken heels. There was no malicious intent behind this. Just a simple mistake that’s bound to happen when tensions run high. In any case, I assume that our girl will get the chance to prove herself. She’s going to overcome this mishap somehow and show everyone that she has what it takes to be a professional on the runway. Let’s see if I’m right.
— Naturally, the heel breaks and it looks as though Chiyuki is about to take a tumble. So how does our nerdy journalist react?
…oh give me a fucking break. A wardrobe malfunction has nothing to do with your insecurities. A broken heel isn’t karmic retribution for trying to “fit in.” What a ridiculous notion.
— Apparently, Ikuto designed the dress in such a way that it’ll still look good even if the model takes a stumble. He didn’t plan this, though. It was just a happy accident. There’s still time for Chiyuki to play her part in saving Yanagida’s goose (who ironically deserves karmic retribution).
— Chiyuki can’t help but smile when she thinks about how much Ikuto has helped her. Again, this blows the nerdy journalist’s mind. It blows her mind so hard that she starts crying. A smile, man. A smile on the runway. Yeah, I know it’s in the title!
— So models don’t typically smile. Out of curiosity, I looked this up, because I wanted to know why this was the case. They don’t do it solely because they want to avoid drawing attention away from the clothes. After all, people want clothes that make them feel good, so what’s wrong with smiling, right? Well, as it turns out, fashion is also about status. You get dressed up in order to look superior, and that makes sense. When I wear a well tailored suit, I do feel like a million bucks. But it doesn’t stop there. A model’s aloofness apparently communicates the idea that they are better than you. Like the stoic portraits of royalty from the 19th century, the model belongs to a higher social class. The model commands your peasant respect. And if you wanna feel the same way, you better get this outfit.
— Nevertheless, no rule is ironclad. For every movement, there is a counter-movement. Impressionism came about as a rejection of the old rules. Nouvelle cuisine came about as a rejection of cuisine classique. So if a lot of people think you shouldn’t smile — or that you shouldn’t have short models — there’s bound to be someone who doesn’t agree. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the fashion world, so I can’t really say how quickly it evolves.
— I guess I’m failing to empathize with the nerdy journalist. If you feel constantly ostracized and constantly isolated, then perhaps seeing someone like yourself on the runway can be… emotionally liberating. But some part of me still feels like she’s overreacting.
— When she gets backstage, they could’ve swapped out her faulty heels, but Chiyuki declines. She’ll tough it out! Why? Is this a consistency thing? That’s the only thing that comes to mind. Wearing heels is bad enough for your feet. Wearing broken heels seems like a fast way to get injured.
— Hmm, the models in front almost look unhappy.
— In the end, Yanagida oh-so-graciously gives half of the audience’s applause to Ikuto. Oooh, our boy’s gonna take that half-applause home, chop it up, and put it in his soup. Thank you sir for the generous gift!
— It’s also kinda funny to hear him criticize Ikuto for the “simple” design. Yo, everything I saw today was simple.
— Here comes some nobody to rain on the kids’ parade. Seriously, who is this woman?
— Despite her best attempts to spoil the mood, the two main characters stick around to say a bunch of inspirational stuff to each other. “You changed my life!” “And you changed my life!” “Let’s just agree that we changed somebody’s life!”
— And sure enough, we see the nerdy journalist reveal that she’ll stick with fashion reporting after all.
— We also see Yanagida reflect on how much Ikuto reminds him of himself. Well, I sure hope Ikuto doesn’t end up overworking his employees.