Runway de Waratte Ep. 5: The start of the tournament arc

Every anime needs one.

— Is this really something to be amazed about? Also, this girl blushes a lot, but I don’t know if this really means anything. After all, Ikuto blushes after getting a phone call from his sister. I think these characters just like to blush in general. Still, I can’t help but wonder if there’s going to be a romantic element to this series.

— I guess Kokoro is kind of like Chiyuki’s foil, huh? She’s tall, Chiyuki’s short. She’s shy, Chiyuki’s assertive. She would rather be a designer whereas Chiyuki has her mind and heart set on modeling. And maybe together, they’ll compete for Ikuto’s heart or something.

— I just wonder about introducing a foil when we still haven’t gotten to know Chiyuki all that well yet. But I guess Ikuto really is the main character of the series. Everyone else revolves around him. I’m not sure if I’m disappointed or not. I guess I am? I prefer Chiyuki’s personality over Ikuto’s, so I would rather see her drive the narrative.

— As always, the show is so dramatic.

— As Chiyuki’s foil, Kokoro is predictably being forced by her manager to quit designer school. But I assume if she’s in designer school, then she’s a legal adult. And if she’s a legal adult, she can do whatever the hell she wants. So how on earth can her manager physically force her to do anything? Maybe she feels like she owes her manager, but enough to make her quit school? C’mon…

— Look at their shocked faces! I’m serious, though — she’s a legal adult who can say no, right? Am I losing it? Am I fundamentally misunderstanding something?

— So the manager’s talking trash about Kokoro’s ambitions, and the girl’s just trembling in one place. She’s sweating beads and pursing her lips. She’s about to break down and cry. No, I get it. She’s scared. She’s not used to standing up for herself. It’s not that I don’t feel bad for her, but on a subjective level, this is why I wanted the show to focus on Chiyuki. Her no-quit attitude is refreshing. I can get behind someone who goes for what she wants. Meanwhile, both Ikuto and Kokoro are just standing here with their mouths agape, unable to summon up the courage to tell the manager to — pardon my French — fuck off.

— The next thing we see is Kokoro in the backseat of the manager’s car. What? C’mon! Who gives a shit if she’s some agency’s last hope. It’s not her responsibility to fix their screw-ups. To make matters worse, Ikuto couldn’t even save Kokoro. Ugh, I can’t. Where’s Chiyuki when you need her? She would’ve had the metaphorical juevos to stand up to the woman.

— Ughhhh, more scenes with Kokoro. She sobs as she tells Ikuto that her manager is right. A part of her wants to use fashion design as an excuse to quit modeling… and that’s fine. If you don’t like modeling, it’s perfectly okay to quit doing it. Again, am I in bizarro land? You don’t even need an excuse like loving fashion design. Just quit. If it makes you so goddamn miserable… STOP. DOING. IT.

— Ikuto reads Kokoro’s notebook full of her notes and plans. They seem pretty straightforward to me; most students do the same thing. But like everything in this series, it’s mindblowing stuff to the characters. It’s like… he can totally feel her passion bursting forth from every single page! So she can’t quit fashion design! She has so much promise!

— Still, I guess this is progress for our hero. At the beginning of the series, he was the one who needed a push. Now it’s his turn to pay it forward and help someone else realize their dreams.

— So rather than just telling the manager, “Sorry, but this is my life, so I’m going to do what I want to do” we’re going to solve this problem in the most roundabout way possible: participate in the fashion show and show her how talented you are! Touch her heart with your clothes!

— The only reason I’m being snarky about this is because it doesn’t matter if you don’t succeed. We rarely do… the first time around. Kokoro should do fashion design even if she sucks at it. My problem with Ikuto’s plan is that Kokoro’s freedom hinges on a single event. Like if she fails, then she should just slink back into modeling. No!

— Yeah! You said it, Ikuto! So when are we going to say this to the manager? Guys? Guys???

— We immediately jump to the preliminaries of the festival. Oh lord, is this the tournament arc of the series?

This lady’s one dangling earring is kinda silly-looking. But what do I know? Maybe it’s a fashion statement.

— And this is Ikuto’s first test. He has to design something stylish for Sara (I think this was the same woman who made his first outfit go viral). Hm, why so small? I guess we don’t have enough fabric or space for all the contestants in the first round.

— Apparently, you need to pay a 10000 yen fee to participate in this competition. Considering how that woman roped Ikuto into this mess to begin with, it would’ve been nice of her to foot the bill.

WHY ARE YOU BLUSHING? WHY DOES EVERYONE BLUSH ON THIS SHOW?

— Ah, this is why we don’t have someone foot the bill for Ikuto: we need a scene where people shit-talk him for being poor. The only person to stand up for him isn’t even the teacher. Nope, it’s Kaoru, the girl with the dangling earring.

— Then the guy sitting next to Ikuto calls him naive for wanting to thank Kaoru. Wow. God forbid we be nice to each other. THIS IS A COMPETITION. YOU CAN’T JUST THANK SOMEONE! KILL OR BE KILLE–… uh, design some pretty clothes, okay?

— The participation fee goes directly into buying fabric for the first round. Since Ikuto got his money from his family, he wants to scrimp as much as possible. He’s going to try and design something stylish on a budget… which is not such a crazy idea. In the culinary world, you can always blow people away with expensive ingredients like premium Kobe beef, caviar, abalone, etc. But you can also make your mark by turning cheap ingredients into something special. This is why restaurants tend to have so much offal on the menu. You’re taking one man’s trash and turning it into treasure.

— Too bad Ikuto loses confidence so easily. Man…

Finally, we get to see Chiyuki. I guess she only shows up when Ikuto needs a muse. I feel as though I’ve been bamboozled. What happened to watching this spunky girl achieve her dreams as a short model?! Why is she just some dude’s muse? Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

— She looks a bit awkwardly animated here.

— Ikuto starts blushing around Chiyuki, because he can see too much of her skin. I dunno, I think she’s wearing plenty. Are spaghetti straps taboo in Japan?

— With Chiyuki’s help, Ikuto learns a lot about Sara. So much about Sara. Too much about Sara? Hm, I wonder. On the one hand, you want to make your clients happy; you’re providing a service. What’s the point of creating clothes that nobody wants to wear? You gotta know what the customer wants. On the other hand, you also have to stay true to your vision. Art isn’t always about what appeals to the masses. Sometimes, you have to create art that shocks, challenges, and breaks established conventions. So where does fashion lie on this spectrum? I wouldn’t know. It’s just funny to me when people poke fun at avant garde fashion shows, because they’re not meant to be worn like everyday clothes. For instance, Smithson’s Nonsite isn’t something you would “hang” in your house like, say, a painting by Thomas Kinkade. What’s my point? I dunno, I guess I kind of went on a tangent.

— So Sara is kinda like Chiyuki’s idol, because the former is only 171 cm tall… uh, that’s like… 5’7″? I guess that’s short for models.

— Funnily enough, all that info about Sara still didn’t help Ikuto with his creative block. But when he stares at Chiyuki, it suddenly comes together for him. Like I said, she’s basically his muse. I just wish she had a bigger presence in the anime. Hell, I wish she was the main protagonist! But I’ve mentioned this already. It’s about time I get over it. Sigh.

Please refrain from posting spoilers or using derogatory language. Basically, don't be an asshole.

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