Runway de Waratte Ep. 6: Half and half

What on earth is a hypermodel? Is this like a model gone SSJ2?

— The episode opens with Chiyuki explaining her relationship with Ikuto to her friends. According to her, they’re not quite friends… yet. More important than friendship is that she respects him. That’s all fine and dandy, but I still have a quibble with this scene. It doesn’t feel organic. She doesn’t simply answer her classmates’ question. She practically launches into a soliloquy in order to praise Ikuto. It just keeps going and going and going.

— It’s time to judge the first event, and earring girl cops an attitude. Obviously, arrogance of this magnitude can and will limit her potential. Not all criticism is valid, but we’re talking about her peers. We’re not talking about random people off the streets. Ah well, she shuts up real quick when Toh shows up.

It’s like a bad maid costume…

— Combining leather and lace also seems tacky.

You said it, girl! The show, however, cynically spins her critique off as just another example of dog-eat-dog behavior. Since the competitors are judging each other, they’re going to be extra critical. Sure, but that’s not exactly a bad thing. If everyone’s being nitpicky, then we still have a level playing field. And even if the critiques are exaggerated, there’s a grain of truth in all of them. It’s up to a discerning artist to filter out the white noise and grasp what they truly need to improve upon.

— But for whatever reason, Ikuto loves the design. Of course, I don’t know fashion so don’t listen to me. I’m just going off my gut reaction.

…uh, yeah…

— Finally, it’s Ikuto’s turn to be judged. And here… we… go…

…okay, I’ll just shut up. At the start of the episode, Chiyuki told Ikuto that she would buy his design. We’re meant to think that there’s some potential in it. After all, I doubt the girl would try and sabotage him. Look, if people like this design, then clearly I don’t belong in this world. C’mon, she looks like a clown!

— Toh is internally impressed with Ikuto’s technique, but when he delivers his actual critique, he lambasts the high schooler for not being daring enough. That’s probably true. I mean, even if this is meant to be loungewear, it looks pretty dowdy. There’s no sex appeal. I’m not saying that Ikuto should slut up the design, but does anyone really think a fashionable young woman would wear that outfit?

— Nevertheless, Ikuto thinks back to Chiyuki and how she approved of his design. As a result, he decides to stand pat. He decides to put his faith in her judgment. Er…

— Afterwards, everyone is told that they have a chance to tweak their design. On paper, this is a good way to see if people can adapt to criticism and adjust on the fly. But this isn’t what actually happens. The principal proceeds to explain that stylishness is subjective… and what they really wanted was for everyone to produce something interesting. Oh, of course! Style is subjective! Something interesting, however, is totally not subjective. Mmm-hmm.

— And even then, I wouldn’t say that Ikuto’s design is interesting. It’s neither challenging nor provocative. It doesn’t strike me as avant garde. It just looks silly and childish. I can put on a clown nose and look silly. That won’t make me interesting. Being different isn’t automatically interesting. But again… I don’t know squat about fashion.

— The principal also adds that they wanted the competitors to stand behind their design “even after all the harsh critiques.” Yeah, but what if your design is just plain bad?

— Behind closed doors, Toh admits that he doesn’t really hate Ikuto’s design. So great, your criticism is a lie and thus essentially worthless. Thanks for judging.

— Meanwhile, the principal adds that Sara likes stripes, so Ikuto deserves praise for tailoring an outfit that would fit the client’s tastes. Yo, the stripes ain’t the problem!

— Everyone passes! Everyone gets to move on! But three individuals get to advance straight to the finals. To nobody’s surprise, not only is Ikuto’s design up in the top three, but so is earring girl’s weird leather-and-lace maid outfit. In fact, she somehow took first. The one in second is just some generic military outfit. Everyone looks good in a uniform so it’s kind of a cop-out.

— One guy can’t understand why he placed lower than Ikuto. Toh’s explanation is pretty opaque: “Your process wasn’t suited for women’s clothing. It’s fine to challenge yourself with an unfamiliar category… But if that were the case, you should’ve done your homework.” See, maybe a designer would understand what Toh is talking about, but I’m not one. And I’d venture to guess that most people aren’t designers either. We’re all watching this anime for various reasons. Maybe you like the characters, maybe you like the animation. I’m watching this to understand something about the fashion world, and Toh’s answer might as well have said nothing.

— Afterwards, Toh tells Ikuto that he took exception to the fact that the latter didn’t use his entire budget. Somehow, this is “an insincere act as a designer. He adds, “You failed today because you were stingy with the fabric. No matter the reason, it shouldn’t affect the client, ever.” Haha, okay. Talk about melodramatic. I could understand getting mad if someone gives you fifty bucks to plan a meal and you end up pocketing half of it. But this isn’t what happened. He had to scrounge up his own cash to participate.

— Ikuto fights fire with fire by being even more melodramatic.

— Toh then pulls a slimy move and somehow parlays his lecture into a recruiting pitch: “Oh, you need money? Guess who can pay you!”

— We then cut to Chiyuki, who’s busy trying to find work in fashion magazines. Along the way, she gains an energetic kohai.

— What’s amusing about the Chiyuki sequences is that they aren’t shy about bombarding the viewers with information. But I mean, that’s partly why we’re here. I had never heard of a “comp card” until now. She also explains how this all comes out of her pocket, which lets us know that the average model has it pretty hard. Like with every other industry, only the 1% at the top get to live lavishly. In any case, it just seems to me that the modeling half of the show is more detailed than the designing half. On the other hand, the Ikuto sections do have more drama and thus emotion…

— In the end, Chiyuki puts on that first outfit again, and this allows her to show some… vulnerability, I suppose? I guess this is different from your bread-and-butter pose. Still didn’t help her get a job, though.

— Chiyuki resolves to call the magazines directly, and her first attempt puts her in contact with that same editor from Yanagida’s fashion show! What a small world! And if you recall, she’s also short! As a result, she is receptive to Chiyuki; she immediately wants to take a look at our heroine’s portfolio! Short people unite! Together, you guys might make one tall person!

— Unfortunately, our shortie friend couldn’t show up to meet Chiyuki. Instead, it’s this (ugh) TALL PERSON.

— Initially, it looks like Chiyuki is making her case, but when Kokoro’s manager shows up (small world!), the TALL PERSON just drops her completely. Wow, rude! Exactly what a tall person would do too! I bet Kokoro’s manager also looks down on Chiyuk–… well, we literally all look down on short people, don’t we?

— I dunno, man… why can’t Chiyuki just schedule another meeting with shortie? She was very receptive about seeing the portfolio, so just try again.

— In the end, Chiyuki does hear back from the magazine, but only because a model dropped out of a shoot. Oh well, I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

— On the day of the shoot, she meets Kokoro for the first time and can’t help but marvel over the latter’s beauty. Anime and overalls, though… I also wonder if Kokoro’s manager had anything to do with this fateful encounter. All I know is that once Chiyuki and Kokoro start getting to know each other, they are going to fail the Bechdel test pretty hard.

— Still, I guess I should be happy that we finally got to see more of Chiyuki this week. Hell, I’m even amazed that she practically got half of the spotlight.

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

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