Alright, let’s get this show on the road. I actually do like the teamwork between Chiyuki and Kokoro, because it emphasizes something that I had overlooked about Ikuto — something that he sorely lacks. I’ll start from the beginning…
— When the episode opens, we see Ikuto receiving a round of applause. This will be important for later.
— In the audience, Yu continues to be exceedingly negative about Kokoro’s chances, but I doubt she’s actually ever seen the girl’s designs in person. And even if she has, it’s very doubtful that she has kept an open mind about it. Honestly, we’re all biased. It’s impossible to escape our biases. What we can do, however, to acknowledge our biases and put our own views and interpretations into context. Yu is probably the sort of person who thinks her judgments are always 100% objective.
— Anyways, Chiyuki quickly informs Kokoro that they’re still rivals. As a result, she actually wants Kokoro to wear one of her own designs on the runway. This way, the audience can compare the two. Isn’t this a bit adversarial? Isn’t this too antagonistic? Yeah, it is. Kokoro was expecting a buddy, but she got something else instead. Of course, I don’t think she actually hates Chiyuki, but she was annoyed enough to be open about her feelings. That’s actually progress considering how bottled up she is around Yu.
— Nevertheless, Chiyuki’s attitude actually helps them work together as a team. We know right off the bat that Chiyuki won’t kiss Kokoro’s ass. She won’t be a yes man. It doesn’t matter if you’re a boss, a manager, a head chef, or the lead designer in a project, it still has to be a collaborative effort. You can’t just assume that your vision is flawless. You need sharp critiques. Not senseless critiques, mind you. That’s the sort of junk that you would get from Yu. There’s a difference.
— So how does this relate to Ikuto? Well, you gotta wonder if he actually got any input from his models. You gotta wonder if he even bothered to seek out other people’s critique. We only saw him speak to Ryunosuke once, and that meeting resulted in our hero tearing up his original designs. My point is, did he show his final designs to any of his peers? I don’t think he did.
— When Chiyuki decided to help Kokoro, he lost a huge asset because she wasn’t just a model. The girl also has an eye for clothes, and if she had been on his team, she probably wouldn’t have kept her opinions to herself. She would’ve pushed and challenged him.
— Still, Ikuto has had his successes. Meanwhile, our heroine went all the way to France and bombed. She needs a win, and for that, she needs to improve. She needs someone to push her, and I don’t think Ikuto could’ve provided that. As a result, it was a boon for Chiyuki to work with someone who has also modeled, because Kokoro can then give her some feedback. So even though they’re not the best of friends, they actually end up pushing each other to get better. Could Ikuto help Chiyuki grow like Kokoro has? Maybe in the future but not now. He’s still too green in this industry.
— One thing I didn’t like, however, was Kokoro’s explanation for why she’s so subservient to Yu. Yeah, alright, she didn’t harp on your insecurities like everyone else. That doesn’t give her carte blanche to shit on your dreams, girl.
— Anyway, it’s time for Kokoro’s show, and it starts off with an admittedly boring design. In fact, none of the outfits you’re gonna see are very interesting. Rather, what’s actually different is how the outfits are put together. Since Kokoro is only using a single model (other than herself), she has Chiyuki change her look directly on the runway without getting naked. As a result, all of the pieces have to work together. All of the pieces have to be complimentary. The clothes themselves are pretty boring, but I guess there’s something unique about the process of putting them on. I dunno, I’m not a fashion person, so this doesn’t geek me out. I just know that Kokoro has already push herself further than Ikuto.
— Then there’s a bunch of stuff about how Chiyuki changes her gait to bring the best out of the clothes she’s wearing. The show tries to add drama by having the girl feel dizzy halfway through the performance, but it feels kinda forced.
— Kokoro is also commended for somehow managing to hide Chiyuki’s height. I guess I would agree that clothes can help diminish a certain characteristic about someone’s build, but to hide it completely? That seems a little farfetched.
— In the audience, Yu tries to run away like a coward, but Shizuku actually reprimands her. Someone should’ve done this a long time ago.
— Then finally, Chiyuki blows the audience’s mind with her… um… aura. This is like Zoolander‘s Blue Steel or some shit. That’s about all that I can say here. Someone’s aura just isn’t something that I can really analyze or interpret.
— Finally, Kokoro comes out to help demonstrate the difference between Chiyuki and the average model, but more importantly, how the audience totally didn’t notice the latter’s short stature until the former showed up. Sure, whatever you guys say.
— Kokoro also takes off her coat to reveal a suit — the same suit that her agent is wearing. No matter what, she’ll always be grateful to Yu. No matter what, she’ll always want Yu’s approval and blessing. Which is something people might find endearing, I suppose. Not me, though. I’m too petty for that. Someone like Yu would’ve been excommunicated from my life a long time ago.
— In the end, Chiyuki does manage to turn some heads, so she declares herself the victor between her and Kokoro. But of course, it’s not actually as harsh as it sounds. She just thinks that her victory affirms Kokoro’s decision to be a designer instead. Still, it does come off a bit narcissistic.