C3-bu ep3 & 4: no resolve, no victory
My, aren’t we moving fast? On the third episode, and we’re already entering a tournament. This is Yura’s first dip into the really competitive world of airsoft. And i suppose this is where the show is really supposed to shine.
From the beginning, things go incredibly smoothly for the girls in the tournament. Yura may be painfully green, but she’s still just competent enough to hang with the team as they mow down team after team. Before you know it, they’re at the finals with another girls team. Though this isn’t just any girls team, there’s a history between Sonora and the opposing team’s leader. Though they’ll deal with that after lunch…
Well maybe they won’t.
When Sonora and Yura go to the bathroom, they run into the other teams’ leader. It’s strange, I haven’t seen that pained look on Sonora’s face before. There’s clearly some bad air between them, and it clearly shows during the match.
With the teams finally squaring off after lunch, everyone the girls of C3 decide on an all or nothing blitz attack on their opponents from Meisei High. It’s an obvious tactic designed to compensate for having a rookie on the team. And unfortunately for them, the risky tactic is far too much of a strain on them, and the girls are weeded out one by one until only Yura is left. The match has gone badly from the beginning, and she’s been in a panic the whole time. With the realization that she’s all alone on the field, she’s left in a terrified, frozen state (this really is over dramatic). Meisei High has the opportunity to shut the match down easily with a simple flag capture, but there leader refuses to take that route. She wants (pseudo) blood, and won’t accept anything short of shooting down every last member of C3. As they close in on Yura, she succumbs to the hopelessness of her situation and gives up.
The match is over. And Yura has no idea the huge mistake she’s made.
With the news of the victory by forfeit broadcast to everyone, Meisei High’s team leader meets Yura on the way out, and tells her how she feels about Yura’s reprehensible action. The other members of C3 come to Yura’s aid, but Sonora won’t have any of it. That happy, carefree smile of hers has disappeared for the second time this episode, and she warns Yura in a very stern fashion, not forfeit again.
With that horrible moment over, the team retires for the night to a nearby hot-spring. though there’s still a heavy air hanging over Yura. The rest of the team is over it and tries to cheer her up. Yura sings into deep thought in the pool, contemplating her misstep and what her social goal has been this entire time. It looks like she’s come to a conclusion. And it’s-
WHAT THE F*CK?!
End of episode.
Well, looks like Yura’s run of happiness and sunshine has come to an end. The tournament was going incredibly well for the C3 club, especially considering Yura’s lack of experience and poise. And most of the other girls understood and accepted what she did. But Sonora is hardcore, and it looks like Yura let her down pretty badly there. The samurai spirit in her is strong, so she won’t accept anything short of a fight to the finish.
As for Sonora herself, it seems she has more than a rival in Rin (or is it Ren?). It’s damn near a blood feud. I wonder what went down between them in America? There’s bitterness coming from Rin, and it appears there’s regret coming from Sonora.
Overall, a good episode. The characters are starting to grow on me, especially Sonora and Rento. And I think the show is really starting to nail that mix of action and K-ON style cuteness. Plus the ED theme has really grown on me.
The C3 girls seem to have recovered from their loss quite nicely. as we see them in a 3 on 3 spar of sorts. But something weird happens, or slightly weirder than normal, and it’s a sign of things to come.
As the smoke grenade goes off and the battle kicks into a flurry, Yura seems to fade out into her own world. She’s transported to a world of trenches and tanks, apparently the world of World War I. when she tells her team of it, they understandably laugh at and chide her. After all, it just sounds like she’s slipped off into her own little world. Though Sonora takes this as a sign of her passion and offers to give her special training. Rento is lucky enough to be chosen to go along with them.
Before they head out, Sonora loans a Czech uzi, nicknamed the Skorpion. It’s a memento from her master, and she says it’s a very good gun. And Yura’s promised an even better one should she pass her training.
And here’s where things start to get really weird.
The training takes place at an ancient shrine, where one of the gods worshiped there is an unnamed legendary archer. More on that later. On the way up the steps, Yura sees a white fox, but no one else sees it. It appears to be another case of Yura’s overactive imagination.
Once at the shrine, Sonora demonstrates some crack airsoft marksmanship, as she hits a small coin hanging on a string from distance. She does it several times, and even Rento demonstrates that she can do it as well. As Yura is given her chance from a much closer distance, we hear Sonora tell her some zen-like mumbo jumbo about being one with everything on the battlefield, closing the distance so that everything is the same. I don’t get it. Yura doesn’t get it. Rento doesn’t get it. Hell, even Sonora says she didn’t get it for a long time, and she’s teaching the class! But somehow her lesson sinks into Yura’s head, and eventually she’s able to pull the trigger and hit her target. The girls are amazed that she’s able to grasp such a technique so quickly, though as they talk, Yura sees the white fox again, then she sees an archer with a white fox mask on his face. It distracts and shakes her focus, and she’s unable to hit the target once the entire afternoon. Sonora calls it quits eventually, seeing as how they’re supposed to leave before dark. There’s a myth about people being spirited away when the sun goes down.
On the train back home, Yura tries to give Sonora her uzi back but it’s not in her bag. A very tired Yura panics and gets off at the next stop to retrieve it from the shrine. Once there, she sees the masked archer again, standing in the moonlight. Some awkward banter ensues, as the spirit, nay god, tells her that his name is Chojirou, the famous archer of legend. Yura understandably thinks that she’s just too tired and that he’s another one of her dreamt up illusions. To put an end to this nonsense, the archer god takes Yura’s hand and whisks her away to a painted world of ancient war. Chojirou tells her that this is his time, his world, his purgatory, and that he’s been forced to relive these final moments of life forever. He asks her to take up her airsoft gun, and shoot down the arrow that is destined to end his life. He explains to her that the world of her active imagination and his are resonating, and that she has the power to turn dreams into reality. And that she always has had that power. Unfortunately, Yura hesitates and Chojirou is struck dead.
With the archery god dead, and Sonora’s Skorpion retrieved, Yura heads home and is met by a worried Sonora. When they meet Yura is shaken by the name of Sonora’s master, Chojirou. They head back to the dorm, where Yura explains what she saw. Sonora can’t confirm for here whether what she saw was real or not, but she offers her the simple advice to go back there and make a choice rather than watch. In the meantime, Sonora tells Yura about her master. He was a talented American soldier and very close mentor of hers that was killed in action. When she got the news, she quit airsoft for awhile, but eventually got into it. She says she has fun when she wins, but Yura notices that this goes counter to what she tells the club about fun being the true barometer of winning. Regardless, Sonora tells her to just go out there and have fun. She’s free to quit at anytime if it doesn’t make her happy.
The next afternoon, Yura is back at the shrine with Sonora and Rento waiting at the bottom of the shrine for her. Rento realizes that she forgot to give Yura something and sprints up the shrine to meet her, but at the top she notices something strange, the world around her is changing. She’s walked into Yura’s painted world. There, she watches in disbelief as Yura in a white fox mask, on a boat, takes out the Chojirou’s killing arrow with Sonora’s Skorpion. The painted world celebrates, and golden confetti falls from the sky. And we see that Yura’s aim is so true that the airsoft pellet has gotten stuck in the hole in the middle of the coin.
Back at the club house, everything’s back to square one again. Yura attempts to explain her story, but it just comes off as another delusion to everyone in the club…. everyone except Rento.
I doubt my synopsis will do justice to just how amazing this episode was to watch. It’s a subtle change up until the more magical, dramatic moments. And then what’s witnessed is one of the better stand alone episodes I’ve seen this year. The show got much darker, and personal than I expected a show about “cute girls doing cute things to get. We learn the sad truth about what happened to Sonora’s mentor, and learn that even now she’s coping with it through airsoft. The story of Chojirou was a well told tragic one as well. And I loved how the show plays with the mystery of whether any of it was true of not. I mean, Yura totally screws up the legend in her fantasy, but we still see some evidence that it may be real through Rento. Then again, Yura could just be a witch. After this episode, I think anything is possible.
The atmosphere, the pacing, the soundtrack and direction all made this an outstanding and memorable episode in my eyes. I do wonder if this will carry over though. Is this a game changer, or just a sign that eventually Yura is destined for something great? On one hand, this exposes how seriously this silly show takes itself, on the other, the mystical mumbo jumbo is made interesting and engaging. It’s just as I start to make fun of this show for it’s silly mantras and philosophies, that it show me how much farther it’s willing to go, and how much it romanticizes those ideals. It’s a silly delusion, but much like Yura I’m enjoying it right now.