Paripi Koumei is following an interesting course. Where a lot of these sorts of stories will start off by introducing the story in relatively relaxed pacing and then shift to a higher gear when the main plot kicks in, it’s doing just the opposite. Now that we know the premise (for whatever portion of the manga is being adapted, anyway), it’s slowed down. The last few episodes have been rather reflective in fact, and the two protagonists have spent relatively little time together on-screen. I kind of like the vibe but it’s not been to everyone’s taste.
Since I’m indifferent to the musical side of the series (these just aren’t my genres) having other stuff to grind on has helped keep me vested. With Kabetaijin on-board Koumei turns his focus to the 100,000 likes contest, but there’s no mad dash to the line. In fact he tells Eiko and Kabe that their big rival is actually the third-place act, sitting on 10K likes. While the deadline is only a couple of weeks away, he basically sends the young ‘uns off on a self-reflection tour and sets about some divination at the bar.
The name of that third-place act is Azalea, and their lead singer is Nanami (remember it). But Koumei is most worried about their promotion agency, which he declares has “hundreds of times” the resources on-hand to buy those 100K likes. He sends Kabetaijin off to have a rematch with Sekitoba Kung Fu and get it out of his system, and Eiko off to record her song (honestly I have a hard time telling them apart) in preparation for the launch – a mere 3 days before the deadline, which he says is the optimal time to release it.
How Koumei finds out the sorts of things he does to make stuff like those three goodie bags possible I have no idea – there truly must be supernatural effects at work here. The best part of the episode is the arranger Koumei has hired to dress up Eiko’s song, Steve “Kid” Kido. Kid is as transparently Steve Aoki as “Jumanji 53” is Jumanji 55 – they’re basically not even trying to hide it (that cake thing clinches the deal). Aoki, an American of Japanese descent and the son of a pro wrestler who founded the Benihana restaurant chain, is an extremely colorful character. So it’s only fitting that the guy based on him would be interesting.
Kid is played by Endou Daichi, a guy who’s done very few major roles but has impressed me when he has (largely because he doesn’t sound like a seiyuu). He toys with Eiko for a while but agrees to hear her out after seeing her prescient pudding, having her perform a song by the famous (in-mythology) chanteuse Maria Diesel. His verdict – she’s talented but a mimic, so he sends off to find her own voice. That leads her to use the second of Koumei’s care packages (seriously, how could he possibly have known that) after seeing a street singer with a cajón being hassled by the coppers. Nanami is a name you should remember, so this is clearly a fated meeting and Nanami presumably Eiko’s fated rival…