After a shocking finish at the Grand Prix series, the Ionodai High Skate-Leading Club regroups. And Sasugai…wait, where is Sasugai?!
You would think that after the series has been hyping Maeshima and his innate talent for ice skating, it would eventually yield exciting results. But after last week’s episode, it seems like there are still some techniques to be polished and strategies worth rethinking.
In Episode 7 (“Resolve”), we see the aftermath of the Ionodai High Skate-Leading Club's shocking last-place finish during the first heat of the Grand Prix series. Disappointment and frustration were written all over the faces of the team. Even the strong-willed Maeshima could not say anything about what had happened. Meanwhile, Sasugai, the mastermind behind the team's crucial routine change, is nowhere to be found. Can the club regroup in time for the next round of the Grand Prix?
Funnily enough, it was a minor character that summarized what is perhaps the entire dilemma of the Ionodai team. According to Takamasa Miura (voiced by Hiroki Tochi), the reporter who covered the first round, Ionodai lost because they were just plain copying Maeshima. They were like an orchestra without a conductor (*cue mic drop*), and it was an accurate and necessary observation.
It seems like the team went into the Grand Prix without really resolving the different dynamics of each skater. Plus, they lacked chemistry overall, which may be a result of the plot's pacing. But we’ll get to that later.
In this episode, we also learn more about the team’s stoic coach, retired figure skating legend Takumi Adachi (voiced by Satoshi Mikami). We have seen this type of coach before: the silent but deadly type. The seemingly aloof but is insanely talented in reality. It doesn’t really make sense why he’s like that, especially since he’s a coach. Can't he try a little harder for his team? But he definitely showed a more nuanced side this episode, or otherwise, he would have faded in the background long ago.
And the reason why he’s mum for most of the season is because of Sasugai—who is arguably the highlight of this episode. We already know about his genius when it comes to ice skating, but this is the first time his calculations were amiss, which led to the team doubting him. And between him and Maeshima, Sasugai is probably the most detached from the entire team. He needs to regain their trust so that they are on the same page (and avoid any last minute changes).
Thankfully, all of these things get resolved in this episode, but they don’t feel genuine. Sure, the series can get relatively exciting in the plot department, but it’s hard to root for the characters, especially as a skate-leading team. The series spends a lot of time wandering in different plot directions that it neglects the stars of this show.
Overall, this was not an entirely bad episode. There were some interesting character developments to go around. And we’re still in the Grand Prix after all so expect some more mid-range level of thrills in the coming weeks now that the Ionodai crew is back on track—and with some new tricks up their sleeves. But with only five episodes left, expectation is the series’ worst enemy as there have been more falls than successful twirls.
What did you think of this episode? Leave a comment below, and let's discuss!
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