The Skate-Leading Stars head to the Grand Prix in EP5!

With the Grand Prix series right around the corner, Maeshima and the skate-leading club start training. Will they persevere as one, or will egos clash once more?

The Ionodai Training Camp is here! The skate-leading club seems unfazed by Himekawa’s sudden departure as they finally begin formal training for the upcoming Grand Prix series. Per Captain Terauchi’s directive, the club is shooting for a spot in the nationals. Everyone is all fired up, especially the resident hothead, Maeshima. But will he be able to tame those flames in time for the sake of the team?


In Episode 5 (“Bonds”), Terauchi delegates the skate-leading positions for the Ionodai team’s short program or performance piece. He and Jonouchi make up the guard position, Akimitsu on the wing, and Kiriyama and Maeshima (surprise!) commanding the lead. Meanwhile, Maeshima’s club buddy, Tomoyuki Kubota (voiced by Gen Satou), is on reserve for the lead position.


If last week’s episode was the weakest thus far in the series, then this one is a considerable improvement and a step towards the right direction, albeit rather hastily, but we will get to that later.

As expected in any training day arc, there was no short of clashing personalities on the ice rink as the skate-leading club fine-tunes their performance. Maeshima and Kiriyama continue to butt heads, but to Maeshima's credit, he is learning. He realizes his weaknesses and actually acts upon them for his development. It was like pouring a bucket of ice-cold sense on his hot head. And surprisingly, Kiriyama’s icy heart thaws a bit in this episode thanks to some cajoling from Terauchi. Expect to see the ice king and the hot head to be in better terms from here on out. *crosses fingers*


We also get to see more of Tomo, the club's reserve, who has been on the sidelines these past episodes. It was an interesting choice to highlight him against his friend Maeshima. Tomo's arc, short as it is, did not necessarily feel like it added anything to the bigger picture—at least so far. But the series should definitely continue sharing the spotlight to mix things up a little.

As for the actual skating/skate-leading, so far, there is a lot of telling and not enough showing. More often than not, when these characters go on the ice, we get generic shots of them sliding with a couple of arm movements tossed here and there. Or we get a dialogue, and then they describe the skating. And maybe that's just the series saving the elaborate sequences for the latter part. Either way, we are in desperate need of some more skating action.


Lastly, and to segue to the end of the episode, we get more insight into how skate-leading works, specifically, the point system. There seems to be some camera-like digital apparatus that automatically tracks the movement and technique of the skaters. It then quantifies those into points. It is a cool (get it?) concept, and who knows, maybe this is a foreshadowing for the future of figure skating, in general.

And with that, the skate-leading team goes to the Grand Prix series! The arrival in the tournament arc comes off as a bit of a hasty surprise, especially since the past episodes did not exactly set things up that well. Still, the hype is here, and we should be all the more glad for it and our skate-leading stars.


What did you think of this episode? Leave a comment below, and let's discuss!

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