Wednesday, March 2, 2016

AOKANA: Four Rhythm Across The Blue Episode #8 Review

I...can't fly anymore.

What They Say:
The Kunahama Institute is one of the first in the world to give out new anti-gravity footwear to its students. Not only does this invention change the way the basic world functions, with students now being able to shoot across the sky, but it also gives birth to a new sport -- The Flying Circus. Asuka Kurashina is a new transfer student at Kunahama who has never wanted anything more than the ability to fly. Suddenly mixed in with students who have already mastered the art of flight, Asuka must overcome physical and mental barriers as she adapts to a new environment filled with new people, all while trying to master a new way of life.

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
At the end of last week's episode, Misaki had turned in a withdrawal form concerning her spot on Kunahama's flying circus roster. The rest of her team, being in a panic, quickly starts thinking up ways to try and persuade Misaki to stay on the team and not give up just yet. But after finding out that the reason she quit is because she just isn't having fun anymore, the team isn't exactly sure what to do. So at Masaya's behest, they agree to just leave her alone for the time being with hopes of her changing her mind sometime in the near future. After all, the team needs to focus now more than ever if they are going to have a successful performance in the upcoming Fall tournament.

Then, in the middle of night, Misaki and Masaya run into each other at a convenience store in what seems like an encounter that was fated to happen. Out of the blue, Misaki asks Masaya why he is the only one that hasn't bothered talking to her about the withdrawal yet. Being dismissive of the question, the two retreat back to Misaki's house for dinner as if nothing had ever happened. Upon leaving, Masaya reveals his past to her as an all-star flying circus player who had also run away from the sport after a discouraging loss. But, in what seems like a message of hope and persuasion, he essentially says that "Running is a lot harder than it looks". (Side note: The long haired girl in Masya's flashbacks looks quite a bit like Kagami-sensei. Just what is the age difference between those two?).

The next day, things are slow in the club-room...errr, club-bus. That is, until a helicopter randomly flies overhead with the word "Avalon" painted on the sides. That word can only be associated with Saki and Irina, but why would they be randomly showing up in the middle of a school day? After sprinting to the helicopter's landing zone, it is revealed that Irina and Saki would like a quick practice match against Kunahama. Asuka, being eager to compete against Saki, graciously agrees and the field is then prepared. (Why couldn't Saki and Irina just call the school? Who randomly just shows up in a helicopter?). Needless to say, the match proceeds in a manner similar to Saki's match against Shindou -- with her completely controlling the opponent to ensure a perfect victory. However, in the midst of Asuka attempting the find a way around Saki, once of her grav-shoes falls off and she plunges directly into the ocean. There's nothing to worry about, though. Misaki, who had been secretly spectating the match, quickly jumps in after her and brings her back to shore.

Asuka actually takes the fall pretty well, considering she's laughing about it by the time she's back on land. But things take a depressing turn as those laughs turn into sobs and tears start rolling from her eyes. The entire group then sits in silence as Asuka slowly breaks down and the camera fades to black on a surprisingly negative note.

In Summary:
Episode #8 mimics the mindset of its characters in being torn between extreme jubilance and melancholic sorrow. The first half is laced with funny attempts at getting Misaki to join the team again while the latter half is essentially a flying circus match that ends in a pretty bad way. And even though the team is hit relatively hard by this ending, there's still something about it that seemed less serious than it should have been. I mean, Asuka didn't plunge fifty feet into cement -- she fell a few feet into the water. It really wasn't that big of a deal, but I guess it was just the surprise factor that got everyone's emotions stirring. Apart from that, though, the part of the episode where Misaki and Masaya were partnered together was a good several minutes of relationship building that created an unlikely highlight to an overall decent episode.

Grade: B-

Streamed By: Crunchyroll

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