episode 3 - Stray Heart
Hiro arrives to pick Shuichi up for work, and finds him distinctly starry eyed and serene looking. It doesn't take much for him to find out that 'something happened with Yuki Eiri' and put two and two together. When Shuichi starts worrying that both he and Eiri are men, Hiro reassures him that there's nothing wrong with him being with a man so long as he loves him. They then drive to NG Pro, to find a very nervous Sakano who says the company president wants to see them.
In Tohma's office, Sakano is apologising profusely for not getting the lyrics finished on time, and begging Tohma not to abandon Bad Luck. Tohma reassures them that he's not going to drop Bad Luck - on the contrary, he's going to increase their sponsorship. On one condition: that they can work out what the problem is with the band. Shuichi throws a hissy fit (literally) and says that he can't sing unless he has confidence in himself, and a test like this is unfair. Tohma suggest that Bad Luck needs a new member, and Shuichi point blank refuses. Tohma then sacks Sakano as their manager, and says he will contact them about the new member later. Sakano faints.
While Sakano washes his face in the bathroom, Shuichi and Hiro argue about the new member - while Shuichi accuses Tohma of tyranny, Hiro thinks he may have a point. Eventually Shuichi says that Hiro obviously doesn't care as much about Bad Luck as he himself does, Hiro retaliates, and Shuichi punches him. A full catfight ensues, ending with Shuichi (dressed as a banana for no reason I can work out) running out and shouting at Hiro to effectively drop dead.
Shuichi, sitting crying in the road, is met by Ryuichi and K walking past. He explains about the fight with Hiro and the new member of Bad Luck, and Ryuichi tries to cheer him up by offering Kumagora, candy, a video of Nittle Grasper and anything else he happened to have in his pockets. Shuichi eventually perks up, and decides he's going to try to talk to Hiro again. However, on the way back into the studio he bumps into a kid, who introduces himself as Fujisaki Suguru - the new member of Bad Luck. Shuichi is understandably a little shell-shocked.
Eiri's apartment, that evening. Shuichi is telling Eiri all about the new band member, and Hiro's seeming acceptance of him. Or more to the point, Shuichi is complaining while Eiri is trying to write, and Eiri is ignoring him. Eventually Eiri kicks him out, telling him not to get any ideas from that one night they spent together, and that 'you were cute that night, but now you're disturbing me.' The next day at work, and Shuichi appears to be repeating the same series of complaints to Sakano. Fujisaki then comes in and tells Shuichi they did a new arrangement of Rage Beat after he stormed out yesterday, and after Shuichi has shouted about it for a while he agrees to listen to it. It's brilliant.
In Tohma's office, Tohma is explaining to Sakano that Shuichi should stick to vocals and let someone else do the arranging. Sakano is still uncertain about Fujisaki, and says so. Tohma says he appreciates Sakano's honesty, and says that's why Sakano should stop being Bad Luck's manager - and act as their producer. They are then disturbed by a noise outside, and Sakano goes out to be collared by Ryuichi who tells them about the amazing session that's going on in the recording rooms.
Down in the recording room, the arrangement is going down well with quite a large audience, while Shuichi looks shocked. When the song finishes, he walks out without saying a word. He retreats to the bathrooms and vents his frustration on the toilet paper, while thinking about Fujisaki and what Eiri said to him. Hiro, standing outside, hears him crying.
Eiri's apartment that evening. Eiri finishes his writing, and sits back - to find himself staring at Shuichi's empty chair. Then there's a knock at the door, and he answers it to find Hiro. We then cut to Shuichi, sitting angsting in the park where he first met Eiri, when Eiri comes up to him. He tells Shuichi to trust the new band member and the new manager - and to thank Hiro. We then flash back to Hiro standing at Eiri's door, and asking him to take care of Shuichi - and saying that he'll kill Eiri if he ever makes Shuichi cry. They go back to the apartment and watch Shuichi's Nittle Grasper video, while Shuichi talks about his dreams of becoming a singer. Or they start to watch it - until Eiri decides that Shuichi is being 'a bit cute' and effectively jumps him.
The next day at NG Pro, and Shuichi is back in full love-love mode, assuring Tohma that the members of Bad Luck are like brothers and work perfectly together. Tohma says he's glad - he no longer has any doubts about recommending his cousin Fujisaki as the new member. Everyone facevaults as Tohma asks innocently whether he forgot to tell them about that little fact.
I really rather like Fujisaki. I always get the feeling that if I were in Bad Luck, I'd be him. The one who always works hard and is a little pressure driven and paranoid about success. The one who throws a hissy fit if the other members don't seem to be working as hard as him. Poor boy - they really breed loonies in that family, don't they? But - he dresses like Quatre! The pink shirt, the waistcoat - noooo! And his cousin looks like and is *voiced by* Quatre. This is just the character designers being lazy...
In other character news - I *adore* that brief shot we get of Sakano without his glasses washing his face after he faints. The way he looks at himself in the mirror - you can almost hear him thinking 'my God, how pathetic am I?' If you didn't have any other proof that the man had self-esteem issues, I think that shot could constitute proof enough. *hugs*
I don't like to agree with Eiri's when he's being mean, but Shuichi really was being irritatingly smug in the middle of this ep. Plus he was nasty to poor little Hiro-kun, and that I cannot forgive, especially when Hiro was so sweet about going to see Eiri at the end of the episode. At this point in the series, there are still lots of rather sweet hints that Hiro is rather interested in Shuichi himself - the comments about 'it doesn't matter whether it's a man or a woman', the line from Eiri when he asks if Hiro wants him to stay away from 'his Shuichi'. Which makes Hiro's intervention doubly cute. And his later interest in Ayeka doubly incomprehensible.
favourite lines and scenes
SAKANO: Sumimasen! Sumimasen! Sumimasen! (frenzied bowing)
*giggles* Sakano-san wa honto ni kawaii... Sakano really does quite well this episode in terms of little hinting scenes - the obsessive apologising (guilt complex?), the scene in the bathroom (depression?), the sweet expression he gets whenever Tohma praises him (head over heels in love? *grin*) - all adds up to some lovely neuroses if you work at it hard enough.
Special mention to Shuichi in the first scene for the best display of huge eyes and unashamed shoujo-ness outside Di Gi Charat. This scene makes me laugh every single time. Especially when his eyes go heart shaped. *laughs*