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The drama is starting to heat up in these next four episodes of Ginban Kaleidoscope. How is everyone enjoying Tazusa’s journey to the Olympics? It’s quite the little roller-coaster we have here. :>

Scraping through Lots of Conflicts

If there’s one thing this series does especially well, it’s getting me to worry about Tazusa’s performances. The first four episodes established quite clearly the possibility that Tazusa could fail at critical moments, which managed to increase the tension quite a bit for these four episodes. Regarding her figure skating, there are several things working against her: the competition of a more experienced skater, the immense pressure put on her by the general public, the heavy weight of her past slip-ups, the stress she’s put on her knee from excessive practice–and, to top it all off, the reveal that the world’s top figure skater is using the same song as her in the short program.

Outside of figure skating, Tazusa also has to deal with all those unpleasant reporters as well as a (ridiculously) over-the-top big-wig of the figure skating league. And of course, there’s the whole being possessed by a Canadian ghost thing. But thankfully Tazusa has begun to recognize how much Pete has been trying to help her, and their increasing level of cooperation is bringing some great results.

Inter-Spiritual Relationships

A great deal of these four episodes was devoted, as expected, to the relationship between Tazusa and Pete. They can’t really interact in any way outside of speech, but I suppose communication is arguably the heart of a relationship. Episode 5 was nice for revealing details about Pete–namely how passionate he was about flying stunt planes, and filling in the details of his untimely death. His situation is thoroughly pitiable, and yet he’s managed to find some joy in helping Tazusa with her own passion. The connections made between stunt flying and figure skating felt surprisingly valid, and I liked the story’s creativity in working out what ways Pete would be able to assist Tazusa.

On top of giving encouragement, Pete is also able to come up with a theme for Tazusa’s new performance. The whole waitress gimmick was pretty silly, but it gave the animation team something lighthearted to work with. Though the animation turned even more simplistic than usual (presumably to create that sort of wacky atmosphere), there was at least something more than just the ice rink for the performance’s setting. Perhaps what I liked best though was the fact that instead of trying to get Tazusa to fulfill a default waitress role, Pete recognized that it would be best for Tazusa to play the part in her own way. In the end, the silliness of the routine was able to lift some of the pressure off of Tazusa, allowing her to simply enjoy the excitement of the sport and pull off a more natural, more exciting performance.

Getting Back Up Again

The greatest fear for the audience (in regards to Tazusa’s journey to the Olympics) was perhaps the possibility of Tazusa falling once again during the tournament. I imagine that in real life you probably can’t fall in your performance when you’re being judged for whether or not you’ll represent for the Olympics, but in Ginban Kaleidoscope the situation seems to serve well as a foundational metaphor for the series in general.

So just as I feared, Tazusa fell once again–but this time, right when it mattered most, it wasn’t treated as such a big deal. With some support from Pete, Tazusa simply got back up and finished her act with a smile on her face. Though her dream of competing in the Olympics is clearly important to her, she had come to realize that all she can do is her best–and if her best doesn’t get her there, then she can choose to move on and continue her skating career regardless.

Perhaps flustered by Tazusa’s surprise waitress performance earlier, the favorite to represent for Japan ended up falling as well. Perhaps this was a plot necessity in order for Tazusa to legitimately get chosen for the Olympics, but it may be worth contrasting how Shitou handled her fall with how Tazusa handled hers. Shitou wasn’t used to such mistakes, of course–and perhaps this reveals the usefulness of our misfortunes and failures in life. For one thing, people are more interesting in general when they’re struggling, giving their all, and are pushed to find creative solutions to their dilemmas.

The Media Sucks

Due to the very nature the medium of television presents, the programs we call the news have for the most part become sensationalist over the years. If there’s something bad to be said about someone in the spotlight, you can count on the news to report every detail of it for all the world to see and hear. And if there isn’t something bad to be said–well, it’s not so hard to twist the facts a little. (Or, when all else fails, just make stuff up.) The blame perhaps lies largely with the general populace, as the news (understandably seeking a profit) will give the people what they want. And indeed, much of the grief Tazusa has to deal with in regards to the media is a result of the (overbearingly) psychotic skating association big-wig with the freakish-looking eyes, hoping to destroy Tazusa’s fragile public image. Obviously, if he (or any of the reporters making jabs at Tazusa’s personal life) really cared for the state of figure skating in Japan, they’d try–you know–supporting their Olympic representative. x_x

Fortunately there is a freelance reporter bishounen who has taken an interest in Tazusa, and has managed to help her out in her time of need. Without ties to a specific station, he sees his role as a reporter in revealing the truth, and thus recognizes the story in Tazusa’s journey toward the Olympics as much more interesting than the generic mudslinging everyone else quickly resorts to. Good on him, right? I do wonder what the series has planned for him now though.

In the end we were able to learn a little about Tazusa’s past, which at least cleared up some of my questions regarding her family situation. Having her live with her coach is a bit of an unusual situation following a divorce, but I suppose it makes some sense. Will the series actually bring Tazusa’s parents into the story at this point? And now that I think about it, I wonder if Tazusa’s sister is actually her sister, or if she’s the coach’s daughter? I suppose it’s a moot point, but I’ll be interested to learn more about all the characters in these last four episodes coming up.

What do you think will happen in the end? Is Tazusa going to win the Olympics? And more importantly, is Pete indeed going to have to leave once the hundred days have passed? I believe we have a setup for a really unique ending on our hands, so I look forward to seeing what Ginban Kaleidoscope’s finale will bring us.