No Excuses –
Just Get Good
Maki isn’t exactly taking advice on how to win friends or influence people; then again he isn’t really trying. He’s been recruited to play soft tennis and apparently he’s a bit of a perfectionist. One episode later, and two training sessions, and the whole team seem to have had a fire lit under them, though whether this continues or not remains to be seen. Still, Stars Align has delivered a solid second episode.
I didn’t think I’d be all that interested in the team dynamics or the tennis part of this anime with my interest really only being engaged by Maki and his home-life in episode one. However, despite the cliche catalyst of club getting shut down, the characters and their interactions are plenty compelling in this episode. While not all of them seem to care overly much whether the club stays or goes, for their own reasons they are all sticking around until the end and at the very least they learned not to challenge the new kid to run twenty laps of the school.
That said, it seems like every man and his dog has a comment to make about the team. For an unremarkable team that is likely to soon disappear, people are paying it way too much attention when you would think they’d have their own things to get on with. It’s kind of surreal how much interest people take in them when they actually train. But it is here that Maki’s personality comes out in full as he wonders aloud just how little the other members had managed to accomplish in a full year and then pretty much calls them on their excuse making. He isn’t going to be winning any prizes for congeniality but his bluntness is more or less exactly what the other boys needed.
I do have to give a shout out to the ED from Stars Align. The song is alright, but watching the characters dance (among other things) is pretty hilarious largely because of how awkward they all look. It is one of those fun ED’s that just kind of give a bit more as we can see each of the character’s personalities perfectly reflected and it is just fun.
Basically this was a very solid episode with my only criticism going to the petty bullying going on around the school with some fairly un-creative insults (then again, bullies usually aren’t all that creative). Somehow though these scenes felt more tacked on then actually part of the episode and maybe they’ll do something more with this theme later (much like Maki’s home situation) or maybe this will just kind of sit in its strange little place in this episode. But that is a minor complaint from an episode that actually made me genuinely interested to see if these boys can get better.
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Reviewing all the drama in Stars Align.
Images from: Hoshiai no Sora. Dir. K Akane. 8Bit. 2019.