Kind of got behind on this but anyway, Happy New Year!
During the weekend Wako notices that Takuto has been staying at Sugata’s house quite a lot with their discussion turns to how his lax dorm leader, Benio is not only the captain of the Kendo Club but is also the strongest girl in the region. Who speaking of, has also arrived to challenge Sugata.
However instead of getting the match she wanted Sugata abdicates it to Takuto, treating him like his pupil and while Benio beats him in a single movement Sugata asks her to fight him again, sure that Takuto will win. Instead though she storms out and later that night when he’s in the bath Takuto looks back on the fight, finding Benio right beside him again and while they talk about Sugata at first she disappears again when some other people arrive.
As he tries to sleep Takuto wakes up to find Benio kissing him after she had broken into his room, simply because she has the keys. While she acts somewhat innocent about it her motives are quite the opposite, wanting to add him to her collection yet finding that her first phase didn’t work. As she moves closer Takuto pushes her on her back as way of showing just how vulnerable she’s making herself through these sorts of things, but she doesn’t take him seriously. The next day the boy in the room nextdoor confesses to her and tells her about her swimsuit pullup video which Tetsuya made, when she meets up with the latter she finds that George didn’t exactly take his recent loss all that well. During the Glittering Crux’s next meeting pressure is placed on Benio to undergo the Cybody reparation process which could potentially kill the Driver.
With this in mind she runs until she reaches what used to be a shrine on the eastern side of the island and bumps into Keito, who makes her reveal her identity in the same way as Midori. She speaks fondly about Sugata and how she believes his clan has retained it’s mark, leading to the backgrounds not only Benio but also the other members of Filament being revealed, as fellow clans who for one reason or another had lost their marks. On the opposite side of the island Sugata has met Head again who’s actually painting, telling him how he was afraid that he couldn’t paint again yet feels that some things that are lost can be retrieved.
So with new determination in mind Benio undergoes the reparation process in which the reason she likes Sugata is also revealed, as when they were younger she got the impression that he had the power to cause change and how her father told her that she isn’t worthy of being around him provides the last bit of determination for her to repair the Peshent.
She doesn’t waste any time in challenging Takuto and the Tauburn, bringing everyone into zero time and kicking things off by drawing her Star Sword, Rubis while Sugata is shocked at the sight of a Cybody that was supposed to be destroyed. So with why she fell in love with Sugata in mind she attacks Takuto and the former recognises her from her movements and predicts Takuto’s win as he strikes her down. As the battle ends Sugata reflects on how some things really aren’t lost in how they can repair Cybodies, and during the epilogue Benio requests a rematch with Takuto in front of the entire Kendo Club. So he accepts her challenge but defeats her in the same way as before, in her defeat Benio understands how Sugata had said that he’s stronger and blushes when Takashi tells them how they look good together.
Should also note that Star Driver won’t be airing this week and that the next episode will air on the 9th of January.
Following the trend of character based episodes this one wasn’t really that bad, as this time we took a look at the dorm leader and captain of the Kendo Club, Benio, voiced by Chiemi Chiba as she received her turn in the spotlight. Not only showing her in the way we’ve grown accustomed to but also properly introducing her as the captain of the Kendo Club, and allowing us to see what lead her to have the feelings she has for Sugata as well as a brief look at her background.
Being able to see Benio properly introduced as the captain of the Kendo Club was also kind of nice, after she had been seen standing in front of all of the other members in the eleventh episode, but if that wasn’t enough it was also like she was made a little more formidable since if being the captain didn’t make her intimidating she was also the strongest girl in the entire region. And while this side to her was fun to see, it still wasn’t that bad to have it accompanied by the side we already knew her by, doing things like sneaking into the bath and into Takuto’s room. All the while hiding her calm and manipulative side as she played on Takuto’s innocent personality, which in all was pretty fun to see.
It was also great to see just why she liked Sugata as well, along with taking a look into her background and indirectly those of the other members of Filament, Tetsuya and George. Which in itself was kind of tragic in how their clans had for one reason or another lost their marks and had fallen in status because of it, making the love that Benio felt towards Sugata something that would always be unrequited. Sort of making her sympathetic in that sense, seeing just why she felt it was also kind of nice for what it was, with it being rooted as far back as when they were kids from the feeling he gave off. Though it was kind of odd how this feeling of being able to change things is how Takuto can be described as.
If anything it also felt like the theme for this episode was about retrieving things that were lost, coming up not only as the words that Head had influenced Sugata as he started to paint again, but also how the members of Filament sought to retrieve the marks that were lost. So if anything how the reparation process for the destroyed Cybodies was introduced in this episode was great, as the other things that happened in the episode were also about retrieving what was thought to be lost. It was just something that ultimately felt natural about it, aside from that it was also interesting to see Head painting and I wonder whether it will correspond with the progression of this arc in similar way that the Fish Girl/Sakana-chan’s story did with the last.
In a similar sense to how we’re waiting to see how Head will sign his painting, the hints that Keito could be the East Maiden seemed to increase in this episode. With how she had met Benio on a shrine on the eastern side of the island, as not only was she already there in her spare time but she also appeared to know quite a bit about the otherwise forgotten shrine. As how she claimed it was the best place to watch the sunrise also gave the impression that she must have already spent a fair amount of time there to begin with. With all these hints towards it I’ll actually be surprised if she isn’t the Eastern Maiden and while it seems like something all but confirmed, I’m sure that there will still be a good story to it either way.
While I had first jokingly expected it to be attracting girls, it was also pretty interesting to see what could be Takuto’s first phase hinted at, in how he only needed to experience things once to overcome them. Something that Sugata had appeared to have noticed and had probably been testing by having him fight Benio, with both of the fights following his predictions in how it wasn’t until the second round or time that she attacked that Takuto won. It would also be something that would make quite a bit of sense as well, as given how he talks about his grandfather it isn’t too much to suspect that he may have been told all about the battles that he had in the past, explaining why Takuto knows so much about the Tauburn and is able to overcome just about any foe with relative ease. Something that makes him down right suspicious under any circumstance.
In comparison to Kanako’s fight in the last episode I didn’t quite think that this one was as good, as even though it gave Benio a chance to take on the Tauburn after Sugata had hijacked the fight last time (making her one of those characters that really needed the rematch that repairing Cybodies would give). It sort of felt short and didn’t seem to last as long as some of the previous ones, though I guess it’s sort of redeemed in how it wasn’t just limited to what happened in zero time. Other than that it was also great to see that artstyle again that was first used for Takashi’s fight, there’s just something about it that makes it look so awesome.