by Rose Bridges,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Is Classicaloid secretly an idol anime? This week, it may as well be. We move our action back to Claskey Klasky as a sudden "breakup" propels an unlikely member of the cast to pop stardom. This plot of "one character tries to make it big in the music biz" has been done several times on the show, but thankfully, this new twist keeps it fresh, since Kanae's rise to stardom may not be the real subject of this episode after all.
Tchaikovsky suddenly shows up at Kanae's mansion following news that Claskey Klasky has broken up. Apparently, Tchaiko-chan just decided she'd had enough of Bach's manipulations and wanted to escape to a safe haven. I found it interesting that Bach never came looking for her. I know he's softened toward Kanae's mansion and its effect on the other Classicaloids. Still, it surprised me that he wasn't more bothered to be losing half of his star act. Perhaps he knew all along that Tchaiko-chan couldn't keep away—or that he could force her back if need be. Bach does seem to have a particularly powerful hold on his two idols that can even work from afar.
This leaves Claskey Klasky in shambles, but luckily, it doesn't take long for them to find someone new. Kanae is still reeling from her meeting with Bach, so she decides to come to his studio in the turmoil over Tchaiko's arrival. Regardless of whatever she originally had in mind, Bada-chan pushes her into joining the group. Kanae never struck me as someone who dreamed of musical stardom—not like Sousuke, who lives and breathes idol trivia while pretending at musicianship himself. Kanae doesn't take naturally to it either, struggling with the dancing and other training for Claskey Klasky. Still, she perseveres through relentless hard work. Kanae pushes herself so much that it's visually evident in the group videos, leading fans to nickname her "Snapadoll" (because she looks like she's about to snap) even before she makes her onstage debut.
Does this add any hidden depths to Kanae? We always knew she was a hard worker. Still, it's surprising to see that she'll apply that work ethic to just about anything. It's not just about practical goals, but larger dreams too. Kanae can also be materialistic and selfish; she even fantasizes about gold fountains and other luxuries. This episode builds on what we already know about Kanae, but it still makes her character just a bit more sympathetic and human.
This frustrates Bada-chan, who saw the departure of Tchaikovsky as her chance to take center stage. The girl already has an inferiority complexity over being a "one-hit wonder." She felt like she was always in Tchaiko's shadow, describing herself as the "moon" to Tchaik's "sun." Now, Bada can be the sun, since she is the guide for Kanae's initiation into idoldom. Stardom is more elusive than that though, and perhaps Bada just doesn't have what it takes. Kanae grabs herself a fandom without even trying.
In the midst of all this, there's plenty of comedy to go around back at the mansion. All the other residents are excited by Kanae's new venture. They give her silly, useless advice, from creating her own "-eel" suffix (Beethoven) to showing off her body (Liszt). Much funnier is what Tchaikovsky's up to this week. She seems determined to forget her idol life and slips into her "old man" guise. I found this aspect a little off in Tchaiko's first focus episodes, but it's charming and hilarious here. Classicaloid has figured out what to do with "Old Man Tchaikovsky" a bit more. They make her obsessed with all things Russian, growing a field to make vodka and then melting down when the country forbids it. Hey, everyone deals with stress in their own ways.
Tchaiko is still listless though, and she finds herself drawn back to her partner by concert time. I found it interesting how much Tchaikovsky insisted that it was Badarzewska—not Bach—who she wanted to perform with and motivated her to return. Bada isn't having it, though. After Kanae gets nervous and agrees to let Bada take the stage alone, Tchaiko arrives suddenly, like she wants to steal her thunder. Bada is done with that. She's the star now! This results in the first arrival of her Musik.
Bada's Musik is her famous hit, "A Maiden's Prayer," though it shifts as her rage intensifies. After a magical-girl transformation—a nice touch—Bada becomes the sun, forcing her audience's attention. As she gets angrier and shuts more people out, she turns into a red giant, with the audience literally worshipping her. It's hard to believe that this is really what Bada wants, but she basks in the turned tables for a moment. In the midst of this, Tchaikovsky floats to her sun dressed like Icarus, insisting that the "countless stars paint the universe that floats around the Sun." Either this is an awkward translation or Tchaikovsky is really bad at astronomy, but the scene's overall effect is stunning and touching. It doesn't get through to Bada though, which leaves us on a cliffhanger.
Classicaloid has yet to do a two-parter before, but this is a good place to start. The Claskey Klasky storyline needed some forward momentum again. It's clear the singers still despise their situation, but they don't know what else to do. Perhaps in this coming episode, the other characters will help them find the solution (though that rarely goes well in this show). Either way, that storyline needed an emotional catharsis, and it looks like these episodes will be moving Classicaloid into its home stretch.
I was apprehensive about this episode. Classicaloid tends to be weaker when it moves its drama away from the main characters' backstories and relationships toward one-off music contests and other shake-ups. But by the end, this wasn't really about Kanae wanting to be a star at all—it's about Bada's own dreams. It's the fleshing-out that her character desperately needed. Bada's resentment is understandable and palpable, and it should be delicious to watch things boil over next week.
ClassicaLoid is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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