Fastest Finger First
Episode 10

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Fastest Finger First ?

It's time for round three of the Regular Meet, and with it come the most esoteric quiz rules Fastest Finger First has featured so far. On top of the strategic competition that results from such unfamiliar rules, Fukami must also fight a psychological battle, as her own demons arise from the least likely location—her team captain, Sasajima-senpai. Sasajima's motives came out of left field and felt incomplete; they opened up a lot of doors without revealing what's inside. It certainly made me want to keep watching, but when it was over, I felt cheated out of any grand discoveries—like this was an episode simply to raise questions and not answer them yet.

For the first time since Fastest Finger First began, I found myself utterly lost before the rules explanation was over. Round Three, biblically titled “All Who Draw The Sword Will Die By The Sword,” is as brutal as it sounds—an open arena for the best of the best to strut their stuff. Fortunately the characters grasped the rules right away, and watching them play was more helpful than listening to any meandering rule explanation, even if the illustrative chibis are cute. Once again, religious questions rule the day, which means that Western viewers should have an easy time playing along. (One of the questions, for example, asked who Jesus's 12 apostles were.) There was also a lot of inside baseball when it came to each strategic decision the characters made, and the peanut gallery helped break this down quite a bit.

However, the quiz competition was just background noise to the real character drama of Sasajima-senpai's mysterious past. We know the present Sasajima well—a hopeless quiz nerd who holds his buzzer at his hip because he's used to carrying one in his pocket and practicing buzzing it all day, every day—but not the reason he left top school Kaijou and came to Buzou. Now there's a link to Fukami's older brother. Apparently an incident occurred between Sasajima and the the elder Fukami freshman year, something known only to the two of them. What happened? Is it going to be a big payoff or a huge letdown? The way they're using it as bait for the next episode makes me skeptical about whether it's worth the wait.

Instead of mysterious, effortlessly talented Sasajima, the real hero to root for today was Fukami. After the abrupt discovery that something involving her brother's current troubles had been right under her nose this whole time, Fukami had to get over this fresh psychological trauma in record time to rally for Round Three. As she worried about her brother, Fukami couldn't even hear the question, much less answer it. With so many characters, it can be hard to focus on just one, but Fukami's strong recovery held the spotlight. Afterward, we're treated to a beautifully detailed drawing of her face (which I've used as the art for this review), the likes of which I haven't seen before in a show that's normally average in both art and animation.

In the midst of complex rules and an abrupt plot development that's apparently been just slightly off screen all along, this episode felt too contrived to keep me in the moment for very long. Thank goodness for Fukami's scenes, which almost made up for the rest of it.

Rating: B-

Fastest Finger First is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.


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