Fastest Finger First
Episode 7

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 7 of
Fastest Finger First ?

Considering that the major draw of Fastest Finger First is the competitive quizzing on which its name is based, there's a limit to how much filler it can pull before the audience goes stir-crazy. As of this episode, we are definitely approaching that limit. Episode 7 provides some much-needed character development for Fukami, but too much of it is just another round of calm before the storm, as characters continue to prepare for the Regular Meet. It's all the filler of last episode with none of the Akihabara charm, and it's getting kind of stale.

Sasajima-senpai wants his club to train hard for the upcoming regular meet, but he couldn't have picked a method more unfit for anime than to have them take a timed written exam, and the halfhearted jokes about his sister's appearance don't help. When it's at its best, Fastest Finger First gets its energy and tension from its “fastest finger” hot-button competitions. When the quizzes take a different form, the show is only as interesting as the quizzes themselves. I also love being able to play along with the characters, and with a written quiz that's much harder to do.

More interesting is Fukami's backstory. Fukami got into quiz bowl thanks to her idolized big brother, who attends the elite school Kaijou. As a little girl, she learned to expect regular pop quizzes at any time. Eventually she drums up the confidence to enter a competition, and she credits the adrenaline rush of buzzing in with her quiz bowl obsession today. (See? That's what makes this show worth it!) Childhood Fukami herself is completely mute, and the anime segues to the present-day whenever Fukami needs to speak, because that deep voice of hers that sounds so unique right now would be sort of ridiculous on a child.

But where is her big brother? I honestly thought she was going to say he was dead. Instead, he's alive and well (and weirdly, in the opinions of Koshiyama and Inoue, meeting Fukami's “handsome big brother” only adds to her mystique). The catch is that now he despises quiz bowl for some reason. “Competing in quiz bowl is pointless,” he says. It's the polar opposite of what Sasajima said this episode (“Do you need a reason for doing what you love?”) and what Koshiyama said last episode (“Is it wrong to go all out for something you enjoy?”) We're really getting at the show's simple but sincere core message with this. Just like with Jinko and her cutesy bento-box buzzers, this is a show about the pursuit of passion projects. There's no loftier purpose to it than simply to have fun and, as the show explains, that's okay!

The episode culminates with the reveal that the nameless Cosplay Girl we met in Akihabara is not only related to the president of the quiz club at the girls' school; she is also a he. How uncreative: an effeminate villain. It seems that this still-nameless character has his sights set on Koshiyama as a way to test the show's core value in a more high-stakes environment. I'm guessing this conflict will raise a question like, “Is it okay to keep enjoying something even if you're not excelling at it?” We'll have to wait until next week to know for sure, because despite some helpful character development, this was mostly just filler to tide us over until the real deal.

Rating: C

Fastest Finger First is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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