Fastest Finger First
Episode 8

by Lauren Orsini,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Fastest Finger First ?

Did you know that the country we call Mexico is technically the United Mexican States? Fastest Finger First sure does! After two sluggish build-up episodes, it's finally time for the much anticipated Regular Meet and with it, the show has gotten its groove back. While I felt that far too many characters were introduced in this episode, I was thrilled to see the focus has returned to the invigorating activity of Quiz Bowl itself. Now that I'm getting more familiar with the rules, it was an especially fun and fast-paced episode.

Asagaoka isn't only a girls' school, but a Christian one. The Regular Meet venue looks like a cathedral! This looks less like a quiz meeting than a religious revival, and it's the perfect metaphor for these quiz nuts and their devotion toward their hobby. I loved the detail of Mikuriya listening to quiz questions before the meet—he pretends he's aloof but we all know he's actually king of the nerds. Aside from Mikuriya, a lot of other tough contenders are in attendance. It's in the nature of the activity for there to be lots and lots of participants, but it doesn't do the story any favors to introduce so many of them so quickly. Not only do I not remember anyone's name, but I'm also unsure which ones are relevant to the plot right now.

Fortunately, the parade of new cast members wasn't an overly large chunk of the episode, and we spent most of our time developing characters we already recognize. A stand-out this episode was Sasajima-senpai, who has mostly been an enigma until now. Obviously the meet proves his incredible talent for quiz bowl, but it comes with another startling revelation, that Sasajima is familiar with people at the most formidable quiz bowl school—Kaijou. That's also where Fukami's prodigal brother goes to school. What happened at Kaijou, and why is Sasajima seemingly wasting his talent founding a rookie quiz team at Buzou? I'm happy to see this interesting but underused cast member get a chance to shine.

After a timed written test that wasn't especially interesting came a neat new quiz format, which the religious school titles “Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself.” Two quizzers are randomly paired together to answer questions that each have two answers—ultimately leading to the unexpected dream team of Fukami and new girl Yagi. Fukami's strategy, to answer what she perceived as the more difficult question and give the easier recall to her partner, was brilliant and showed yet another way to think about quiz bowl. Because the format was unorthodox, these questions were easier than usual, and I found it fun to play along. It demonstrated how even with simple answers, quiz bowl is all about strategy. This episode in particular really showcased the characters' mental gymnastics toward that end, allowing us to get inside their heads as they analyzed each problem from every angle.

What would have made this episode even better? Our optimistic little bookworm, Koshiyama, who was relegated to the sidelines this time around. But the set-up at the end of the episode makes it clear that he'll get the spotlight next week. It also heavily hinted that he'll be paired up with the little brother Koshiyama previously met while he was in Akihabara. Will Koshiyama recognize him out of drag? Is the little brother's goal self-sabotage, all the better to crush Koshiyama's passions that were put so sharply on display during that Akiba encounter? This episode opened a lot of doors and asked a lot of questions, ultimately feeling too short. I can't wait for next week to follow up on the story threads introduced here.

Rating: B+

Fastest Finger First is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Lauren writes about geek careers at Otaku Journalist.

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