Episode 8 – Heroines Run the Show: The Unpopular Girl and the Secret Task

After two weeks of wrestling with the hot button issue of whether or not it’s ethically acceptable to style Hiyori’s eyebrows, Heroines Run the Show dials itself back with a straightforward episode exploring how track kids are just built different. We had annual Field Days throughout elementary school, and as a nonathletic nerd who preferred to read books and play video games, I had a pretty miserable time with all of them. I don’t think my team ever placed first in all eight years of competition. This is why, for as much as I love Hiyori, I have to acknowledge that, in this situation, she is a monster who cannot understand the struggles of weak little peons like myself. We are physically, mentally, and emotionally incapable of getting psyched up for a three-legged race. To bear witness to her level of unfaltering enthusiasm is akin to watching the gods of Mt. Olympus play with the fates of ordinary humans as if we were naught but checkers on a board. It is existentially frightening.

Okay, I kid (mostly), and it turns out I did grow up into the kind of person who enjoys regular cardio as long as it’s indoors and I can watch an episode of Hunter x Hunter during it. But it’s funny to see Hiyori’s excitement in contrast with the rest of her class’ begrudging acceptance of Field Day, and consequently, her brazenly bubbly attitude ends up being one of the episode’s main draws. This isn’t a story about her exhausting or injuring herself. This is just an exhibition of Hiyori in her element, running and working up a sweat with a smile always beaming on her face. I like her as a character, so I like seeing her so happy. In that regard, this episode is akin to a holiday weekend—breezy, relaxing, and low-stakes.

That doesn’t mean the narrative is free of conflict, but the conflicts here are retreads of past confrontations and largely inconsequential. The big thematic thrust this week is, once again, the boys learning to get along with each other and with Hiyori in ways that benefit all three of them. Fostering teamwork is pretty much the whole reason for a Field Day; Competitions like relays, three-legged races, tug-of-war, and so on all test the ability to work together more so than raw physical prowess. It’s a thematic no-brainer. I could see how this episode would play out as soon as the OP kicked in, which is probably why it felt underwhelming in the end. It’s fine, but decidedly average.

This is also the first week when Heroines felt less like its own show and more like a part of the HoneyWorks extended cinematic universe. While I had my confirmed suspicions watching the body of the episode, the ED then without a doubt that Ken & Arisa and Hina & Kotaro are both featured couples in this franchise (which some wiki confirmed diving). Hina was even the main heroine of the film The Moment You Fall in Love. Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. Their scenes were cute, if clichéd (and you want a little cliché in your romances). But it does mean that this episode has more appeal for viewers already familiar with this franchise. I’m really just here for Hiyori and her friends.

Overall, there’s not much to talk about in depth this week. Hiyori provides the strong backbone, and Yujiro and Aizo both channel their individual frustrations into a win for their team. That’s what sports are all about. It was also nice to finally meet Juri’s boyfriend. The scenes with her and Chizuru are fewer and farther between than I’d like, but they bring a uniquely colorful dynamic into the show, and I hope they’re featured in at least one of the remaining episodes. For now, though, this seems to have been a transitory entry in between big arcs, and the next episode’s title “Scandal” strongly hints that we’ll be dipping back into the juicy stuff soon enough. Heroines Run the Show takes more of a light jog this week, but even at that place, it’s a consistently pleasant watch.

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Heroines Run the Show: The Unpopular Girl and the Secret Task is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Steve is a world-renowned golf expert and commentator, but if you just want to read his thoughts on anime and good eyebrows, then there’s always Twitter. Otherwise, catch him chatting about trash and treasure alike on This Week in Anime.

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