Note: I’m watching Yuki Yuna is a Hero blind. Please do not post spoilers in the comments.
Knowing that Yuki Yuna is a Hero: The Washio Sumi Chapter was originally a film trilogy, I am a little concerned about how each installment would work when divided in half. So far though, I haven’t found the splitting to be all too jarring. Episode 1 revolves around the team’s first battle and them getting to know each other. Episode 2 has the team streghtening their bond, ending with Washio addressing Sonoko and Gin informally. Both episodes share the same theme and you can how they were originally two halves of one installment but they each seem to have their sequence of events and a clear cutoff point. I don’t know if that’s clever editing or if the staff had that much foresight when producing the movies but I’m feeling hopeful that this prequel will work just fine as a six-episode TV show.
Adding to the list of clear changes apparent in WaSuYu is the surprising involvement of the Heroes’ teacher, Aki-sensei (Rina Satou). With Season 1, it was pretty vague how aware the faculty is of what exactly the Hero Club is up to though with the Taisha providing cover ups, it didn’t really matter. Here though, Aki-sensei is fully in the know about the Hero stuff and even acts as an advisor to the team. I suppose that’s all I need to know about her but I am very curious what exactly her ties to the Taisha and the Heroes are. Perhaps she’s an agent in the same vein Fuu will be (assuming Fuu isn’t one at this point in time). That or maybe she’s actually a former Hero. A wild hunch but it’s entirely possible given what’s currently implied about the show’s version of the Hero System and it would be very novel to see a much older Hero alumni. Specifics aside, the presence of Aki-sensei raises an interesting question about Season 1. How come there wasn’t an adult supervisor for the Hero Club? They’re even a club to begin with!
In the opening fight scene, the girls luck out with a win and that’s obviously only going to pay off in the short term. So Aki-sensei takes the team on a trip to the beach for team building (that can’t be the same beach from Season 1…right?). The physically oriented exercise has Sonoko escorting Gin through a volley of dodgeballs so that the latter can reach and destroy a bus while Washio provides the two some cover fire. It’s a fun little scene, especially when the girls win. More and more, it’s becoming clear that WaSuYu has an increased emphasis on teamwork compared to Season 1. I was never bothered by this but yeah, we never did have a scene where the Hero Club train like this. The most training shown was Karin practicing with wooden swords by herself and the gang helping Itsuki pass a music test. Then again, it seems like the Hero System is more augmentive in that season and barring Karin, everyone was already close and supportive of each other at the beginning of their story.
Before the trip to the beach, Aki-sensei assigns Washio’s team a leader. Washio assumes she’d be given the role and really, you would too. That’s not just because of the show’s title but rather that Washio is so obviously the most mature character of the bunch. Surprisingly, leadership is vested to Sonoko, Washio suspecting it to be due to the Nogi family being even more presitigious than the Sumi family. The idea certainly sounds outlandish at first. In general, Sonoko appears to be an airhead and a sleepyhead combined. More specifically, she has some serious quirks to her character such as her eccentric collection of items (i.e. a chicken-themed onesie and a planetarium) and her attempts at talking to animals (for the record, I had a ball watching these scenes). By the climax, you actually see how Sonoko being the leader can make sense. When Gin holds off the Vertex’s attack, risking injury to provide an opening, Washio is indecisive on what to do next. Conversely, Sonoko concocts a plan where Washio exploits the opening provided by Gin allowing the her and Gin to then strike the enemy down. The difference is clear: Sonoko is able to think quickly and criticially and Washio (to her chagrin) can’t.
There’s an interesting dichotomy to Washio’s reaction to this realization. For much of the episode, Washio figured she’d be the true leader of the group by being the one who does the brunt of the work in battle. Now that she sees her weakness and Sonoko’s strength, Washio can’t help but lament that she isn’t good enough and might be holding the group back. At same time however, this moment of vulnerability draws her closer to Sonoko and Gin. The two don’t think she’s holding them back and cheer her up. Washio finally addresses them more informally, something she’s hesitated about for much of the episode. I feel like I should treat Washio and Togo as seperate characters due to the memory loss but right now, I’m struggling to do so. Seeing Washio desire to become more valuable to her friends makes for a pretty natural precedent to Togo trying to take matters into her own hands in the flawed yet underestandable attempt to protect her friends. Maybe despite the memory loss, Togo was still subconscously fueled by her feelings of her original friends? More and more, I wonder what exactly happened to her.
While the question regarding Gin’s fate remains, WaSuYu is doing a pretty good job making you grow fond of her. Midway through the episode, Washio wonders why Gin is often so tardy to things so she and Sonoko spy on her for a day. It’s a pretty fun scene as you have Washio using a periscope and Sonoko spies just fine without it, making the former look a little ridiculous with the object in hand. As it turns out, Gin has a habit of helping people, not just her many little siblings but also anyone she runs into. Someone asks her for directions, she’ll give her best answer and even guide them herself. She sees a passerby accidentally drop their things, she’ll help pick them up. I can’t help but think that Gin would make for a perfect addition to the Sansu Middle School Hero Club. She seems almost as selfless as Yuna and given her sisterly attitude, she be really supportive of Itsuki. Given her personality, I can also see her having great chemistry with Fuu and Karin. It all makes you hope for the best with Gin and that’s a bit cruel of the show to do as it’s clearly going to give you the exact opposite.
ED: “Tomodachi” by Sumi Washio (Suzuko Mimori), Sonoko Nogi (Kana Hanazawa), Gin Minowa (Yumiri Hanamori)
Thanks for reading!
Watch Yuki Yuna is a Hero: The Washio Sumi Chapter on Amazon