She forgot to smile!
Part of me thinks that I should really pick a new favourite character, given the recent Nico-favouritism being displayed in many of my frequent haunts. Then I remember that the reason behind her popularity is that she’s clearly the best character, thus rendering it an exercise in futility…
1) Amazing Finger Strength!
Clearly, just one of the amazing character traits serving to make Nico the best character is her amazing finger strength. I mean, just one flick to the head not only temporarily incapacitated Honoka, but also resulted in her having to wear a plaster on her forehead for what would appear to be the entire day.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been flicked in the forehead, but let me tell you, whilst it can hurt for a short while, it’s actually incredibly difficult to do any real kind of damage that way, and even more difficult to break the skin or, you know, anything else that’d actually require being covered by a plaster. Either Nico has the most astonishingly strong fingers in the world, or she has nails that would make Wolverine jealous.
(Not to point out a glaring continuity error, but Nico kind of pulls her mask off in this scene, only for it to still be wrapped around her ears in the next cut. Whoops…)
2) Who You Gonna Call?
Rin dancing on the roof kind of reminded me of that scene from the end of the first installment of Kara no Kyoukai – you probably know the one if you’ve seen it. Just saying.
3) Asymmetrical Hair!
Not that most characters in anime don’t have asymmetrical hair, but I have to admit, I only just noticed in this episode that Nico’s hair is longer down the right side of her face than it is down the left. It’s cute, if kind of a weird thing to do deliberately.
4) The Daughter of Twenty Faces
Clearly, Nico has many skills available to her, including master thievery and high-level disguise skills. Also, presumably, expertise in stalking and tracking, super-human speed, and also mental profiling, because she somehow managed to not only dress in a ludicrous costume (alas, stage dress isn’t among her arsenal of many talents, it would seem), but also managed to get to the same fast food restaurant as the girls and order a drink before they’d even all managed to get served themselves – all whilst remaining noticed. Further evidence that Nico is, indeed, the best character.
Or at least the most talented on, if not the most “talented”, if you know what I mean in a Nozomi-esque fashion.
5) Osakan Spirit Award
As Ritsuko being my favourite iM@S probably suggests, I do like tsukkomi characters. Nothing more to add to that statement, really.
6) Girl of Many Gadgets!
Unfortunately, it turns out that having a skirt which can magically extend five inches in an instant wasn’t enough to distract Rin, enabling Nico a successful escape. Better luck next time!
Clearly, though, this scene clearly demonstrates that there are limitations to her teleportation and lickety-speed abilities. Perhaps Rin is like that guy from ZA UNLIMITED who can negate skills in his presence, like a more-useful Kamijou Touma. Or perhaps I’m stretching this gag a little too far. Probably the latter.
7) Dat Gap Moe!
Because, errr, apparently I forgot to put a point seven in here. Me fail maths? That’s 120% unpossible!
In any case, I bet Hanayo would be the type to get excited about the announcement of an iM@S movie.
8) So, Kotori is Minalinskey, right?
…Or at least related to her in some close fashion, right? As otherwise they’re going out of their way to be really obvious about nothing. I wouldn’t quite call it Chekhov’s Gun, but that’s mostly because it’d be really difficult to kill someone using just a signboard. Well, unless you’re Yomiko Readman, obviously.
Obvious episode highlight aside, Nico brings up an interesting point here that often isn’t actually addressed in idol anime. Think about how the need to establish a stage persona is brought into play in the likes of iDOLM@STER. I’m pretty sure that, as far as iM@S goes, Iori (also the stroppy one of her bunch) is pretty much the only one who actually makes an effort to project a deliberate image in public which differs from her usual personality, though, perhaps ironically, Makoto succeeds far more in this entirely inadvertently.
It’s one of the weird things about idol anime which runs counter to actual idol culture, I guess. Whilst there’s a heavy degree of enforced fakeness in idol culture (and I really don’t want to get into the implications of the recent AKB48 shenanigans and how it plays into this), idol anime often espouses that the most important thing is To Be Yourself, and as long as you don’t bring your insecurities to the stage in a visible fashion (well, unless you’re The Grumblator, but that’s why she’s the best zero-zero), it’s A Bad Idea to try and be something which you aren’t.
Which, you know, is a sound message and all, but isn’t really how these things tend to work.
10) Master Tactician!
You know how you can tell Honoka is serious about her scheming here? There’s no kettle in the Idol Study Group’s club room.
That’s right, Honoka actually had to bring the cup – already full of tea – with her, and secret it under the desk unseen until the relevant moment. Also, somehow manage to keep it hot. You can’t do these things without adequate forward planning. As dumb (or unable to count without assistance, at least) as Honoka sometimes comes across, perhaps we’re all underestimating her, and she’s actually been successfully building her idol persona since her youth?