BanG Dream! It’s MyGO!!!!! – Episode 10

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Welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today we’re returning to BanG Dream! It’s MyGO!!!!It’s MyGO!!!! MyGO was already a gripping drama about bringing a mismatched ensemble of musicians together. But now that Soyo threatens to destroy the group it has become an un-putdownable page-turner. Tomori is in despair, Anon is blaming herself, Taki is ready to throw hands, and Raana is… well, probably enjoying a parfait somewhere, blissfully unaware of the maelstrom spinning overhead.

Raana aside, Sakiko’s unambiguous denial of any CRYCHIC reunion has laid bare the insecurities and deceptions undergirding our group’s sunny surface. Anon finds herself facing the precise combination of disconnects that prompted her to flee home from England: an inability to keep up with the group’s technical ability and a failure to parse the “language,” here articulated as the unspoken bond of the former CRYCHIC members. Tomori has found out that Soyo, like the rest of them, is smiling in her face and secretly figuring out ways to avoid her uncomfortable presence. Taki is grasping at straws once again, trying to get close to Tomori through misdirected anger and increased physical commitment. Soyo is perhaps the most unhappy of all. She has resigned to the superficial high-school experience and false smiles Anon once thought was her only future. It’s an absolute mess at the moment, but such frictions often force us to be our best; when we cannot abide our current circumstances, we have nothing to lose, allowing us to fling ourselves bravely towards a better future. Let’s see how our band fares!

Episode 10

The saturation of sunlight and extreme closeups add the perfect aesthetic to a day when it feels too bright and intense. The shots echo Taki’s feelings, as she tells Umiri that the band is finished. The one who was most dedicated, most invested in this group has given up – what else is left for them now?

Mutsumi watches as Soyo engages lightly with her superficial friends at the academy. All Soyo is doing is mirroring and validating – she just echoes what the other girls say back to them, sometimes complemented by an “oh, is that so?” She’s even better than Anon at directing the conversations and relationships of proximity that often define high school, wherein you simply make nice with the classmates around you rather than developing any deeper, genuinely vulnerable bonds

“Always Lost”

Tomori, meanwhile, is pacing the streets in a stupor and muttering away to herself. The things are going great!

The compositions are dominated by corner mirrors and powerlines, symbols that are used to convey a sense anonymity and dislocation in a world of hidden symbols. This worked quite well for a story like Serial Experiments Lain, and also fits for Tomori’s perception of the world, wherein everyone else seems to be sharing a common language

Her return to the classroom is framed by the glass, highlighting a feeling of dislocation. It’s as if everything around her seems muffled or distant. Right on cue, she reflects on how she can’t cry, can’t seem to emote like she’s “supposed” to

“I don’t know how to express these things, but I want to really talk about them.” She instead returns to writing her thoughts in her journal, the potential genesis of another song, another scream from her heart

“I just know I must have made a mistake somewhere. That’s how it always is.” Ah, it’s so heartbreaking. The dissolution of this new band was in no way her fault, but of course she’d internalize it as a repeat of her prior failed friendships – she did something wrong and made the others uncomfortable, just like with her bugs back on the playground, but she has no idea what her crime actually was. Tomori’s characterization is truly wonderful – the show emphasizes how she processes things differently, but that ultimately reflects how she feels the same desire for belonging and hurt of abandonment as anyone

She retreats to her astronomy group. “I couldn’t become human”

And yet, even for all this despair, Tomori just can’t help but stumble into new meet-cute scenarios with every girl in the city. She ends up in a steamy eyelock with a girl who’s recliner is stuck at the planetarium.

The girl asks her why she looked like it was about to cry

Tomori is prompted to point out the visible stars after she breaks the ice with her by mentioning the north star.

“When you sing, it feels like it reaches people, huh?” Who It is a good idea to use a bilingual translator this mysterious woman, and why does she seem to already know Tomori’s whole deal?

“I hope your feelings get through.” Having imparted this fateful advice, she wanders away, presumably walking into the sky 

Tomori asks Anon to perform her new song live with her, but Anon asks “what about Soyo” and leaves, clearly still feeling burned by her realization that everyone else was essentially using her

Tomori decides that she will perform alone at RiNG. She has accepted that the stage is where she can truly express herself, and so she turns her thoughts into a song.

Oh my god Raana. She is off to the side, staring at a pastry that she finds particularly tempting. Also very cat-like in this aspect, saying “I won’t eat it” and then immediately chomping it. Cats aren’t very patient or convincing liars

Tomori stands alone in the darkened room, facing the crowd. It seems like it might be uniquely unnerving, but this is really how performance has always been for Tomori – every time she’s been expressing her deepest emotions with total sincerity, and every time she’s been unsure how they’ll be received until the performance is over, by either the audience or her own bandmates. At least this time, with no one beside her, there’s no one to abandon her

“Once, there were people who sang with me. I destroyed it all.” Aw, Tomori

Of all people, it’s Raana who’s the first bandmate to hear her, her mouth still stuffed from the craft table

And with Tomori once again proving herself an Interesting Woman, Raana plugs in and offers her a backing melody, again turning Tomori’s confessional segues into songs of their own

“Even if this voice grows hoarse and thin, until the moment this song reaches you I’m determined to keep singing it.” Tomori! What an act of strength and bravery for her – the one who was hit hardest by the breakup of each band, the one who most relied on that sanctuary of understanding. Even so, she’s determined to stay strong for the others, to hold a beacon until they return

“Tomori’s been performing live. Sometimes there’s a girl on guitar.” Of course Raana would just wander on stage whenever she happens to be in the venue already

“I guess she really doesn’t need me after all.” Anon takes this as further confirmation she was only ever an accessory, never an essential part of the band. She stares down at her fingers as she says this, the camera emphasizing all the work she put into the band through the bandaids covering her fingers – a symbol of both her genuine dedication to guitar and her initial, bandaid-initiated friendship with Tomori

Nice guitar riff playing behind this process of reconciliation – it’s very close to the melody of “Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins, with both riffs evoking a sense of optimism and wide-open potential

Raana grabs Taki and demands that she play the drums in the middle her shift. Funny how the one with the least emotional commitment to the band is the one dragging them back together – she has no emotional hangups regarding reuniting with this group, so she’s just gonna carry them into the same room by force

Nice smirk from Raana as she gestures towards the drums, a clear “you know you want to”

This is a very dramatic concept in terms of band reunion tours

There are many precedents for this band and spoken word arrangement. That’s basically what Craig Finn does with The Hold Steady, and of course, Slint’s seminal Spiderland basically helped birth post-rock, along with being a stunning expression of musical emotion in its own right. The climax of Good Morning, Captain is one of the most raw expressions of longing through music I’ve ever experienced – I feel very privileged that I got to see them perform it live, back at the first Pitchfork festival in Chicago

“After hearing your song, I understand.” Taki confesses her understanding to Tomori on the rooftop where Soyo once urged her to, now with the specter of CRYCHIC at last behind them

And then Mutsumi appears, asking what they’ll do about Soyo

“How is Soyo?” “Soyo… doesn’t know anymore.” A very sharp way to put it. Soyo has relinquished her own desires entirely, and now exists only as a mirror of the superficial social experiences she’s embraced. The only honest desire Soyo ever embraced was her desire to play with Sakiko, and with that possibility denied to her, she’s back to echoing the desires of her mother, her peers, anyone who will give her some form of direction

Tomori now tries to use a new strategy with Anon. She pours out her heart and admits that she needs her to play the guitar. Anon was being stubborn to avoid being hurt again, but it’s hard to say no to Tomori when she’s like this

Like most people, Anon also sees others as fundamentally pretty much like herself, meaning she assumes Tomori is simply telling her what she wants to hear – after all, that’s what Anon does most of the time. But Tomori has a famously terrible ability to tell others what they want to hear – she tells them the truth, whether that truth will bind them together or split them apart. Anon needs to realize that when Tomori says she’s relying on her, she really, really means it

Anon’s signature trick is performed when she is confronted by such raw emotion. She then books it and gets the fuck away.

“It’s not like I actually wanted to do it.” Caught vulnerable and ashamed, Anon reverts back to her original motivation, her early desire to simply look good among her band-obsessed schoolmates. Anon found a genuine sense of community and belonging with Tomori, but having been informed that her bandmates were actually faking their friendship, she’d rather push back or lash out than risk further rejection and embarrassment. The Soyo reveal seems to have hit her particularly hard – she really thought the two of them had become meaningful friends

“Anon-chan, you were struggling with all your might. So was Soyo. I was. Because we’re all lost.” Tomori won’t let go of the sincere fear Anon shared with her

“Let’s be lost together.” Damn, what a line

“Oh, man.” I love how Anon always accompanies moments of massive emotional transformation with these fatigued asides. Her “huh” when Soyo broke her heart was a similarly understated expression of her whole world changing

Anon is the one who goes to recruit Soyo to prove that their bond is real

Soyo lives on the top of her apartment in a tower high above her fellow students.

“There’s zero signs that anyone lives here at all.” Soyo at home is undefined, a mirror with nothing to reflect

“This aroma… this is what we both drank the first time we met.” And yet Anon knows Soyo has preferences, even if it’s just the tea she drinks

“I heard everything. It made me angry, but it also made me think ‘I guess Soyo-san is human, too.’” In an odd way, Soyo’s betrayal of Anon actually brought them closer, as it at least demonstrated Soyo’s true, selfish feelings

“You’re different from how you appear. You tell a lot lies. And there’s a part of you that’s kind of malicious, right?” Anon actually likes the real Soyo

Anon, now that he is able speak honestly, starts a fight almost immediately with Soyo

At Tomori’s next concert, Anon is ready on guitar. Tomori physically drags Soyo onto the stage when she sees her in the crowd. If Soyo isn’t capable of defining herself, her bandmates are perfectly happy to assure her that this is who she is

Anon gently caresses her as he helps her with the bass strap. She understands Soyo and is sympathetic to her desire for escape.

This performance is aw jeez! Tomori sings not to an audience but directly towards her bandmates, with tears in her eyes. The opening song is repeated, but with the same spinning camerawork. This time, the focus is on the band members sharing their pain by music.

“I want to sing together. I want to have a good laugh together. Even if our paths only run parallel.” A wonderful articulation of the adjacent but never-touching closeness their group embodied

And done

What a performance! What an episode! MyGO throws another classic, a scream that is shared by all members of this ramshackle ensemble. It was wonderful to see each of Tomori’s bandmates return and affirm their bonds in their own ways: Raana seeing the spark recaptured, Taki swift to apologize for misunderstanding Tomori, Anon reaffirming her status as a fellow lost soul, and Soyo dragged kicking and screaming into emotional vulnerability. Anon and Soyo already seem like far stronger friends now that they’ve each dispensed with the niceties, though of course it took Tomori’s cry of the heart to make them truly admit their feelings. What a passionate mess of a band they’ve e!

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