English Dub Review: Smile Down the Runway; “Young Talents”




Overview (Spoilers Below)

Ikuto’s situations at both work and home continue to develop through trials and triumphs. 

Our Take

Ikuto’s employment at Hajime’s studio appears to be going swimmingly, as he is engaged and often stays late. However, working these longer and later hours earns him a harsh interrogation from his younger sister, Honoka. Their mother, Yuriko, is also guilty of overworking, even ending up in the hospital for it. 

The Tsumura clan is thoroughly portrayed as a very close familial unit, so tightly knit that it seems to occasionally cause emotional friction. Honoka is upset at her older brother and mother working themselves to the bone for her sake, as she feels they should be doing what they love instead of putting themselves out for her. She isn’t upset for very long, though. 

This is your typical situation where everybody in a family is so hard-working and selfless that they often forget to communicate in the hustle and bustle of it all. Honoka’s outburst is a sufficient spark to ignite a moment of reflection for Ikuto. He calmly explains that he is getting paid for doing what he loves, so any income earned on his part isn’t an inconvenience for him. 

This situation is also framed by Hajime asking Ikuto what motivates him to want to join the fashion industry. Thus, in addition to the resolution to this debacle being neat and sweet on its own, it also serves as fuel for Ikuto’s motivation. 

Later, we learn that Moriyama, one of Hajime’s previously seen designers, has quit. It’s a shame to see her go so soon as she appeared as though she would’ve been a steady ally for Ikuto as he entered the fashion world. But, he’ll be gaining some new allies soon enough.

As the sole employee, Ikuto is dragged to some sort of exhibition event. There, Hajime makes a big deal with a department store. He needs additional manual labor for this and acquires some help from the principal of Geika Fashion School in exchange for sending Ikuto there as an outside participant for a fashion show.

At Geika, we are introduced to the prodigious Toh Ayano. He’s a very touchy-feely guy who can ascertain your body measurements by thoroughly hugging you, like some sort of fashion-oriented Sherlock Holmes. He is an aloof young man whose every action very clearly radiate some ulterior motives. As a result of all of this, he comes off as a little bit intimidating and uncomfortable, but I also wouldn’t exactly call him malicious. There are likely a few untouched layers left on this guy.

Toh seems like a guy who gets everything he wants, and it doesn’t take him long to find and acquire his next target. A quickly recognizes the potential in Ikuto and agrees to his hasty, off-handed proposal to come work for Hajime. 

Later at Hajime’s, we’re also very briefly introduced to another worker from Geika: Kokoro. She was seen earlier as a model at the exhibition, but her true goal is to become a designer. While very reserved, she’s a competent and versatile young woman. We don’t see very much of her here though, as the focus of this episode is centered around Ikuto, but she has promise. 

On the first day with this new crew of students, there’s a problem where Hajime is forced to redesign a shirt using a different material. He gives the task to Ikuto, who fails, having never worked with real silk before. Toh comes in to rectify it, but both he and Hajime take note as Ikuto rapidly compensates for the mistakes he makes. The episode ends with Toh and Hajime having what starts as a subtle conversation about this, which then devolves into Toh straight-up asking if Ikuto can just come work for him. 

Progress is moving at a pleasantly swift pace for Ikuto as he continues to find and improve himself. Whether we continue on Ikuto’s path or switch to Chiyuki’s, either narrative is coming along strongly. 


Wil de Junco

A writer from Wisconsin. Avid fan of anime, manga, and games. Likes old mecha anime, fighting games, and ramen.

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