Mankai Company’s narrow escape from financial ruin continues in the next season of A3! Specifically, Season Autumn & Winter center on 5 new male members: Sakyou, the passionate debt-collector, Juuza, the inspired thug, Banri, the naturally-gifted delinquent, Taichi, the shallow but eager puppy-dog, and Omi, the capable mom of the group. The first few episodes give us a look into what we can expect from the season as a whole with dark undertones and complicated relationships.
It’s normal in any group to get at least one haughty person and the couple that gets on each other’s nerves, but BOY do we start the first episode off with some aggression! Yuki, as usual, has a sharp tongue but, immediately, Juuza and Banri are ready to throw hands. This near-violent altercation is avoided but the two are often one mean look away from punching each other, usually thanks to Banri’s provocation.
Sakyou is somehow scarier than them both and also has a violent past to back up his threats. Even the mature, caring Omi has a bad past with gangs. In fact, the majority of the Autumn Team used to get into physical fights all too regularly.
It’s reasonable to expect some pretty out-there, dramatic reasoning for guys to be drawn to theater. In Omi’s case, carrying on the dream of a dead friend is made believable. Omi wasn’t opposed to gang life with his closest friend by his side but this friend’s violent death caused Omi to do a 180. He broke up the rival gang before leaving his own and felt aimless until he learned of his friend’s dream to be an actor. Omi just wanted to honor his friend but found a real community within the Autumn Troupe that encourages him to succeed for his own sake.
Juuza being inspired by his cousin was another surprising motivation considering his harsh demeanor. After seeing his enactment of his childhood, much more becomes clear. Being judged by his looks and either picked on or avoided molded him into an unapproachable person, yet acting gives him a way to explore who he could become without the weight of judgmental eyes.
Sakyou is perhaps the most complicated, having loved theater as a kid and having had the opportunity to participate thanks to the kindness of others. After getting involved in low-tier yakuza jobs, he felt unworthy to return to the theater that had become his sanctuary. Becoming someone who could provide a loan to keep the Mankai Company afloat and then to join as an experienced member who could help save the company is quite an interesting turn of events! It explains his harsh, realistic attitude yet eagerness to do what must be done!
There’s some silliness to keep the rather simple premise interesting but the complicated relationships of the people involved in the theater company is where A3! really shines! It’s also nice to see a female main character who doesn’t shy away from or get scared of the guys fighting. Director Izumi is quick to put a stop to anything violent but she’ll let little fights play out, knowing how to best deal with her talents.
We’re looking forward to seeing what else is in store in future episodes… with the threatening note we’re left with at the end of episode 4, it could very well be the work of one of the gangs refusing to let a member go!