Kabetaijin, the skilled rapper that Kongming has been seeking, is introduced along with his backstory. While extremely talented and the three-time winner of the largest local rap battle event, he couldn’t handle the tough crowds at those events, developed a stomach ulcer, and now has decided to leave rapping behind. Both his top rival (the incredibly named Sekitoba Kung Fu) and Kongming try to convince him to return to rapping. By the end of the episode, he’s decided to come to a rap event held at the BB Lounge by Kongming.
This episode is the very definition of “setup”. Featuring almost no screen time for any of the established characters, it devotes nearly the whole runtime to introducing Kabetaijin and showing us his backstory and current emotional state. And honestly? It’s kinda boring. Part of this is naturally due to not enough screen time for characters we know, but mostly I think it’s just that Kabetaijin’s backstory is not all that interesting. For example, the episode synopsis above is probably everything we’re ever going to need to know about his backstory. That and some images of Sekitoba Kung Fu.
The show instead chooses to show us this backstory over and over again. First Kabetaijin is confronted by Sekitoba, who raps about how Kabetaijin has gone rusty and shouldn’t just disappear, and he runs for it while mentally telling us about his stomach ulcer. He gets home and gets a care package from his mother and talks again about his exit from the rap scene. Then we get an extended flashback showing his entire rap career, including the jeering crowds and stomach ulcer. And finally, he meets Kongming, who rehashes his backstory yet again. We get it! He has a stomach ulcer and doesn’t want to rap anymore!
The whole time you’re just waiting for Kongming to show up, because of course he will, that’s the whole point. And thank goodness he does. In contrast to the show thus far, Kabetaijin and his backstory are all told in drab, boring colors.
So it’s a breath of fresh air when Kongming shows up to color the place up.
It’s a good thing that next episode promises much more of the characters and music the show has as its strong points, because this one really dragged. At least it kicked off with more of the best side character, the boss, imagining some Three Kingdoms raps.