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Episode Recap: Ego Trip Abroad
THEY'RE IN JAPAN!!!!! The lucky contestants arrive in Tokyo and dive into the beauty, excitement, and magic of the city in places like the hectic Shibuya district, sensual fish markets, and serene city gardens. In one of these, Rikugien Garden, they meet their Foundation Challenge, as well as one of the makeup industry's heroes, Kazuhiro Tsuji. Not only will Kazu, whose credits include Planet of the Apes, Looper, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, be the judge for their Foundation Challenge, but he'll join them on the reveal stage for their Spotlight Challenge.
Amid the throb of taiko drums and the whistle of flutes, Kazu and McKenzie present a series of Oni - Japanese demons - that will inspire the artists to create their own, original Oni. At the end of the two hours, Kazu selects the top looks: Daran's green patina'd copper Oni, and Corinne's excellently-painted and –applied creature. Because of Daran's ability to fold environmental elements into his design, Kazu names him the winner of the challenge. He's psyched to impress such a perfectionist, and also to gain immunity going into the Spotlight Challenge!
And speaking of that challenge, the gang is going to need to spend some quality time in the anime district, Akihabara, since their task is to create an anime alter ego of themselves! They soak in the colors and shapes, take tons of photos of the artwork all around them, and then sit down for an extremely cute lunch at the @home café, a cosplay restaurant (all the waitresses are cosplayed out!). The highlight of the day is when Hidetaka Tenjin, a master of anime, swings by to help guide their designs. He infuses power into their ideas and takes them out of the comfort zone, then wishes them luck and is gone as mysteriously as he arrived!
It's been a whirlwind of a few days, and before they know it, the artists are back in the lab in L.A., full of inspiration. Graham's wife loves anime, so he's dedicating his character - a mad scientist who turns into a mass of mobile vegetation. Rashaad, an anime fan, is pumped from his meeting with Tenjin, and can't wait to start fabricating his larger-than-life weapon for his Robin Hood-inspired character. Corinne and Chloe are a little concerned, since they both have characters with big, expressive eyes, and it could be a problem to have similar characters on the reveal stage. George is also feeling anxious, since he had a whole suit of armor to fabricate, and only got through half of it before application day. He's not sure he can pull it off in time. The pressure is getting to everyone, and as they rush around to get everything in the van and get to the reveal stage, Chloe and Graham smash into each other! It smarts, but they have to keep going.
The pressure doesn't stop for Graham at last looks - leaves are falling off his character's arm, his airbrush breaks, and though he manages to pull something together that he likes, it's not up to his usual standards for himself. At least, that's the way the judges feel, and he winds up in bottom looks with George, who's time management bit him in the you-know-what and resulted in a sloppily fabricated suit.
Corinne took some extra time to differentiate her work from Chloe's by creating highly reflective eyes (a key trait of anime) as well as getting the head and body proportions exactly right for this medium. Daran blew the judges out of the water, if you will, with his design of a fish-man hybrid with koi leaping out of a watery cowl. The kinetic nature of the piece and its excellent paint job earn him the win, inspiring him to keep dreaming and working hard.
The judges feel that Graham had some excellent ideas, but he went off the rails in the execution. They decide that he should be eliminated this week - except that he's awesome, and deserves the one-time pardon they have available! Glenn impresses the importance of BRINGING IT from now on, to make sure they're not giving this honor to the wrong contestant. Graham gives his word, and floats, dazed, back to the makeup room where his fellows greet the news with cheers and hugs.