Shion no Ouji
One of the best cases of chemistry in the cast of PriPara has been Shion and Mirei. They’re both the brains of their groups, but go about it in a completely different way. Mirei’s style is based on playing by the rules set down by a higher authority. She hones herself to be cute because it’s different from her parents’ wishes in the outer world, but even then she’s doing it to play by the rules and move ahead in the system, to become the form of authority known as the Godly Idol, who influences not by punishing those who break the rules, but by social influence. Then you have Shion.
Shion operates more on game theory, which is a field that’s still developing, but the point is to adapt to new situations by working from what you’ve learned before. In her case, translating her knowledge of kendo, go and all other traditional Japanese sports into being an idol, by seeing everything as pieces on a board that can be moved about. It’s a bit of a black and white worldview, and has caused problems with the far more emotional/prankster West siblings in the past, but she provides a solid foundation for them to look up to.
Which is a major problem when Hibiki knows exactly how to game the system and get Shion working towards whatever his goal is. Shion has such a game-brain she doesn’t even know what a love letter is, attempting to turn it into one of her usual four-kanji phrases. Even seeing the city at night reminds her of a Go board, and Hibiki reaches all the way back to her debut to remind her of why she debuted and convince her to try going solo.
Going solo isn’t a bad thing – to borrow once again from iM@S Cinderella Girls, the final episodes of that series have involved Mio, Anya, several members of the cast striking it out on their own, seeing it as a chance to grow. And there is sort of a Hibiki equivalent in Ms. Mishiro, but she’s acting from a purely business standpoint. Hibiki’s motivation is clouded in mystery. Shion does say she won’t be abandoning Dressing Pafe, but she’s not aware she’s playing further into Hibiki’s hands.
Plus, her going solo is worth it because it gives the main cast something I’ve been hoping for for some time now. A new song. “Absolute Life Final Show Girl” (Zettai Seimei Final Show-jo) is a really catchy song with the same kind of rock-ish beat as “No D&D Code”, and the monochrome outfit Shion is wearing during it fits with her Go fascination and stands out amongst the generally mega-colorful outfits of the rest of the cast.
Though when her performance closes, the camera cuts to Sophie. Being constantly spaced out has its perks, it seems, because it looks like she’s aware that something like this happened to her just last week.
I appreciate the way the show is using the nature of the Hibiki arc to expand a little on the main cast, but I’m curious what it’s all leading up to. And more so, if it will be resolved before the show changes time slots in October.
Lala attempts to get everyone to exchange tickets to show Phantom Thief Genius the power of friendship. Can Idol StreetPass be the key to changing Hibiki’s mind? Probably not, but it’s worth a shot.