You’re going to be seeing a lot more Yuu Serizawa in the future.
There’s been a lot written about the social aspects of video games. Nintendo has been encouraging them for a long time – it’s their system that’s been hosting licensed games for PriPara and Aikatsu! after all – and the act of going to an arcade, where these franchises originate, is an unavoidably social act in itself. You’re surrounded by people, and many games are co-op, but it’s a limited experience. How to extend that to outside the arcade? It’s something that Pretty Rhythm lacked, and may have been a factor in why PriPara reconfigured itself to have the PriTickets, a key point of which, since day one, has been the ability to break off half of it and share with friends.
People in the show have kept albums of their friends’ tickets, they’re a major part of the ritual to form a unit, and now their time has come to save the (idol) world.
In practice, this episode ends up being more of a variety show, closer to the “Are We Live? Sunday” episode of iDOLM@STER, with each of the cast getting to show off their specialties in various ways. My favorite segment was Dorothy’s, because she went with a stage drama that was more like a tokusatsu live show, casting herself as Ninja of Justice Monjaman, facing off against Sophie and her army of Red Flash-enhanced jellyfish. It was the kind of silliness that Moriwaki works best with, and the characters’ personalities have become so entrenched over the past 60 episodes that they fall into their roles naturally, and the audience plays along. Plus, as this blog has made clear, I’m a sucker for tokusatsu and superhero-type stories.
On the civilian side of things, Amamiya got a chance to show some support in his own way – by running 373km (about 232 miles) across the city in order to show support for Mirei. It’s a dreadful pun (373 = Mi Na Mi), but I like that it continued all the way into the end credits, showing him running at night via picture in picture towards a cardboard cutout of Mirei… even though the real Mirei isn’t aware he did this, and would probably treat it with mild amusement if she ever did find out. But Mirei knows that Amamiya respects her and supports her in her way of becoming an idol.
The same cannot be said for Hibiki. Lala put on this variety show in an attempt to show him that friendship and Friend Tickets are important, but all he can do is toss aside the idols he doesn’t like into his magazine files of shame. He tosses Mirei into “gobi” (sentence enders), and he throws away Aroma and Dorothy almost immediately. Now, Japan sort of does encourage this themselves with the popularity polls for everything, but it sort of struck me as a mild commentary on the strangely clinical “best girl” phenomenon in Western fandom. Where the only categories are “good to me” and “bad to me”, and who fits into those categories and when is notoriously fickle.
A reprisal of “Realize!” from the first season convinced everyone but the person Lala was trying to convince, it seems. I really liked this episode for the variety show format, and how it was a great chance to see the characters goofing around before the anime season changes and the timeslot with it. With an entire extra cour to work with, season 2 has been pacing itself slightly slower than the first one, but I have a feeling all of this will pay off in the end.
Ajimi makes her debut in the show’s final episode before the time slot change, and she’s an artsy type who’s been doing vandalism around the city-state of idols. People called Romanes, they go to the house?