PriPara 68

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Wouldn’t you like to see something strange?

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Christmas is the time for spending romantic evenings with your lover and having heartbreaking plot twists. Several Japanese holidays have their purposes firmly embedded in pop culture. What to make of Halloween? Japan already has a day for celebrating spirits in the Obon Festival, and dressing up in costume, much as it has in the West, has become something you can do at every convention. And for something like PriPara, where “dressing up” is its entire marketing shtick, the only purpose Halloween could narrow down is the specific nature of the costumes. But for Japan, Halloween is a party, and you can’t have a PriParty on Halloween without Ran!

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This particular iteration of the franchise has lasted longer than its predecessors, enough to even get a second Halloween episode. So, what kind of plot awaits Lala and company as we take a breather from the Genius business?

…or perhaps, not quite. As Meganee lays out at the start of the episode, Phantom Thief Genius is a popular costume for those in PriPara this year. Even though he’s stolen valuable tickets from the main characters, he seems to have that kind of charisma that draws people to him, I suppose. A real Phantom of the Opera kind of deal. The main plotline for this week’s episode is a costume contest going on, and whoever gets the most scares will be crowned Miss Halloween and have the chance to win prizes. The scares are more like jump scares than actual horror – this is a kids’ show, they can only get away with so much – but what it mainly serves as is a chance for the main cast to show what scares them and what they think they’re scared by. Who you are in the dark.

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There’s several highlights here, chief being Aroma. For the devil wannabe, you’d think she’d have a leg up on a holiday that embraces devils. And she does. Her Medusa costume is effective to an extreme degree, and starts Ran’s crisis of confidence for the episode. How could she, who loves Halloween so much, not be the scariest one there? Different things scare different people, as later costumes will reveal.

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A snow woman who loves the heat. There was an eroge just released that had something like that…

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Jason, here to smack your ass with a towel in the locker room.

Fuwari doesn’t even bother to dress up, but treating a snake like it’s a friendly pet is enough to send her to the top of the charts as Aroma and Mikan tap in. Then there’s Ajimi. She decides to dress up as The Thinker statue… which ends up being Ajim in a skintight gray bodysuit with her face also painted gray, which gives the appearance less of The Thinker and more of Tomarin from Teekyuu!

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Ran does eventually win when she falls into the fountain and her “ghost” costume gets much more frightening facepaint, thus winning her a chance to go to Broadway and meet with a famous horror makeup artist. This episode won’t have too much effect on the storyline, I think, but then again, last year’s Halloween episode was the first time Lala met Falulu, and that ended up affecting plenty of things down the line.

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Seeing everyone’s costumes, the change of scenery in general, made it a fun episode to watch, and the introduction of another new place in the PriPara-verse, Horriwood, makes it something to rewatch, at least within this week. After Saturday, its sell-by date is up. Yet, weirdly, I found myself with much more to write about this one-off than I did about several plot episodes. Standalones have their place.

NEXT WEEK

Ajimi and the PriPara Police continue investigating the Genius case. Maybe Ajimi can ask Nene for advice, she knows a thing or two about being a police chief.

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