This is a story about Lala. It’s also a story about Naru Osaka, and every other friend tied to the Muggle (Nomaj? Or would Japan have its own term, like Naimabito [無魔人], which I just coined?) world, and what separation means in that regard. It’s been a year and three months since PriPara began, and as it goes in any TV land, things have been hectic and exciting… for those who are the main characters.
Everyone sees themselves as the main character of their own story, but in order for that story to be something read, something watched, something that captures the public eye, it has to be catching. In kids’ shows, you can usually tell who the main characters are because of how their design stands out. Lala’s bright purple hair compared to Nao’s muted, fairly realistic tones, for example. What the Prism Voice is or how she got it is still largely shrouded, but given the type of story this is, Lala’s ultimately the protagonist because the writer has declared her so…
But think about what happens to the Narus of the world. Once the person that the main character can count upon in troubled times as they adjust to their new life, they slowly fade from the background until they vanish entirely. Nao doesn’t meet that fate, but she very nearly almost did, her and Lala’s friendship getting caught up in the middle of another concert. This one was for two reasons – to celebrate Lala’s birthday, as friends do, and to potentially catch Genius once more. Hibiki doesn’t bother to show himself, but the episode still brings some interesting revelations.
Nao joins everyone who has a November birthday in delivering a gift to Lala, but her face as she looks at the crowds, her best friend several social leagues above her by now… it’s not quite melancholy, but she was broken by it. Luckily, as Lala says later on, while her new idol life is important, her friendship with Nao is more important. Thankfully, they’re still in elementary, soon to be middle, school, so this friendship incident only strengthened their bonds. It could’ve turned out much worse. Though the show kept it vague by never mentioning what age Lala was actually turning… hopefully she moves up to middle school.
Amusingly, quite a bit of this episode was taken up by another variety show for Lala’s birthday party, similar to the ticket-swapping episode. Some highlights: Fuwari and the Goat Chorus, Aroma and Mikan doing a ventriloquist bit with Mikan as the dummy, and Ajimi pulling a manic Bob Ross, complete with showing an uncensored David on screen up close. I know CBS allows it to be shown far away and for two seconds, but TV Tokyo, especially in anime primetime, seems slightly more lax about statue dongs.
When Aroma had her birthday episode/reconciliation with Mikan, I thought that the show would never reuse the song and assets for her birthday number, but just by changing up the performers to Solami Dressing, the animators can reuse it no problem. That Lala has Nao flying around the stage with her is touching, too. I hope their friendship can persist for a long time.
As for Hibiki, he may have won, but it feels like he decisively lost this week. Lala’s the first person to get on his Enemies list. Don’t let that grudge against an elementary schooler go to your head, Hibiki. Or Genius shall be made a fool.