This is what you expect to happen when Ajimi’s around.
I’ll give Mirei and Shion credit. They can figure out in only a few lines what the rest of their friends haven’t been able to figure out in months. Not that there’s a whole ton of candidates for Genius, but they narrowed it down to who it was immediately. Normally, I could end the discussion here, but there’s a whole other subplot running throughout the episode that’s pure wonkybonkers.
Gloria’s menace has decreased significantly since this time last year, when her heartbroken Christmas backstory with Lala’s mom was revealed, to the point that her vacuum-elephant-dog thing Rina is now the “murder victim” of the episode, leaving behind a dying message that either looks like an 8 or the infinity symbol. (It’s actually meant to be a butterfly. I’ll get to that in a moment.) The whole detective/mystery angle feels like Moriwaki channeling her time on Milky Holmes into the PriPara world, especially since S1 of Milky Holmes featured a very similar dying message situation. It’s questionable which one got more insane. Ajimi has enough eccentricity to match at least Cordelia.
One of the funniest scenes of the episode involves Ajimi being a blood/ketchup-splattered “corpse”, and her waking up when she realizes the true key to the mystery leads to some amazing expressions from Lala and Dorothy. There’s also other little moments like Sophie donning her jellyfish costume and trying to shock Rina back to life… which is partially the answer (she just wasn’t plugged in), but by far the most inefficient way to go about it. The case concludes with Rina and the spy-butterfly exchanging tickets, which is heartwarming, but makes one wonder how the butterfly even had one.
It’s the kind of episode that trades a lot of its time on running character hijinks, letting them crash into each other while the real plot happens in the background.
Though the “real” plot is also completely zonky. Hibiki plans to have Rei infiltrate PriPara, especially with the city-state of idols’ firewall starting to break down, and asks him to sneak in via the return of what originally appeared as a one-off joke. He dons a full-body goat costume and goes in through the PriPara goat door. And goat Meganee accepts him. Hibiki knows the system well enough to use even its silliest elements to his advantage, but his greatest victory is an emotional one, and it’s a plot element I’ve been wondering about for so long, I can see why they saved it until now.
He takes Falulu out onto the balcony and shows her what a real shooting star looks like. Not one controlled by an elaborate computer system, but as real as the flesh-and-blood body she now possesses. Falulu can go outside PriPara, and if the first thing she sees is something so beautiful, that not even Lala and Non could’ve shown her… that may just get her to trust Hibiki. Which doesn’t bode well for whatever his plan is.
This episode was a lot of fun, but it feels like setup for the true curtain that will raise next week. Hibiki still needs two more members for his Dream Theater Princess Unit, and no more characters are set to debut yet. So who’s it going to be?
“The Day She Debuts.” Sounds important.