One last piece of the puzzle.
It’s not easy to side with people who are antagonizing you. We’ve seen Sophie’s experimentation with the super-potent Red Flash, and Shion being tempted into breaking away from her group, but Shion is a lot like Mirei in that they both have a strong moral compass that keeps their group afloat. There’s a lot to consider when Hibiki is saying that she wants them for her group.
On one hand, she’s saying that she considers their talent on par with Falulu, who’s nearly the Guardian Spirit of PriPara, even if she’s since become a real girl. But saying she wants them to join with her – and one other member, because you need a group of five – also means potentially going against their friends, especially Lala, who’s been pushing the “Everyone’s friends, everyone’s an idol!’ tagline even harder in the wake of Phantom Thief Genius’s appearance. It’s a potentially complex set of thoughts to go into an episode with.
Aside from a musical performance by Falulu, doing her one song, this episode is largely introspective, with the members of Dressing Pafe and Solami Smile hashing out if they should let their members join Hibiki, all while trying to keep people like Nene out. Even if it’s a school paper, not every time is the right time for sharing information with the press.
Dorothy is the most shaken by this, she always has been, and straight up reaches the level of calling Shion a traitor. I think, and Leona probably knows this too, that deep down Dorothy does respect Shion’s decision, but having their friend and confidant for two seasons leave for another group, especially one headed by Genius, is not something she’s going to take easily. Nor is Mirei, for that matter, who spends a lt of the episode in super intensive training to prove that she can be a “genius” on par with what Hibiki’s team is looking for.
And what value is there in joining Hibiki’s team? Falulu didn’t have the same internal issues to deal with (though I imagine she had a long off-screen conversation with Unicorn and Galulu to get them to agree with it.), and shows off that, like Hibiki a week or two ago, she can instantly bypass the Cyalume Change and go straight to the fairy wings, even in a regular performance. That kind of musical acrobatics is appealing to Shion and Sophie, though I imagine for very different reasons. Sophie probably likens it to floating around like a jellyfish through the air.
There’s other things going on in this episode, like Fuwari departing momentarily back to her homeland of the Palps in order to heal herself (and likely recover from the Hibiki shock), and the momentary return of Iroha, having a conversation with Shion about her future. My favorite moment, though, happens during Falulu’s concert. Hibiki is observing the performance, and Ajimi just appears beside her, acting as mad as ever, and with more freedom to do so now that she’s turned in her badge. And Hibiki is scared of Ajimi, with the sort of reaction he has to no other idol. Is it because Ajimi is old enough to be her equal? Or because she’s just Ajimi? It can be both.
As for who Hibiki’s going to choose for the final spot… I want to say Lala. Lala’s been a part of every five person idol unit this show has created so far, and Hibiki has begrudgingly started to see her point of view on things, especially with the rose room incident. I’d love for it to be someone from left field, like Aroma or Mirei or even Ajimi, but it’s more than likely Lala.
A very transitional sort of episode, slowly changing the status quo one unit at a time.
It’s a Christmas episode, with Mikan as the focal character! From angels we have heard on stage, let resound the performance of the season!