PriPara 77

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♫Ah~ Star Wars~ Nothing but Star Wars~ Give me those Star Wars~ Don’t let them end!♫

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Welcome to 2016. A new year of new anime, and several more ongoing anime. Like PriPara. We have two brand new idol units assembled, so it’s time for them to get names and songs and get down to business.

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This episode went against all my expectations. Lala’s on Team Hard Work (later renamed Friendol), and the episode focuses most of its screentime on them. Everything from their intense, constant practice sessions to how they keep adding up numbers until they’re practicing at 301%. Which, aside from working ludicrously hard, also sounds like “Mi-re-i”. I even liked the little twist on her penalty tickets, giving everybody a gold star on their forehead as a way of congratulating them on such hard work. Mirei’s come a long way from being the stick-in-the-mud she was at the start of the show.

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On the other hand, you have Team Genius (or the CelePara Theater, as they’re later renamed.) Hibiki provides them with a room that caters to all their interests. Shion gets a Go board, Sophie has an entire tank of jellyfish, and Mikan has all the snacks they can eat. She takes them out to watch movies (starring her, of course) that are some sort of space opera battle. Paramount in our world owns Star Trek, but these have to be the equivalent of Star Wars for reasons I’ll get into later. As Hibiki reveals when they start all this, the reason why they’re taking in culture, like fancy meals and public domain Beethoven music (Symphony! Destiny! Da-da-da-daaaa!) is because she thinks, being a team of geniuses, they don’t need to train.

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This is hardly new ground for anime to cover, not even in idol anime. You had shows just recently, like Your lie in April or Sound! Euphonium that dealt with the difference between genius, hard work, natural talent, and pushing yourself while also not losing yourself in the process. Even in Cinderella Girls, the climax of Uzuki’s final arc involved her trying to strike out on her own again to prove that she wasn’t the weak link in her unit. Is technical proficiency the same thing as passion? Should it be everything? These are questions I’ll answer later, because there’s still more to go.

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Friendol ends up going for a witch theme at Aroma’s suggestion. However, when their song is one of the previous opening themes and they don’t get any special CGI performance graphics, something seems amiss. The witch costumes are adorable – and much more magelike than Maho Girls Precure is going to be – but they aren’t getting the celebrity treatment.

That goes to Hibiki’s team. Their song plays out like one of those montages you’d see at the start of the Oscars, probably hosted by Billy Crystal. Hibiki takes everyone through movie parodies/homages, starting with Sound of Music for Mikan (Hey. Mikan. Mikan. Hey. That’s Fuwari’s territory. Back off.) and going straight through to what looks like West Side Story (with a bit of The Matrix), Titanic and Star Wars for Sophie. Probably the world’s first musical lightsaber battle. Unless you’ve watched Auralnauts’ stuff. Those Jedi are dance-fighting all across the galaxy.

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Unsurprisingly, Hibiki’s team wins and she takes Meganii’s glasses as a prize, deciding to completely rewrite the rules of the city-state in the process. Meganii states he was created to protect idols, but doesn’t Meganee have some sort of backup program to prevent this? Given previous incidents, the answer is probably not.

The song performance, with all its Hollywood style, was a lot of fun, but as the final cour begins, I’m curious to see exactly what message the takeaway from this season is going to be. Units were formed and dissolved faster than usual, and the idols introduced had styles so wildly divergent that having any of them on the same team would clash.

Which may just be the point.

NEXT WEEK

PriPara has turned into CelePara. I keep wondering when the Celebrity Four will return, and this would be a good chance. Lala and company are about to discover the world of Hollywood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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