PriPara 78

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The Kingdom of Idols, built on broken dreams.

It’s a new cour, and that means it’s time for a new theme song. This one, “Goin’ on”, features a lot of repetition of the phrase “We are one!” and features the groups we’ve come to know and love working together in some capacity. Which can only be a premonition of the future, because it’ll take some time for the show to reach that point again.
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Perhaps Meganee isn’t a fickle goddess. Perhaps she really is just a computer program, which would explain why she gives in so easily to Hibiki’s radical restructuring of the city-state of idols. Instead of “Everyone’s friends, everyone’s an idol”, it’s “Everyone’s rivals, only celebs are idols.” In terms of the evil that’s been committed in kids’ shows, in idol shows even, it’s relatively mundane… but the fact that it’s so mundane might be what makes it hit really hard in sheer emotional impact.
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I completely understand where both Mirei and Dorothy are coming from this episode, even though they express it in different ways. Dorothy is sassing the staff and demanding an experience that’s not so high class, and you can tell it’s coming from a place of affection. Like Leona says to Dorothy, I also like theme parks, but there’s a reason why Disney and Universal theme most of their rides and restaurants after common things.
While aspiring to be the 1% (or whatever it is in Japan) is something admired in a capitalistic society – and what is PriPara if not a blatant manifestation of marketing and capitalism (it’s also art, I know. Otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this.) – but as many media has also told us, getting to the top isn’t always worth it. Having the freedom to have anything you want can be rather limiting.
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Or even alien sometimes. While Hibiki recruited Mikan for her angelic voice, he also suspected she was a wild card. And but two episodes after joining the CelePara Opera Troupe, Mikan’s already left it. She’d rather have her meat buns and be with Aroma rather than have anything to do with this fancy-schmancy idol world.
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There’s much more to unpack here. About the way that Meganii has become a loner feeding the birds. About the mascots being reduced to manual labor. The biggest impact of this episode has to be Mirei. I’ve mentioned before that she’s come a long way from her penalty-ticket obsessed rule-abiding self in the early days. She’s taken that energy and channeled it into fighting from within the system to find ways to have fun, to give everyone a chance – that’s why the rules are there, a lot of the time. To ensure that some small amount of people don’t ruin it for everyone else. Yet, when faced with a world where she already challenged the system and lost… she barely says a word throughout the episode. Mirei is visibly distraught, and if the preview for the next episode is any indication, it may be enough to make her give up on her dreams altogether.
Way to go, Hibiki. The rich get richer and even things like singing and dancing, that anybody can do, are taken away overnight. Dorothy, you sung about it yourself – CHANGE! Your world. So let’s get Shion back into the fold of Dressing Pafe and change the world once again.
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One of the most powerful episodes of the series yet. While the plot is as simple and goofy as ever, the themes it expresses are things that are still affecting our world, even beyond the age range of the target audience.
Mirei’s distress. Friendol can’t perform. The world of celebrities is an even faker place than what it replaced. Where to go?

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