PriPara 97

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We’re going to California! (Spoilers within, but nothing to do with this picture.)

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It’s a globe-trotting adventure that happens over the course of like one or two days at max, but had to consist mostly of travel time. And that’s not even accounting for all the time Sophie spent traveling around in Japan this episode. I’ll just assume that she has really good connections and let it slide for the purposes of the story, which was pretty interesting on its own.

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I’ve written a lot about Lala and Mirei, but not very much about Sophie. She’s an interesting bundle of contradictions. One of the biggest stage presences, and when she first appeared, looked like the second coming of the Bell Renjouji type. And she is fairly high class, with all the attendant social status that includes. Yet her home is so monochrome you could shoot a fancy student film in it, and her actual personality is closer to the Tanakas or Umarus of the world, but without the active laziness of either of them. I see her as someone who works so hard to keep up a mask in her “job” that she can do nothing but unwind and turn into a human cushion when freed from those constraints.

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Yet, she’s improved as the show’s gone on, with help from her fan club/secret army and her friends. Someone who’s that inactive wouldn’t trek halfway across Japan and end up going all the California just because. Jululu falls sick, as babies tend to do, and Sophie remembers that one of her plums pulled Galulu out of a similar problem the last time the city-state of idols was nearly destroyed. But Jululu only likes the taste of peach. So Sophie hears about the Miracle Peach which should be able to help her, and the adventure begins.

There’s also a brief scene at the beginning that features Meganii talking to Unicorn, and she brings up a previous Divine Idol Grand Prix. So all of this has happened before, and if Unicorn is willing to tell, that may give some hint as to what’s to come. But we, the audience, aren’t going to be privy to that information just yet.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Sophie’s dad again, too. Tetsu Inada has one of those voices that’s super noticeable, be it as Doggie Kruger or Over Justice, and hearing him play the goofy adventurer dad of an even goofier idol is right in line with the kinds of things he can do. Though how he mistook planting a peach tree for a sakura tree is anyone’s guess – Cosmo wonders as much. Sophie gets her blessing from Jewelie, and another episode goes as formula.

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I also loved the little details. Like how Sophie’s dad was able to view her performance right there in the city-state of idols, he just had to dress up like a sheep to get inside, the same way Rei did last season with the goat guise. PriPara is very lax about its rules, though I’m surprised it didn’t have a parental exception already. But it may also be embarrassing to have your mom or dad in the audience, even if they’re a former idol like Lala’s. Given how the parents tend to be in this show, that’s more than likely.

The final shot of the episode confirmed a fan theory was guessed before this season began, so congrats to everyone who got it right. Junon, Pinon, Kanon – all of them are Manaka Non. Lala’s little sister is throwing her hat into the ring for idoldom, but not even her own sister knows that yet.

Why do I do this show? Because kids’ shows have a certain degree of optimism to them, even as things get increasingly weird or dark. We’re not to that point yet, but I have a feeling S3 is about to get a lot more interesting.

NEXT WEEK

The story of how one studious elementary school student and a pink bunny came to dominate the idol world. Sometimes she’s a space alien. Sometimes she’s cool. Sometimes she’s a butterfly. But her true identity is… Non Manaka!

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