The reunion that’s been in the making since the first season.
Hibiki is the kind of person who can do well when playing by her own set of rules. The complete rebooting of the world into CelePara showed that, and even though a good amount of time has passed since the S2 finale, there’s still some lingering resentment between Hibiki and the rest of the cast upon the return of the Paris team.
Not so much for Falulu, the avatar of idol-dom, or for Fuwari, who’s too nice to hurt anyone even accidentally. But Hibiki doesn’t really help. She’s still annoyed by Mirei’s ~puri, to the point of having Rei put flowers in her ears when her headphones break. And she reminds Meganii of the time he was basically homeless and kicked out of his job… by Hibiki. While she has no aspirations for idol world domination, that domineering personality is still there. It’s not that Hibiki is trying to push everyone away. Lala and the rest are as happy to greet her as any other idol. But Hibiki just keeps pushing people away, and barely seems to understand why.
This all comes to a head in the team formation ceremony that, as it turns out, only makes up the first half of the episode. They’ve already got a name – Tricolore – fitting for the French team. It’s just that Hibiki can’t initiate the ceremony, since it requires her to “believe in friendship.” When vocalized that literally, it’s undeniably cheesy, but also the backbone of so many kids’ shows that I accept it without issue. I was expecting the competition to become more unbalanced in favor of this clearly talented team, but if they can’t even make a proper team in the first place, Solami Smile may remain the top idols in Harajuku for a while longer.
There are some less heavy aspects to the episode. Ajimi barges into Hibiki’s room in Paris (like, literally. Right through the door Wile E. Coyote style) and starts painting on the walls before the Paris Meganii has to inform her that Hibiki already returned to Japan. There’s the heartwarming reunion of Non and Falulu. I was thinking back in S1 that this might result in Falulu somehow being able to leave the idol world once she became a real girl, but the true solution turned out to be the other way around. Have Non become an idol and stop by to meet her long-distance friend. Oh, and Falulu can understand Jululu’s baby talk… though being a baby, Jululu doesn’t have that much to say.
PriPara can have a slow burn on its plots sometimes. Galumageddon wasn’t an official idol unit until only a few weeks ago. Yet it’s done a good job at answering most of these plot points whenever it can. That’s a good attention to detail.
To wrap things up, here’s what I meant at the start by Hibiki only working well within her rules. The idol universe is answering to Jululu’s rules now, and at the moment, she has deemed Fuwari worthy of being blessed with a Super Cyalume almost immediately. Like Dorothy and Galulu before her, Hibiki misses out despite performing before the goddess. She’s just as stubborn as Dorothy, but unlike either of the previous two, her issues are much more deep-seated. This may take a few weeks to solve.
Which is why we’re going to Africa next week. Japan representing Africa. Hoo boy this is going to be awkward to watch and just as awkward to write about. See you next week!