There’s a lot of wilderness inside the park.
After scoring a win last week, Tricolore returns to Paris, not to be seen again until the story requires them. There’s a new three person unit the show needs to work on setting up, and my thoughts on this new character joining the ranks are mixed. Pepper is a bit archetypal and stereotypical, but everyone in this show fits neatly into their archetypes. That’s even played up during a sequence I’ll get to later. However, her stereotypes, the “darkest Africa” jungle girl, are… not really something you see much of nowadays. I can remember stuff like Jungle de Ikou! back in the early days of the internet, but the stereotype was outdated even then.
On the other hand, the show also tweaks with the expectations of her role in a number of ways. She and Fuwari kind of fall into the same general kind of idol, both being heavily in touch with nature. While Fuwari exemplifies farming, Pepper is the jungle. What makes it different is that, while she was raised by a lion, once the main cast is able to get said Lion in contact with Cat, who can understand her, it turns out that the lion is a caring mom like any other, and even has the proper transfer forms for Pepper to go to school in Japan. It’s absurd on its face, and that it plays it with near-complete sincerity is what makes it work.
There’s also the running gag of Pepper seeing everyone’s animal auras during the episode. Dorothy is chihuahua, Lala and her sister are both rabbits, Mirei’s a cat. We never got to see Sophie’s, but we all know that she’s a jellyfish. The real shocker was Leona. Not only was it playing into his name, but when Pepper saw Leona’s aura – that of a fierce lion – she actually stopped trying to eat and instead started worshipping him. Leona has the most hidden idol potential of anybody on this show, clearly. I get that people are making a big deal of the twist in the first episode of Magical Girl Raising Project, but Leona has proven that the gender barriers can be broken and eventually, it’ll be no big deal.
There’s another, smaller subplot about Non not wanting Chiri to join her unit, only to discover at the very end of the episode that the domineering personality (whose fan seems to work on increasingly less people) is just a mask for a shy, timid girl who, when she’s not in the park, doesn’t have half the charisma that Non has. This episode was a chaotic mess, and I’m still waiting to finalize what I think of Pepper, but she’s cute. And she’s giving another one of the WUG girls a chance to work in anime. Though Pepper’s VA was already Chifuyu in Inou Battle and Hacka Doll #3. Both very different characters from the wild child we’re dealing with here.
Oh, and there’s a new ED. It has some really cute visuals and kinda reminds me of Rainbow Melody. I like it!
Pepper goes to school.