PriPara 122

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Bringing a little positivity to your day.

PriPara’s been a constant for a while, and while certain types of episodes tend to repeat themselves, the way they’re expressed each time is different. This is the first Lala’s Birthday episode we’ve had since Non became an idol. Though Lala’s age is never really brought up, we do know she had a birthday. The main plot here is that she wants to do a concert with Non to celebrate together, but Non is still stuck in seeing Lala as her rival, and would consider that effectively giving up the fight. She has her goals to keep in mind, and not even a birthday can stop that. Plus, there’s still the problem of Non Sugar only getting along about half the time, even after they’ve formed.

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Most of the episode is spent on talking and flashbacks. Mirei talks to Non, while Ajimi talks to Lala. In Mirei’s case, she’s covering both of Non’s worries by talking about what it was like when she met Lala, as well as the founding of Solami Smile. Those early days of the series, when the CGI wasn’t quite as dynamic and the show was still finding its footing. Not much ever came of Lala’s Prism Voice, come to think of it.

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It’s the kind of episode that keeps things tight, barely using anybody beyond the central group of seven or so main characters. By now, those characters have been defined well enough that they can bounce off each other naturally, and the show is still moving forward at enough of a pace that they’re still changing. Mirei’s no longer as rigid as she once was, and even Sophie is offering advice to Non. It’s touching to see the OG idols mentor one of the younger generation.

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Except for Ajimi. She takes Lala into a painted spacescape where Gloria is a comet and quotes from the actual Da Vinci are given to make Lala have her own little blue dot moment. The Carl Sagan one. Realizing that all her worries are small in the grand scheme of things, so carpe diem. Ajimi is probably the S2 idol that’s stuck around the most consistently, but also a large part of the reason why subs for this show are taking forever.

Ultimately, this all resolves itself with Lala and Non giving a duet of “Marble make up a ha ha,” which hasn’t been seen since early S2 at best. This is a sweet little episode that has a lot of what I like about PriPara. Multiple kinds of family and friendships, a slightly off-beat sense of humor and a cheery atmosphere that I’m glad to be returning to every week. Don’t underestimate the power of a one-off episode. Telling a compact story in 30 minutes, even one filled with flashbacks, is a valuable storytelling skill.

Things will only get more intense as we pull into the holiday season and the eventual endgame for this year of the show, as well as potentially hearing the first rumors of a S4. PriPara just feels like part of the world at this point – and I’m glad it is.

NEXT WEEK

Non Sugar goes all Robinson Crusoe in a group bonding exercise that maybe only Pepper is prepared for.

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