We’re going on an expedition!
Principal Gloria has moved down to a rather minor player since her early days of antagonizing Lala, but this episode reminded me of one of the stories from early in the series run. When there was that castle/dungeon in the middle of PriPara, and she served as Lala and Mirei’s trainer to get them better at being idols. This is like that, except with the scale ratcheted up a couple dozen notches. Instead of a single castle-like place, it’s a whole host of islands in the middle of the sea that PriPara just happens to own. And instead of harsh training, it’s an even harsher training camp that lasts for days, or as long as all units can hold out.
I shouldn’t have used my Gilligan’s Island refs a month or two ago if I knew this was coming, though the way this episode is set up it’s much closer to Survivor. They even have a challenge with Love partway through the episode involving island tennis. Since Non is using this as a team-building exercise, the episode focuses almost entirely on them. She’s the only level-headed one in all this, because the other two members of Non Sugar still aren’t getting along.
Like Chiri, who completely misunderstands what “island living” is supposed to be like, and orders every single luxury she can get from home. Though the microwave doesn’t work. As for Pepper, she slowly returns to her more animalistic instincts from the Savanna. She’s suited for the island life better than Non, but since the lock of Gloria’s hair that Non had been using to keep Pepper in line was taken away when Chiri’s fancy goods were confiscated… you can see how this would prove a problem.
Of course, this is all just a setup – the monster in the cave was Ajimi, because of course. Yet one thing I like about the episode is how it interprets the whole rock-paper-scissors angle. “Paper (Chiri) covers rock (Pepper)” turned that “cover” from one of suppression into one of protection. When Pepper is wondering if she’s the fault of the team not getting along after Non calls for them to be dissolved in a bout of frustration, Chiri is able to pull through and protect her from Ajimi. The visuals that accompany it are really nice, too.
The contrasting colors and personalities of “the wild child and the socialite” certainly sounds like something that’s ripe for some doujins. It all ends up paying off too, because this is the episode where Jewlie blesses the other two members of Non Sugar and completes this task for all the main characters. The stage is set for the next phase of the Divine Grand Prix.
Non Sugar’s had a fair amount of episodes devoted to their founding and troubles, and this one was one of my favorites. The change of scenery brought out the oversized personalities of the team, and that image of Chiri and Pepper working together is a great moment overall. I look forward to seeing what they can give us going forward.
The Goddesses return to the center stage.