Secondary characters, unite!
Before I begin coverage of this week’s episode, I want to give a brief shoutout to Pri for Prince, a blog that’s right up my alley. Song translations and an in-depth look at the cultural elements that have influenced this show, Hibiki in particular. It’s part of the same reason why the new Anime NOW site is proving to be a worthwhile read. Educating ourselves about the things we enjoy, no matter how silly they are, is a way for us to make fandom our own. Be the kind of fan you want to inspire others to be, and hope they follow suit. Lead by example. Plus more sincere, insightful anime content is always welcome here.
All of this does tie into this week’s story, oddly. The episode begins with Jewlie telling everyone she wants to see them at the Divine Grand Prix coming up on Christmas – the one for the final piece of the outfit. While the focus on being blessed by the goddess has, until now, been granted to primary characters who have actual 3D models and songs to sell, with the show running out of time, Jewlie sees fit to open the floodgates and give everyone a chance. I think she’s deliberately doing it as a rebuke to her little sister’s statements about humanity in the previous episode. Humans, idols, do have worth, and she’s going to prove it!
This leads to a bunch of new units forming overnight, from the one above – Q P Cosmix, to other strange ones like Sub Me Tender (a group that knows they’re tertiary characters) and Love Smash. Even Lala’s mom, Principal Okanda, and the vacuum cleaner become a group known as “Madam Clean”.
PriPara’s really lax about what can be an idol. After it was revealed they had a section specifically for goats last season, anything and everything goes in this world. In these trying times, an episode like this for PriPara is actually really inspiring. If Lala’s mom can be proud to be on stage and be an idol, if secondary characters can have their shot, and if many of them can succeed at it, then it’s good to have a world where everyone is welcome. It’s not that they didn’t work for it – the episode showed us the streets were full of wannabe idols practicing – but that they were even given a shot for it and encouraged, by their goddess no less, is a great message to send to the audience and even the parents or the big friends.
PriPara is more than a city-state of idols with weird and arbitrary laws. It’s more than a way for an arcade game to make money. In its third year, it’s become a community. And it does it by means like the outfit designer from a few episodes ago. Self-expression is encouraged and creativity is welcome. It’s not perfect, but if there’s a show worth rallying around, this isn’t the worst choice one could make.
Not every team succeeds in this round. Love Smash is disqualified for hitting tennis balls into the audience as part of their performance. The Celebrity Four are disqualified for trying to smuggle in an extra person. And even though Sub Me Tender doesn’t win, they certainly had fun giving it a shot.
Also, I want to highlight Dorothy’s smug face here. Dorothy’s always been one of my favorite characters, and it’s expressions like this that sell it. Kudos to the animators for drawing her with just the right amount of schadenfreude.
If last year’s general plot lines were any indication, these Christmas episodes may be the last happy ones we have for a while. The final cour is going to get intense as the war of the goddess sisters heats up. I’ll be glad to be along for the ride.
Christmas comes early as Chiri refuses to perform, knowing that Janice doesn’t see her as an equal. Will Non Sugar be able to go on stage?