Only got one shot, so make it count!
While the focus has shifted between the main cast, this has been Non’s year more than anything. It started with her secretly becoming an idol in an attempt to overthrow her sister, and, after three cours of waiting, her chance to win a decisive victory in one of the Grand Prixs is at hand. Thankfully, due to the way scheduling works, there’s several other characters going on before Non Sugar, which gives them a chance to strategize and come up with a new Making Drama that’ll blow the crowd away.
As fun as it is seeing Non Sugar interact in their usual fashion, the most intriguing parts of this episode are on Janice’s end. Having been formally kicked out by the group after she’s discovered, she makes a move on the other (main) character trios in a last-ditch attempt to find someone to sabotage her sister. Solami Smile is out of the question almost immediately, but as for the others…
It doesn’t work. It turns out the past year of bonding with Jululu and growing as people means they have no interest in sacrificing the rest of the idols for some nebulous cause. Not even Hibiki, and Hibiki’s already pretty shady when it comes to what she’ll do to get ahead. Dorothy is smug in the way she rejects Janice’s offer, but beneath that smugness lies the conviction that she knows some things are more important.
I also want to talk about food puns. Before the song begins, Usacha wheels out carts of food to help motivate the team, nearly all of which come with a sound-alike reference to victory in Japanese, something that’s nearly untranslatable into English. Making this work in English with the same super punny nature that causes Chiri to react as strongly as she does would require either an extensive rewriting of the script that doesn’t play well with the visuals, or an awkward script that does play with the visuals but doesn’t keep the same flow it does in the original language. I can see why this show is taking so long to translate. Especially in the later seasons, the amount of wordplay and puns would drive any translator up the wall.
Food has played a major role in this show before, from deciding team names to outfit design philosophies. In this case, the usual chaos of Non Sugar creates a cake that would fit right in on Cake Wrecks, but still fits the jumbled “aesthetic” as it were of Non Sugar’s trio. This is what motivates them, and so it goes that they win. They were the only set of main characters outside the Goddesses who hadn’t.
With all four parts of the Divine Outfit belonging to different groups (including one part shared by Solami and Dressing), and one cour of material left to fill out, as well as a few lingering plot points that haven’t been resolved yet, what to do?
One more tournament! Curious what the brackets are going to be on this one, though I will admit Solami Smile has a distinct advantage right out the gate by being the protagonist team. Even knowing there’s a bit more to come, this episode felt like a nice way to wrap things up. Janice even, begrudgingly, realized that she can’t steal her sister’s staff, and offered to let Non Sugar do things in their own way, since their agendas clearly aren’t aligned anymore.
There’s still one more episode left in this year. Let’s see it out with a good one.
Usacha makes good on her promise to let Pepper eat her if they win. I don’t know how one can eat a stuffed(?) animal, but the question becomes – will Usacha survive to the new year?