Let’s do this.
On one level, there isn’t a lot to this episode. A slight bit of setup, followed by two musical performances, and the final results. On another level, there’s a lot to this episode. As someone who’s been following the show since the day it aired – and even slightly before that, when Lala was being mentored by her predecessors in that one-cour timespan – this episode goes for a hard hit with the “memories” angle.
The crowd shots have always been a staple of PriPara, but in this episode, crowd shots both in the city-state of idols and around the world include basically every minor character from over the course of the entire series. From the idols out in the Savanna to once-recurring characters like Nene to Sophie’s parents, if they appeared at all, they will be somewhere in the crowd this episode. The ones who are higher-ranked will get speaking parts, obviously, but this aids in the feeling that the show has built up a world over the years, one with its own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Even the defeated from the previous rounds of the tournament gladly cheer on Solami Smile and Dressing Pafe as they ascend to the heavens for the final match of the final tournament of the final season.
Then there’s the choice of songs. “Happy Pa Lucky” and my personal favorite, “CHANGE! My World” make their return. Since then, both Shion and the twins have gotten new songs, as well as new unit songs, but that one still one of the things that really endeared me to this show. A song with a catchy hook, pretty good lyrics, and my favorite characters behind it.
Then there’s the Making Dramas. Solami Smile’s combines Valkyrie and Present For You into something really effective. All three of them in the cage, unlocking it with the first photo of their group, and flying out into a sea of memories. While Dressing Pafes is more rock-themed, the idea is the same. In both cases, images and clips of moments from across the series are sprinkled into the background. It’s very similar to the effect the previous episode had, but condensed into the length of like 30 seconds. I’m gonna miss these girls.
And just to draw things out a little more, the two groups actually tie, forcing in a second vote from everyone around the world – and Solami Smile, having Protagonist Power, end up winning, but only by a very, very, very tiny margin.
At least, it looks that way. This is based on a Japanese video game, and it wouldn’t be one of those without one more surprise boss after you think everything is won. While Lala and company may have donned the divine outfit, there’s one more thing they must do to prove they have the worth to wear it.
Defeat the Goddess Sisters in an idol match. The same goddesses that Lala helped raise over the course of the season. While the emotional impact of next week won’t be able to top this week’s for the longtime viewer (How could it? We’re going on three years of history here), the personal stakes for her are much more direct.
I’ve said my piece. The nostalgia this week is strong, but the things to come may be more surprising yet. Let’s enjoy the last three weeks with this cast, before Idol Time makes fools of us all.
Solami Smile vs Jewlie and Janice. Ready your mics.