You know it, I know it, everybody knows it. Kashikoma, one and all!
Why is anime so popular anyway? Is it because of the music? The animation itself? The concepts it explores that, until recently, didn’t really have an equal in Western animation? For me, I think, one of the anime’s strengths has always been that of all genre fiction. It can take ridiculous concepts and play them with unironic sincerity, presenting them in a way that, most of the time, tries to tap into some pop-romanticisim about the world. There’s a fair share that illuminates the bad parts of the world, but PriPara is a kids’ show. A kids’ show designed to sell cards and merchandise above all else, but it wouldn’t be what it became without Makoto Moriwaki and her crew all making something weird and sincere and musical and all of this is a really long lead-in for one heck of an episode.
After the goddess sisters were held captive by the system itself, the heavenly cradle starts to fall, taking down nearly the entire main cast and a fairly large audience with it. The stakes are pretty high, with most of the recurring characters’ lives at stake here – and it features a moment with just about everybody. Minor characters – even Ms. Kyupikon – return as they try to stabilize the falling stadium. The Meganiis from around the world call in. Our Meganii rips off his shirt to push aside some columns. That last one doesn’t have anything to do with the others, but I didn’t want to let it slide.
The show’s main sticking point has always been “Everyone’s friends, everyone’s an idol,” and the way that was emphasized this episode is one of those moments I love in any story. Solami Smile’s encore performance of “I FRIEND YOU” would be great on its own, but then Dressing Pafe cuts in with a reprise of “Run! For Jumping” followed by Non Sugar and every one of the Divine Grand Prix idol groups doing a short reprise of their song, all coming together in a medley of this season’s new music. It’s a heartwarming moment, and becomes only more so when the entire stadium starts singing along to “I Friend You.” The power of friendship helps prevent the cradle from crashing. Again – it’s cheesy, it knows it, but the way the show pulls it off, with stakes this high, means that it works. It works wonderfully, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
While S1’s finale was fairly low key, it’s a tough call between S2 and S3’s when it comes to big stakes. Hibiki was a masterful antagonist for the main cast, but the thrill of every character working together on a giant skycraft is hard to pass up for sheer spectacle.
Regardless, all’s well that ends well. Janice takes her sister’s place as the new goddess of the city-state of idols, Solami Smile retains their divine position, and the world is safe from the idol equivalent of the SHIELD Helicarrier crashing into a major city, even if it’s more of a theme park city. If the show ended here, I’d be satisfied. This episode was worth it for the medley moment alone. But we have one more episode to go…
THE FINAL EPISODE
Falulu? Is that you?