Time is of the essence.
In terms of reboots, this is a cross between the Ichigo to Akari soft reboot of Aikatsu S2 to S3, and the hard reboot of Aikatsu S4 to Stars. The only remaining cast member from the previous incarnation is Lala, who’s here to mentor newcomer Yui in the ways of being an idol, but otherwise, aside from some recurring elements that ground the franchise as a whole, everything is different. No Dorothy. No Vocal Dolls. No sisterly rivalries. A completely fresh start.
The most interesting things to note are the difference between Parajuku and Paparajuku’s takes on the story. Straight off, the green uniforms that Avocado Academy uses aren’t quite as pleasing as those back at Paprika. Green is my favorite color, but something about the green and pink aesthetic doesn’t work nearly as well as the light yellow and pink pastels of Lala’s old uniform.
No wonder Lala was able to transfer so easily. The school’s principal is Bavaria Okanda, who’s pretty much a palette swap of Gloria. Except for Bavario, her brother, who has an equally ridiculous pompadour, and the vocal talents of Kenta Miyake (Suzuky in Time Bokan 24, Quester Gai in Boukenger). Not to mention that the Meganees are sticking around, but there’s no sign of one of the Council of Meganiis yet.
The differences are rather stark. For one, Paparajuku’s city-state of idols can barely be called that. Compared to the previous’ series already established park, with several prominent idol groups already up and running, Idol Time’s is under construction, to the point that new protagonist Yui Yumekawa is the first idol ever to walk through its doors. It also needs to fix its card reader – a simple bend in Lala’s ticket basically nerfed her Divine Idol powers from last week down to level 1. She doesn’t even get older when she steps through the gate. Her level of idol power is potentially story breaking, but it’s slightly frustrating to have Lala not only away from her old friends, but stripped of her idol powers and rank.
The songs are nice, and there are now male idols involved in this season, including Yui’s brother. I’m expecting them to be about like they are in Aikatsu Stars – occasionally recurring characters, sometimes dropping in on the plot and maybe providing a love interest – but the friendship between the girls will remain the most prominent element.
Another, really striking difference is the mascots. PriPara’s were jaded and generally acted like dicks to each other, even when they were helping their idols get ahead. In contrast, Yui’s Punicorn is newly born and more of a Precure mascot than even someone like Usacha. Maybe she’ll develop a personality as the show goes on. The point is that everything in this idol park is new. There’s not even any history like Lala’s mom and Gloria/Sugar had. Yui’s making all of the history.
It’s a fitting angle for a reboot. While I still have a really strong attachment to the old cast, I’ll wait until Yui’s at least met her (idol) friends and formed her first unit before coming to a conclusion on this one.
The Idol Times, they are a-changin’.