Even a rare Manager needs training.
A lot of kids’ shows on TV Tokyo lately are looking into the inner lives of the mascot characters. While the humans remain front and center for focus, those plush, sellable creatures are being shown to have doubts and thoughts of their own. Gatchmon is jealous and in PriPara… well, it’s not that different from usual. But putting the old show’s brand of mascots up against the new one provides a stark contrast. Punicorn, thus far, has been little more than a Pokemon, and after eating, prefers to sleep rather than engage in any serious training with Yui.
At least until Bear shows up. I like how the show’s referencing its running gags in new forms. When we see him riding into Paparajuku, he’s riding in a gondola that strongly resembles the bird (a pelican, I think?) that was hanging around Sophie, and the cast in general, for much of PriPara. Then he sees Punicorn and gets annoyed that Lala is off training with a younger manager, prompting the exact same kind of jealousy-fueled stubbornness that let him make a fool of himself in front of Usacha.
One of the better gags came early in the episode. He introduced himself as a “Divine Manager” and presented Yui with a shiny golden business card, on which he began reading out his full name. Only for Meganee to step in and inform him that there’s no such thing as a “Divine Manager.” No matter how high in the rankings an idol gets, those who do the work of keeping them in line have only one job title. Harsh for him, but also understandable.
What begins is a usual training episode, with Punicorn actually thanking Bear in the end for all that he did in helping her become a better manager. It’s tough to convey all of that when all you can say is your name, but the thought is definitely there.
The most interesting part of the episode comes near the beginning and near the end. One of the few things in the city-state of idols, besides their two buildings and arena, is a clock tower which ties into the whole “time” motif. There’s a girl trapped inside it who looks like another Vocal Doll, or possibly a goddess. She’s got the same kind of hair color as Jewlie and Falulu, and is wearing a pair of headphones just like them. She’s also got a mic-harp. Who or what she is isn’t clear, but this is the first time the show’s hinted at her presence.
It may take a while to pay off, given how that seems more like a late series endgame kind of plot twist, and Yui hasn’t even recruited the rest of her idol unit. Something to look forward to. The show’s taking its time setting all of its pieces into place, but after the chaos that the main series eventually became, going back to this slower pace feels kind of welcome.
The girls sneak into the Boys’ PriPara, and discover the fascinating world of male idols who aren’t Shogo.