You’re watching other people watching PriPara.
I can’t say I have that much experience with the male idol side of idol anime. The only works I’ve seen are Dream Festival – because it was a brother show to Aikatsu – and the first King of Prism movie, also because it was a spinoff. The chance to revisit the world of Rainbow Live, even momentarily, was welcome.
There’s plenty out there, from UtaPri to StarMyu to odd one-offs like with Dance with Devils – and I do plan to watch some of these at some point. Idols are idols. After Aikatsu Stars introduced the M4, it was time for PriPara to take a shot at things. It’s not quite the same as Leona, but rather, a different city-state of idols, that’s apparently been thriving in Paparajuku long before the girls’ PriPara opened. I have no idea how that could happen, and the show doesn’t seem that interested in explaining it. It’s just part of the world building, and every city’s culture probably treats PriPara very differently.
The start and end of this episode are about the same as usual. Lala and Yui perform, they’re still looking for recruits for Yui’s unit, and the same selection of songs is played. Singing the same songs over and over is a lot like touring, but in terms of the video game this is adapted from, it feels like grinding. Guess there’s a limit when, unlike Aikatsu, you don’t have someone else providing your singing voice.
The middle stretch of the episode is when things get interesting. Via the sheep costumes, Lala, Yui, and a group of girls sneak into the boys’ PriPara and watch a WITH performance. Unlike the girls, the boys get no CGI dance models, but otherwise the mechanics look the same. Also, after being absent for the first month, Meganii finally makes his appearance as the manager of the boys’ PriPara. Along with a younger Meganii who shows up near the end of the episode to deliver more embarrassing childhood memories to Shogo, courtesy of Yui.
What I find most interesting about the Boys’ PriPara is that the audience, staff and idols are all men, but the environment isn’t that radically different from the main series PriPara. The men are supportive, showing friendship, and while there is a ranking system, it’s clear they’re doing this because they want to. And since there are no girls in the audience, unlike Dream Festival, there’s not even a hint of “flirting with the target audience” going on here. These guys are clearly expressing themselves in these rainbow-colored outfits because they want to. Well, Shogo’s still kind of an asshole, but presumably everyone else is.
While the somewhat polarized nature of Japanese media has been brought up before, and it’s true this is in a show aimed at girls, the idea that men can be friends and express themselves artistically without being all empty machismo posturing is something I can support. I just wish the show gives us a better set of eyes to view it through besides Shogo’s. I don’t know how much time will be spent at the boys’ PriPara, and how much it’ll impact the plot – do the boys have an equivalent of Jewlie/the girl in the tower? – but I’m curious to see where it goes.
Nino returns to the spotlight as Sophie stops by. Have your Red Flash ready.