A makeover of the heart.
Every season, PriPara has one episode focused on some sort of fashion thing, which I have neither experience nor interest in, but that doesn’t mean that these episodes are less interesting or filler. The one from S3 with the fashion design booth was a nice character piece, as is this one. Only it’s not one of the main characters who gets pushed to the forefront but instead the cheer squad.
Up until now, the cheer squad have been Lala and Yui’s confidants in building the tunnel, and the biggest group of male idol fangirls on the scene. All of that changes when one of the girls – named Chiako (that name is really on the nose. So much.) – turns out to have a talent for hair and makeup. Lala and Yui drag her into the city-state of idols where, even if she lacks customers, she slowly discovers a new side of herself that she wants to nurture.
Which has its share of challenges. As it turns out, getting buildings in PriPara really is like a mobile game. Over the course of the episode, Chiako’s salon goes from a patch of tiles and worn down furniture to a wooden shack to, finally, a proper storefront that blends in with the rest of the shops. Seeing all this makes me wonder just how long Parajuku’s PriPara took to become what it is. We know it was similar to its current self back in at least the 80s, and all those buildings must have taken a while to build up. If she ever shows up, Lala really oughta ask her mom about this process.
Really shows that a lot of what people use today was put in place by people who came before, to provide a stepping stone for future generations.
That’s not what the episode is about, I’m getting off topic. Chiako and the rest of the cheer squad get into a small dispute, because apparently one can’t be a fangirl for WITH and be an idol in PriPara. Yet, by the end of episode, Chiako has decided she’s going to be all of that and continue to be on the cheer squad, after showing her friends that despite what their local town is saying, it’s something that’s worth doing.
It’s a message that’s been seen a lot before on kids’ TV – helping someone find their passion. What makes PriPara’s work is that it’s laced with the kind of weirdness that makes this show work so well. Things like Punicorn and Yui’s rice cooker getting hairstyles of characters from the previous series, or Lala and Yui distracting Mimiko by creating pleasant sounds to lull her into a calm state.
The show clearly has some sort of end goal in mind, it just feels like it’s taking a long time to get there. If that scene of Nino at the end of this episode is any indication, we may start moving towards there at last.
Nino is motivated to become an idol by another returning character. Let’s Go!