Don’t let your dreams be dreams!
While Aikatsu Stars is going with a fairly low-key finale, PriPara has to top itself from last year’s “falling cradle that can only be saved through the power of friendship and song” with a multi-episode arc involving a Shadow of the Colossus-level beastie that can only be saved through the power of friendship and song. I’ll admit, I teared up during this. This expression of pure sincerity, of cooperation among all mankind, even in the name of idols, is something reaffirming these days.
If you’ve seen any kids’ anime (or hell, even some campier adult ones), you have a pretty good idea of what’s going to go down. It turns out that the bed of ice is frozen dream crystals, which Lala and Yui are able to restore the power of through some motivational speeches, effectively returning the dreams of several thousand girls around the world. But that’s before getting to the big centerpiece of the episode.
Look at that image. A giant monster-tower, a busted-out castle and a stadium aligned at an unnatural angle. It’s weird stuff, but also totally makes sense in this universe. As this will be i☆Ris’ final go round with this franchise, having been the six main stars and singers of nearly all the theme songs since the beginning, the six God Idols doing a performance of “Memorial” becomes the centerpiece of the episode, with My Dream coming in on backup.
Nearly everyone in the audience, and then the world, joins in on the performance. It’s only slightly bigger in scale than last year’s finale, but it feels bigger because of the emotions involved. The only thing I’d criticize is that giving everyone in the world Yui’s dream eyes is slightly creepy. Like the whole world went on a Smile Dip bender courtesy of Yui. Not that I’m opposed to that, but it’s one hell of a finale.
Seeing everyone come together, the swarm of dreams flying out of Pakku’s mouth and back into the world. It’s slightly surreal but severely emotionally affecting. Especially the big Making Drama where every single cast member gets to play a role. It can be overwhelming for someone who’s not used to this, but it got me right in the heart. This is what anime can deliver on so effectively.
And then this happens. Pakku is going around making amends for everything that’s happened over the past few centuries.
Near the end of the episode, it’s revealed that Pakku is also a Divine Beast, whose goal was originally to eat bad dreams. Becoming a villain, while by choice, was because he was unaware of what his role was supposed to be. Don’t know if that would have helped Galala overcome her loneliness (the combined tower really should’ve been around earlier), but it results in this.
Pop Team Epic style faces. And Bkub’s name is in the end credits, so they had official help with this one. And PTE has referenced PriPara several times, including having Aromageddon do the ending theme. (Though weirdly, it had the Aikatsu VAs, including Ichigo delivering Lala’s catchphrase. What.) This is just strange though, having a thoroughly disaffected manga lend a hand to something so sincere. Like if Rick and Morty had an official, Hasbro-approved crossover with Friendship is Magic. The anime industry can be a weird place sometimes.
There’s no denying that this felt like a finale. The special credits montage with “Rainbow Melody” certainly felt like it. But there’s one more episode to go, one more week to spend with these lovable goofballs before the torch passes onto Mirai and Emo in Kiratto. I’m gonna miss ’em.
Four years of PriPara come to an end.