Thank you for four ridiculous, wonderful years.
Four years can feel like a long time. Especially when the last year and a half feels like three years. Don’t do the math on that. Coming off Rainbow Live‘s dramatic and occasionally heavy storytelling, I wasn’t sure about PriPara at first. Losing the ice skating? But that’s what makes this franchise unique compared to other idol shows!
PriPara retained that uniqueness, and then some. Love Live seasons came and went, half a dozen male idol franchises popped up – including some within the Pretty Series – but PriPara remained the Heybot of idols. Don’t do the math on that. An utterly bizarre, occasionally heartfelt series that, even after a light retool, still kept its spirit and sense of humor alive the whole time.
Which show had a sentient vacuum cleaner? PriPara
Which show had a cameo from Beyonce, a mad artist and yodeling? PriPara
Which show had an utterly bonkers movie production episode and an idol raised by lions? PriPara
Which show had androgynous characters treated with complete respect? PriPara
Which show always found ways to utilize its massive cast to tug at your heartstrings? PriPara
The most overtly cutesy of the idol shows on air was also the one least afraid to play with its internal rules and redefine what an idol show could be. Even when it used a fairly standard magical girl plotline like raising a baby, it introduced twists that haven’t been done before. (Like a second, antagonistic baby.) Even when the plot was meandering or the characters leaned a little heavily on their catchphrases, the show still had a lot of heart, and I credit a lot of that to Makoto Moriwaki. She’s a great director, and I look forward to her future work.
As for the actual last episode, compared to the idol blowout that was last week’s, this one is much more low key. Lala and her friends are preparing to leave Paparajuku and head back to their own hometown, but Yui doesn’t want them to leave yet. Parting words are offered, and a final concert is held – with a twist. WITH and My Dream perform each others’ songs, and we get to see the “Super Idol Time” sequence with Lala, Shion and Aroma instead of the boys leading their proteges in. I kinda wish that had been done all season, but it’s quite effective here. Wasn’t expecting Aroma to look rather snappy in a suit, either.
Also, a new unit is formed called Ever Gold, with Shuuka, Mimiko and Galala. I wonder if Falala will find a unit of her own some day. But I like how this is sort of a counterpart to Tricolore. A member of the idol pantheon, a socialite and a commoner who’s the most reasonable one on the team. Wish we had seen an original song from them, but there will be other chances for that – like the upcoming movie.
I also loved that Mia got a call from Naru and Aira at the end of the show. No spoken lines, but the legacy of the Saints is still living on in universe.
As the closing moments of the show demonstrate, one doesn’t have to be super talented to be worthy of expressing oneself through art. Making friends, having fun, and loving who you are were the underlying themes of PriPara (I think), and it’s a wonderful message for a wonderful show. I never thought I’d become so attached to it – or that Japan would become so attached to it. But it worked.
From this point on, I’m going to stick to editorials rather than weekly reviews. When I was doing these regularly for all shows, PriPara was the one show I wanted to get more attention because the franchise was so earnest and weird. Now that it’s being regularly subbed, untranslateable puns and all, I think that the future of this franchise is in good hands.
I’m looking forward to Pri Chan, but, PriPara will always hold a special place for me. Through many changing times, the show’s been there, offering its brand of silliness as an anchor. No matter how weird things get, there are always people who have your back. Everyone’s friends, everyone’s an idol.
Make it a good one.