Posted by: Leek | January 25, 2017

Little Girl Anime Power Rankings Season 3 – Week 20

This post actually took a bit longer to turn out because I had to give a lot of thought to what aired this week.

Just a year ago you were falling off that broom.

I’m really going to miss year of Liko. I guess we’ll just have to hope another character steps up their act and inherits the title of poster girl for the 2017 period.

Previous Standings

1) Mahou Tsukai Precure! – 209 Points
2) Rilu Rilu Fairilu – 150 Points
3) Aikatsu Stars! – 141 Points
4) PriPara – 134 Points

Aikatsu and Fairilu are most likely to be the ones slugging it out until the new Precure series takes it in a definitive direction.

Weekly Point Distribution

1) Mahou Tsukai Precure! – +9 Points
2) Rilu Rilu Fairilu – +6 Points
3) Aikatsu Stars! – +3 Points
4) PriPara – +1 Point

A Word From the Big Man
We’ve only had three weeks in 2017, but we’ve already managed to strike gold. I always feel bad when I can’t award everything first place, but seeing everything at a peak is great.

Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

So I know when I started LGAPR I promised every summary would be on the mini side, but this week is a special exception. I feel like the Precure staff has worked their ass off this year, and I’d feel like a jerk to not detail my thoughts on this episode a little more than usual. So if you don’t mind pounding through that, then feel free to read everything. If not, I’ll still give a little round-up in the final paragraph on par with the usual weeks.

To sort of go down the line, let’s start with the final fight. I mentioned it last week, but focus on the action was very heavily removed from Precure this year. It was present, but the highest attention was paid to what was going on in the story and setting as opposed to finding a way to throw in particularly over the top fight scenes every ten episodes. So, to me, what we were given was more than enough. I said last week that they just need to make sure to not overshoot the last fight so they could dedicate this episode to better things, and that is exactly what happened. So no complaints.

From there, we finally get the split up that we’ve been building up to for so long. I had jokingly mentioned that Precure would be in space for the final fight, but it was honestly the perfect locale for the trio’s parting. The scene itself and the general remainder of the A-part was easily the highlight of the entire episode. The two returning to their separate worlds and the magic slowly vanishing from Mirai’s world honestly made you feel that drop. And then it all ends with the short monologue from Mofurun before she returns to being an everyday teddy bear. But it was really the one two punch they needed to hit you with before moving on to the second half of the episode.

In all honesty, I have mixed feelings about the time skip. To me, there were two options to go about these last two episodes that work out the best. One option would have been to continue this episode as it went for the first half, but not go directly to the time skip. They could have actually shown the passing of some of those years and had more reflection by Mirai during her lone years, particularly how she coped in a world without Liko, Kotoha, and a living Mofurun. That would leave next week as more of what we saw in the B-part and they could end the entire series on the reunion between the three. So none of the epilogue that we’ll get next week, but it would be a nice mirror of the first episode of the series. However, this leaves a lot of drawn out time that would be somehow hard to fill and entertain a younger audience with. If Precure was not shooting for a wider range of audience, I think this would have been the preferable option, but it also leads to questions like, “Should Liko get her own development scenes alongside Mirai?” And then things just get messy.

The second option is honestly what they ended up with. It allows for a more brisk pace for the episode, and opens up next week for a lot of extra explanation. It also allows them to squeeze a lot more characters and resolution into the world (particularly what went on in the magic world), so that they don’t just make the ending entirely about the main trio. Either way, I don’t believe the staff chose a wrong answer. The former is more satisfying if you like a little more dramatic ending, but the latter offers the more cute and comfortable atmosphere that you kind of expect at this point. And it is quite nice to end on a big smile rather than a smile that comes after a lot of tears.

But, before we finish, let me just throw in the one little complaint I have that kept the episode from being perfect to me. I’ve praised the soundtrack a lot this year, and I honestly feel like it was a little misused in the second half of the episode. I’m willing to accept the vocal track during Mirai’s scene and as she was desperately trying to reunite with the others, but I don’t think I agree with the song we got. I love Rie Takashi and Ayaka Saitou to death, but they really didn’t have business being the ones to sing during that scene. I realize it makes sense, but it was a wee bit on the distracting side. As for when Mirai and Liko are finally reunited, I would have really just loved for the sound team to have just reused the same tracks from when they met in the first episode. We really didn’t need a second vocal track there, and it made the cutoff at the end of the episode a little too rough. They were both really great scenes, but it felt like they were just trying to sell some character song albums rather than utilize the power of the existing soundtrack.

To sum it all up, Precure staff did a penultimate episode that was in line with everything they’ve done over the course of the entire series. It wasn’t necessarily the easiest episode to pull off as well as the staff did, but I won’t say it was completely flawless. But the majority of the episode was incredibly well thought out and had it’s share of amazingly directed scenes. It really brings us back to almost a year back when Aikatsu was closing out it’s fourth season and did a similar thing with it’s penultimate episode. Precure really did end itself this week, and, even if next week is the actual finale, it’s kind of two working episodes that really puts the cap on it. I couldn’t have really asked for much more of Precure this week, and my only regret is that I won’t be seeing anymore of it after next week.

Congratulations on your…marriage?

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Fairilu right now. I said something similar last week, but I don’t think it’s going to be ending anytime in the near future. This week did make it apparent that the staff finally snapped out of their recent nonsense episode phase and are preparing to take the show in a potentially different direction.

Sumire is one of the two remaining main members that hasn’t really had a definitive episode (moreso a dedicated transformation), so it’s not too strange that she finally gets her turn this week. It’s just a shame that her episode had to be the awkward moment where we’re introduced to the “buddy ritual”. I really had that uncomfortable moment in my seat that I have every time they have to form a team in PriPara. I don’t think I mind either show having a particular ritual, but I don’t think either needs to be as long or drawn out as they are. In PriPara’s case, I can’t help but think they’re forming a cult, and in Fairilu’s case, I can’t help but think they’re becoming newlyweds. Can you imagine if Lip and Nozomu end up doing this? Yeesh.

Jokes aside, it was a really good episode for Sumire, and it really pushes the series in a slightly better direction than it’s been taking. I don’t think I’ve had any issue with Fairilu right now other than it dancing around whether it wants to advance story or not. And I really hope they commit this time because if they start to loosen up again, then I probably won’t be as happy with it later down the line.

Well, someone is enjoying their role.

I honestly want to say that slowly but surely Stars is picking itself back up. I had a lot of issues with the first time they chose to do a non-stage, goofy drama episode. It had some questionably awkward gags, and it generally tried to utilize a lot of characters that we really weren’t all that familiar with yet. But they really toned things down a bit and made something that was simple and fun to watch. I can’t say that the recent episodes are proof that the Stars staff is necessarily trying something different, but I’m willing to put more trust in them from what I’ve seen recently.

Ako has been deserving an episode for awhile and, while it didn’t really do all that much for her character, at least she got major screen time. And up until this point Tsubasa has been a mentor to about every other character but Ako, so it’s nice to see that she might actually get assigned to Ako from this point forward. The two actually have a very different dynamic together compared to some of the other S4 + main cast members, so hopefully it’s not a one time incident.

Us terrible characters have to stick together.

I feel like this week of PriPara would have not felt as horrible had it not taken place after last week. Fairilu is jumping into a new plot direction in a somewhat abrupt fashion, but PriPara jumped into it off of almost nothing. Juri coming out randomly and saying that she’ll die after a God Idol is supposedly chosen is probably a little much. But the most important thing is, hasn’t PriPara done this before? Ever since the first finale, haven’t we seen Lala and the gang save enough people from essentially being killed off? It wasn’t even the end of any arc, but the Falulu case was already repeated directly via Garuru. But here we ago again for a fourth time (third if you really don’t want to count Garuru).

The thing is, PriPara just does things that other shows are doing and always manages to do them in the worst possible way. Precure just came off of separating the characters that have spent the entire series together and managed to turn it into some very emotional scenes. I don’t think PriPara will generate that emotion just because Juri being killed off isn’t all that sad. She spent most of her time without being able to truly interact with the cast. If they really wanted Juri’s potential parting to seem dramatic, they probably should have just elevated her growth process a bit so she could at least talk and directly interact with Lala a tad more. And they really tried to mask that fact by showing that Juri remembers every bit of her baby stage, but that just doesn’t cut it.

Killing off Juri is no different from killing off a family dog. And it’s not even an Old Yeller kind of case. It’s more of a Danny getting thrown into the incinerator kind of case.

Wrap-Up
Precure has one more episode before turning over a new leaf. And we’ll see if any of the shows decide to trade positions.

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