I’m sold on a lot of things about Revue Starlight though one that I still needed some convincing over was the show’s ability to balance screentime among its nine characters. That kind of juggling act is always a sore spot for idol anime. A lot of them have a bad tendency to introduce everyone all at once, overwhelming you with too many names and personalities to familiarize with. Some exceptions do exist. Love Live! for example, does the smart thing of gradually setting up its final roster. Revue Starlight seems a bit more ambitious though as it aims to explore everyone from the start and so far, it’s doing a pretty damn good job at it. The third episode of the show does a terrific job letting you get to know more of almost everyone in the story.
There’s a lot of ground to cover for the sake of streamlining, here’s the rundown before I get to the big duel of this episode:
Mahiru – This girl looks like she’s about ready to snap. She is clearly not taking Karen and Hikari’s friendship very well. There was a particular scene that proves my point where Karen is looking at Hikari during rehearsal with admiration while Mahiru looks at the same person with annoyance. Finding out that Junna is now buddy buddy with Karen also seems to add insult to injury. What I’m curious about Mahiru though is the fact that she wants to perform Starlight with Karen, much like how the latter wants to do it with Hikari. If you ask me, it’s matter of when, not if, on when this conflict of interest will factor in the Revues.
Nana – If you pause at the end of the episode to see the giraffe’s scoreboard, you’ll notice that Banana-chan is the third best contender, behind only Maya and Claudine. It sounds like this girl is a force to be reckoned. Earlier in the episode though, you find out that Banana-chan is planning to just work behind the scenes for Starlight. Her classmates are shocked though some such as Kauroko and Futaba sees this as an opportunity to bribe her into making them the star of the show. I, however, question the permanence of this decision given how unpredictable this anime is proving to be.
Kauroko – For the past two episodes, you see how Kauroko is dependent on Futaba but I’m beginning to wonder if this is an act on the former’s part. When Kauroko bemoans over Futaba’s absence, she acts more like someone annoyed that their servant is missing than an actual friend. She also showed visible joy getting Mahiru flustered about her Karen insecurities. This character might be worth keeping a close eye on.
Futaba & Claudine – From the OP, I thought it was going to be just Futaba vs Kauroko and Claudine vs Maya so seeing Futaba and Claudine befriend each other was a little unexpected. It’s pretty amusing to see them bond over their respective rivalries and while Futaba clearly wanted to win, their apparent Revue together seemed to have made them even closer friends. It was definitely a lot less hostile than the one this episode capitalized on.
Speaking of which…
I’m surprised that Revue Starlight went ahead and pitted Karen against Maya but perhaps this fight needed to happen anyway. It comes to no surprise that Karen loses though the fight still speaks volumes about its contestants.
As the head of the class, Maya is undoubtedly a very prideful person. She’s completely convinced that there can only be one Top Star and the one worthy of the title is herself. As egotistic as that sounds though, Maya clearly can walk the walk as much as she can talk the talk. Her academic performance has been evident during various scenes in class but this Revue also shows how powerful she is. Not only can she fully read Karen’s attacks, she completely owns the stage. The spotlights, the props, and the pyrotechnics all respond to her bidding. By comparison, Karen is unable to do any of this and she’s left entirely in her classmate’s domain. I have to wonder if the stage manipulations are based on a character’s “Shine”. Junna seemed to be in perfect control of the stage last episode. Also, knowing that Karen is supposedly lacking in this ability would explain why she’s limited to just running and fighting with her sword.
Whereas Junna had mannequins and glasses to represent her inner feelings, Maya has swans. Traditionally, swans are associated with gracefulness which fits Maya’s belief that she is the most refined and talented performer in her class. It could refer to her skills in ballet which have been made apparent in a number of scenes where the class practice dancing.
One final thing I noticed about the fight is the height positions of Karen and Maya. When the fight starts, Karen enters the stage from the ground, while Maya descends to it on top of a fake swan. The difference in entrance feels indicative of their difference in status — Maya being the head of the class while Karen must climb her way to the top. Once the actual fighting and singing begins, both characters are framed on opposite ends of the shot. They’re positioned as equals but as the fight progresses, the status quo changes. As Maya manipulates the stage, she is consistently on a higher elevation than Karen, forcing the latter to move up to keep fighting. Any time Maya gains the upper hand, Karen starts back down at the bottom. A specific example is when Maya forces Karen to fall down and the stairs they’re fighting on collapses into a slide, making the latter go back down to the bottom again.
With Karen defeated, it’s hard to tell where Hikari stands on all this. I’m pretty sure that the latter cares about the former. Clearly she has to be if she locked Karen in a storage shed just so to prevent more Revues from happening. But what exactly does that slap mean? Was it to knock Karen out of the stupor Maya left her in or was it a show of disapproval for participating in the auditions again? I lean a bit more towards the latter given that Hikari said Karen doesn’t have enough Shine but her exact motive remains unknown. I guess I’ll just have to find out next episode.
ED: “Fly Me to the Star” by Hikari Kagura (CV: Suzuko Mimori)
I was expecting standard idol J-Pop so imagine my surprise to hear something more along the lines of lounge music. It’s very relaxing. This ED also seems to be very Hikari focused. The song is even sung by her seiyuu, Suzuko Mimori. There might be some significance regarding the character descending down, reaching out for something.
Thanks for reading!
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