No Revue this time around. Barring a couple of mentions, this episode feels the most like what I originally assumed Revue Starlight was going to be. You know, just a normal idol anime. I obviously can’t speak for everyone watching but I personally had no problem with the duels taking a backseat. They are amazing but they’re also rooted in the thoughts and interplay of its contestants. For them to work, you need the story to be just as engaging in the real world and at least in this episode’s case, I think Revue Starlight succeeded in this regard.
After slapping Karen in the face, Hikari has put even more distance between the two of them. Literally. This girl is nowhere to be found. Eventually, she starts dropping hints regarding her whereabouts via selfies. I’m sure there’s a reason behind why she doesn’t just outright tell Karen her location but it could be anything. Maybe it’s to test the latter’s determination. Maybe it’s because she’s still a bit mad about last episode. Maybe she just finds messing with her friend fun which I can relate with 100%. Regardless, it’s a challenge for Karen and unsurprisingly, she’s pretty hopeless in this situation. It does say something about this girl if she’s checking underneath bathroom stools and has a random little girl on the streets solving Hikari’s hints for her. That said, it’s still in-character that Karen never gives up during this episode.
Since she has her suitcase in hand, I wonder if Hikari was planning on going back to London. Far-fetched I know but that would admittedly put a lot of distance between her and Karen. If that was the plan, Hikari clearly backed out of it and you see her tour a bunch of aquariums instead.
Apparently, Hikari really loves jellyfishes, to the point that all the themed merchandise at the gift shops makes her go broke. Whether there’s any significance to this remains to be seen. I like to think that jellyfish’s ability to drift in water symbolizes Hikari’s desire to live free from the stress of studying theater. That or she just thinks jellyfishes are cute. Even then, I’d like the idea that Hikari just wants to enjoy something more recreational, even if for a brief moment.
That kind of brings me to another point about this episode. It feels intentional that you have the long-awaited heart to heart outside of school and by extension, the Revues. For a single day, Karen and Hikari are not students of a prestigious academy, let alone magical girls at the risk of fighting each other. For now, they’re just normal teenage girls out in Tokyo. Being free of the noise is what actually allows a proper reunion to finally happen.
Interestingly, what ultimately breaks the ice is when Hikari and Karen talk about the latter’s duel with Maya again. The most revealing detail to come out of it is that when Karen asks what she should’ve done, Hikari simply responds with “I don’t know”. She understands the Revues just about as well as her friend does. It’s a shift in how Karen views Hikari. In the first episode, she looked at her with complete admiration as though she is some prodigy. Now, she sees a vulnerable side to Hikari and realizes the latter is just as concerned about her future as she is.
I love that these girls then start talking on the phone. It’s a reminder that the distance is communicative, not literal. And from a directorial standpoint, this scene is just great. It feels normal as Hikari and Karen just talk about all sorts of things — what they’ve being doing, likes, dislikes, theater, and of course, their promise to be stars together. Even more interesting is how abridged the script is. You only hear bits and pieces of their conversation and in out of order no less. It’s initially confusing but it compliments the casual tone the scene is going for. And really, the main takeaway is simply that these two characters are finally talking after silence and one humorous kidnapping. The details don’t matter here.
Eventually, Karen and Hikari meet in person. Fittingly, they reunite at Tokyo Tower which is where they apparently bought their hair accessories and made their promise. Appropriately, this is where Karen officially promises to Hikari and they’ll win the Revues together. Granted, it still remains to be seen if this is an obtainable dream. Karen is technically right that the Giraffe didn’t say there can only be one Top Star but the rules of the Revues are still pretty vague. For now, I think we should just be happy that they’ll be taking this journey together as best friends.
Of course, this isn’t Revue Starlight without giving the other characters some screentime. Just like last time, here’s a brief rundown:
Maya — You do learn that Maya is itching for a rival that can surpass her though she still kind of has that ego of hers. Case in point, you see Maya catch Claudine trying to copy her dance moves and then proceeds to lead her through the whole routine.
Kauroko — To my own surprise, I’m most curious about this girl. I just find her so conniving. When she tells Futaba to let her win the Revues, it feels playful and yet also genuine. It’s like she insists that she must be “better” than her friend. Even if I happen to be overthinking this, Kauorko is still pretty entertaining. I love that she planned on ratting out Karen and Hikari for going off-campus just so that she has less opponents for the Revues. Forget Top Star, she could become Best Girl at the rate she’s going.
Mahiru — Glory to the “Goddess” of the Hallways. Thanks to her, Kauroko’s plan was foiled. While she’s most likely just being theatrical in this scene, I like to think that this girl has officially gone insane. Karen and Hikari’s friendship is still making her envious. Someone send her to a Revue already. It looks like she needs it.
Interestingly, Mahiru gets everyone in on a plan to cover Karen and Hikari’s absence during curfew. It ultimately fails (and how it fails is hilarious) though it’s still important to note that everyone in the main cast cooperated and all welcomed our two protagonists back. It’s a good thing that this scene exists. It can be too easy to forget that these girls are all friends here. After all, it’s a completely different story when they get on a certain stage…
ED: “Fly Me to the Star” by Hikari Kagura (CV: Suzuko Mimori) & Karen Aijo (CV: Momoyo Koyama)
And here I thought I already got ED screencaps. Anyway, I love how the song is a duet now. The new visuals featuring Karen and Hikari together is timed well with this episode’s character development.
Dubcast First Impressions
As if this post wasn’t any longer. Oh well, Time for the Simuld-I mean Dubcast.
I’ll admit to being pretty skeptical of Revue Starlight‘s dub because of its musical aspects. As one might expect, Sentai Filmworks left all the inserts songs in their original Japanese forms. I get that insert songs almost never get dubbed because they’re a nightmare in translation and ADR engineering but it does make for a distracting experience in an anime such as this. Like, I thought Brittney Karbowski was fine as Karen but once you hear the insert song, you’re forced to realize that one voice fits the character more than the other.
There’s a couple of performances that caught me a bit by surprise. I particularly wasn’t expecting the Giraffe to be up there for me but I got hand it for Jay Hickman. He’s perfect in the role. The only issue I have is the unnecessary reverb ADR added to his lines. Christina Kelley and Olivia Swasey also make pretty good first impressions as Maya and Claudine respectively, especially during the latter’s singing scene.
Everyone else might need to break in their roles some more. Maggie Flecknoe as Mahiru doesn’t sell that character’s timidness nearly as well as Haruki Iwata. I kind of get what Shannon Emerick is doing as Junna but it’s too deep of a voice for my liking.
Mind you, this is just the dub for the first episode so nothing I’m saying here is at all final. By all means, I hope this dub will fare well in the long run and I hope everyone in the cast will give their performances their all.
Thanks for reading!
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