You’re killing me, Revue Starlight. Forget the cliffhanger from last episode, this entire episode had me on edge and hungry for more. The finale can’t air any sooner. And yet, I’m also a bit sad that this anime is nearing its end. I’ve grown so fond of its characters and I’ve typed a lot of words wrapping my head around this story. This anime will simply leave a big void once it’s over. Then again, I guess that’s a sign that I’ve watched a really good anime. It’s always the good ones that have that kind of effect.
For now, I suppose I should do what I always do with these Episode Reviews.
To start off, I have to say that the whole fandom wasn’t horribly off about what Hikari would do with her wish. She doesn’t literally wish herself out of existence; in fact, she doesn’t make a wish at all, refusing to take everyone’s shine for herself. However, because she refuses, Hikari more or less removes herself from the picture anyway, becoming the “fuel” for the crown and pay the price everyone else was supposed to originally pay. Afterwards, Hikari is nowhere to be found. Seisho faculty claims she transferred out of the school and despite various attempts from Karen, Hikari can’t even be contacted.
While this comes to a surprise for the characters, it’s actually foreshadowed at the very beginning of the episode. While talking to the giraffe, you see Hikari holding her dagger from is blade and her hands bleed as a result. The blood spills on the floor and somehow even ends up on the button of her coat. This detail alone symbolically foretells what Hikari intends to do: to sacrifice herself for Karen’s sake.
What this action says about Hikari symbolically is quite interesting. She knows the power of Top Star is corrupt and yet, for a while, she still tried reaching for it because of her promise to Karen. As Karen puts it at the 16 minute mark of this episode, it’s a “sin” Hikari tried to commit. However, once Karen joined the roster, Hikari’s intention has changed. In the end, Hikari spares Karen, and everyone else by extension, of losing to such corruption, refusing a wish that would’ve taken what belongs to others as fuel. And yet, for “atoning” for the sin, Hikari takes the place of the fuel and essentially represents the sin herself. Looking at the scene like that, it makes me wonder if Hikari has been viewing herself as a corrupt influence at some point. Her transfer to Seisho dragged Karen into the Revues and, in a way, she was using her friend, as a sort of means to reach the end. Certainly, she must feel guilty to the effect she has on Karen’s life. However much she planned for all this, the punishment she inflicts on herself seems rather fitting in a certain way.
Naturally, Karen doesn’t take her best friend’s disappearance very well. Some of it does get played for laughs. I’ll admit to laughing when Karen tried calling the Dondon school while Mahiru holds up English cue cards for her and lost it when both girls contacted the police for help. I genuinely wished Karen explained the auditions and the talking giraffe to those cops if only for the hilarity that would ensue. But as more time passes, both within the episode’s run time and the frame of the story, Hikari’s disappearance becomes more apparent and alarming and Karen eventually breaks down. There’s some irony to be found in this dilemma. Technically, Karen didn’t lose her shine and should be able to act, sing, and dance just fine. However, because Hikari is gone, the promise to do Starlight together goes unfulfilled. Karen loses the most important thing that motivated her and thus can’t even tap into her talent even if she tried. Despite Hikari’s effort, Karen essentially doesn’t have Shine now.
Come to think about it, a lot of what is going on screen runs in parallel to what is known about “Starlight”. Early in the episode, Hikari even describes what she is doing to the Giraffe as her version of the play. Both her and Karen essentially fulfill the roles of Claire and Flora respectively. Not only do they both get seperated after a series of battles with other “goddesses”, Karen also gets “blinded” or rather, loses sight of things, in a similar way Flora does. I also find it fitting that it’s through Hikari’s copy of “Starlight” that Karen discover a hint to the former’s whereabouts (i.e. imprisoned in the underground theater). After all, they are living through their own version of the play so that kind of cheekiness works.
I really appreciate that some time is still dedicated to the other characters. I suppose that’s the natural thing to do but the staff at Kinema Citrus also could’ve easily made this conflict Karen’s problem only and shove everyone to the wayside. Cutting back to them everyone once in a while and seeing them concerned and encourage Karen to keep looking for a Hikari really evokes a sense of unity. It is Karen’s problem first and foremost but the sentiment is shared by everyone. They all don’t think Hikari needs to suffer for the Revues and they all want her on stage with them.
Not going to lie, the final scene where Karen descends to the underground theater got me pretty emotional. It really makes you feel a sense of finality in this story. Karen walks down, accompanied by all her classmates (whether they’re actually there or not doesn’t matter). Everyone tell her that they’ll be waiting for her and Hikari, share the life lessons they’ve learned, and all while their respective Revue props fill the background one last time. Oh and of course, it’s accompanied by a somewhat sad piano piece sung by everyone in the main cast. It literally is a walk down memory lane and it’s a very well-crafted one at that.
If I had to guess, I think the finale will feature one last revue, one between Karen and Hikari. It’s the one duel we’ve yet to see (well, yet to see in earnest I mean) and it would make a most fitting end to the action and character drama Revue Starlight has offered in its cour. I’ll admit that my expectations are very high here but in my honest opinion, I think this show is up to the task of delivering the goods one last time.
- Of course, Maya and Claudine are playing the roles of Claire and Flora respectively again in “Starlight”. Their whole rivalry blinding them from the respect they have for each other kind of mirrors the play. It’s also a little cheeky that they are reprising their roles in this tragedy after the rift between them has closed following the last Revue.
- The part where Karen sees all of her text messages on Hikari’s phone, unread, was giving me Yorimoi flashbacks. Oof, don’t remind me of that emotional roller-coaster.
ED: “Fly Me to the Star” by Starlight Kukugumi
The visuals show only Karen this time around but the song is actually sung by all the members of the principal cast save for Karen and Hikaru’s seiyuus. It really fits with the final scene of the episode with everyone supporting Karen in her final endeavor. Karen looking slightly angry is also a nice touch since no doubt, she isn’t too pleased with Hikari’s actions.
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