May 31, 2020
Kiratto pri chan is an ugly duckling of an anime. Season 1 was packed with a lot of potential and a lot of insufficiencies. It was a series filled with interesting artistic choices and strange things to love about it, but it was marred by a sludgy stream of mediocrities. I think a lot of people have had that same experience of watching a fifty episode kids show, loving a lot about it, but ultimately giving it a 6 or a 7 because it had 30 episodes of bullshit holding it down. What a shock was it to me then, when, for a brief period
in time, about half a year of airing, this show didn’t just deliver on its potential, it spectacularly over delivered. For a brief period of time it was one of the best anime airing on TV, with me looking forward to it every week more than anything else, and for a brief period in time, this ugly duckling spread its wings and flew off, a beautiful swan.
I am of course being over dramatic, as I was in my review of season 1, but I’m just so pleasantly surprised that the underdog I had almost jokingly been rooting for really did overcome the Chad Aikatsu. This season was an improvement to season 1 in pretty much every way, too. It’s not just that the central stretch of episodes was so solid, even the mediocrities have become less pronounced. Though there is still one tiny thing that this season doesn’t do as well as the first one. But we’ll get into that.
To imagine what makes season 2 so great, you first have to imagine what makes the best parts of the show in general so great. Famously, pri chan and its predecessors have always had much lower production qualities than its rival Aikatsu. Moreover, Aikatsu is noteworthy for taking a much more serious approach to its idol activities. Though I can’t speak about its predecessors, pri chan is a lot less concerned about making sense, and a lot more about simply being fun. Whereas Aikatsu puts a lot of strain on the fact that being an idol is a lot of hard work, Pri chan forgoes all that ‘hard work’ crap and goes straight to the fun parts. Because Aikatsu is much more tightly written, the overall quality of episodic episodes is much higher. Pri chan has to hustle every episode to be engaging and, in season one, failed at that quite often. But there were all these eccentricities that kept me watching: Anna and Emo constantly bitching at each other, Anna’s maid sometimes having superpowers, Rinka’s pathetic brother being dragged around by Meganee-san, the leader of one of the group’s fan clubs being an 8 foot tall middleschooler, and who can forget about Meru Meru’s spastic antics and crazy inventions. Just now I opened a random episode of season one, scrolled through it a bit and landed on a scene where Emo and Anna were leading a tug of war battle between their fan-groups and when Mirai tells Anna to go talk to Sara, Anna has Mirai take her place at the rope, at which point Emo’s team start yelling at her that she’s a traitor and that they knew all along that she was on their side and Mirai is like: “You’ve got it all wrong!”, with this cute, dopey facial expression. Random moments like that, that come out of nowhere, always get me smiling from ear to ear and are what kept me watching the show, despite me recognizing its insufficiencies.
Other than that, Pri chan has a lot of random interesting design choices. A lot of side characters have weird out-there designs, like the aforementioned 8 foot tall middleschooler, Anna’s petite dad, reminiscent of the dad in Minky Momo and Anna’s maid who has gigantic eyes, but no irises. There’s lots of side characters that have these weird character designs, and I absolutely love it. Of course I want to see weird, creative character designs in a funny and eccentric show like this! Why do you even have to ask? The designs of the main characters are a lot more ‘normal’, but they’re also unlike any other anime and very solid. You can definitely tell that the meltic star girls are a lot better designed than the main girls, likely because the main girls need to be more generic and relatable. Their designs have grown on me considerably, though. Somewhere along season two I grew a much greater appreciation for the character designs and the design of the show as a whole. I don’t know if that is just me or the show or what, but I’ve been enjoying the main characters a lot more this season.
I also love how the rest of the show looks. A lot of the show will look somewhat generic, with very normal locations with very normal looking background characters, but sometimes you’ll see weird looking side characters or interestingly designed locations. The kirajuku square, where the pri chan studio, or whatever it is, where Meganee works, is located, is always a great location. However my favourite has to be Sara’s house, which is this weird round house with a flat roof, sorta resembling an old mill house you see in the countryside, but with the mill taken off and equally broad near the top. This house is located in the middle of the suburbs, surrounded by properties with totally normal looking houses on them, and every time I see it I’m absolutely delighted. Aikatsu has all of these well crafted locations and well designed characters and is very consistent with that, but pri chan, usually much more generic, can totally get one over on The Chad whenever it feels like it. And that shows what this show misses: Consistency.
Because of that, I was very surprised to see that, starting just under a third of the way through the season, the show suddenly becomes consistent. Every single episode until the last ten is at least merely good and many of them are great. It was in the early twenties of episodes I noticed how every episode I had recently watched of the show had been a banger and as I continued to watch the episodes as they got translated, I was surprised to see how every single one of them continued the streak. I started looking forward to every new episode more than anything else. It truly was one of the best shows airing during that time. And that was all because it took what made Pri chan so great for me and made it most of the episode, instead of just the spice on top of an otherwise average episodic episode.
To help you understand what makes these episodes so fun to watch for me, I’ll briefly go over part of an episode of the show. This is what happens in that episode:
Daia-chan gives her intro
Anno and Emo are on the beach of a deserted island, dressed in leaves
Emo says this is karma for Anna being a bitch
After Emo askes, Anna says they can’t contact anyone, because they can’t get a signal
Flashback to everyone on a massive cruise ship
Anna and Emo are scoffing at each other and everyone’s concerned, because they still haven’t settled their argument
Flashback to Meganee excitedly telling them to go to this resort for a promotional event(to make her money)
Maria states that it would be cute if the two of them would cutely make up
Anna’s maid presses a giant doom button
The gigantic cruise ship just splits in two and Emo and Anna are separated from the rest
Maria surmises that the manner in which the ship is splitting in two is very cute
Back to the deserted island, Emo calls Anna’s ship junk and they fight
Emo heads into the forest and Anna follows her
Emo gets mad about Anna following her and Anna almost lets out that she’s concerned about her and blushes. God these girls are cute.
Montage of Anna and Emo having dangerous adventures in the forest and getting chased by animals and almost drowning and falling
They come across some ruins and they both simultaneously say that some giant stone monkey head looks like the other.
At this point we get to the scene where it turns out that this was all done on purpose to help these two make up. This is six minutes into the episode, four if you don’t count the op and other stuff, and the whole episode has been packed with stuff happening. There was lots of fun dialogue, some cute scenes with Emo and Anna secretly liking each other and two really crazy and funny moments. And the setting for the episode is really unique too with these weird Aztec/Easter island looking ruins on this deserted island. This episode then ramps up with the two of them eventually making up and deciding to do a song together, at which point they decide to make a raft to get off the island. This is of course bad because they get immediately attacked by sharks and Anna’s maid, who is shown to be on the other side of the island, comes falling from the air, presumably jumping from miles away, to kick the shark’s asses. The last bit of the episode is a bit slower and the dialogue is a bit less substantial, but regardless, this episode remains one of my favourites of the show because there’s just so much in it. In season 1 of Pri chan you don’t get a lot of episodes that are this packed with good stuff. This episode really shows that when Pri chan delivers, it’s an amazing show. God I hope season 3 is like this too.
It’s not just this central stretch of episodes, even the rest of the show is a bit better than the last season. There aren’t any episodes in this season that are as horrible generic as the worst episodes of season 1. Moreover, the contest episodes, which I usually disliked, were absent, which was coincidentally also true for the seconds season of aikatsu friends. Because Maria and Suzu were there, there were just a lot fewer moments where the three main girls were on their own and as a result there was a lot less room for any episode to be too generic. You can’t be that bored when Maria is pasting stickers all over everyone as a reward for their cuteness.
Speaking of her, the two new idols, Maria and Suzu are great. I was so afraid that Maria’s spiel would get tiring, but it never did, and there were some real good laughs to be had from it too. Suzu, who wants to be a cool dancer, is adorable, just as Maria says and the two of them have incredible chemistry together. Then there are the characters of Dia and Nijonosaki-san, who are the driving force behind the overall plot of the season, which culminates in the final ten episode arc, which is where this season, sadly, drops the ball again. There are a couple of great episodes in the last stretch, but for the most part, I find Daia and Nijinosaki’s episodes a lot less engaging. Her awkwardness doesn’t go too well with the eccentricities of the show, so when an episode is focused on her, it tends to be a lot less funny. She has a bit of a character arc throughout the season and some of it is very good, but it’s never quite enough to carry a whole episode.
Overall, this season of Pri chan does a lot better of a job at delivering on the potential of the series, but sadly it flops a bit again near the end. I hope season 3 gets back on its feet and becomes the best season of the show by far. I have my doubts that that will happen though, but I’m sure it will at least be better than season 1. Some people actually liked season 1 better than 2, though. It’s clear that many people get something completely different out of pri chan than I did, but that’s okay. This is all just how I feel about the show and what makes it great. The show that was the underdog between two pretty good kid shows spread its wings and showed itself to be more brilliant than I could have ever expected. Season 1 doesn’t stand up to any season of Aikatsu, but season 2 crushes them all under foot. Of course I’m not talking about the Chad Precure, because Healin’ good Precure isn’t even the best Precure series airing right now. For as good as it is, Mewkledreamy has completely eclipsed it. Anyways. Just as I rooted for Season 1 as the ultimate underdog of anime, Season 2 turned out to be the ultimate ugly duckling of anime that, against all opposition, became a beautiful swan, completely defying all expectations.
That is what I would say of course, if this season had delivered on the best part of the show. Why is there so little Meru Meru in this season? She was the best part of season 1 and now she’s barely there. Unacceptable! 2/10
What did you think of this review?