Aikatsu Stars! – 100 (Start Line)

When the sky itself is your Start Line…

Episode 100: Torrent | Magnet

First the Shining Line, and now the Start Line. I wonder, what sort of line will Aikatsu lead us to next? And maybe it’s because I got out a lot of my “negativity” yesterday (quotes because I was just venting, not having serious trouble), but I feel so satisfied, accomplished, and complete today. Doing everything in this episode took nearly the entire day, but instead of feeling like the sands were quickly running out, it felt more like I was building a castle, my pièce de résistance. I can look at it and feel proud of myself, because no matter how much time may pass, it will always be there for me. As usual, I’m going to go on for a while now, but before that, here’s a word from my other half of Mezashite who has been with me for every single episode, Etoce:

When Aikatsu! non-Stars ended and Stars was announced, I was sad because I had grown so attached to Ichigo and her friends. Aikatsu had been going on for so long, and even with the new series, it felt like it was ending. Akari had at least existed in the same universe and had a relationship with the original girls—this new “Stars” thing had none of that. And yet, now that Stars has come to an end (and what an end it is), I feel the same thing I felt two years ago. Except this time, I have high hopes for Aikatsu! Friends.

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So I was thinking about what I could possibly say about the end of Stars that I haven’t before for Aikatsu, and what came to mind were the differences between them, and what made each unique. It was clear from episode 1 that Stars was going to be taking a bit of a darker theme, or at least one with more dramatic weight. Much of the beginning was full of hardships, what with Yume collapsing and not learning her lesson until she lost Koharu, Laura watching her confidence crumble as she was overtaken and then having a hard time learning to find her way, Mahiru dealing with years of misunderstood feelings and being overshadowed, Ako having her very reason of becoming an idol questioned, and Koharu being ripped away from her best friend and her dreams. Aikatsu had its share of tough times, like with Ran leaving Ichigo and Aoi (a result of her winning and not losing, I might add) or Akari being unable to Special Appeal, but I felt it was overall much lighter.

In particular with this second season, I thought that Elza may be the most tragic idol to date, even surpassing Mizuki. I don’t want to be one to compare traumas between different people, but Elza’s circumstances that were entirely outside her control led to an enormous breakdown. Starting with when Yukie visited the ship but left before her performance, Elza sunk deeper and deeping into depression and desperation with each passing week. In the end, Yukie wasn’t even going to see her if not for Kirara, Rei, and Aria, and that would’ve been the end of Elza as both an idol and a person. The others as well faced serious challenges, from Rei having her identity as a knight rejected by her patron, to Kirara nearly showing PTSD symptoms from her ostracization in New Zealand and fear of abandonment, and even Alice being booted off the ship. Stars ran the entire gamut of challenges, from internal to external to supernatural.

But in spite of that, or perhaps because of that, Stars seemed to be more sincerely supportive of its characters. Despite the lack of units, each of the girls wholeheartedly wished for one another to win, and I think this is because the entire premise began with splitting the school into four separate top idols. But it goes deeper than just that. Even with the Aikatsu Ranking only allowing for one winner in season 2, as the end approached, everyone started wondering if being the best was all it’s cracked up to be. Mahiru doubted the validity of competing with someone operating in a different framework, Rei wanted to beat Elza to save her, and Yume’s dream was to make everyone, including her opponents, shine. It’s that last point that I believe is what really separates Stars from Aikatsu.

Admiration and inspiration are what drives and creates idols. Mizuki followed Masquerade, Ichigo followed Mizuki, and Akari followed Ichigo. It’s a line that passes from one person to the next. But that’s not how it is in Stars. In Aikatsu Stars, everyone begins from the same start line, together. They all trod down the road of stars to stardom. Instead of being a vertical line, it’s a horizontal one. And how cool is that? I only realized that just now, at the end of a long day of immersing myself in Aikatsu, two years down the road from when this season began, typing whatever I can draw out from inside as my fingers keep dropping letters from my words.

Stars was Aikatsu, and yet it was something different, and something more. That’s why it’s Aikatsu! Stars. It’s not about being better or worse, but about exploring the world of idol activities from another viewpoint. I can hardly contain my excitement for Aikatsu Friends, because I know that if I believe, I’ll be rewarded with something that’ll get me going. Just look at all the love that my idol Koharu got. I’m going to keep on trying my best to achieve my goals in real life, and keep on subbing Aikatsu too. And one day, maybe I’ll even become the person I’ve always dreamed of. Because dreams…

23 thoughts on “Aikatsu Stars! – 100 (Start Line)

  1. I agree with your thoughts, and I like that Bandai and whoever else on the production committee has chosen to make Aikatsu a franchise full of different, separate stories like already they do with Precure and Gundam. There are many different unique routes to take with such a unique concept, and so long as it keeps selling, I’m sure it won’t be going anytime soon.

    It’s not about choosing favourites as you have said, instead offering differing perspectives. I mean, if I absolutely had to choose a favourite season, It’d be 3 or 4, but Stars’ second season and how much it lapsed into the format of a traditional tragedy (and the extents to which it went to do so) would probably follow a close third. Still, I don’t think it’s worth comparing them since they’re ultimately all different experiences. I love all my daughters equally, and each have their individual strengths.

    > It’s a line that passes from one person to the next. But that’s not how it is in Stars. In Aikatsu Stars, everyone begins from the same start line, together. They all trod down the road of stars to stardom. Instead of being a vertical line, it’s a horizontal one. And how cool is that?

    This has been on my mind all weekend, but on a much larger scale than just Aikatsu. There’s been a constant comfort sat at the back of my mind. And you have been at the heart of it.

  2. Stars did kinda start off with that line of admiration too though, as Yume decided to go into Aikatsu after seeing Hime perform.

    Hime however kinda cut the line after telling Yume off for a bit, en encouraging her to find her own reason to do Aikatsu.

  3. I will miss this series but there is Aikatsu! Friends coming this week so I hope it is good as well I still rank Aikatsu number 1 as I feel each character felt really unique and I could fall in love with each one but Ichigo will always be in my heart forever I love her so much. Aikatsu! Stars did have a lot of sad moments and even dark moments which had me in tears a lot it’s that reason that puts it in 2nd place as sometimes I did not feel happy watching the episode because of some of the content but in the end it did finish of good it would be interesting to see how Aikatsu! Friends will do I hear that it’s going away from the whole Idol school thing that the school is just a normal school with an Idol club or something so it will be interesting to see how that will all work out and seeing as it seems to be more focus on units this time around will be a cool new idea.

    Just would like to say a Huge thank you again for Subbing the Episodes.

  4. Thank you so much for translating this the whole way through! Without this show, I wouldn’t be who I am now. Aikatsu really can bring people together and bring out the best in us. You never know just how something will impact another person.

  5. When Aikatsu ended, I was sad about it ending, but I wouldn’t have been too sad if there wasn’t going to be anymore. I absolutely liked the original, but after the first 50 episodes, it never felt quite as good, and that was the feeling I had going into Stars. “It won’t be quite as good.”

    Now I’m sitting here, having just finished this last episode, on the verge of tears. I never could have guessed two years ago that I would say this, but Stars has surpassed its predecessor. And yet, unlike with Aikatsu, I’m happy. I’m happy that it ended now, in this way, after everything, because it did everything it needed to do and sent us off in the best way possible. And somehow your write-up has made me appreciate this show I already love even more.

    What will Friends bring us? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. Thank you, Mezashite, from the bottom of my heart, for all you do. I’ve been here since the beginning and I plan to stay here until the end.

  6. Thanks for your hard work. I had my doubts going into Stars, because in the end, it’s still a show aimed at little girls. But I must confess, it’s been quite a ride, and surpassed my expectations.

    I haven’t watched the original series yet, but now that Stars is over, I’ve decided to slowly make my way through it too. It looks more relaxing, which is great in its own way.

    Dunno what to say about Friends yet, the character design doesn’t really convince me, but again, expectations exist to be surpassed. Here’s to another year (at least!).

  7. Going strong after all these years, eh? I salute the folk of Mezashite for keeping up the good work so we international Aikatsu fans can continue to enjoy the goodness that is called Aikatsu, Aikatsu Stars and now Friends.

    I still can’t believe that it has been exactly two years since the original series ended and Stars first aired, to the point where I can still recall the first time I watched the premiere of Stars like it was yesterday. The feeling of joy and anticipation leading up to that moment of clicking on the first episode, waiting for it to load…it was indeed an wonderful moment. And in a blink of a eye, 100 episodes later I’m still feeling that sense of anticipation for Friends this time around.

  8. I just wanted to thank you for all the fansubbing work you’ve done with Aikatsu. I remember when I first saw it on nyaa. I had not seen anyone mention it was coming but I thought I would give it a try. It quickly became one of the highlights of my week. I’m looking forward to Friends.

    Thanks again!

  9. An absolutely wonderful finale! I do not have the words to adequately express my feelings, but I have an immense respect and admiration for your dedication over the years and cannot thank you enough for bringing Aikatsu! and Aikatsu Stars into my life and the lives of many others.

    Like some others I was sad to see the original series end and had reservations about Stars, but it continued to exceed my hopes again and again right up to the very end. I noticed Friends has Yuuko Kakihara listed for Series Composition again, so I’m excited to see what the future holds.

    Thank you once more, and here’s to wondrous new journey; cheers!

  10. I don’t normally comment on anything but I really want to let you know that I am extremely grateful for the work you’ve done on making Aikatsu more accessible by consistently deliver a good translation every week.

    Please be well and keep up the good work. You have my full support!

  11. WORLD AIKATSU CUP

    Monaco representatives: Elza Forte, Mizuki Kanzaki
    England representatives: Laura Sakuraba, Aoi Kiriya, Shion Kamiya, Yurika Todo, Sumire Hikami, Lilie Shirogane
    Spain representatives: Juri Kurebayashi, Mei Kashiwazaki
    Finland representatives: Aria Futaba, Madoka Amahane, Sakura Kitaoji
    Australia representatives: Yuzu Nikaido, Hinaki Shinjo, Mikuru Natsuki
    USA representatives: Kaede Ichinose, Rei Kizaki, Rin Kurosawa, Haruka Luka
    France representatives: Ran Shibuki, Tsubasa Kisaragi, Mahiru Kasumi, Yozora Kasumi
    New Zealand representatives: Kirara Hanazono, Ako Saotome, Tamaki Miyakoji
    Germany representatives: Otome Arisugawa, Kii Saegusa
    Morocco representatives: Sora Kazesawa, Maira Himesato, Arisa Sakamoto
    Italy representatives: Seira Otoshiro, Noeru Otoshiro, Koharu Nanakura
    Japan representatives: Ichigo Hoshimiya, Akari Ozora, Yume Nijino
    Hungary representatives: Yuri Ashida, Juli Liszt
    Indonesia representatives: Kokone Kurisu, Miyabi Fujiwara, Nina Dojima
    Malaysia representatives: Karen Kamishiro, Mirai Asuka, Miki Katsura, Saaya Akashi, Kokoro Momoi
    Philippines representatives: Minami Hateruma, Yuu Hattori, Matsuri Hasegawa, Hazuki Aranada, Monica Kiki
    Fiji representatives: Aine Yuki, Mio Minato, Maika Chono, Ema Hinata
    Russia representatives: Nono Daichi, Risa Shirakaba
    China representatives: Michelle Tachibana, Asami Himuro
    Taiwan representatives: Ayumi Naruse, Naho Aoyama
    Korea representatives: Kirari Mori, Yayoi Hanawa
    Vietnam representatives: Anna Kodama, Rina Tokowa
    Singapore representatives: Arisa Mizukoshi, Reika Yuki
    Thailand representatives: Mimi Watanuki, Urara Nikaido
    Brunei representatives: Tsubaki Saionji
    Tunisia representatives: Hikari Minowa
    South Africa representatives: Aki Tachiishi, Saki Hashiba

  12. That episode was truly a treat. You can tell the staff put all their love into it, and delivered it to us in an wonderful 24 minute present, filled with emotion.

    I felt a like there would be a hole that wouldn’t be filled with Aikatsu Stars ending, but it actually completely satisfied me. It was a wonderful end that showed the start line for the characters.

    Thank you for subbing. Aikatsu is truly special!

  13. The curtains fall on Aikatsu Stars. It was certainly more dramatic and emotional than its predecessor. I only wish the supporting characters carried their emotional development better between episodes. Some of them seemed to “reset”. I hope they have decided to let the show mature with the intended audience (like Harry Potter). It would be nice if the Perhaps five more seasons from now, we’ll be seeing something closer to NANA…

    Then again, they’d have to re-design their arcade cabinets.
    https://kotaku.com/these-gamers-are-not-little-girls-1509706556

  14. Aikatsu Stars was definitely amazing in completely different ways from the first series. I can’t wait to fall in love with a new cast next season!

  15. That second from last paragraph about ‘line of admiration’(Yume even said it near the ending) is the essence of first gen of Aikatsu and that’s what I experience the most from watching it. Now into the episode.
    When Yume start muttering “yume wa miru mono janai” I was expecting to get hit by Start Line. But that song came gently and we are taken back to remember what we’ve been through in past 2 years. Thanks you for keep subbing this for us. Also your release before 2017 christmast was especially fast, thank you for that too

  16. Hi :D, First I just wanna thanks to this team for always have been subbed this wonderful anime, It was really amazing to see all the idols be happy after so much suffering, specially my favorites, Koharu and Aria :), and you explained clearly how Aikatsu make our lives happier 😀

  17. Finally I caught up after marathoning over 20 episodes on the last 2 days, no idea why I let episodes pile up when I was actually enjoying the show.

    Now those last 10 episodes were amazing, Stars was amazing but those last few episodes were the best tying up all the lose ends and were quite emotional as well specially with Elza’s tragic past and depression affecting to that extent and even tried to push her closest friends Kirara, Rei and Aria away from herself, but then finally losing to Yume proving that isolating herself wasn’t the write answer, and her friends being persistent end even managing bring Elzas’s mother to the concert and making her see all the suffering Elza was going through. Also Elza finally realizing that she was not alone and that a lot of people cared about here and would not leave her alone no matter what she did to push them away.
    Guess I’ll give it a 10/10.

    Thanks for subbing Stars and keeping up the quality work. It’s been 6 years since the original Aikatsu started, and looking back now time sure flies when you are wholeheartedly enjoying something. I’m really grateful for your dedication to the series and also that you decided to keep doing it for the new series.

  18. I don’t come here too often, mainly because I’m always behind, but I’m finally up to date and can say thankyou. Thankyou for your passion, and dedication and for all you guys’ hard work in subbing this show. Without you guys, one of the greatest things in my life, and possibly the show that saved me wouldn’t be a part of my life. I can never thank you enough for that, and I’m looking forward to Aikatsu! Friends!

  19. I can’t say much more than what has already been said, big thank you for always subbing Aikatsu.
    Loved Stars more than I can put into words and I hope that Friends will be just as good, although I’m very sad to see the Stars characters go so early. I was really looking forward to seeing them in a similar role to Ichigo and the others in the original Aikatsu when Akari took over as MC.

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