Aikatsu Stars! – 086

Totally normal friends

What a completely ordinary and standard Laura episode. I was not surprised at all about anything. I’m sure looking forward to Christmas next week.

Episode 086: Torrent | Magnet

(Major spoilers below the break)

Holy. Freaking. Crap. So we have this really great Laura episode where she’s immediately pitted against Elza, and this is following from her rivalry since way back in episode 52 where she dared to insult Yume. She meets Ayano, a runner almost reminiscent of Wota-kun from the original series, and the topic of running away fits what they were doing together too. The direction and voice acting and high quality animation all episode elevate further the delivery of Ayano’s line about already knowing Laura’s an idol and foreshadow her reappearance later on. Through all the training and reflecting, I was so confident Laura would win the Fes all the way until the end of her performance. That is, until Elza cut in. I literally froze in place when she walked onto a brand new stage with a new song, and couldn’t even blink after she transformed into wearing the Sun Dress. Even the lyrics reflect the past two months (and yes, it’s been that long) of Elza sulking alone since her mother abandoned her during the party. While still wiping tears from my eyes after watching Laura fight through the pain of losing yet again and confiding in Yume, a chill went down my spine as Elza laughed like an evil villain while holding her new dress. She’s given up everything to achieve her “goal” of getting the Sun Dress, but who can say whether she’s lost more than she’s gained. All in all I was blown away by the bait-and-switch of stomping over Laura’s dreams the moment Elza came back, but the development for both of them couldn’t have satisfied me more. This was a 10/10 episode, with perfect writing, direction, animation, voice acting, music, and just everything. I’ll shout out Andou the episode director, but also Machida Touko for finally writing an episode this season that wasn’t embarrassing. She also did episode 29 where Laura lost to Yume in the Center Audition, and this was just as good. Can’t wait to see where this heads with only the top four making it to the Final Tournament.

19 thoughts on “Aikatsu Stars! – 086

  1. Here’s how I want the final tournament to go down. It probably won’t happen this way, but I’ve actually been hoping something like this would happen ever since Elza got introduced.

    1. They draw lots to see who performs first. Elza draws #1 of course. It doesn’t matter who, but probably Yume since she’s the MC, will draw #4.
    2. Episode is a big panic and worry fest. I mean, Elza has the Sun Dress, how can anyone hope to compete.
    3. Tournament starts. Elza gets a perfect score.
    4. #2 and #3 fall short as expected.
    5. In the back stage area, Elza comes up to Yume, bragging and tells her she cannot compete with perfection.
    6. In a shakey voice, Yume asks, “Elza, do you truly believe you are perfect?”
    7. “Of course!” with a smug grin.
    8. Camera switches back to Yume, focused on her shaking feet. She suddenly stops shaking, camera pans up to a smiling face.
    9. Yume responds, “Thank goodness! Now I know I can beat you. If you believe yourself to be truly perfect, you’ve reached your potential, and you cannot improve. With the support of my friends, fans, and my own determination, tomorrow’s me will always be better than today’s me.”
    10. Yume puts on best show ever, also scores a perfect rating.
    11. There can only be one winner, so a final competition happens.
    12. Elza wears her Sun dress, Yume wears a dress all her friends create for her.
    13. End result: Elza 99%, Yume 100%
    14. Elza breaks down.
    15. Elza’s mother finally stops being the horrible “celebrity” and actually behaves like a mother, and comes and comforts her daughter, finally hugging her.

    • Yume gets Sun Dress at the finale. The other 2 going to finals are probably Kirara and Rola, because we need one VA and one Yotsuboshi to go. Rei won’t come since he’s too Elza no Tame Ni to rival her, Aria is still new and Kirara tried being Number 2 since forever. For Yotsuboshi, I need Rola to beat Elza, or at least come equal to her or have some kind of development between her and Elza once again. Hope at least main 4 get their Sun Dresses

      • I don’t think Laura will make the top four. Nor should she.

        After all, even if she managed to beat Elza, that’d be just… comeuppance. Which wouldn’t fit at all with the theme of this episode or indeed her whole character – it’s not about revenge (that’s not very Aikatsu, isn’t it?) but about learning to stand up again, whether on your own or by leaning on your fans, friends and rivals.

        They might still surprise us, but I expect the development between them will come at the end, after Elza is (inevitably) beaten by Yume. At that point, Laura will be there to teach her how to recover after a loss and keep moving forward. And that will be the most important thing Elza can learn.

      • I still think it’s kind of dumb that (literally) everyone gets a sun dress.
        Elza would be full of salt but like I would too? Cus it’s like “YEAH U GET A PAIR OF SUN WINGS. U GET A PAIR, EVERYONE GETS A PAIR!”

      • I doubt it. The whole idea of the Sun Dress creating the strongest idol is what the story will go against. They’re good idols because they care about others, a dress alone can’t make someone a better idol.
        Elza is the Sun, standing alone brighter than everybody else – yet she will lose to Yume, the Earth. There’s a reason for why Yume is Earth, it’s to represent how she’s the personification of union, of people, of what makes us humans. Elza more and more went deeper in search of her dress, losing these aspects that makes us humans and she won’t be rewarded for it.

    • Well you know, even though Elza now has Sun Dress, I’m not surprised at all and already expected this’ll happened, and if you look the current DCD, there’s also video on youtube that people play the current DCD, so maybe you already know that Sun Dress…

      • As this episode Laura already don’t have a chance to compete on Final Tournament since this festival is the last largest event to give high point for Aikatsu Ranking and there won’t be another largest festival again until the end of Aikatsu Ranking (end of January, like Kirara already mentions it on episode 84), so the high chance from Four Star that can compete on Final Tournament now are only Yume and Mahiru (she one rank below Aria).

  2. I have a bad feeling about where they are going with Elza. They have another 12-13 episodes and she’s going further down the spiral, and worse, she’s not been given any real development with anyone.

    One important thing about every character so far, is that they had people to fall back on whenever things get rough for them. When you tumble down, someone you care about will help you find the strength to stand up again. When Elza falls, who will pick up the pieces?

    Kirara just went through a similar phase, but they had given her relationship with Ako enough screentime to make her “recovery” believable. That’s why Kirara suddenly caring about her fans didn’t feel forced: because Ako taught her that, and they care about each other. But who does Elza care about? Kirara and Rei? They might care about her, but there’s no indication that Elza feels the same about them. Aria? Nah. Her fans? She couldn’t give a lick about them. Her mom? Maybe, but if they actually did that, everyone else on Venus Ark will have been a big waste of time.

    Elza will fall, because she’s set up to fall. But make no mistake, she will get back on her feet, they can’t do otherwise. That’s why she need to develop a bond with someone other than her mother. If she doesn’t, it will feel like a cop-out.

    Or maybe I’m thinking too much about this.

    • What I think is likely is that she will now start getting worse. Before this, Elza really cared about raising other idols to perfection both for her own needs and also because she genuinely cared. But because she was forced to throw it all away to attain the Sun Dress, she’ll no longer care about anyone but herself. Which as the discussion above stated, runs counter to Yume’s whole ethos. I think she’ll lose in the end, her mother will come back, and they’ll have a tearful reunion. Then next season Elza can finally be part of all the joke scenes that she’s been avoiding this whole time to keep her looking serious.

      • I agree. Elza had one goal and she threw everything away for it. Rola on the other hand is short sighted with her goals. She obtained a brand and her SPR and then stagnated. That’s why Elza criticized her. But now Elza in in that situation. She has her goal, now what? Rola is growing due to losing and learning, Elza obtained everything without that same struggle. I’m sure there’s more in store for Rola in regards to this entire Elza situation, they’ve never left any loose ends like this. I look forward to seeing Rola grow more and see what she really can accomplish once she finds her long term goal.

      • I feel bad about the Venus Ark girls. Elza created a cult of personality, and effectively surrounded herself with people who depended on her… and then just threw everything away.

        Feels especially bad for Aria since she had just arrived, on the premise that Elza was amazing and would show her so many new things, and not even five episodes later she’s been abandoned. At least Kirara has taken her under her wing, but at this point even she seems to be barely holding together. Rei is too flabbergasted to do anything about it, and let’s face it, she’s even less independent than Kirara.

        I thought I saw a tinge of regret in Elza’s expression when she told Kirara that she would “consider” coming to her show, but after this latest episode, even that seems to have disappeared. Maybe it will come back for her final character development moments. And then they can start again with the jokes and filler.

      • You could probably be an actual writer for Aikatsu at this point… You’ve been over every episode so many times and have a good sense of what’s what. 😛

  3. While I thought the episode was spectacular, I can’t help but feel as if some core philosophy of the show was violated. Not to say Laura should have won by a landslide victory because its still a matter of skill versus talent(Laura being skilled, Elza being skilled and talented) but that Elza perhaps should have lost to someone, or to a degree. I find it strange that she was able to sulk and being a scumbag to all her friends for 2 months and still “win”. I say “win” since I can only see one way the show can go, and thats that perfection wont make you happy, nor will the dress.

    All in all, damn that was a good episode.

  4. Elza’s development resembles, to me, Hibiki development in Pri Para. Hibiki gathered talented idols to join a genius idol group and remade Pri Para in Cele Para, a place where only talented people were allowed. But all of this were only to Hibiki turns a Vocal Doll, a non-human existence exclusive from Pri Para. Of course Hibiki was beaten by Lala and her friends, but Hibiki standed up again with Fuwari and Falulu. Elza has no one truly besides her.

  5. I was really hoping Laura would end up winning so Elza would get a taste of defeat for once but once I heard the new song I knew instantly that she had no chance.

    Elza’s songs are so damn good too.

  6. I knew Elza would win long before. This is just a continuation of her long campaign of mistreatment against Rola, and sets the stage for her in turn to lose to an avenging Yume. Not that Yume (or Rola) will view it like that, but that catharsis is what is being prepared here for us the viewers.

  7. A lot of people are either talking about Elza’s gain or Laura’s loss, but here’s one little but crucial detail in this episode that I would like to point out :

    Rewatch the scene where Aria and Kirara are practicing their cheers, while Rei is observing them and then chatting with Elza via phone call.

    Now, there is a significant piece of symbolism to be observed here: notice how both Kirara and Aria are out in the open, embraced by the warm sunlight. Their placement indicates that those two are genuinely and firmly on the side of good; Aria has always been on the side of the protagonists despite being part of Venus Ark, while thanks to Ako’s influence, Kirara has learnt to develop a more kind-hearted nature, thus symbolizing her position as a member of the ‘heroes’ team.

    Then we shift our focus to Rei, and take a look at the lighting and framing while she’s on the phone with Elza. Half of her body is exposed to sunlight while the rest is cloaked by the dark shade. This indicates that Rei is torn between the yin/yang or good/evil sides; unlike Aria nor Kirara, she’s still hesitant to fully commit to the light, as part of her still remains loyal to a dark and corrupt influence (Elza). Mahiru has still yet to convince Rei to look out for herself and not remain subservient to a tyrant idol pirate, hence this scene shows Rei torn between light and dark.

    And now to Elza. She’s all alone, and the sunlight that shines on her is only through the glass panels and not via natural exposure. This alone indicates that her radiance is merely a lie, forged through negative emotions and the like, which also symbolizes her inner frustration, as well as her closed off heart. At this moment, and despite being surrounded by a cult of loyal followers, Elza is truly alone.

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