5 Point Discussions – Revue Starlight 5: “Is Shine Even Possible?”

by Sage Ashford

With Karen finally awakened and seriously aiming for the position of Top Star, will her longtime friend and roommate be able to take being forgotten?

1. After last episode, where Karen and Hikari finally settled their differences, Karen’s gotten noticeably better. Making a new promise with Hikari to become Top Star together, she’s now pushing herself harder than ever to achieve the goals she’s always said she wanted. She’s waking up earlier and doesn’t need prompting, she’s staying late to practice more, and she’s even improved her dancing. She’s gotten so much better that even some of the girls involved in the production of the play believe her and Hikari can become the lead actresses for the next production of Starlight, ahead of even Maya and Claudine!
Of course, not everyone is happy about this.

2. Even though this is supposed to be another comedy episode, Mahiru gets dangerously close to being a creep. At first she’s simply frustrated from watching Hikari help Karen shine so brightly and push so far past her. Though it’s selfish, anyone would be annoyed at having their idyllic life taken away from them–or even being forced to share it–by someone they hardly know. But the more Mahiru realizes how far Karen is slipping from her, the more obsessed she becomes. Eventually she’s like, a step away from burying her face in Karen’s sweaty towel.
It happens multiple times, but she always stops just short, which I guess is better than nothing. I get the need to show her frustration and obsession, but idol shows like these always run the risk of slipping from genuine art into indulgent otaku bait, and that’s the last thing this show needs to do when it’s doing so well. They also slip in some well-timed Hikari appearances just before she goes over the edge, which works both for humor as well as reminding you exactly who’s keeping Mahiru from being close to Karen to begin with.

3. A couple columns ago, I talked about the differences between being “good” and “great”, and how none of the girls here could be here without already being “good”. This episode highlights that, as Mahiru receives a care package from her family back home. Aside from being packed with tons of potatoes from their farm, she finds a video from after she was accepted to Seisho Music Academy.  In the video, we learn her grandmother’s passion for musicals caused her to push Mahiru from a young age–she joined a choir at four years old, took up baton twirling in her younger years, and achieved stacks of accolades.
In her home, Mahiru was basically the big fish inside of a little pond, and now that she’s found her way to the ocean she’s at risk of being swallowed up by people who are working much harder than she is. Speaking of…

4. Usually the Revues are super serious events but I honestly haven’t laughed harder at an episode of anime in quite some time. Mahiru challenges Karen in the Revue of Jealousy, and it’s a comedy almost from start to finish. The song isn’t as epic, the sets are poorly done, and even Mahiru’s initial introduction is silly–she starts mimicking her and Karen’s conversation during the first Starlight play in a manner leaving even Karen puzzled. Most of this match is just Mahiru chase Karen down with her “staff”/club, with her playful hits pushing their battle into every other audition going on that night. We’re a long way from Mahiru going total yandere, which I couldn’t be happier about as I really want to like her character.
Mahiru gets to bare all her frustrations in her fight, explaining how she feels she’s been left behind and wishes Karen would go back to being her old self instead. It’s not taken seriously, but it’s a dangerous sentiment that boils down to one thing: Mahiru doesn’t feel special. Still, the jealousy she feels begins to dissipate as Karen reminds her that she’s just as important as everyone else, and has earned her place in the Revue. Shocked by her words, and happy Karen still believes in her, Mahiru’s cloak is taken and Karen gains another victory.
Although…she’s only 7th place now? She’s only lost one match out of three and she’s seventh?  This ranking is so weird.

5. Having lost her match, Mahiru lets go of the idea of suffocating Karen to keep her from shining too brightly. But while caught up in her thoughts, she almost misses the party the girls are having to celebrate the food Mahiru’s family sent. While they hang out, Karen notices Mahiru left out the DVD her family sent. There, she sees a vision of her younger self, and is reminded that she originally came to Seisho Academy to become a performer who could make everyone smile. And with that, she’s given an all new goal, and a reason to strive to become the Top Star.  It’s something far more protagonist-y, and I’m beginning to believe this series won’t be getting nearly as depressing as I would’ve guessed in the first episode. Yay.
Revue Starlight is available for streaming on HI-DIVE.

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