Mika a cute.
I initially thought this would be a Mika episode, so I was very happy – it turned out to be one featuring both Jougasaki sisters alongside a bit of Miria as well, but it’s still clearly one of Cinderella Girls’ better episodes. I found it sad that Mika and her division ended up succumbing to the internal politics within 346 Pro – she was never hinted at to have been a target, but I guess most of the idols end up suffering in some way. For Mika, it’s a mandatory image change into a ‘high-class adult’ – why couldn’t they have picked some other idol for that make-up company tie-in? I really do prefer her as a gyaru. I mean, she’s hot either way, but she was one of the idols I knew before ever watching the anime, so it felt really weird seeing her with a new style. I kind of wanted her to do a Kaede and put up some overt opposition, but I guess it’s hard for her to speak up if she’s doing well after the change.
Totokira Academy is, well… unique, I suppose? I was actually relieved that this was just a side project and not actually the master plan Producer had in the works, because if this was going to be his life-saving project, it’s pretty much over for his smile. A new variety show is bold, especially as previous episodes told us they’re being axed one after another – if Producer (and the rest of what Riina has dubbed as ‘the Resistance’) fails with this, then Mishiro would be all too happy with kicking him to the curb. He’s presumably only being allowed to do all this with his job on the line. So why on earth is it being hosted by Kirari?! Is Producer trying to get himself fired? Rika and Miria are definitely on the older side compared to the other kid idols there, but I can see why they were selected – although Miria feels like less of a pre-schooler now that she’s becoming a reliable onee-chan.
As for Rika, I can understand why she was so conflicted by Totokira Academy – on one hand, she’s forced to take up a younger image, which is way more drastic than the shift Mika had to an ‘adult’ image if you ask me. And on the other, this project is an important stepping stone towards Cinderella’s Ball, which is the last stand the Cinderella Project can take against Mishiro. All this time, she’s wanted to follow in the footsteps of her sister as a gyaru, and now she’s being told she can’t do that at all – it goes against the very kind of idol she wants to be, which was the same identity issue faced by Usamin, Miku and Riina in an earlier episode. And she came to a similar conclusion as the rest of them – that it was best to be herself, despite the constraints given to her by the company. I have to admit, I really cringed during the taping scene though. Usamin and Miku is one thing, but Rika announcing herself as a sexy gyaru kindergartener brings up a set of toooootally different issues. Not least of all the fact that her older sister is way sexier than she is.