「されど舞台はつづく」 (Saredo Butai wa Tsudzuku)
“The Show Must Go On”
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight was trying very hard to convine you that it was reaching the climax of the story this week. We had characters mulling about and reflecting on the past. The protagonists reaffirm their motivations. An epic showdown is set. But intelligent viewers like you, dear readers, would naturally have looked at the episode title and realised that this was just episode 10, so it’s not nearly time to end things with a bang yet. And we also haven’t had the Maya/Claudine ED yet, so I guess have at you.
Unfortunately, the characters in Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight are not quite as savvy as we are and completely missed the mark. By which I mean Karen has apparently never been in a competition for anything ever, and so naively thinks that Hikari and her are somehow going to be joint winners. But of course not. It makes for a great scene, yeah, but it’s undercut somewhat by sensible tournament structure. Obviously, the Revue of Fate is just the semifinals. Isn’t it pretty standard for a round-robin tournament to cut to top players for elimination matches. Does this not happen in Japan?
Speaking of things that Revue Starlight really shouldn’t be getting wrong: surely, all the revues so far have been duets. This one would be a quartet. No? No? This show’s wrong about everything!
Er, where were we. Right, climaxes. It’s curious how Maya’s character has been handled. On the one hand, she’s been set up as a sort of final boss. She’s explicitly the head of the class. Claudine almost worships her, holding her up as the pinnacle of achievement, her own guiding star. On the other hand, we know that Maya can’t be the final boss, not just because it’s only episode 10 but because we also already know that Maya is not invincible. Presumably, Nana always defeats her back when time was still looping, so May has already lost 15,532 times. Rather than the pinnacle, it turns out that Maya is actually the one who never quite gets there. Perhaps it’s deliberate dramatic irony, where Claudine feels like there can be no place for her but number two, when that doom is actually reserved for Maya. For all her skill, does it just come down to who wants it more, in the end? And after all her bluster in the Revue of Pride, does Maya deep down still not want it quite enough?
Because, surely, Hikari doesn’t want it enough either if she’s refusing to trample Karen on her way to the top. After she struck Karen down I’m assuming she’s going to restart Nana’s loop or some other time travel shenanigans (like the classic ‘forget about me!’ sacrifice). If that does happen, I think it’s about time Karen proves her worth as a protagonist. So far it’s really been more of Hikari holding all the agency with Karen playing a supporting role, providing Hikari with motivation nad conflict. If we’re going to have a Karen solo-act for a bit then it’s an excellent opportunity for her to step up.