What’s the truth behind the stage of destiny, and becoming the top star? And who’s really standing at the top of all the women of the 99th class? Remember, if you like this article and 5 Point Discussions, please share it on Facebook or Twitter! It really helps. And if you’ve got any comments or questions, please hit me up @SageShinigami.
1. I’ve been wanting a Daiba Nana focus episode for quite some time, and now here at the halfway point they finally give us one, named after the character herself no less. “Nana Daiba” opens in March of 2018, just after the 99th class’ first performance of the play Starlight. We get glimpses of this bittersweet play once more, along with the first time performances for our characters before seguing into the celebration party they enjoy afterwards. During the party we get to see our characters as they were as first years, disregarding the relationships that were built when the two were together as second years.
For much of the party, Nana is quiet, barely interacting with anyone else, using her camera to record and take pictures of everyone. She’s remains unseen, silent aside from contented humming while she controls what we see of the world. When we finally do see her, it’s when everyone is congratulating her for her work during Starlight: helping some of them practice, designing costumes and the set, even cooking all the food. She’s been in control of everything this entire time. For her irreplaceable efforts, Karen gives her the nickname Banana because she’s “good for everyone”…though you’d think someone would have noticed long before then since her name can also be translated to “Great Banana”.
2. Though Nana is capable of fooling the audience, but also the rest of her classmates, Tendou Maya recognizes Nana’s strength for what it is. At the start of their second year, she confronts Nana and speaks to her alone, giving us our first real hint that something isn’t right here. She points out how much taller Nana is than everyone, usually a requisite for Top Stars in Revues, she notes how good of a singing voice she has, and her vast knowledge of the stage. Incredibly intuitive, Maya realizes that Nana’s problem is she’s so busy trying to be “Everyone’s Banana”, she’s afraid to step up and even attempt to be Top Star for the second year. While Maya sees it as disrespect, I think Nana is more concerned with being liked by everyone, instead of entering competition for the sake of attaining a goal she doesn’t even want. Well, not until she’s given a reason…
3. Time travel is not where I expected this story to go, but then again they’ve been screaming the central “twist” behind the story at us almost since the very first episode. “Starlight is the only play the 99th class will ever do,” has been said multiple times by different cast members this entire series. And true enough, that’s exactly what happens. Concerned to the extent of obsession with the idea of being unable to top their first year performance of Starlight, Nana suddenly finds herself confronted with the giraffe running the audition. He promises her any stage she wants if she’s able to become Top Star, and just like that she enters the audition and we get to witness her true power.
Faster than you can say “Worf”, she takes out Tendou Maya, the most impressive of the other girls, and attains the position. But rather than ask for fame or fortune, she requests to reverse time itself and be allowed to perform the first Starlight she and the girls from the 99th class did as Freshmen. Unlike most of the other girls, Nana doesn’t seek the radiance of Top Star. In fact, it’s overly bright for her…and in some ways it represents the uncertainty of the future–the next show, the next performance, that she doesn’t want to reach out for.
4. We’re not really sure how many times everything repeats itself. Nana refuses to believe it’s possible for them to top their first performance, and so she aims to “protect” her classmates–from growing up, from experiencing failure. Granted, even though what she wants is to do “Starlight” for the first time forever, none of the characters ever actually believe that’s possible. Benign as she is, Nana’s absolutely serving as an antagonist here. Maya, the runner up and “most powerful” of the other class members, points out “Even if we used the same members, the same cast, the same stage, it shall not exist.” On the other end of things, Karen reaches the same conclusion: “Because the stage is alive. Even though it’s the same “Starlight”, it definitely won’t be the same play at all.”
Despite being unaware of her wishes, no one seems to acknowledge Nana’s point of view. Nonetheless, we repeat the same play again and again–it happens so many times until even the giraffe with the power to rewind time doesn’t even remember how many times they’ve done it until finally…something changes. A new arrival appears to break the cycle and offer something new: Hikari.
5. Surprisingly, Nana doesn’t snap at the slight change to her perfect stage. You’d think someone who lived out hundreds of years rewinding time again and again would be a little more shook when something new happens, but nope. While she’s puzzled at the arrival of Hikari, rather than be threatened she resolves to incorporate her into their “Starlight” as well, claiming “No matter whoever comes, my world will not change.” I can believe this was based off a video game–those are definitely the words of some final boss.
Revue Starlight is available for streaming on HI-DIVE.