What is the story of Hikari, the newcomer to the 99th Class of Seisho Academy? And what does it mean to have the most important thing taken from you if you lose the Audition? 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. A lot is explained this episode about Hikari’s past, as we learn everything from the moment she was inspired to become a Stage Girl, to why she never wrote Karen any letters. This almost serves like a pseudo episode one of its own, starting with Karen’s life at the Royal Academy of Theatre and Acting, displaying her daily life of training all the way up until she’s introduced to the Revue.
Even in an episode focused on Hikari, Karen is still a constant presence thoughout though, as they seem to be binded together no matter how near or far they are from one another. Karen writes her letters constantly, and she reads them every day, learning about her best friend’s attempts to reach their dreams and become a Stage Girl. As for why she never wrote back, there’s an adorable moment set when the two of them were kids where Karen tries to get Hikari to stay in Japan rather than move to “Dondon” (London) by throwing a tantrum. It doesn’t work, and instead Hikari decides she won’t return because it’ll leave Karen relying on her too much.
Karen tries to come up with some kind of way the two can remain close while she’s gone, but Hikari’s resolute, refusing to answer calls or allow any communication. It’s not until Karen asks if she can write letters without Hikari writing her back that she finally acquiesces, hoping Karen can become strong on her own. Still, every morning she writes Karen a letter back…though to keep her promise, she never sends it.
2. Everything seems to be going well for Hikari, though she has one rival she can’t quite compete with–a young girl named Judy. Judy not only has the talent, but the stature and look of a Top Star, and so she’s always just slightly ahead. Seeking to change that, Hikari takes part in the Auditions, striving for Top Star alongside many of the other girls in the school. Unfortunately, while the Royal Academy itself is fairly fleshed out, we don’t see any of the other battles besides Hikari’s battle against Judy, one which she decisively loses.
This finally helps us understand what it means to lose an Audition, and have something precious taken from you. It’s nothing so crass as life itself, but rather the “radiance” that makes one strive towards being a star. When Hikari weighs herself, she finds she’s lost 130 grams–roughly the weight of a human kidney, but she’s unable to pinpoint what that means until she’s in the middle of a play and forgets her lines, even having no emotions towards her performance at all.
When she finally speaks to the Head Giraffe in Charge about it, she’s informed that “something is needed” to fuel the top star. Metaphorically, this seems to refer to how on the stage everyone surrenders everything in order to elevate the main lead. In Hikari’s case, this is represented both in her having lost some of her shine…and her weapon, which was initially a sword, having been “downgraded” into a dagger. Still, the giraffe is surprised she has even that much of her old self left, and invites her to compete in a new Audition, one being held in Japan.
The timeline on this is incredibly wonky–somehow, Hikari’s audition happens before Nana’s, but Nana’s gets to go on for what looks like a century or so before the giraffe finally gets bored and tries to change things up? This is why nobody likes time travel.
3. And so we come to the Revue this week, with Hikari facing off against the unstoppable Nana. We’ve never really seen her fight before, but given she’s easily won her Audition for the last….who knows how many decades, this doesn’t look like the best match up for someone who’s already been defeated in the Auditions before.
These Revues so far have seemingly gone to the person who either embodies the emotion behind it more, with exceptions being made for the Revue of Jealousy, where Karen managed to defeat Mahiru by helping her get over her jealousy. In this case, it seems obvious that Hikari wouldn’t be capable of defeating Nana–after all, who could be more lonely than a girl who trapped herself in a time loop only she knows about, purely because she’s too terrified to embrace the future?
4. Still, when all hope seems lost, Hikari is reminded of the reason she came to Japan in the first place. Her desire to help Karen, to stand alongside her as a Stage Girl, and even to help elevate her–her promise and raw desire re-awakens her radiance. Her weapon transforms, and she turns the tide of battle, defeating the otherwise unstoppable Nana in one last, dazzling clash.
Two things I want to note here: with respect to the Revue of Isolation, Hikari had chosen to isolate herself from her family, and even from her best friends for years. While Nana remains tied down by the bonds of isolation in her staunch refusal to let go of the past, Hikari chooses to liberate herself and embrace the strength she’s gained from being with Karen again. Also, I’m loving how the sets are growing more complex and realistic as the episodes go on. The girls are improving, and so the work put into the sets has increased as well.
5. Well, let’s have a look at the rankings! As expected, Maya remains at the top since Nana never really tries to deal with her until the final day of the Audition. But somehow Claudine stays firmly in second place despite taking a loss to Karen. I’m still not sure how these things work, but someone with only one loss really seems like they should be higher than fifth place. Ah well. Nonetheless, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Karen and Hikari are forced to face one another.
Revue Starlight is available for streaming on HI-DIVE.