It is the booming start of a brand new year. You and your friends had just experienced a very memorable white seasonal getaway, one that would eventually lead to a yet another bright and inspirational performance.
Now that another performance competition is right around the corner (just before yet another one), what do you do? Show what you love in the form of a kigurumi then dance along with it?
To that, Mio Minato would most likely respond with a resounding "hell yeah!".
"A brand new year, a brand new competition. But, not-so-brand-new entries!"
The first month of the new year started with a bang as the Aikatsu Song Battle event officially opens. As Karen and Asuka explain, it is a one-day competition that showcases some of the most lazily used best-known performances of each Friends competition idol member. The most notable catch for this contest is the split between Red and White teams. Each primary unit pair are assigned to either Red or White, and one member from the selected units will represent each entire team.
"We'll ride on from our Christmas event to cloud nine for this one!"
In this occasion, Karen Kamishiro and Asuka Mirai of Love Me Tear function as the leaders of White team and Red team respectively, and are effectively the event hosts. As for our heroines, Aine went to Red team, while Mio gets to be on White team.
"This macaron song is probably one of your most laid-back ideas yet, Mio."
The competition starts off with the very weirdly mesmerizing performance by Mio, centered around the theme of macarons. On paper, it sounds corny. But this is Mio we are talking about. As expected it works surprisingly well as it is finally performed on stage.
Kaguya then blasts off into the next performance with her bombastic single, "Chance, Fate", followed up by Maika's dazzling entry for the competition, "Girls be ambitious."
"Not found? Just where in the world is she?"
"Just leave this up to me! I've watched all episodes of Detective Co*an!"
Meanwhile, as the contest progressed, Aine and the others have noticed that their Aikatsu Navi Coco, has been missing for a while, and cannot be contacted by any means. This, understandably worried members of both teams, as they no idea what just happened. In fact, Ema is already starting to jump onto conclusions, seemingly offering her weird "deduction services" by the time she heard that Coco was missing.
However, despite the looming issue, the show must go on. And so they leave the case of her apparent disappearance for a little bit later.
Which now brings us to Sakuya, and her equally bombastic performance matching that of her sister's, titled "Guided". The event then moves on to the "cheerleading" category, as Red Team pulled out what is supposed to be a ghost-themed performance. The execution was rather typical, as the concept (at least as explained by Karen) was more of just a "should we try this out" scenario than a full-on ghost-themed costumes n' stuff display.
As for Mio and the others at the White team? Well, since Mio had proposed that they should use her love of penguins as a theme for the performance, they chose to...
"White team, we'll win this with triple-layered cuteness!"
Execute a dance number using penguin kigurumi exclusively! The Penguin Cheer Squad, as they have been predictably named, is led by Karen herself, with Sakuya, Mio, and Ema forming the support line.
"This concept is once again, one of Mio's super chill (pun intended) ideas!"
The performance is not a direct cheering dance number as what the Red team did. It did not involve pompoms for one thing, nor did it have any explosive maneuvers or complex dance moves. Instead, they turned the disadvantage of the relatively cumbersome kigurumi on its head. Thus White team have apparently decided on a slow, Eastern traditional method of cheer dance performance.
Now on to the most important subject. Once again, we see the strange default blue-colored design of penguin kigurumi, like we see almost on every single entry that we have introduced in the blog so far.
Well, we do have something very, very similar visually. But it is obviously not a penguin kigurumi, and is yet another avian creature on an entirely different natural habitat. As we have pointed out so far, the typical default that we actually expect is not blue, black. Since, you know, penguins are typically more associated with black, white, and yellow colors.
I said typically, Sir Humboldt, typically.
"Cheer on, White team!"
So how did the audience accept their penguin kigurumi performance? They were raving we suppose. At least we surmise that the score is still enough to keep the White team on perfectly equal footing with Red team.
Up next, was the solo performances of Ema, Aine, Asuka, and Karen, all of whom showcasing their best performing attributes as expected.
"Surprised? We never guessed you girls would almost create an incident though."
So what happened to Coco? Turns out, that she was requested to attend the event as a surprise performer! Her relative disappearance, as well as her reported flustered reactions when seen, were actually the result of her trying to hide her practice sessions. After her introduction at the very end, she delivered an ending singing performance to the delight of the audience... and huge relief of the rest of the Friends idols.
Aikatsu Friends! (アイカツフレンズ!) continues the legacy of the critically acclaimed Aikatsu! series with a new timeline, and a set of new characters. If there is one single series that would allow its core target age audience to appreciate the potential narrative elegance and style of an idol-themed show, then it would be none other than any of the Aikatsu! series anime. Was this really supposed to be just a direct plug-in for their card game franchise?
Also, if you expect that this will be the last time we will see kigurumi in Aikatsu!, then you are in for a surprise rollercoaster ride. Stay tuned!