Wish Upon the Pleiades
by Rose Bridges,
The beginning of this episode shows real promise. Subaru is distraught over Minato's apparent disappearance. Her friends try to comfort her, but they're unable to do much. Then she finds him watering plants outside, but in a new outfit and insisting he doesn't know her and the school has no greenhouse. The last episode left some interesting implications for where Minato is now, as we saw his "civilian" and villain form separated but talking to each other. Is the new boy a merging of the two? Is he aware of his battles with the girls? I sure wish I knew, because instead of answering any of that, this episode of Wish Upon the Pleiades is all about Subaru and Aoi's friendship. Again.
I think the show is really overestimating our investment in this subplot. For one thing, I wasn't even aware they were still at odds with each other, much less how or why. It seemed like all their problems were resolved back in episode 2. Even so, the "problems" they detail aren't substantial ones. Subaru lost track of Aoi because they went to different schools, and Aoi…helps Subaru too much? "Cute girls doing cute things" shows tend to run on non-issues blown out of proportion, but even by those standards, this is fluffy and contrived. It also doesn't speak to any underlying fault for either girl, but the show insists that it does.
"I can change!" Aoi and Subaru both squeal as they zoom into the sun. Why? Why do you need to change? What did either of you do wrong, other than naturally grow apart the way a lot of childhood friends do when they graduate? It sucks when you lose track of an old friend because of circumstances you can't control, but that doesn't mean it's either of your faults. So I'm really confused about why this non-problem keeps being emphasized, and what exactly I'm supposed to take from it. Usually, the show has a problem with not directly spelling things out, expecting viewers to figure things out from unrelated fragments. However, this time Wish Upon the Pleiades could really do more showing and less telling. When the dialogue doesn't match what we've seen from the characters, that's a big problem. As it stands, Aoi and Subaru are cute together and have plenty of yuri subtext, but I don't see why I'm supposed to care beyond that.
It's especially frustrating when the show keeps pushing this at the expense of meatier dynamics. The "I can change" line does work in one way, as foreshadowing for Subaru's later encounter with Minato. He doesn't seem to have any recollection of his interactions with Subaru, but does give one ominous line about being a "completely different person." The way he says it, he appears to realize that he changed, and might have once been the friend Subaru remembers. People can change—but not always for the better. It looks like Subaru's confidant is gone, leaving her with only the villain and an amnesiac transfer student who doesn't quite trust her. I wouldn't mind leaving these threads hanging, but not when the episode spends the rest of its runtime stalling.
Wish Upon the Pleiades left itself at a standstill last week. In spite of that, it's desperately returning to old, tired plotlines. The compelling stuff is merely hinted at, and while those hints are exciting, I wish we could get some real answers. There's a narrative purpose to delaying revelations, but it shouldn't be to fill the runtime with distracting nonsense. If Wish Upon the Pleiades wants to focus on character stuff among the leads, it should be interesting, like in Hikaru's episode. If not, please keep to the main story. Aoi and Subaru's cutesy-poo friendship keychains aren't all that interesting.
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