it's really nice how they decided to pace out each element that makes performances unique by setting a set theme to each season. this approach brings about the details that lend to aikatsu being a personal art of the idol, and not just solely entertainment generated to be consumed.
another point I'd like to add is how the wings aren't really out of place anymore. they were tacky in OG S2; here they're both plot points and suitable accessories to the dresses. the wings provide the greatest distinction between "just a pretty dress" to "a dress made for the stage".
now for some 感想 regarding lily's dress and stage.
HOLY FUCK くそこれマジアイカツっすか was essentially my first reaction.
first off, lily's dress.
her initial design was pretty alright, but my main issue was how it felt too much like her first gothic victoria dress. her motif is extremely restrictive; blue roses define a specific set of patterns, textures, and color schemes that will end up becoming repetitive over time. a star premium rare coord must embody the user's 個性 to the fullest, so such an uninspired dress is insufficient. https://kirakiratter.com/media/PM7rW0Htr9xVoMyEfsE
lily, with a lot of help from yuzu, gets this solved in two ways. first, a breath of fresh air. and second, a flash of inspiration. but it isn't really inspiration in as much as remembering her other motif (that is, her motif as a performer on stage), which is the caged bird. it is in merging these two themes together that lily does her dress, and herself, justice to her entire being as an idol.
let's talk about the dress itself. or rather, the skirt. the skirt is the most important part.
lily's initial design consisted on a partial triple layering of the skirt, akin to a blooming rose's layered petals, complete with the hemline. the final version raises the front hemline of the skirt just enough to make sure the rose-studded wireframe cage underneath provides the necessary accentuation. the design is dual purpose: it looks really cool, and provides additional support for skirt volume.
the skirt support as actually somewhat essential. keeping the volume of the skirt wide enough requires at least one wireframe to keep it in shape. too wide, however, and the dress becomes too poofy and loses a bit of the 凛々しさ lily is aiming for. the cage frame then has another purpose: it provides the illusion of lower volume by being just as striking the actual skirt above it.
now for her performance itself.
all things considered, lily is a goldmine for thematic discussion because lily as a character is constructed specifically from a set of themes. while everyone else follows a set of archetypes and are made to adhere to themes the show sets, lily is made such that she does not only adhere to the themes of the show, but is herself a collection of themes that only she carries. まさに歩く個性という奴っすね。
I've said this on twitter before, but when I first heard kouya no kiseki I immediately went "this is a direct sequel to dreaming bird". the lyrics are very reflective of that, such as the line 「籠の鳥はもう飛び立ったわ 乾いたこの荒野の果てへ 歌いながら」. it seems opposite to that of dreaming bird at first, but it's only a natural progression given the development lily underwent in S1. kouya no kiseki is the conclusion she found at the end.
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