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King of Prism is the first piece of media that will be released in the West for the Pretty Rhythm franchise, but it’s certainly not the first installment. This original film takes place after the third season of the Pretty Rhythm anime about magical ice skating, so some people might be confused when watching the film when it makes its USA debut at the Los Angeles Anime Film Festival this month.
Pretty Rhythm began in 2010 as an arcade and anime multimedia project specifically aimed at young girls. All three 51-episode anime series follow elementary and middle school girls aiming to perfect their “Prism Shows”—special ice skating shows infused with magic that require the participant to be skilled in singing, dancing, and fashion. It had friendship, music, and once in a while, romance when the male characters made an appearance.
This is a completely different ballpark from Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live, the anime it serves as a sequel to. While all the Pretty Rhythm TV anime were about little girl characters and aimed at little girls, this new film is all about teenage boys and aimed at women. However, it still has connections to the source material. It might be best to review some of these terms and facts before going to see the flick.
Prism Shows look like just ice skating shows at first glance. However, they’re actually magical ice skating shows. Prism Shows are public performances in which a contestant dances and sings on the ice (though sometimes, it’s doubtful it’s ice) after choosing the most fitting outfit for the occasion. Along with the “Prism Jumps” the characters perform, the participants are evaluated by a panel of judges who give them a point-based score (with points being called “karats”).
The ones seen competing in all three of the TV anime series are only females, and they aim to win against each other to become the greatest Prism Show performer: the Prism Queen.
A prism jump is a magical jump performed on the ice that reflects the personality of the performer, as well as the attributes of the clothes that they’re wearing. These jumps can be simple as “Fresh Fruits Basket,” in which real fruit flies out into the audience when performed, or Honey Kiss, in which the jumper flies into a mysterious honeycomb-and-bee-filled dimension before making a perfect landing (you can see one Prism Jump–Poppin’ Candy Rocket–in the video above to get an idea of what a Prism Jump is). A large amount of the jumps from King of Prism actually originated in earlier anime series, and were performed by girls.
Starting in Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live, “consecutive jumps” became a factor in how a performer was graded in Prism Shows. Depending on a performer’s skill, they can perform up to ten Prism Jumps consecutively, leading them higher and higher into the air. Only the most skilled Prism Stars can make it to the top.
Over the Rainbow
Over the Rainbow is the male Prism Show unit formed by composer Koji, male idol Hiro, and street dancer Kazuki in the final episode of Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live. The three were all at odds during the television series due to Koji’s teammate Hiro stealing the song he wrote titled “pride” to perform himself, leading them to breaking up their unit. And, with Kazuki being Koji’s best friend, he did not get along with his former teammate. Finally, after learning more about each other and with help from the heroines–including Ito, Koji’s girlfriend–they decide to form a unit together. This unit is looked up to by many young aspiring Prism Stars.
While the film focuses on the male characters—a majority of them being newly introduced solely for the sake of the movie, excluding Over the Rainbow—Pretty Rhythm is usually an anime with the girls as the focus. Some of the characters from the third season of the anime—Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live–make cameo appearances in the film, including sporty performer Kazuki’s underclassman Ann Fukuhara and perfectionist skater Hiro’s classmate Bell Renjōji, both who were main characters in the anime the movie is spun off from. In fact, secondary main heroine from Rainbow Live Ito Suzuno’s younger brother Yu—who appeared in the TV series—makes a reappearance as a main character in King of Prism who is now a Prism Star-in-training himself.
Jin Norizuki, Hijiri Himuro, and Rei Kurokawa
This trio of Prism Star veterans played a vital role in the Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live storyline. Jin was the son of the headmaster of prestigious Prism Show school “Edel Rose,” and served as the main antagonist of the show). Hijiri was the chairman of the Prism Show Association (kind of like the NFL for Prism Shows) and Rei was the assistant to the main heroine trio of Rainbow Live under the guise of “DJ Coo.” These three used to be part of the same Prism Show unit before they had a falling out. All three once again play a part in the story of King of Prism, with Hijiri scouting a brand new, blue-haired boy named Minato to become a Prism Star. You’ll have to watch the movie to find out if he becomes the diamond in the rough some expect him to be.
The Pretty Rhythm TV anime series–Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream, Dear My Future, and Rainbow Live–are not currently available for streaming or on home video in English, although an English dub was produced for the Animax Asia channel. The King of Prism by PrettyRhythm film will premiere at the Los Angeles Anime Film Festival at the Regal Cinemas theater on September 16 with English subtitles. Tickets are available for purchase now.