Warning! Spoilers ahead for PPPPPP chapter 16!
Shonen Jump’s PPPPPP continues to follow down the path of successful manga with creator Mapollo 3 introducing their newest villain Mimin Otogami as a character who’s right about what drives her but not in how she pursues it. More importantly, the manga portrays Mimin’s dilemma by utilizing Mapollo 3’s now well-established and innovative approach known as experiential-visual music, a type of playing where talented musicians or those who have had unique experiences can create illusions or apparitions through the power of song.
Mimin is an incredibly talented pianist as a member of the legendary Otogami family, but she diverges from her father and siblings including her brother Reijiro by playing freely during professional competitions rather than conforming to stringent judging standards, all at the detriment of her own success. Luckily for Mimin, her father is a musical tyrant with a great deal of sway who perpetually exerts his massive influence on the industry to keep piano playing elite. And chapter 16 reveals that the Otogami’s patriarch is about to flex his muscles to help his daughter in a despicable way.
Mimin’s father had already devised a master plan to expel those who couldn’t play experiential-visual music in future competitions and was going to start by fixing them in Japan first. Even though he initially condemned Mimin’s freedom of expression, he is now entertaining his daughter’s idiosyncrasies by confirming his plan to accommodate her style so that anyone who loses to her will be expelled. From Mimin’s perspective, this means the pianists she defeats will never become judges as most pianists eventually do, and since her opponents would have most likely lost because they didn’t play the piano as freely as her, that means there will one day be no judges who denounce freedom of expression.
The pure genius of mangaka Mapollo 3 has taken this particular plot point to the next level by how they portray Mimin’s personal style. Since she can create musical fantasies or experiential-visual music like Reijiro’s giants, the latest chapter shows what apparitions appear when she performs Ludwig van Beethoven’s Für Elise freely and when she complies with the industry’s currently restricting standards. The reader is automatically led to prefer the latter style as the former features overly cartoonish and random characters that are utterly ridiculous, especially when taking into account how Für Elise sounds. When she plays “normally,” a realistic rendering of Beethoven who matches the manga’s regular artistic style appears, meandering through a forest of trees with beautiful piano-esque leaves. So, on top of readers relating to Mimin despite condemning the solution she is so obviously excited about, they are forced to contend with their own shortcomings. For even though readers are likely to sympathize with the want to play freely, it’s easier to prefer the style that’s restricting her art because of Mapollo 3’s masterful portrayal of musical fantasies.
More ironically, the hero Lucky Sonada was kicked out of the Otagami family for being a failure as a musician, and yet, he is able to play experiential-visual music because of his profoundly tragic past. It’s also implied, based on Lucky’s past competition with his brother Reijiro, that Lucky will be forced to compete against Mimin and that the two will undergo an emotional journey of heartbreak through the power of song. This will undoubtedly make readers feel even more sorry for yet another PPPPPP villain in a manga that’s proving to be quite the heart-wrenching rollercoaster.
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