Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2 Episode 1: Next Step (First Impression)

SECOND SEASON NO START DESU!

Well that didn’t start off as happy as I thought it would. While things started off happy and silly things got sour pretty quick with lots of sad faces and angst this episode.

First off, a two-color ball point pen? We learn that the group didn’t pass the preliminaries but the next Love Live has already been announced to be in the Dome like last time. But honestly, giving the group pens as their little “prize”? Might as well not participate then! I found it pretty funny that Ruby and Hanamaru seemed okay with it though. As Mari welcomes the school to their second term in her usual Mari way, we also find out that the zero we saw turn into a one at the end of the first season actually grew in number slightly and is now a ten! Ten new students have decided to transfer to Uranohoshi, making everyone really happy. Especially Aqours as they feel like they’ve done a good job. And of course they’re going to go for the next Love Live so they can change that ten to hundreds! Yeah! The girls are also prepared as Dia mentions the school’s Open House and how they should prepare a concert for the people going and to really show off their school. It’s then Mari gets a phone call from her father and things quickly fall apart.

The school isn’t safe, and the talks of Uranohoshi combining with another high school is going to come to fruition and the Open House was cancelled. It has all the girls feeling helpless and depressed, especially Chika. So literally nothing has changed. Now, I’m going to be honest here but I’m a little frustrated already. We’re doing this again? I kind of wish they would ditch the whole “school closing down” thing and do something else. It also felt a little melodramatic. And I know Love Live is like this with its melodrama and I was fine with it. But when they’re using a plot point that they’ve already used twice before, then it just gets a little boring. And maybe this is just me but I can’t relate to any of these girls because I didn’t like school/high school. I wouldn’t say I downright hated it, but I strongly disliked it for many reasons so I can’t understand these girls when it comes to loving their school. If I lived in a tiny town and my school would be merged with another high school, I wouldn’t really care and I would just roll with it. But that’s just my own personal opinion, but I think I’m valid in saying that reusing this conflict again is just a little uncreative. What follows next is the girls feeling downtrodden, Chika wanting to shine but not being able to, and more serious moments.

But then one morning Chika wakes up and runs to her school screaming to the sky that she’s not going to cry and that she’s going to make a miracle and save the school! That’s when the rest of Aqours appears suddenly because of course and cheesy dialogue (more cheesy than usual) is said among them all, where they’re all going to create a miracle together!

I sound a little cynical but I really love Love Live and am glad that Sunshine is back! I can be a little hard on it because I love the series so much and I want it to be even better than before! But like I said, the episode was full of the same plot, melodrama, cheesy dialogue, too much use of character one-liners, etc. It was a standard episode, and while I don’t really like what they’re doing right now in relation to the plot, I’m glad they dove right into the conflict so we can get things rolling quickly. It just makes me excited to see the new dances and hear the new songs and see the new outfits. The girls are still sweet and cute, even the ones that I don’t particularly like. Speaking of which, I hope this season can really make me appreciate more of the girls.

Because to me, the Aqours girls haven’t made too much of an impression on me. With the end of the OG Love Live’s first season, I had actually liked all of the girls in different ways. Except maybe Honoka. But at the end of Sunshine’s first season I had only liked just a few and was indifferent, or I just did not like, the rest of the girls. I had mentioned that the original Love Live did a better job with its characters, so I hope Sunshine can do better with its characters.

Such as best girl Riko. Oh, you thought Mari was my best girl? She was, but after the anime and playing SIF and just paying attention to Riko more I fell for her hard. And she was lovely this episode. But while I love her, I have to admit that she lacked interaction with basically all of the girls except for Chika because they were pushing the Chika/Riko ship for some reason. My one wish going into this new season was for Riko to get closer to the other girls, and for Chika to stay the hell away from her. I’m not saying she still can’t have her talks with Chika, but just less of it. That’s why I found it adorable and funny when Riko teased Yoshiko about what their moms talked about. And I’m not being biased and just want this for Riko, I want this for the rest of the girls too. The second years stick close together, as well as the first and third years. I’d really like the girls to split up and hang out with others not in their grade, like have sub-unit episodes. Let Dia and Riko come up with plans and have Ruby and You make the costumes together, while Mari and Hanamaru…I don’t know, be silly. I want the girls to feel like a family. Muse felt like a family to me. As of right now, Aqours does not. Focus less on the ships and more on the friendship!

We got a look at the OP and ED themes and I like them. The OP song isn’t too entirely mindblowing, I prefer Aozora Jumping Heart, but I loved the ED. 10/10 for the HAPPY PARTY BUS. Animation as usual looks beautiful, Sunrise really knows how to bring out the beauty of the ocean water. It looks and sounds just as good as the first season so there’s no complaints there.

I’ve said what I’ve said, I have my gripes already but I don’t want to be overly critical already. I’m glad these adorable girls are back and while the dialogue at the end was pretty cheesy, one thing I love about Love Live is the determination and positivity these girls have. It makes me smile. The free weekly love gems in SIF are going to make me pretty happy too.

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Berry

We're all just a bunch of weebs

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2 Responses

  1. Beth F says:

    I really enjoyed this episode. I personally thought it was a nice, strong start to the new season. Unlike you, I don’t mind this whole “save the school” concept. Mostly because, something tells me Aqours will not be able to save the school and will have to accept the fact that its merging with another high school. If that’s the case, it kinda changes the concept to make it different. I actually really want this to happen, but only if Aqours can still stay together as a school idol group at that new school.

    As a huge fan of Kanan (best girrrl), I was very, very happy to see her get some screen time in this episode. I wasn’t expecting her to get so much! I’m glad to see her actually worry about Mari and that the 3rd have learnt not to keep things from each other. That bridal carry though…I need more Kanan and Mari moments. That does make me feel sorry for Dia! Hopefully Dia gets an episode she deserves! Same with everyone else.

    I actually prefer the new OP over Aozora Jumping Heart. Aozora Jumping Heart is a good song, its versus’ are nice but its choruses…they have a good melody but they’re far too long and repetitive that I get bored of it really quickly. I don’t know, that’s just me and my weird opinion. The new OP does none of this so yaaay! The ED is very good too! Tbh, the Love Live EDs are always good~ I almost had a heart attack though thinking this version played was the Aqours version, and I sulked for a bit because I didn’t like how many solo lines the 2nd years got…only to find out the ED version we got was just the 2nd year’s version. Ah, I’m so silly sometimes.

    • Berry says:

      The school issue seems to be a mixed reaction but I still stand by what I think. However, in the end if they still can’t save the school and it merges with another one I would actually like that a lot! They’d lose their school but how would they get back up from it? How strong is their positivity?

      Ooh, I didn’t mention this but I would love some great Kanan and Dia episodes. Even though Kanan is third best girl for me, she had so little screen time in the first season that we never got a good chance to get to know her. I liked seeing her playful and teasing side as she “helped” Yoshiko stretch. And just screen time in general because she needs it. As for Dia, I was getting worried when Mari and Kanan didn’t immediately come to Dia to tell her. They just kept it between themselves until Dia came in as she overheard them. Last season I also felt like Dia was left to the side when the third year drama was going on, even though I felt like she played just as a big a part in that mess. So I’d love it if Dia got a proper episode, as well as many of the other girls.

      Well, I needed to listen to Jumping Heart more for it to grow on me so I think this’ll be the case again. I loved their outfits though, they were very cute. Hey if we get character specific episodes, we might have the same deal from the original Love Live where the girls will sing their own solo of the ED. :O

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