Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2 Episode 8: Hakodate
I want to hug and protect Ruby.
I cherish Ruby so much. She’s the least popular Aqours girl by far, getting hate from the international audience and always placing last or second to last in popularity polls in Japan. And it makes me really sad because I always liked her. Sure, I hated how they treated her like a toddler in the beginning of the first season. I’m not too big a fan of her baby voice. And…I really could have done without her crying and running out of the restaurant while squealing. But still, watching Ruby this episode made me really happy. Ruby is just so pure and kind-hearted and watching her gradual growth makes me proud, you can say.
I’m liking what Sunshine is doing with Saint Snow. They’re feeling like actual characters now, as opposed to A-RISE’s rival role, only appearing to perform and give a quick few words to Muse. Saint Snow started off as the typical catty rivals, but soon became supporters and friends to Aqours. I STILL would like to know how Chika and Sarah became friends, though.
Aqours has been invited as guests to watch the Hokkaido Love Live prelims in Hakodate, where Saint Snow will perform. Which confused me because I thought they went to UTX in Tokyo? Anyway, forced comedy later, the girls head to where the prelims will be and quickly visit Saint Snow before their performance. Ruby notices Leah’s fists shaking but doesn’t say anything. Saint Snow was definitely the favorites and were expected to head into the finals, but it came as a complete shock to everyone that they did not. In fact, the reason they didn’t make it was because of a stumble and fall during the performance which was so heart shattering for them that they couldn’t continue to sing and dance. Coming from a duo like them it was very shocking and Aqours had no idea how to respond to it. Leah is completely devastated while Sarah is taking it a bit better. I’m pretty sure this failure was a shock to everyone who watched this. I was expecting an explosive performance. Instead, we didn’t get ANY performance. I think to make the failure more emotionally stronger, they should have showed the performance, not just skip it completely and show a tiny shot from it later. The song started off electrifying and I was absolutely excited to hear another song from them. Imagine my disappointment when we couldn’t, and my surprise upon learning that they messed up. In one way, this was a good thing because Sarah and Leah are becoming actual characters and not cardboard cutout rivals, but it’s a bit of a downer because we might not hear more songs from them, and the friendly rivalry between Saint Snow and Aqours is gone. It would have been amazing to see Saint Snow move on to the finals along with Aqours, honestly.
The person most affected is Leah, and the only person who truly understands her feelings is Ruby. Sarah and Leah are similar to Ruby and Dia. They’re both sisters in the same group, each a 1st year and a 3rd year, whose last chance is this Love Live because once they graduate they won’t be school idols anymore. Singing with your older sister, making memories, and making them proud, they’re all things Ruby and Leah feel towards their sisters and it’s exactly what Ruby tells everyone in the restaurant before she ran out of there screaming and crying because it was embarrassing to say out loud? Even though it was a very wise and smart thing to say? C’mon Ruby! Have more confidence in yourself!
Ruby and Dia share a sweet moment together. Dia reassures Ruby that she doesn’t have any regrets, that this has been the happiest that she’s ever been because she was able to be a school idol, be in the same group as her sister, and most importantly it just makes her happy that her little sister is making decisions on her own. When Ruby decided to become a school idol, she was actually happy and proud. Hearing all this from Dia, Ruby heads over to Leah’s place to tell her all this. I loved this! Considering how intimidating and a little mean Leah can be, it was surprising that Ruby went out of her way to speak with her. She didn’t have to. She could have just stayed in the hotel with everyone else and let it be. But no. She went out of her way to walk over to Leah’s place, bring her out to talk, and cheer her up. Their back and forth banter about their sisters was sweet and pretty funny. I also liked how Leah pointed out that Ruby was as meek as a mouse, wondering what she was doing. Because in that moment it just shows how much Ruby has matured. She’s mustered enough bravery and confidence to go out and speak with Leah, to remind her that her sister loves her, to cheer her up, and to even suggest writing a new song together. Remember, Ruby is shy. Very shy. For her to do all this was amazing! And I was happy because I was finally getting my Ruby episode, the episode, or should I say episodes, she deserves.
Because this is going to be a two-parter! Next episode they’ll still be in Hakodate and Ruby is going to be with Leah and the others in writing a song. Yay! A Ruby/Leah duet? Or an Aqours/Saint Snow duet? The anticipation kills me. I really liked this episode and I can’t wait to see more of Ruby taking the initiative. I want Ruby to be in the spotlight, I want her to mature, and I want her to be loved because I think she’s a great character. She’s a lot more mature than the anime makes her. The anime hasn’t done a great job in portraying Ruby so far but this is a step in the right direction.
As a quick mention, another character the anime hasn’t been portrayed well is Hanamaru. I like how they showed how silly and playful Hanamaru can be from the second episode of this season, but ever since then, Hanamaru has been relegated to be a comic relief character. All she does is eat, say a quick line with zura in the end, and that’s it. She’s just a joke. She comes in with multiple layers of clothes, bounces around, eats a giant burger twice, zura. The whole eating thing is actually kind of annoying now. Sure, Hanayo was known to be crazy about rice but there was definitely more to her than that. You’d think that Hanamaru would be concerned about her best friend walking around alone at night, but no she just eats a giant burger. Poor Hanamaru…And don’t get me started on how invisible You has been this season. ;>>