Time for more dancing!
Ok, saying it right now: I think that Love Live! School Idol Project Season 2 is Best Anime of Spring 2014. And even if it doesn’t turn out the best, it’s certainly the most fun so far.
With the backdrop of the Akihabara Halloween Festival, we get a story about µ’s trying to figure out how to raise their exposure so that they can compete with A-Rise. And conveniently, they are invited to perform at the School Idol showcase for the festival… along with A-Rise. So along with practicing and learning a new song for performance, they’re more obsessed with figuring out how to bring the impact to grab people’s attention. And while a lot of shows have messed around with the ‘Impact’ and ‘reinventing yourself’ memes, they do a good job throughout the episode of keeping it authentic and true to the show, with those moments of silliness that you expect from Love Live! Things like the conversation between the pumpkin, ghost, Jack Skellington and giant robot stand-ins for Honoka, Kotori, Nico, and Maki (getting Maki to play along with that? She’s REALLY loosening up).
Everyone managed to get everyone else spot on… it just didn’t work out like they hoped
And just how far behind they are is proven when a video spot by A-Rise completely overshadows Honoka, Rin, and Nico who are there live, and quite a bit overwhelmed. But none of the ideas they come up with really work, not even the ones that shake things up. Using different club uniforms with introductions? Cute, but not really what they’re going for. Having everyone impersonate someone else, down to the normal workout clothes, for practice? A lot of fun to watch, but again not really working. So what can they try?
You wanted the Best? You GOT the Best!
I nearly died of laughter when they showed up in KISS makeup. And yes, that’s about the closest you’re going to get to how KISS actually dresses and wears their makeup, with even the cape and legguards for Honoka and Maki dressed up like Gene Simmons (and a topknot for Honoka!). I can’t guess that many people reading this article even know who KISS is, let alone got the verisimilitude, but let me assure you, it was there. But even that ends pretty badly, since Kotori’s mom threatens to make them perform in those outfits.
They really don’t need gimmicks
There’s another thing KISS stands for, tho: Keep It Simple, Stupid. And ultimately, that’s what this group needs to do. They already have the chemistry worked out. They need to make their impact through that. And that’s what Kotori finally realizes, that making outfits that just suit everyone individually, and everyone doing their best in them, will bring out more of what µ’s is than any stunt or change. And even accused of all of that being a waste of time, Kotori makes a good point: it was fun, and it was interesting to find out what people reacted to. And it even helped inspire her for their costumes. And Honoka’s realization that they are a fairly diverse group that’s still come together to be friends and work together isn’t a bad one either (although the actual difference between any of these girls is minimal at best in the scope of the world).
This move was borrowed, but borrowing from yourself is ok.
I was a little disappointed, just the smallest bit, when the music started up, and it wasn’t Loveless World. Especially when it started with that creaking gate and after they’d been teasing us with the idea of Rock. But the song that they played, Dancing Stars on Me! was still a lot of fun, and moving from the set to the street worked well to make the crowd be a part of the song. There might have been a couple of weird spots with the CG, but all in all, it’s still a good performance, and they’re just getting more and more polished. This dance sequence seemed like it borrowed a lot of elements from other performances, both in the show and extra ones, like the paws from Music S.T.A.R.T. and the beginning movement reminded me a lot of No Brand Girls, as well as getting a “Mogyuutto” vibe from the first time through the chorus. Really enjoyable, and a lot of cute costumes.
Audience Interaction is key for impact
Nozomi rocks the center
Another really good episode, bringing the laughs and the interest. Love Live! really does well at this sorta-slice-of-live kind of episode, and is best when it’s playing all these characters off each other. What’s even better is that both the show and the audience have gotten very familiar and comfortable with all of the characters, so they can exploit even fairly small quirks of the individuals, like we saw in the sequence where they impersonated each other. It was so easy for the viewer to pick up who was who, even if they didn’t explain it, that it really rewarded the audience. And even if you didn’t get much out of that, you can at least watch Nozomi in the OP song (bounce bounce bounce). Yeah, it’s pretty terrible that that’s what I notice, but she really fills out that outfit more than the others somehow…