Love Live! S2 – 12

Love Live-gyuuu

Hugs all around!

spring14-highwIt’s finally time for the finals. Can µ’s live up to their newly acquired reputation as the frontrunners?

 

Not A School Anime

Love Live-Can't say goodbye

It’s really hard to walk away

It’s been a quick year for the girls of µ’s. We haven’t seen much of their school lives outside of preparing for the Love Live competition, no festivals, no tests, no anything. Heck, we haven’t even seen them go to class at all. But I’ll say this: Like everything else they do with this show, it works. Their lives aren’t about going to class. It’s not about the school festival, or summer vacation, or anything like that. It’s about µ’s and their goals. And yet, through all that, I don’t think anyone’s been able to forget that they’re school idols. But a big part of school is that it doesn’t last forever. And even though they finally made the decision about what’s going to happen after the 3rd years graduate, they still have to get there.

Love Live-Sleepover

I love the continuity, too, with Kotori’s pillow

And getting there can be kind of tough, even if Nico gives them a good draw, picking the last slot for µ’s to perform in Love Live! Before they can do that, tho, they have to make it through the day and night before the performance. Even with Kotori telling Honoka to not be sad, and with Eri trying to stifle her thoughts about their last practice, they just come out when Hanayo blurts it out. Even trying to all go to the shrine and praying for success together doesn’t give them the ability to split up for the night. Eventually, Honoka realizes the only thing to do is to spend the night with everyone at school. And it can certainly be convenient to have your mom be the director of the school as far as back-dated approvals go.

Love Live-Bright lights

Realizing how many people they want to get their feelings to

And even if they’re a bit nostalgic and reflective, again it works. Looking out over the lit city from the hill that Otonokizaka rises from, they realize that all those people out there are people who they could connect with, they could transmit their feelings to. That’s why they became school idols in the first place. And that kind of reflection gets them through this pre-performance night.

Not A Normal Anime

Love Live-Umi can't get enough

Umi’s unstoppable now

I’ll admit that part of me was wondering when the hardship would come. Would Honoka twist her ankle when she was spinning around on the roof with those pipes there? Would someone get lost on the way to the venue? Would someone get sick from being out in the cold the night before the performance? If this was any another anime, it would probably do something like that (like that cheap melodrama Wake Up Girls! pulled). But not this show. This show plays it totally straight: The favorites are coming, and they’re ready, they’re excited, and they’re going to kick ass. Even more, when they’re heading up to the stage, it’s finally Umi – UMI – who pumps everyone up by talking about how exciting she finds this feeling of performing. The same Umi who was always so scared of performing now realizes how much she looks forward to it, to that rush that you get stepping out on stage. That’s what this show is about. Bringing that feeling to everyone.

Love Live-Big performance

The outfits really were cute

And that’s exactly what they do. I don’t know if I’d classify KiRa-KiRa Sensation! as one of their best songs (it’s no Dancing Stars on Me, which I’m still listening to every day), but it’s the right song for the moment, a celebration of the whole shebang. And I think it’s safe to assume that they’ve won, at least if the reaction of the crowd is an indication, with constant chanting for an encore. But before they can get to an encore, they have to pick themselves up and prepare. Walking off that stage for what you think is the last time, you leave something up there. And it’s something special, and maybe the crowd knows it, when you get to go back and pick it up, even if it’s for just a few minutes.

Love Live-Leaving it all out there

They left it all out on the stage

That’s why it was just brilliant of the show to end this episode this way. Not only was it amazing circularity (and yes, it’s the same stage setup that was used in the first season’s OP) to refer back to the first season OP, it referred back to Honoka’s original thoughts: that she wanted her feelings to reach everyone. And they have. From that first live which was just for their eventual bandmates in µ’s and those three who helped them from the start, to showing their love for Otonokizaka, their friends, and their passion for performing to everyone on the biggest stage they could find. Having left their hearts out on stage in what they thought was their final performance, the encore was their celebration, their reward for all they’ve gone through.

Love Live-They got it, Honoka

Yes, Honoka, your feelings did get through

header-spring14-highw

Another excellent episode. It’s not challenging, it’s not edgy, it’s not groundbreaking. But it’s my favorite show this season by a country mile. Love Live! Has given us everything we wanted to see, and executed it nearly perfectly. I don’t know if they can pull off the teary farewell in the upcoming final episode, but I hope they get it right. I just have to trust them, because they’ve gotten us this far with it.

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Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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6 Responses to “Love Live! S2 – 12”

  1. JPNIgor says:

    Why am I getting teary-eyed over it? i.i

    Seriously, this whole graduation thing is getting to me since I just graduated from school.

    And those outfits, that song, that farewell feeling…

    On the subs I watched with, when Honoka said “Okiroooo”, they translated as “Wake Up, Girls”, silly reference XD

    • Highway says:

      You’re supposed to get teary-eyed, because you care about these girls. And also because it resonates with you, you have had those same kinds of feelings. Congratulations on graduation! It’s a time of excitement but also some trepidation. And I think that’s exactly what they’re conveying here with the show.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    One last get-together. Make sure every moment counts. A happy yet sad time for our µ’s idols.

    Japanese culture often baffles me on certain things. For example, do they really allow their students to have sleepovers in their schools? That’s a lot of liberty if it’s the case.

    The concert went AKB0048 style flashy. By how extravagant it looks, you’d think the stage was on a space ship. Wow, if you’re not prepared, that farewell/encore moment will tear you apart from the inside. Too overwhelming and emotional. It already did a number on a strong and silent father in the crowd who was breaking out in tears.

    • Highway says:

      My impression of Japanese high schools is that they shift quite a bit more responsibility onto students, usually in ways I think are good. Students are responsible for cleaning, administration, organization, etc. So sleepovers don’t really seem out of the realm of possibility.

      Love Live! has always been about µ’s. It’s not about the competition, it’s not about beating the other teams. We don’t even know who any of the other groups they were competing against were (except for A-Rise). The competition wasn’t important, what was important was rising to the occasion and doing this for themselves. I think the amazing success of that is what got to everyone in the crowd, even Honoka’s father. :)

  3. skylion says:

    So, what the original series OP a glimpse into the fuuuutuuuuureeeee?

    I might be the only one, but I really disliked the Love Live stage. To far away from the crowd.

    • Highway says:

      Yes, they showed the end of the whole series at the beginning of the series. It was the ultimate Pro-Epilogue! :)

      You might be the only one. I didn’t have a problem with it, as it fit the purpose. It wasn’t really supposed to be an intimate venue, and quite a lot of the audience wasn’t actually there. I’ve seen that kind of distance from the stage to the crowd at a lot of Japanese events, so it’s something they’re doing on purpose.

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