Hugs all around!
It’s finally time for the finals. Can µ’s live up to their newly acquired reputation as the frontrunners?
Not A School Anime
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Yes, Honoka, your feelings did get through
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.