Love Live! Sunshine!! 07 – 08

Love Live Sunshine - Famous Steps

“Hey look! It’s the steps from The Exorcist!” “That’s the wrong show, Chika.”

winter15-highw Well, now the Olympics are over, and there’s some shows to review, but for whatever reason, I’ve been losing my motivation for writing to reading smutty yuri comics instead. Let this be a lesson to you! Although Ebisu-san and Hotei-san is a really nice story (and not smutty).

Taking the Show on the Road

Love Live Sunshine - Outfits for Tokyo

It’s time for the goofy outfit contest!

Love Live Sunshine - Best outfit for Tokyo

But Yoshiko wins in a landslide

This review says it’s for 7 and 8, but there really wasn’t much that happened in 7 that wasn’t setup for 8, so there wasn’t much to talk about. But I think there were some good messages in episode 8 that we can talk about. The gist of the plot arc is that Aquors has been invited to travel to Tokyo to perform in a School Idol competition. This is actually great for them, because being invited to perform is always good, and because it gets them a few things that you just can’t get at home. In the end, all of those things are good things, but maybe some of them don’t feel that way right off the bat. But in the end, it’s less important how they’re taken initially and more important how they grow from it.

Love Live Sunshine - Why I'd love some Linkin Park inspired Shout Rock!

Did everyone enjoy their Idol Rap Rock?
“It’s like Linkin Park you actually don’t mind listening to”

One of the things that I don’t think is really as important is Saint Snow, an idol duo group that is the stand-in for the whole rest of the competition. It’s actually kind of surprising that Aquors, a group that has never really had a live performance, is slotted second after Saint Snow, but that could have been because it sets up the show, or maybe it was to encourage people to show up earlier. One thing that we need to remember as the audience is that we’re seeing idealized versions of the performances here. There are no screwups, there is no learning, because we’re watching a TV show. But that’s not how the performances are actually going. There are mistakes, both in singing and dancing. There’s nervousness and reality. They’re not showing us those things (much like K-On only showed us polished performances by Houkago Tea Time, even though Azusa rightly describes them as “pretty bad”), because we’d stop watching the show. Noone wants to watch a crummy band, but we have to remember that’s how it’s actually going on. But the overall judgment of Aquors performance is harsh in comparison: They get zero votes out of 30 performers, and are the only group to get zero.

Finding the Meaning

Love Live Sunshine - Dia helps debrief

A debrief with Dia’s help

And yeah, this is a blow to the ego, but it’s understandable: How many of the people in the auditorium had even seen their video? It’s entirely reasonable that everyone else liked even just one other group better. It’s not like Aquors brought an audience with them. So yeah, it’s a tough thing to take, but it’s not unreasonable, and more importantly it doesn’t mean that they were bad. Saint Snow’s singer even says as much, that she liked their performance. But I think her caution about thinking that they’ll be like µ’s and get into Love Live is exactly right. It’s most likely they’d never get into Love Live. This isn’t cruelty or meanness. It’s reality. There are thousands of school idols, and thinking you’ll be the best is pretty much hubris. But it still feels like rejection when you’re standing there being told “You should give up if this is what you’re trying” and when you got zero votes. And that’s what Chika has to deal with through this episode.

Love Live Sunshine - Chika finally lets it out

Chika finally lets it out

To be honest, I thought Chika was excellent throughout this episode. I don’t know what the others want her to do. She’s focusing on the positives from their performance: they made fewer errors, they got in front of an audience, they performed together. I think that maybe the others are in high school “We don’t have any nuance” thinking that because Chika is being positive about it, it doesn’t bother her, or that she’s faking it, even though it’s obvious she’s upset by their result. But what are you supposed to do? You take a little time, you lick your wounds, you heal up, and you make a decision about whether you’re going to continue. And you know who else was excellent this episode?

Love Live Sunshine - An unexpectedly friendly face

The Angry Emoji has turned her frown upside down

Love Live Sunshine - Now's your chance Mari

“Oh, Dia, are your feelings finally coming out?”

That’s right: Dia. She has seen Aquors stick with it, and now accepts that it’s not a lark or a joke for them. But she’s also a pessimistic realist now, after her own group’s failure. And she’s right, Aquors had a success: They got on that big stage, right after Saint Snow dazzled them, and performed, well enough for the others to say they did well. They didn’t freeze up like Kanan apparently did. Stage Fright is a thing, for sure. I’ve been playing with my band for 20 years, and our singer still gets nervous every gig. And he’s been doing it for over 25 years. And this is the path that Kanan is walking, when she tells Mari that Aquors should stop, that Mari should stop supporting them, before they get hurt. But I also like Mari’s rebuttal: she’s doing it for herself, because she wants to feel that sense of friendship, of togetherness, of camaraderie. Why are you up there on a stage? If it’s to get famous, then Saint Snow is right: That’s not gonna happen. But if it’s to enjoy doing that, and to feel those feelings, then that’s what you should do. That singer in our band who gets nervous: He’s the one who pushes for us to do more gigs because he loves them.

Love Live Sunshine - Mari rejected

But Kanan’s still not ready


I’m still not sure if Mari thinks that she, Dia, and Kanan should try to join Aquors, or if they should start their own group up again. I’m guessing the former, because Kanan seems to want to shut down Aquors before they get hurt (too late, it’s already happened). But getting hurt isn’t that terrible. As Yoake says in ReLIFE (which I still haven’t gotten enough of watching) “Is it really a good thing to clear out all the problems in their path? Or is it better to have them overcome them?” That’s good advice there, and good advice here. A bit of perspective and honest view of the world is always a good thing for kids to learn. Plus, now we know why they’ve made this song, probably my favorite Aquors song so far (Step! ZERO to ONE, that is).


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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4 Responses to “Love Live! Sunshine!! 07 – 08”

  1. skylion says:

    You can get nervous over things you love. I do every time I fire up Libre Office.

    I always like dealing with problems as they come. Predicting them is all well and good, but things change, and you need to learn flexibility.

    But I rather like Saint Snow, despite you connecting them to Linkin Park (bleeeeeeh). Well their music and performance, they layed on the “don’t treat this as a joke” really thick and I cannot tell if they were modeling a real teen, or if they missed the mark…But I likes em fine otherwise…

    • Highway says:

      I think that was about the total characterization they’re going to get, with serious quiet girl really upset more because they didn’t move on than any problem with Aquors. Overally, I think their message was correct: There’s too much competition to think that you’re going to waltz in and win. And I don’t know what the rules are, but you’re probably not going to do it with homegrown songs and dance numbers. I’d bet there’s a lot more professional help going on there than they probably want to see in that kind of competition.

      But I also kind of go back to another show: Locodol. Nanako and Yukari aren’t going to win any competitions, not even against other locodols. But that’s not the point. And like we saw in the first season of Love Live, it didn’t take winning Love Live, or even performing in it, to save Otonakizaka Academy. It was really just making it a more fun and interesting place.

  2. Karakuri says:

    Saint Snow was everything I could have asked for in a rival group and more. I wish more Love Live music would have more harmonizing in their songs between members…

    I also wish that we could see more of the third years. Or mostly just Kanan since we’ve only really seen the “I’m still angsty over school idols” side of her so far. I like Dia’s progression in her attitude towards Aqours though.

    (Also, wow I’m impressed about your band going on for 20 years.)

    • Highway says:

      Actually, that’s only how long I’ve played with them. The band has actually been around since 1979, although there’s noone left from that lineup.

      I’m guessing that we’ll get the rest of them joining up by the end of the series, but I think they’ve explained the basic issue now. Mari wants Kanan to get over her fear of the bright lights and not lose to her past. Kanan is still reliving that past, and is afraid to try again.

      I think for the harmonies, you need to go to the sub-unit songs more often.

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