“Is your heart shining?!”
Here we are at the end of this season. I take back what I said about “poor writing” in my last review if they performed in this episode, because this is only the quarterfinals, right? I screwed up. They haven’t reached the very end of Love Live, so that makes plenty of room for a season two.
I think we were teased. With all the talk of turning the zero into a one gave us the impression that they would make Aquors perform STEP! Zero to One, so it would get it’s proper PV. Well, Mirai Ticket was nice too, I guess.
The girls are practicing really hard for their performance. They’ve been practicing every single day of their summer vacation, and they keep checking whether or not they’ve gotten applicants, but it’s still a big fat 0. But that won’t make them falter. As they eat their ice cream in the library, Chika’s friends come in to drop off some books and are surprised to see Aquors there. They learn that the girls have been practicing every day, and we see them later when they approach Aquors at the pool. Mu-chan, the only one whose name we know, tells Chika and the others that they’re curious and want to maybe become school idols. They were moved by Aquors, because they love how they are so determined to save the school. But they want to save the school too, and they want to help. Chika is more than happy to hear that and she immediately agrees to let them join in, as singers. I would have expected to see more resistance from the other members at this moment since it all happened so fast, and to take on more members right when they’re about to perform in the Love Live tournament seems crazy.
Luckily Riko thought so, but she didn’t say anything until the day they were supposed to perform. Love Live’s rule is that the only ones that can perform are the ones that applied. All the students performing on the stage with them? Did they really think that would happen? Pfft, as if! I don’t know why they bothered to do that because I felt like it just wasted time. But another big scene in the episode I felt was a waste.
As the girls get ready, we see nice moments between the girls in their years. Yoshiko gets emotional and hugs Ruby and Hanamaru, the third years hug each other, and the second years are psyched. And then…I don’t know how long this part lasted, but I was getting impatient. Apparently these girls are actresses, as they retold their story to the audience, which was everything we saw from the beginning of the anime until now. Forming Aquors, meeting Riko, gathering the other members, the zero votes they got. Zero…zero…zero…zero…Basically, it was a recap of all the episodes we saw. Personally, I found this part to be unnecessary and a complete waste of time that could have been used for something else. I understand that they were telling the audience their story, and about wanting to save the school, and to show their growth, but we saw their complete growth last episode when they all decided that they wouldn’t copy Muse anymore, and that they would start their own journey. This speaking part just went on and on. I did find it funny how Yoshiko introduced herself to everyone by putting herself in the audience, and then a couple seconds later we see her on the stage with the rest of the girls. I…don’t know how she did that, maybe she does have teleportation powers, but it was funny.
Aquors performed MIRAI TICKET. Not my favorite of the insert songs we got, but it was still very energetic and pretty. Production value was amazing, the crazy camera angles, the colors, the dancing and animation for the dance was on point. I’m so glad the CG models look so much better. Also, those were probably the best outfits they’ve worn so far. It was a very nice scene, as the girls from the school came down with their glowsticks and jumped around and cheered for them. We got a Mama Live again, as we saw Riko’s mama, Yoshiko’s mama (with the same side bun), Dia and Ruby’s mama, and Hanamaru’s mama. Also earlier we met Chika’s tiny mommy! I thought the person with the long dark hair was her mother, but it was her sister!!!! I was pretty much like Riko, I was so shocked! They literally have the same smile, and face, and ugly bangs.
At the end, we saw that things were finally turning around for Aquors. As they gather at the beach for a photo, the number of new applicants for Uranohoshi High School has finally turned from a 0 to a 1. They’re ready to keep on shining and fighting to keep their precious school open!
From the beginning I was keeping an open mind for Aquors. I was a huge Muse fan, and I still am. I love them to death and I’m still so attached to them. That’s why I was very hesitant of Aquors at the beginning. I admit that I was ignoring all of their news for awhile, but then I thought “Hey, that’s not fair. I should at least give them a chance.” When their anime announcement came, I took more interest in them. I listened to their singles, read their general character introductions, and just payed more attention to them. And it made me wonder if I would ever love them as much as Muse. Would they continue what Muse started? Would they make their name known? Would one of these girls surpass the Nico Nii? Even now, with this season done, I still don’t know. Do I love them as much as Muse? To be completely honest, I don’t. But I still like them. Was the anime itself better than the original series? Well, I can only compare the first season of the original, since Aquors was only given one season so far. Looking at them together, I think they’re pretty equal. The original did things better than Sunshine, but there are also things Sunshine did better than the original in its first season.
The drama, I thought, was handled much better. I’ve actually been rewatching the original, in its dub form, which I think is great. I felt that the drama and conflicts in Sunshine were handled a little better. Sure, sometimes I had problems with their resolutions, such as with the You conflict. The actual conflict would be handled well, but I felt that the resolution would rush by so quickly, only because they didn’t have enough time left in the episode. Oh, and sometimes they could be really cheesy. But even so, I found them more enjoyable. The trouble with the third years was relatable and iconic, and that episode was probably its best. Also, there were things Sunshine did that the original didn’t, such as episode 8. Muse never faced any kind of failure, but the fact that Aquors did was realistic and a wake up call to them. The anger and raw emotion we saw out of Chika and the other girls was welcomed. Not being honest, feeling left out, frustration at your failure, etc., the anime team dealt with those issues well. The second season of the original handled their drama better, but I’m only comparing the first season, and that’s where they suffered a bit.
Although when it comes to characters, I think the original did better. With the original, I found myself really attached to the girls of Muse, though my opinions started changing in the second season. But by the end of the first season, I had a strong attachment to almost all of them. As for the girls of Aquors, I don’t know how to feel. I don’t hate any of them, but I feel mostly indifferent to most of them. I like them, but I don’t love them either. I felt like not all of them were able to really show much of themselves. For example, Hanamaru had a great episode to herself, and I loved her. But after her episode, she was mostly in the back, always eating something, and always saying “Zura!” She never did anything major after that, as well as some other girls. I also felt as though the girls weren’t exactly close. I didn’t feel like they were as united as Muse was. Riko mainly only talked with Chika, Ruby was mainly with either Hanamaru and Dia, You mainly spoke to Chika, Kanan seems to be close with Chika and You but we didn’t seem them talk to each other much, the third years are basically their own clique, and Yoshiko…was shafted a lot, and was mainly there to say her usual fallen angel lines and nothing more. Which disappointed me because she used to be my favorite. Sometimes we did get other dynamics like Mari listening to You, and Riko talking to You on the phone, but I would have liked to have seen more of that, and just the characters doing more than just their quirks!
Animation, I shouldn’t even talk about this much. We know Sunshine has a higher production value. The CG models actually look great and not…with a creepy doll face. The colors were bright and lively. I loved the scenic shots of the water and the mountains of their little town. It’s just leagues above, and I’m glad.
I would say, between the two series, the music is equal. My absolute favorite of the insert songs we got was Mijuku DREAMER. The performance was pretty, the song is pretty, and I’ve been playing it on repeat for a couple days now. The song with the long name they performed in episode 11 was my second favorite. Also, I just love the ED theme, and I always love when the characters sing it in their respective episode.
As for plot, I’m not sure. I have to admit that I was very frustrated when the school closing down plot was being used again. For the longest time, Aquors had a major identity crisis. I know this led up to their growth, but it was still a little annoying to watch. All the Muse references was getting old very quickly too. Maybe this is another reason why I didn’t find myself attached to the characters too much. However, I don’t think they’re carbon copies of Muse. Far from it! They share some similarities with the members of Muse, and the show was clever enough to point that out, but they are their own characters. But because Aquors took a long time to see who they truly were, the plot suffered a bit.
My attitude changed a lot through the course of this season. I was happy, frustrated, then happy, then frustrated, to content. Even though there were hiccups, I still enjoyed Sunshine. And don’t think this is all over, they’re not done with Love Live yet! Also…this is Love Live, this is popular shit. Of course there just has to be another season. Let’s hope that things will improve then. To the people that still haven’t seen Sunshine because they don’t want to let go of Muse, I still think you should give Aquors a chance. But if you don’t like them, then that’s okay. In the end, I give Love Live! Sunshine!! a 7/10. Has some problems, but it’s still a good watch.
Now, before I finish this review, I think it’s a given to rank my list of the girls. Of course, people are going to disagree with me. I’ll list them, and give a quick reason why, because this review has been going on long enough.
- BEST GIRL: Mari! Funny, as how I was indifferent towards her for awhile. She’s just so funny and silly and she makes me smile and laugh. But she’s not always silly because she can be serious and she shows just how much she loves and cares for her friends. And I love how she was there to listen to and comfort You. She’s just so wacky, and sweet, and weird, and nice, and I love her! Unfortunately, from polls I’ve seen, she’s the least popular among the Japanese fans. But I still love her. Shiny!
- Riko – I loved her from the start. Very pretty, she also makes me laugh, but she’s very level-headed, which I like.
- Kanan – Very pretty, very cool, even though she didn’t have much screentime she really stood out to me. ship her with Mari. <3
- Hanamaru/Ruby – I’m not sure how to rank them because I like them equally. Ruby is adorable and I like how she stood up for herself. Hanamaru’s episode was fantastic, but hasn’t done much after. I can’t put either of them above the other.
- Yoshiko – Was my best girl before the anime aired, but went down the list. Her episode was fine, but after that she never did much. Still makes me laugh sometimes, but the little demon/fallen angel thing got a little old fast. A little indifferent.
- Dia – A little indifferent as well. Her personality change was a little jarring, but I kind of like her dorky side. A little low on the list because I hated her for a good chunk of the show.
- Chika – Indifferent. Annoyed me a lot. Yells too damn much. But I liked her growth.
- You – Indifferent. Cute, but boring. Her episode did nothing for me. Just goes “Yousoro!” Unpopular opinion, I know.
When the second season hits, my list will definitely change. But for now this is what I got. I can’t wait to see more. Until then, zura!