Love Live! Superstar!! Episodes 8 & 9
So I was pretty much right on the money. Ren’s aversion to idols was because her mother was one as well, to also save her school from closing. She ended up failing (similar to Aquors) but created her own music school. Overworking herself, she ended up passing away. Not being able to find any sort of remnant of her mother’s school idol days from her youth, Ren assumed that her mother had regretted these memories and just tossed everything away. However, of course that wasn’t true.
This episode had your typical Love Live staples: silly misunderstandings, melodrama, and cheese. I sort of fell out of Love Live because of this, but this series does have a certain charm to it. The scene at the school assembly was the type of cheese that I wish could have been handled differently and just…not that way at all. This is such a personal thing so I think it would have been more powerful if Kanon and the girls showed Ren her mother’s diary on their own at a private time, and not as a spectacle in front of the other students. Instead of Kanon reading her mom’s words, it would have been better if Ren had been the one to read the words herself and look over the notebook. And with her newfound resolve and strength, give a great speech in front of the school and be completely honest with them. I know that Ren doesn’t want the students to worry about the state of the school, but it would have explained her words from before. But ehh, that’s just me. I think Idolish7 has just absolutely spoiled me when it comes to conflict resolution with how well it does it. This episode wasn’t bad or anything, just what I had expected.
Is that a bad thing? It depends on who you ask. The whole “school shutting down” plot isn’t a problem for first-time Love Live watchers, but it is a little disappointing with long-time fans. The cheesiness and melodrama is also something we’re used to, so I do wish that Love Live can do things a little differently sometimes. I want that, but maybe other people don’t.
I’m tired of the same plot, but I will say that at least it’s more personal this time with the school being connected to Ren, instead of “hey i like this school, we gotta save it!”. And I do feel for her situation, and how badly she handled it. She’s a teenager with a lot of pressure on her shoulders, of course she did a crappy job. So badly that she almost incited a civil war in the school. In that sense I did like that tension in the school, but in the end things were resolved a little too quickly. Which is a good and bad thing because, we finally have the school idol group complete but again it was a little rushed. But I also do think it’s interesting that the person that wanted to be a school idol the most was actually Ren, but because of her jumping to conclusions she held back from it.
Again, I’m torn. This episode was fine, some things I thought were pretty silly (why did Ren never think to check the school idol clubroom?), and some were nice. Wish Song was lovely with some pretty emotional lyrics, and again I just love the voices of this cast. They’re easily my favorite, and as usual the animation was gorgeous as well. I like the characters as well, but sometimes Love Live will be Love Live and do exactly what you expect. It’s fun, it’s cute, it’s charming, and I do appreciate some things this show has done so far so I’m still liking the show, don’t get me wrong. But like I said, as a long-time Love Live fan, I wish this show could push the boundaries just a bit more.
Well! With Ren officially in the group now, we know what’s coming up next! Practicing for the Love Live! I’m also excited to see when they’ll officially call themselves Liella and how they come up with the name and what it means. I haven’t followed any of the news when this group was announced so I don’t know the name origins, so that should be fun.
We finally have Liella! A very interesting take on the name, with a play on the French word meaning “connection”. It actually fits really well for them, and I always thought the name sounded pretty so it was nice to see it form.
This was a comedy heavy episode. The Love Live competition is about to start and Keke is freaking out about the severity of the competition, but their main problem was not whether or not they were prepared for it. The problem in their way from signing up for the Love Live was…the lack of a group name. So for most of the episode, the girls tried to come up with names for their group as well as trying to put themselves out there. We got some cute moments with a nod to Muse with the name suggestion box, and the absolute chaos that was the livestream (with great animation). I think it’s a really cool idea they went with a livestream, I hope it shows up again.
Now, the episode was fine. It was entertaining here and there but I have to mention something. And I feel bad because I feel like I’ve been complaining for the past two of three episodes, but there’s been something that’s been bugging me and it keeps happening which is: The girls rely too much on Kanon. Almost every major thing that happens with the group, the girls turn to Kanon to do something. The student council election? Obviously Kanon has to do it, even though she clearly doesn’t want to! Kanon you’re the leader, obviously you know the most about our group, you pick the name? The whole lyrics thing I guess makes sense since Kanon is the lyricist of the group, but the sheer pressure they put on her was kind of mean since they didn’t even offer helping her. I know each girl has their own role: Kanon the lyricist (sometimes composer), Keke the idol enthusiast with the most knowledge (understands the school idol world best), Sumire understands show business and fame (somewhat), Chisato the choreographer, and Ren the composer and choreography as well. I think it’s great that each girl has a role of their own they excel at and are a great asset to the group, but I just feel there’s too much dependence on Kanon for almost everything. Whenever a decision for the group has to be made, Kanon is always the one that has to make it. Keke always pins everything on her, even when Kanon looks uncomfortable or clearly needs some help. And I don’t know, it’s just rubbing me the wrong way. It puts all this pressure on Kanon, and the rest of the girls don’t seem to have their own opinions. Or when they do have their own opinions, the show purposely makes them too silly so Kanon can have the spotlight again.
And again I want to reiterate that I do like the girls, some more than others. I just think that some of them aren’t being given enough time or at least some proper spotlight, like Sumire. Who sadly continues to be the butt of jokes.
Speaking of liking the girls, my goodness is Ren so adorable. While I know I’m a hypocrite of getting tired of the “mean student council girl” who then turns nice…well, I’m a hypocrite because I end up loving the character because they always turn out to be adorable. Eli, Dia, and now Ren. There are other non-Love Live characters that fit this archetype that I also love (Makoto from Persona 5 anyone?) so it was just fun seeing Ren get so embarrassed over the livestream, as well as seeing the names she came up with for the group that she ended up hiding. And her video chat icon is just a strawberry. I can’t really say who my favorite is right now, I feel like my rankings change every episode, but I’d be lying if I said Ren wasn’t up there. She’s just too cute. Serious, intelligent, but also cute and dorky. Ugh, gets me every time. u_u;;;
The next episode also seems like a silly comedic episode, so now it’s making me think we are definitely not going to be seeing the actual Love Live competition this season. Which I’m totally okay with since the group is still newly formed. One thing I loved from this episode was what Kanon’s classmate said to all of them. They’re all basically a blank slate at the moment as they’ve all just became a group, and they don’t exactly have any distinguishing features to them, which I agree with. We might have another repeat of that one episode from season 2 of SIP where they tried different styles. Might be a funny episode, we’ll see.