Honestly this might have been the best ep so far.

Here’s my review.

This was the ep I was hoping for, the one I wanted to see and Aqours having to face the harsh reality of school idols. It sounds bad when I put it this way, but I really liked seeing them fail here. It was the reality check they needed and from here they can finally start progressing with not so much of a dreamy view of winning Love Live and saving the school. In this ep we also got the full story about the 3rd years failed idol dreams and how their story is one Aqours can learn from. So with that said, let’s take a look at this ep.

First up I should talk about Saint Snow and the amazing performance they put on. If you were expecting them to be like A-RISE, well they’re not. Saint Snow is more of a rock-idol group than mature and sexy group that A-RISE was. Either way though, I really liked seeing Saint Snow as we haven’t had any sort of rock idol group yet in Love Live, so it’s nice to see that since Muse made Love Live a big deal, not every group is usual idol group rather groups have brought their own personality and flare to the competition. But as amazing of a performance as Saint Snow put on, what’s even more amazing is that they failed to make the cut.  Love Live isn’t a game, it’s not something you take lightly or do it just for fun, every group there is serious about the competition and wants to win.

Aqours came in with high hopes of winning and saving the school, backed with the support of their town, friends, and family, but they weren’t mentally prepared to compete at the high and very demanding level that pro school idols groups are at. They thought it would be a walk in the park yet reality hit hard, extremely hard when Chika is handed the official results and they learn that absolutely no one voted for them. It was finally the moment where they all realized just what they’re getting involved with and how winning isn’t something that will come easy for them or even an extremely talented duo like Saint Snow. Maybe it was a kick when they were already down, but Kazuno Seira of Saint Snow tells Chika straight up that if they think they’ll just waltz in here and win Love Live like Muse did, they might as well give up now. Like I said at the outset, I know it sounds bad when I say it, but I really did like seeing Aqours fail here and have this harsh reality thrust upon them. Not that they were acting all high and mighty, but they just weren’t taking into account how serious Love Live is these days. It’s not like when Muse first entered, back when it wasn’t so cut throat, now it’s the biggest deal ever with 7236 groups entering last year alone. Love Live isn’t a game nor a friendly idol competition anymore like they thought it was and going in with that outlook would only result in them getting burned.

The second big story line going in this ep was the full reveal of the 3rd year’s story and how their experience was one Aqours can learn from. After arriving home from their trip, Dia is there to greet them and her crying sister Ruby, from there she takes them to a quite spot on and begins to tell them her story of trying to save the school. As this is happening Mari and Kanan are having another confrontation, one which I’ll talk about in a moment though.

So 2 years ago there already were rumors of the school being closed and combined, so Dia and Kanan came up with a plan, become school idols to save the school. Easier said than done. They started strong like Aqours, put on a good show and wowed the locals, but once they were invited to Tokyo and were placed on a big stage in front of hardcore idols fans, they crumbled and couldn’t sing. Much like Aqours, the Dia, Kanan, Mari group went to Tokyo with hopes of easily winning big and saving the school. And much like Aqours they were hit with the harsh reality of school idol competitions. Dia didn’t want them to repeat the same mistake but Chika and company were to gung-ho about it all and thought they had what it takes to win. It was right on Dia’s part to let them go through with it, giving them a chance to experience for themselves just what they’re getting involved with, even if it was an emotionally devastating experience for them.

As this was all going on though, Kanan and Mari were having their biggest confrontation yet. No more sexual tension or classic Mari jokes, this conversation was a rough one. Mari asks Kanan straight up if it’s better to give up rather than pursue trying to win Love Live, and Kanan’s answer: yes. Kanan’s been through it all before and knows it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s not something you can easily win because school idol groups these days are so much more serious about Love Live. Kanan knows the feeling of being on the stage and completely failing to perform like she normally does, so in her mind it’s better to stop now instead of continuing on and getting to a point where someone gets hurt. It’s hard seeing Mari, such an up beat and cheerful girl, crushed with emotion like this. Mari doesn’t want to give up so easily, she wants to get back the feelings she had with her and Dia because they’re something extremely precious to her. As far as relationships between Mari and Kanan it’s a burnt bridge right now, one that Kanan refuses to think about rebuilding despite how much Mari wants her to.

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We end the ep with Chika once again, trying to figure out where to go from here. They’re at 0 right now and the hardest thing for them to do is get to 1. Not sure if you thought of this, but 0, 1 and stepping were mentioned a lot in this ep and that just so happens to be the title of the B-side song on the first single from Aqours, Step! ZERO to ONE. I was almost beginning to wonder if we’d have this as an insert song at some point, but no it didn’t happen. I wonder if they’ll put on a performance to this song though at some point? Anyways, it was nice seeing Chika finally letting out her frustration over the loss, something she hadn’t done yet. No shame in shedding a few tears over this, it was a tough break for the girls so it’s better for Chika to cry it out rather than keep it bottled up in her and turning that feeling into something negative. With the moral support of the rest of Aqours, Chika is able to refocus and get her mind back on track.

So before I end this I think it’s worth mentioning that this ep is more of what I wanted to see out of Love Live Sunshine. Now that they all know being like Muse isn’t something they should focus on, it’s finally time to create their own personality and discover themselves as a school idol group. They can still keep Muse as a benchmark, but if they want to at least reach anywhere near that sort of level then they’ve got a long and very challenging road ahead of them. It’s going to take a lot of effort, lots of training, sweat, hopefully no blood, and probably some more tears, but at the end of the day all that matters of taking that first step and getting to 1.

I said it at the outset, but this ep was probably the best to date. This is what they need more of, to discover what being a school idol means to themselves, not comparing their every move to Muse. With 5 more eps left I’m eager to see where this show will go now, but if this ep is any indication then hopefully it’s going to be something very good.

So that’s what I thought about this week’s ep, let me know what you thought about it. Leave a comment below or send me a tweet too. I’ll be sure to reply to them in a timely fashion.

[FFF] Love Live! Sunshine!! - 08 [EC9D0210].mkv_snapshot_23.39_[2016.08.20_18.07.14]

That’s all for this week now, thanks for reading and I’ll see you right back here next week!


Bonus Pic!

Pixiv Link
Pixiv Link

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