It’s finally time for Aqours to show the school idol would what they’re capable of, but first the girls need to take some time to look back at how they arrived at this grand stage.

Here’s my review!

Before I jump right in and talk about the absolutely amazing performance to close out this ep, let’s talk a bit about all the lead up to that moment as there were some really heartfelt scenes with each girl.

I liked how this ep opened, with Chika, You and Riko being met by the rest of the girls along the way as they walk out of the school and to the gates. After the closing festival last ep it feels like the girls have accepted the fate of the school and are finally ready to push on to the grand stage. With one final goodbye, they’re off. Good luck girls, I hope you find your radiance.

From the moment they arrive in Tokyo you can sense the anticipation as the girls pay a visit to the shrine once again to pray for success. Of course they’re not the only ones who have this idea as they notice other prayers written in support of Aqours. Uranohoshi really supports Aqours from the bottom of their heart and it’s nice to see them always showing that in any way possible. But then Chika notices many other prayers from other school idol groups, all wishing to win. It’s not just Aqours who have gone all out, every single group competing in the final round worked extremely hard and probably sacrificed a lot to get to that point. While only their prayers are shown, you can assume behind them are a group of girls that are ready to dance their hearts out to win. This is the final round after all and there can only be one winner.

Saint Snow also makes another appearance, I guess they traveled down from Hakodate  to see the final round. Once again, I can only think about what stories A-RISE could’ve had if they were given this kind of screen time. While conversing at the shrine, Sarah asks Chika a question, “Do you want to win Love Live?” It seems like an obvious answer, of course they want to win, but it’s a question Chika doesn’t answer right away (at least not on-screen as the scene changes) but it’s a question that stays with her and in turn asks each of the girls later that night. What follows in a nice montage of Chika asking each of the girls this question and getting their answer. While this is happening each girl is taking some time alone to reflect on how they got to this point before they all meet up at the venue to perform.

Each girl has her own reasons for joining Aqours and wanting to win, for Hanamaru she was always in the library reading books, but when given the chance to be a school idol she finally ventured out of that world and enjoyed so many things with her new-found friends.

For Ruby she was shy and quiet, but now she’s a school idol performing on the biggest stage ever. She’s come a long way from when we first meet her in ep 1 of season 1, and she’s been able to grow and mature so much. Being able to perform alongside her sister, Dia, has also been a great joy to her, even if it’s about to come to a close. Winning Love Live would be the perfect ending for her.

Yohane has her usual Yohane response when asked by Chika if she wants to win. But really she’s come to terms with being a fallen angel and has grown in her own way since joining Aqours and becoming school idol. She doesn’t have to run away from her past but she can use it to help her along her path in the future.

Kanan just wants all their hard work to pay off. She’s been doing this the longest along with Mari and Dia, so a win and it’s over comes as a relief to her. She wants her personal journey with Aqours to end on a high note so it’s something she can always look back on and be proud of all their hard work.

For Mari she’s also been in this game for a while and wants to get a win more than anything. But as director of the school she wants to make all the students proud. They all said they would make a name for Uranohoshi  in the Love Live history books and Mari is going to do everything it takes to make it happen.

Much like Mari, Dia is coming into this final round with the weight of all the students on her shoulders. She wants to win for them and not let them all down, not after how far they’ve come. Dia has been here from the start and wants to sing with all her heart as a member of Aqours and a school idol. This is her last chance to make that happen and winning would be the best way to end it.

As for the second year You, she’s finally able to do something with Chika, her best friend. She’s been loyal to her from the very beginning and she plans to be with her all the way to the end. You has proven herself to be a true best friend and doing this with Chika is something that makes her very happy.

Riko was able to overcome her piano drought thanks to Chika and her constant pressure to become a school idol. Coming from Otonokizaka it’s obvious why Riko was a target for Chika on her school idol quest, but it was just what she needed to help her. In a heartfelt scene we see Riko playing the piano in the same room the one and only Maki Nishikino played, years ago. It’s a scene with so much emotion, even if it lasts a few moments, but seeing Riko in that seat playing the very same piano, in Otonokizaka… man it’s truly a remarkable moment.

And finally we have Chika. Does she want to win Love Live? Her quest for radiance was never over, even when it things seemed bad and hope was lost, Chika never truly gave up. The radiance is almost in her grasp and she’s going to give it everything she has to grab hold of it. Winning Love Live is the ultimate goal and one she’s not about to let slip away one more time. This moment means everything to her and she’s going to make this performance count.

So after each girl has her moment of reflection we arrive at the end of this ep where Aqours take the stage in the Akiba Dome and show us what they’re made of. The song is WATER BLUE NEW WORLD and the performance is nothing short of absolutely spectacular. Take a look.

It’s going to take something even more special to top a performance like that, but we’ll have to see the true results to their hard work in the final ep. I’m guessing they’ll probably win, unless they go with the moral victory ending, which is highly likely, but honestly I just want these girls to win. After all their hard work and time spent getting to this point they certainly deserve the win, but we’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

So there you have it, the stellar performance on the biggest school idol stage ever. I hope it’s enough to win, they deserve it. Next week is the final ep of this show, I’m sad to see it end but I’m also wondering if we’ll get a movie or something afterwards. While I haven’t heard of anything yet, I wouldn’t rule out an after credit announcement in ep 13, after all that’s what happened with the original Love Live.

What an amazing ep this was, really had a great time watching it and seeing each of the girls express their conviction to win Love Live. So many heartfelt moments and I will admit I got a bit emotional by the end. I’m sure that’ll happen a lot more so by the end of next week’s ep. So as always I’d love to hear your thoughts about this ep and how far things have come, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply to you.

That’s it for this review, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week for the grand finale!


Bonus Pic!

Pixiv Link

Follow Anime Corps on Twitter!!

Do you have an anime blog, site, Tumblr or Facebook page? Want to exchange links? Stop by the Link Exchange page and leave a comment, I’ll add you to the growing list!

I’m always on Twitter tweeting about all kinds of stuff. If you’ve got a Twitter account, why not follow me?