Well here we are, the final ep of Love Live! Sunshine!! Was it the satisfying conclusion to Aqours journey?
Here’s my final review!
I’ve said it before, final eps can be a hit or miss. It’s what everything has built up to and it’ll be the last thing you remember about the show when it ends, so for it to be a memorable final ep it has to deliver on all fronts. Ep 13 this week brought things to a fitting conclusion for this series, Chika and company found their radiance, which was much closer than she thought, and of course the big thing being they won Love Live! Good job girls.
The thing is though their win felt almost… too easy. The ep pretty much opens with Chika sitting on the beach with the victory flag, kinda was hoping for a little more something. At best we get a couple of brief flashbacks to their time on the grand stage, but nothing really detailed about how their whole experience was. Sure they won and that’s great and all, but after all that talk of making a name for their school in the Love Live history book, I was kinda hoping to see some follow-up to that. Sure it was brought out during Mari’s closing speech, but that was it nothing more. Not that it’s a huge issue with this ep, but it felt like it should’ve been there since it was brought out so much prior.
Also missing from this ep was a final appearance from Saint Snow. I was hoping to see them at least come back and have something to say regarding the win, but no they weren’t here at all. I’ve seen it mentioned quite a few times about how Aqours and Saint Snow never faced off against each other and yeah I think that would’ve been a great match up for the final round. Sadly, things didn’t pan out that way and they never crossed paths on stage, so we’ll all be left wondering how that would’ve turned out.
While so far I’ve been taking a more negative approach to this final ep review, there were many heartwarming moments. Riko has fully overcome her fear of dogs and now has a puppy of her own, another was seeing each girl pack up their respective rooms, be it for moving to another school or as in the third year’s case packing up their things and saying goodbye for good. It was emotional seeing each girl take a moment to remember the time spent in that room for the past couple years and all the experiences they had there. As the ep rolled up you knew tears were building up as for the most part the girls were holding out and not crying, but that scene when Chika is closing the gate… man that’s when I couldn’t hold back anymore.
The back half of the ep featured a nice scene with Chika and her mom, something that was nice to see as the parents aren’t usually a big factor in this show. Chika was still wondering about if they had found their radiance after all they went through, winning Love Live and everything, but her mom points out that Chika should be able to look back and find it herself. The answer is quite obvious really, the radiance was never the light at the end of the tunnel, the radiance was all of the girls being together, singing and dancing together, making friends and enjoying that time together, that’s what the radiance Chika was looking for. She had it all along it just may not have been noticeable to her.
And so that leads us to the closing sequence of this ep, Chika following a paper plane to the now closed school where she finds the gate open and wanders inside. As if the tears weren’t already going, this final scene really brings in the feels as Chika walks around to different rooms and remembers moments of Aqours on their journey to Love Live. Her walk down memory lane ends in the gym where she’s greeted by the small student body along with the rest of Aqours on the stage, wanting to have one final dance with her. The song is WONDERFUL STORIES and it’s honestly just that. It features flashbacks from many of their performances from S1 and S2 and the lyrics are so fitting as they kind of sum up their journey toward this dream they had of winning Love Live. It was the icing on the top for this ep as it brought everything together and wrapped it up nicely. While the girls will go on their separate ways now, this is still a good stopping point as their journey as Aqours has come to a close.
So after 13 weeks this is the end… for now at least. While the CR version didn’t have it, Love Live! Sunshine!! will be returning in the form of a movie. It’s a great announcement, one not too surprising honestly, but I’m still happy that we’ll see these girls again. That also brings me to another point though, while their story has come to a close, what will this movie be about? Having seen the original Love Live! movie I hope this one doesn’t take a similar route as that wouldn’t be good at all. This is finally the chance for them to do something totally new and different so I hope they take this chance and make the most of it. Back to this second season though.
Overall I liked it, that much is clear, but I still can’t shake the feeling that they played it too safe. Something that I wish wasn’t a thing so much is how Love Live has really three different universes happening, the anime, LLSIF and Dengeki G’s Magazine. Each has their own stories and honestly the more I look into the others the more I wish the anime had stories like that. While the whole save the school thing is good and all at the end of the day it’s been done already and doesn’t need to be done again. If I were to have one complaint about Love Live! Sunshine!! as a whole it would be that. True I get that it’s a tough act to follow, I mean 6 years and one of the biggest fan bases out there is going to be a tough to follow-up, but they took a shot at it and while didn’t miss, they didn’t hit the bullseye either.
From the very start I wanted to see something different, a different story with a new group of girls as they strive to be school idols after seeing the greatness of μ’s. It was a chance to really do something different here and while S2 branched out a bit and really had some good moments, I feel that it still falls just a tad bit short of greatness. Sure the girls found their radiance and forged their own path instead of following in the footsteps of μ’s, it just feels like it was all played too safe and they didn’t take any big chances to do something new.
Another point that I know a lot of people wanted to see was an appearance by a member of μ’s. That would’ve been an amazing thing to see, like Chika meeting Honoka or something, but maybe they’re saving that for the movie. If so that will definitely be a scene that will get the crowd going. S2 gave the fans some good eps though. Ruby got her own mini arc, Riko and Yohane finally got together, Dia had her own ep too there were some great moments in all of this despite me having issues with things along the way.
When all is said and done though it’s still a good show, I have issues with it yes but the enjoyment and fun factor of watching Aqours each week is something that helps me overlook these issues. Sure they can’t be completely pushed out of my mind but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get caught up in the Love Live! hype and excitement each week. It’s a powerful series as a whole and one that I’m so grateful that I became a fan of. I’ve met some great people along the way and had the chance to experience seeing an anime movie in a theater full of other passionate Love Live! fans. It’s all been such a wonderful rush of excitement and fun, one that I’ll always remember.
So the bring this to a close Love Live! Sunshine!! isn’t perfect, but it’s one damn fun show to watch and be a part of the online community. It’s got issues here and there, the story isn’t new or different from the original, but I can safely say that I still had a great time watching these girls grow and develop into the wonderful school idols they are. Looking back at my 13 weeks watching this show and tallying up the score, I’m giving Love Live! Sunshine!! S2 a solid 8/10.
And that’s it! We’ve reached the end of another show and series of reviews. Looking back at it all I had a great time watching Love Live! Sunshine!! and I eagerly look forward to seeing the movie in the future. So the fall season is pretty much over now and the winter season is about to begin! I’ll be back with another show to review, if you’ve checked the winter preview post you know what that is, so I hope you can join me for another series of reviews. It’s gonna be a great time filled with crazy candy fun and cute girls. What more could you ask for?
Thanks for sticking with me for these reviews, sorry if they weren’t always out on time but I tried my best and stuck to more or less of a schedule. I’ll try harder for next season to stick to my schedule.
Alright then, that’s all I’ve gotta say. Be sure to leave your comments below regarding your thoughts on S2 along with the movie in the future and what you’d like to see in it. I’ll be sure to reply to them all!
Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next season!
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