Gotta say I was totally caught off guard that this was the final ep. I knew this day was coming, but still I didn’t expect it to be this soon.
Either way, let’s get to it!
Fairly straightforward ep this week to close out what I’m assuming is season 1 of Love Live! Superstar!!, I mean I honestly can’t see them not continuing with another season, but we’ll get to that later on in the review.
We’ve finally reached the point where it’s time to decide who will make it to the grand stage of Love Live! this year. The Tokyo Qualifiers are upon the girls of Liella! and the tension is building. Each practice is harder than ever as everyone wants to make this performance the best one yet. It’ll have to be if they want to move on to the final stage. It’s what everything has been leading up to and it’s time for the girls to show off all their hard work.
The theme isn’t anything too outlandish this time, each group will live stream their performance from a location near their campus. It’s pretty to the point and easy to work with, at least in theory it is. While Keke and Sumire have grand ideas of where to put on their performance, Kanon is pretty content with playing it safe and using the school gym as their stage. It’s a good move, staying with something you’re familiar with, in this case it won’t be enough to win the qualifiers. In the end it’s 3 unnamed students who take the job of building the perfect stage for Liella!, leaving them to focus on practicing. Very similar to previous Love Live! anime in which a group of unnamed girls come to the rescue of the school idols, helping them out in a critical time.Now all that’s left is for Liella! to set their sights on victory and the grand stage to follow!
There is a small scene worth mentioning where Kanon is visited at her home/cafe by Yuna and Mao of Sunny Passion. It’s a friendly visit, but they’re also making it clear they don’t intend to lose this upcoming qualifying performance. Interesting to note here that while Kanon is excited about all the good Liella! has brought about for their school and the excitement they’re school idol journey has created, winning and losing isn’t something that she’s focused on too much. True they’ve all talked about winning Love Live!, but up until this moment, the need to win Love Live! hasn’t really been a driving force for Kanon and the girls of Liella!. That’s pretty much what Yuna and Mao are there to say, that once the lights go on and the music begins, they’ll really see why Love Live! is such a big deal.
While the main theme for each performance was to have it at a location by each groups school, the personal theme Kanon chose for their stage and performance was ‘stars’. It’s a fitting theme given this performance takes place on Christmas Day and also I’m sure this was taken into consideration when making this ep as it brings back memories of the incredible song and music video ‘Snow Halation‘ performed by the OG Love Live! group, μ’s. With that in mind you know it’s going to be an amazing performance so I may as well show the video and then we can talk more afterwards.
I think this might be my new favorite performance by Liella!.
Unfortunately as amazing as this performance was, it wasn’t enough to beat the likes of Sunny Passion and qualify for the finals. It’s a rough blow for the girls, working so hard and not getting the results they wanted. But this isn’t the end for Liella!, they’re not letting this loss knock them off balance. It’s a step back but it’s also a time to go back to the drawing board, practice more, and return even better than last time. Their story is nowhere near over and after all of this it feels like they’re only just getting started.
It’s still hard to believe Love Live! Superstar!! is over already. I honestly thought we’d get 13 eps and see the girls of Liella! make it all the way, but I guess not. So now that leaves everyone with the same question: when is season 2 coming? And that’s the thing, there wasn’t any announcement about another season or anything, just the usual ending and that’s it. I’m sure we’ll be getting another season at some point, just seems surprising they wouldn’t at least have a small teaser or something at the end for it. Oh well.
So looking back at Love Live! Superstar!!, I’d say overall I enjoyed it. Much like Nijigasaki, it was another fresh take on Love Live!, giving us a smaller group to follow and a new setting to be immersed it. The story was solid but the school closing aspect is something I wish they’d stop falling back to. At this point it just feels lazy and like they had a lack of imagination so they just went with what works, but honestly it doesn’t work because it’s been done twice before. I loved Nijigasaki so much because they didn’t have that problem, their school was bigger than an airport and had thousands of students. Closing down was never a problem for them and that made the overall story of solo idols so much more fun and exciting. Superstar!! has that similar excitement, but that one ep where the truth about the school is brought to light just felt like a big misstep. Maybe I’m just reading too deep into this once again, but I can’t be the only one who is tired of the ‘save the school’ trope in Love Live!.
What Superstar!! did do right though was give a lot of time to each girl. Once again Nijigasaki did a fantastic job at this, each girl having her own ep, but with 9 girls to work with it did feel like once their ep was over and done with, they didn’t get as much attention again. Superstar!! has 5 girls to work with and it’s much easier to put more time into each character. I loved watching Sumire and Keke go back and forth each week, their friendship building with each clash over something, or Chisato’s story of how she met Kanon and how her passion for dance became a driving force in her life, and even Ren had a good story that we took time to learn about. I might not have liked all the details about her story, but the fact they took time to get into it was a nice touch. And they did bring things to a close in the final ep with her father and the fate of the school, so it was nice to see those loose ends tied up. And of course our main girl Kanon, her story right from the start was great to follow. From that disastrous moment on stage all those years ago to her standing on that starlit stage in the final ep, it was an amazing journey.
The visuals and animation were by far some of the best ever. I loved the backgrounds used this time of the city and all the glowing lights. Each new Love Live! anime really steps it up when it come to the overall presentation and needless to say Superstar!! was the best yet. And the dance scenes were incredible as well! The age old debate about CG dance sequences will still rage on, but honestly these looked amazing. Sure if you go back and compare them to season 1 of the OG Love Live! anime you’ll see a huge difference, but even for then those dance sequences looked excellent. Each anime builds on the last and if this is any indication of what Nijigasaki S2 will look like, then I’m even more excited for that!
To sum it all up though, Love Live! Superstar!! has once again raised the bar for Love Live! anime. From the incredible visuals, the energetic and enjoyable music, and characters who really come to life, Love Live! Superstar!! hit almost all the right notes to make it one of the best Love Live! anime to date. I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of Liella! as their journey is far from over. The look of determination on Kanon’s face as she leaves the club room says it all, they’re not giving up on their dreams. Liella! will come back stronger than ever and complete the journey they set out to accomplish in the beginning: win Love Live!
Kind of a sad moment really, this is the final Love Live! anime I’ll review here on Anime Corps. It’s been a really fun ride, starting with season 2 of the OG Love Live! series and all the way to Superstar!!. I feel like I’m doing a disservice not to see this journey of mine to the end, but not all journeys end the way you want to and unfortunately their story will remained unfinished when it comes to my reviews. I’ll save the rest of the sad stuff for my actual closing post later on.
So that’s it for this latest entry in the Love Live! series. What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts about this final ep along with the anime as a whole in the comments below. I’ll be sure to reply to everyone!
As this series of episode reviews comes to a close, I’ll direct your attention to the actual last show I’m reviewing currently, which is Pride of Orange. It’s a fun hockey anime that started a few weeks ago and I’m really enjoying it so far. If that interests you at all, be sure to stop by and follow my coverage of it.
As always thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed my coverage of Love Live! Superstar!!. I’ll miss talking about Love Live! here but the conversations won’t end as I’ll still be active on the blog’s Twitter where anime discussions will still take place! So drop a follow if you haven’t done so already!
That’s it for me! Stay safe and healthy!