Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season – Anime Series Review

Episodes: 13

Genres: Slice-of-Life, Comedy, Drama, Musical

Aired: Oct 2017 – Dec 2017

Also known as: Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2, ラブライブ!サンシャイン!! 第2期

Summary: School idols attempt to shine: season 2! (The review for season one can be found here).

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-12h02m30s563.jpg

Review: Look.

I love this franchise so much that I think I can’t properly provide a unbiased review. At the very least, I would have long, sweeping paragraphs praising the show and maybe one or two sentences where I mention some minor dissent.

That’s why The Lily Garden, for the very first time ever, will opt for a pros vs cons list so each entry has something approach equal weight distrubtion. Call it a cop-out, if you’d like. This certainly isn’t my best writing, I’ll admit. Alas, I feel like I have to share my thoughts.

SPOILERS BE UP AHEAD, MATEY! YOUSORO!


(+) PRO: Aqours successfully differentiated themselves from μ’s (+)

This is important since too many people were hung up on superficial similarities between the two school idol groups. Said people also missed the point of the first season when the girls realize they couldn’t just imitate μ’s (S1E12), however.

This series could be seen as a more pragmatic take on the genre compared to the original Love Love! series, actually, considering how Aqours couldn’t save Uranohoshi unlike how μ’s saved Otonokizaka within the very first season. But Aqours proceeded to try their best despite failing (which is good since that meant we received more lovely idol performances).

(-) CON: The presentation of Aqours’ performances (-)

Ah, that wording was a bit misleading. Well, some viewers were disgruntled with how their performances would often just jump to them to already being on-stage, which makes the ensuing song and dance come across as being a commercial for the upcoming single. While admittedly true, that’s how it has always been for Love Live! and anime as a whole basically serves as commercials for various other products.

So while I can see why commercialization can turn off some viewers, especially viewers who are more used to seeing idols get nervous or sentimental right before the performance (like during S1E6 or S1E13), it’s just how things are. We also got to see the girls waver before performing (S2E3) and rush off in an attempt to perform in time (S2E3 again), so there was a few instances where we were given some sort of transition.

Be that as it may, the performances themselves were great. Plus we received more of them compared to the first season (two in S2E3, one in S2E6, one in S2E9, one in S2E12, and then two in S2E13).

(+) PRO: Characterization was granted to several underdeveloped characters (+)

I’m talking about S2E4 (which is a Dia episode), S2E5 (which is a Yoshiko/Riko episode), and S2E8-9 (which are Ruby episodes, basically, but also Leah episodes). Ruby and Yoshiko had their time to shine in season one, but more focus on these characters were certainly appreciated. Dia was down there with Kanan in terms of being underdeveloped after what happened in season one, but it was really cute to see another side to the prickly student council president.

(-) CON: Characterization was not granted to other underdeveloped characters (-)

You fans and Hanamaru fans, I feel your pain.

You has to play a secondary, supporting role despite her innate talent and humongous fanbase. The fact that her focus episode was back in episode 1 (S2E11) and said episode makes her seem to have the emotional maturity of a child, since her entire personality seems to resolve around making Chika look at her, sucks.

Meanwhile, Hanamaru has been demoted into a machine that says zura too much. What happened to when she originally was hesitant to join Aqours since she felt like she couldn’t be a school idol? Well, she’s comfortable with singing and dancing on-stage by now but she’s just a running gag in season 2. Her best friend, Ruby, gets some love but she doesn’t? Unfortunate.

(+) PRO: The ending was drawn out (+)

This means most, if not all, the bases were covered. The girls pondered on the third years’ future, what it means to be a school idol, the fate of their school, etc.

And after spending the latter half just building up to a grand, bittersweet finale, the series concludes on an emotional note that’ll leave Aqours fans in tears. We get closure. We also get an open-ended ending so there’s room for that upcoming movie that is way too far in the future for us filthy gaijin.

(-) CON: The ending was drawn out (-)

This also meant that not much happened in some episodes and each week’s events could be summarized within a few sentences. I personally thought it was fine since the ending was pretty thorough, but I can see why people would dislike it. S2E12, admittedly, seemed a bit recursive since the girls were saying what we knew all along, but I digress.

(+) PRO: The series finally resolved what it means to shine (+)

It’s easy to forget since the second season focuses so heavily on the third years’ graduation and the fate of Uranohoshi, but Love Live! Sunshine!! was originally more about Chika wanting to shine (along with her friends). The final performance readdresses this theme and thus closes the book, and the series, on a high note.

Learn more about this by watching this video.

Verdict:

Not perfect by any means, but I found Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season to be both entertaining and charming. It goes without saying that you’d want to finish the first season before deciding if you want to tackle this one. But how can you say no to radiant school idols?

vlcsnap-2018-01-07-11h58m50s195.jpg

12 thoughts on “Love Live! Sunshine!! 2nd Season – Anime Series Review

  1. Finally had time to finish the series! And I’m going to disagree with your other commenters. I liked the story, and frankly I thought the second half of this season was some of the strongest material Love Live has given us so far. Could it have been better? Sure. In particular I feel like they should’ve committed to the school closing down from episode 1, instead of dragging it out with teases and hope spots for half the season, because once that plot thread was firmly nailed down it immediately brought the rest of the story into focus, and gave the rest of the plot a clear through-line that was lacking for most of the first six episodes. But I could argue that the last several episodes were the first time in all four seasons that we got a really good dramatic arc from Love Live, one that felt emotionally resonant without tipping over into melodrama.

    Characterization? Yeah, that was more uneven – they definitely didn’t do You or Hanamaru justice, Kanan felt like she was just there to fill out the numbers for most of the series, and I think they wrote themselves into a corner with Yoshiko’s shtick. Once they established that she always has those instinctive chuuni responses to certain provocations, they couldn’t get away from it later when those jokes eventually got old (although the reaction spots let Hanamaru take her snark game to another level, which was something at least).

    I wish we could’ve had just one more season somehow, because I feel like the show ended just when the writers were finally getting a handle on writing specifically for Aqours, as opposed to Love Live generally, and a third season might have finally given us the fully blossomed Aqours that we (and they) deserve.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmm I find myself agreeing with what you’ve said! I’m just not sure if they could have squeezed in another season especially since you weren’t happy with how they hemmed and hawed early into the season over the school’s fate.

      Like

  2. Oh, this was a nice subtle change with the pros and cons way of reviewing this show.

    Other than that, everything you said was pretty much how I felt about this show. It was enjoyable just for the comedy and music and all that, but the story fell so flat.

    I honestly don’t know what I can expect with the movie, but hopefully it’ll at least be an entertaining ride as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you!

      Hmmm I liked the story, though. In fact, I leaned heavily towards the pros in this post. I just brought up the cons that I believed some people would feel towards the series.

      Hopefully the movie is at least as amusing as this season was, yeah!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahhhh, I apologize, I must’ve messed up while writing my comment. But you did successfully point out the cons that some people would agree with, such as me 😛

        I do want to talk about my predictions about the movie so maybe that’ll be something I’ll do in the future. I’d also love to discuss it with you too!! 😀

        Like

    1. Hmmm I wouldn’t say you agree with me considering I thought the story was fine. The story stayed on-course, followed a natural progression from what happened in the first season, and cashed in on the sentimental build-up during the last few episodes to have a touching conclusion.

      It’s the uneven characterization that irks me.

      Like

I-it's not like I want you to leave a comment or anything. B-baka.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s