Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie – Over the Rainbow

This is one of those movies that has such an absurdly long title that I just didn’t add a caption to it. To make fun of a cliché, this isn’t even a light novel title, it’s just the title of the movie. I remember sitting in the Funimation panel at Sakuracon 2019 watching the trailer for it and laughing when the title of the movie appeared on screen. Admittedly, I didn’t even watch sunshine or didn’t feel open to watching pure idol anime at that point, so that could have been on me. But anyway, yes, another school focused anime film of this week. I feel like this film is the anithesis of the Sound! Euphonium movie in a lot of ways. At least in how I think about it. If Oath’s Finale had a missing spark to it, Over the Rainbow was about finding it again so it only makes sense that I would follow one with the other.

As you would expect, this film takes place after the end of the second cour of Sunshine!! The Aqours won Love Live, Uranohoshi Girl’s School is closed down, the third years are gone and lost somewhere in Italy, and the first and second years from Uranohoshi are forced to go to a branch school instead of a main school. Obviously to create drama, things are starting off on the wrong foot. Then again, it wouldn’t be as good if everything was always on the right foot now would it? This is a film with two plots and two goals that are loosely connected to each other: Seeing the third years off while they are on “vacation” so a bit of a road trip movie around Italy and finding their own footing again so the Aqours can continue. As expected, the two halves work together very well.

While the younger members of the Aqours (Riko, Chika, Yuu <- 2nd years, Yoshiko, Hanamura, and Ruby <- First Years) wondering around Italy in a puzzle game to find the third years (Mari, Dia, and Kanan) was a lot of fun based on how goofy these girls and how their personalities click with the settings and each other as they try to find the third years to get their answers on how to continue the Aqours after the fact. At the same time, this was more Mari’s portion of the movie. Mari’s mother set the younger Aqours after her to convince Mari to do what she wants her to do. How was this solved? Singing. Singing to show how strong she is and Mari’s mother inevitably leaves when she accepts her daughter’s wishes.

The second portion of the movie is at home and followed the Saint Snow too. How is this strength found? Through a small concert that led to thousands of followers and eventually the closing of the branch school so the former Uranohoshi School Members can actually go to their new main school. The power of song is strong and it does make me wonder how the Aqours are going to move forward after finding their spark? Also, I think it’s kind of amazing after being separated for so long everyone can just dance in formation so easily. But then, each person has practiced together for a long time though, right and are supposedly award winning? After a while, it must be natural to just sing and dance with each other in designated ways.

What gets me the most in Over the Rainbow and Love Live!! Sunshine! in general is how lacking of cynicism it is. I think that’s the main point of contention for a lot of people when it comes to supposed “moe and slice of life” series, but it works for a world like Love Live! It takes place in a world where people can believe in the power of song. A world where people can be swayed by listening to passionate music and how hard a person just wants to sing and dance for their lives even if everything is against them. I do think that it’s one of those things that can boost one’s will to believe in Humanity. Also, not every show needs to be the same where characters have to fight it out all the time and not all songs turn into laser weapons.

On a visual level, I think that a lot of parts of this film look like the Sunshine! anime, so not much of an adjustment there. Each character design looks the same without much adjustments, they dance their complicated dances the way they usually do, and other things. The visuals are expanded by additional scenery. I don’t mean just replicating Rome’s fantastical land marks and city streets in a lot of ways that most anime does not. Even with crows all over the place that move watch these weird girls do these weird things. There are lots of cool top of the building shots and things like that. Such a fun time all around for sure!

I think Over the Rainbow is my favorite portion of all of Love Live!! Sunshine! because of how honest and fun it is without each episode of the show moving in one direction or another without committing. I still really liked Sun Shine though, but it wasn’t perfect. The movie itself was so good and straight forward with what it set out to achieve. I kind of wish that both seasons of Sunshine could have been movies because they would have been much clearer and more concise that way while still maintaining the good parts. With that, I am just going to give Over the Rainbow a solid. It just makes sense to me. With this, I also plan on watching the newest Love Live season soon to see what it’s like because I heard it was different. I guess I am a small idol fan now and that’s ok.

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