Two Seasons of Love Live In A Row
From Spring 2022 to Summer 2022, we had one season of Love Live to another. As a person who has recently gotten into Love Live, but has watched all of them, it was pretty exciting stuff to think about. Especially considering that both of the shows, Nijigasaki and Superstar, are the interesting and experimental sort of Love Live series after the og came around and Sunshine helped to create that sort of plot from the original into pretty standard love live. So how does Love Live stop becoming stale? By stretching out a bit and that’s what happened.
Especially since both anime series took a different direction. Nijigasaki focused on individual groups while having a much larger cast of characters. It was based on a mobile game after all, so I suppose that makes sense in some ways. In the meantime, Superstar originally started with five cast members instead of nine, which shook out a lot of the formula and allowed some deeper exploration into the characters and created some unique scenarios too. So here we are to discuss Nijigasaki Season 2 in this post and Superstar Season 2 on Friday.
Season 2 Adventures
This season immediately follows the adventures of Nijigasaki Season 1. The School Idol Club is about to have another performance at the Nijigasaki school festival. Everything was going to go according to plan for these girls to advertise themselves to the school by providing their promotional video. This is also the season when two transfer students, one from China and one from the United States, show up to cause a little havok or just create some good stories. To provide time for the little bit, Lanzhu, the one from China, sings a song all about herself and creates an instant image of herself as a solo idol. All with songs by the other student, Mia Taylor.
So that is the conflict of the show at the beginning. Lanzhu and her solo idling versus Yuu and the others at the school idol club. Especially since Lanzhu is not one of those people who believes in team work or believes in anything that You is trying to do. The School Idol Club assembles their own idol units to show Lanzhu up and that is how the story goes. Same with Mia Taylor who is a solo person who works her music just to get attention through Lanzhu herself. This is a season of dreams being raised up to or challenged because some characters are a group of self decided failures who don’t think they have the skills to achieve anything at all.
Lanzhu, Mia, Shioriko’s Reveal
I think the most disappointing thing for me, and a lot of other people, was that Lanzhu didn’t end up as the heel we expected her to be. She showed up in the first episode with this strong “I will destroy the School Idol Club” act and a very powerful song, but she didn’t stay strong with her convictions in the way one would expect. Instead, Lanzhu turned out to be the biggest idol tsundere ever, which is quite a feat to be sure. Especially regarding Yuu. Especially with her gathering of so much love live gear and showing up to each of the girl’s performances when not doing her own. She pretends to be this solo person who could change anything until she realized she was the reason why The School Idol Club changed so much and thus joined them all easily. Emotional to be sure, but it dulled a lot of the show for me too.
Shioriko and Mia both had a similar story handled in different ways, which can be a little too repetitive too. For instance, Mia and Lanzhu worked together in some ways right? Especially since Mia is an exceptional song writer who barely shows up to the music class that Yuu is in and still aces it. That exceptional American student who can do it all, but apparently not singing until the club coaxes the silent person into the group. On the other hand, Shioriko is another one of those hard working people in the student council who could be an idol, but didn’t think she could go with it until she is talked into it too by lots of people. Kind of a theme here too. Hmmm.
The School Idol Club Stories
Working and collabing together is definitely the major theme of this season. Who would have guessed that would happen in a show formed by solo idols. Yuu, our main protagonist, kind of goes through the same thing after she joins the music department. She spends a lot of nights staying up late for musical results that are barely passing. Lanzhu actually showed worry for Yuu in her own way and Yuu did start putting more of her own music on stage with a lot of Mia’s help too. So yeah, Mia unwillingly helped Yuu with minimal help later on. Or the girls in the idol club worrying about her. I don’t think she really resolved her difficulty in class, but she did at leat find a support system which she built herself. Very important.
The other girls created more dynamics between themselves by forming idol units of two, three, or four people each. Especially since these are characters we didn’t see interact with each other a lot in season one. QU4RTZ is a unit of Kasumi, Rina, Emma, and Kanata and they are a lot of fun. DiverDiva is another one formed by Karin and Ai which is a group formed with rivalry energy. A*Zu*Na is formed by Setsuna, Ayumu, and Shizuka and is a much more cinematic and rivalry group. (Oh, there is that part where Setsuna revealed her inner superman by showing she is the president of the student council and an idol). R3BIRTH is formed by Lanzhu, Mia, and Shioriko because they didn’t want to be held behind. This club really did change a bit.
So yeah, I feel like in general the show just does this towards the end and it is quite an emotional sort of release with the celebration of different idols. I just feel like with all the school idol aspects and mentioning that the Love Live does exist in this show and some of them might go after it next season, it’s kind of lackluster. Especially after the first season ended with all sorts of Idol concerts, everyone performing together in their own song felt just pretty typical Love Live which this series was trying not to be in the first place. Not to mention that Lanzhu didn’t act as strong as she did because she actually had a heart. Which isn’t a bad thing, just not good for a story perspective. Man.
Finishing Love Live Nijigasaki
The most disappointing thing in regards to this season compared to the last one is that the visuals of this season just weren’t good. I mean, this anime series did feature all sorts of idol characters with wonderful designs and colors with heights and everything. There are a lot of cool and beautiful outfits too with some fluid animation with the idol scenes. They really lost a lot of their luster though. There is good singing and direction, but the visual depth of all of those scenes in random idol metaphors and such just weren’t there. It made the show just feel a bit more empty then I would have liked it to be. Maybe I am asking for a little too much for an anime industry that has been deeply damaged by Covid-19. Hmmm.
In general, this is a good show. Started out strong and slowly became about these girls who do work together after being separated in the first season. I suppose that ends this show all together in ways that the individual idols one wouldn’t believe in season 1. I’m glad it happened, but it was at a cost of just having a lot more chaos and fun through Lanzhu herself and the others. Something which is ok, but kind of left a lot of materials and other things behind for it too. Still worth watching if Nijigasaki’s first season really helped you to enjoy it so much.