This week’s episode was rather bittersweet for me. Bittersweet solely for the fact that even though I want a second season, I think things ended so well that I think I could be satisfied even without one.
Quick Thoughts Before the Final Impression
Before we jump into the final impressions which is probably going to devolve into a talk about the three main groups that compromise Aqours (maybe four if I can find enough to talk about), can I just say just how amazing this final episode was? From the new found passion Aqours found to the retrospective that our girls gave us before their final performance of the season, there was almost nothing I could find wrong. It’s really a damn shame that this was the final episode since this would have been a perfect place for the show to finally hit its stride. In any case, let’s jump into that final impression where we’re all going to get sad thinking about all the great things that happened over the season!
Insert Song: Aqours – Mirai Ticket
For your viewing pleasure! Click the Spoiler Tag to open the video.
↓ Scroll Down for the Final Impressions! ↓
For a show that I thought would end up being a shameless spinoff of a successful series that’s experiencing tons of success both in the corporate and cosplay world, Sunshine’s first few episodes took that fear and curb stomped it into oblivion. With a new cast of characters that drew from their predecessors as they grew into their own unique selves, I never expected I’d love all of them as much as I did. Unlike the original series where I had some pretty big beef with certain characters (Sorry Kayo-chin, Nico, and Maki lovers), everyone in Sunshine had their own problems and insecurities that the story worked through in some form which led to just the right type of character development that made me fall in love with the entire Aqours cast.
Starting with the first years, I never thought that Hanamaru-zura-chan would end up being my number one favorite. I mean, literally, there’s absolutely nothing that I don’t like about her. She loves technology (or maybe you could say is impressed with it?), she eats and snacks all the time, she has that adorable zura~ catchphrase, AND she’s part ninja? Seriously, how could you stuff all this into a character and not have them turn into a complete mess? Sure, she might be the shortest in the group (this final episode did a fantastic job at highlighting that), but she packs so much attitude into everything she does that I can’t help but lover her. And don’t get me wrong – I also have a lot of love for the other first years as well! Ruby and Yoshiko both had their own unique charm points that almost won be over (but I’ll always be for zura-chan). Ruby filling the “cute” girl slot that any group needs while Yoshiko was the unexpected chuuni who totally rocked the part by constantly having me smile and cringe at the same time (she was also the reason we found out Hanamaru was part ninja).
Jumping to our second years and the first three members of the group, I must say that compared to Honoka, I can’t believe just how much Chika grew on me. Starting out as a simple Honoka clone that constantly moved at her own pace, she grew into this charismatic leader that grew from her failures and never let hardship rock her to the point where she lost her way. Especially when that hardship was hitting literal rock bottom and having the strength to not give up in the face of total defeat. Then you have You who sits at spot number two with Kanan in my books. Energetic enough to the point she could keep up Chika but grounded just enough to keep a watchful eye on her best friend, it was a pleasure to watch out costume designer whenever she got some screen time. That and her yosoroo catchphrase was awesome. Finally we have Riko who I honestly disliked right up until the last few episodes. Feeling like she was just coming along for the ride and not liking how she made You feel insecure with herself, I loved how both of these were addressed right at the end leaving me with a sense that instead of being a disrupting force, she truly became a great friend for both Chika and You.
Last but not least, we have our third years who managed to enter fray just before the show came to a close. And while I have some complaints with the “issues” they all had that led to the catastrophic meltdown of their friendship (misunderstanding and breakdowns in communication irk me), the resolution and payoff at the end of it all definitely did feel good. Of the three girls though, Kanan ends up as my favorite with Mari and Dia trailing close behind. I don’t know what it was, but before the series started I thought Kanan would have been my favorite. Something about the way she looks just clicked with me and had she not been part of the third-year drama arc, I think she would have had a good chance. With Mari and Dia though, their unique personalities and their dynamic in the group always rubbed me in just the right way. The former being the “oomph” of itjoke to get Aqours rolling and the latter being the tough love mom who turned into the doting mother, things wouldn’t be the same without the two around (and don’t even get me started on the DiaRuby combo moments!).
Now, even though Aqours only has nine members, I think it’s 10th member deserves a quick shout out. Comprising of the entire city and school that Aqours exists in, I never thought the story would integrate its side characters so well. With random classmates reappearing every now and then to the entire school showing up for one of Aqours’ most important performances, I just love how they weren’t pushed to the side in favor of trying to keep the show solely Aqours.
Overall, I think Sunshine managed to capture everything that I loved about the original Love Live and changed things up just enough to really transcend into being a proper sequel that I wanted. With loveable characters and a story that was filled with all kinds of emotions, I’m really sad that it’s all coming to an end. But with the hopes of a second season and more new songs constantly coming out on SIF EN (School Idol Festival, the Love Live Game), I’ll be patiently waiting for another chance to watch our new girls do their thing as they hopefully make it to the grand stage known as Love Live. Also, thanks to all of you loyal viewers who’ve been coming back week after week to catch the posts. It’s been fun interacting with everyone and I hope you’ll be back if we get anymore Love Live!
Anyways, I’ll see you guys around the bend when the Fall Season rolls around. See you yosoroo-zura-itjoke!