「もう一度、あの場所で」 (Mō Ichido, Ano Basho de)
“Once More, at That Place”
Fun fact I just found out today, Love Live! Superstar!! Air’s on NHK E (E standing for Educational) which broadcast informational, enriching, educational, or intellectual programming. NHK E can be compared to something like PBS in the United States, and to a lesser extent to BBC 2 and BBC 4 in the UK. And even maybe Télé-Québec, although the former I believe is french based. It makes sense since Superstar was delayed two times, once for the Olympics and two for the Paralympics. NHK being the license holder to broadcast both. Notwithstanding, it’s a fun fact I wanted to share today with you. It’s fascinating to think that Superstar is airing on what’s supposed to be a cultural broadcaster. NHK E does occasionally air anime, so it’s not unheard of, after all, Superstar at its core is about trying to be the very best self of yourself. And serves as a small reminder that even anime can be considered culture by the right people.
I won’t bore you with more unnecessary details. The episode itself starts with Leilla figuring out if they made it into the Love Live which of course they did, but they find out first through a text message sent by Sunny Pa, the website had crashed and it wasn’t loading, when it finally does, all of them give a jump and hug each other because of their excitement. In particular, coincidence or not, Kanon is back to being in the middle, a return to form making her the center once more. Both literally and metaphorically. Homing the idea visually by literally placing her in the middle of the group, she’s the one who keeps the group glued together after all.
This whole episode centered around Kanon, as Leilla gets called into the principal’s office to perform at their old grade school, this brings memories to Kanon that maybe she doesn’t want to relieve, it’s because she’s in Leilla that her anxiety and stage fright goes away, so the rest of the group devices a plan, let Kanon go at it alone so that she can burst out of her bubble and realize that she’s actually capable of singing, she just needs to believe in herself. And even though they bamboozled her and made her do it all by herself, I think Kanon in the end understood that they were doing it for their own good and was surprised when Chisato jumped on stage with her. The rest of the cast quickly follows suit and jumps on stage with her as well.
I was pleasantly surprised to hear the vocal warmups were actually good, the girls harmonized and became one voice unity like a choir. Music anime can sometimes be a little cringe because the la-la-la song gets overly used when a character needs to do some vocal warmups or just do an impromptu song. They expect the VA to harmonize on the spot, but that all depends on how good the VA’s singing voice is, and how well trained they are. If they’re classically trained or have a modern foundation under their wings. Sometimes it can be a little bit cringe, but thankfully here it is not the case, the girls sounded perfect harmonizing together, their vocal ranges sounding really good!
Lots of heartfelt moments sprinkled here and there, Kanon having a genuine moment with her sister about how her personality when she was little and Kanon having an ardent flashback sounding on the poetic with herself, except it was like she was talking to her younger self. It really explained why Kanon has so much anxiety and stage fright, she froze as a child and has never been able to get over it, although Leilla has helped her get past it, and now I think finally she has her stage fright under control. It’s hard being an idol that performs happy songs all of the time, never being able to express any other emotions. That’s the Japanese idol’s scene for you, people want the produced, the cute, the formed, not the expressed, the raw, or unreformed. They want to see professionals at work, but being a musical performer is something akin to being an Olympic athlete. Sometimes it’s good to see those who have yet to be crushed by the corpo’s, but seeing someone get on stage who has no talent, can be disturbing, to say the least.
I liked this episode, it allowed Kanon to find closure on her anxieties and be able to form new bonds for her teammates, knowing they had to push Kanon to do this solo act since the new theme is a solo performance during the brand-new song. Another difficult assignment. And without making a fuss the whole of Leilla silently agreed that Kanon should be the one who should stand up for the group itself.
Join us next week for the season finale of Love Live! Superstar!!