「2年生と1年生」 (Ninensei to Ichinensei)
“Second-years and First-years”
As is familiar with Love Live, any type of performance during a second season takes a backseat in order to deliver more character exposition between the girls. This time around focusing on the red Genki girl who seemingly is ashamed to talk about idols in public. Yoneme, Mei (Yabushima, Akane), and a serious blue-hair girl named Wakana, Shiki (Ookuma, Wakana) who has that inventor, quiet genius personality. I’m liking Shiki the most as even if she seems serious and socially distant from others, she pushes Mei to follow her dreams, even though Mei holds some type of walls against doing so. She says she’s not really interested in idols, but her stalker-like personality begs to differ.
Other than that, this episode really focused on trying to map out how difficult it’s going to be for Kinanko now going forward, the girls try to implement a regimen that only lasts one hour, but things don’t sit right with everyone, Kanon even doubts if it’s the right thing to do. I especially loved how she didn’t try to sugarcoat the reality of what their little idol club is, at the end there. Kinako won’t get bullied but she will get alienated, which so happens to be a contributing factor from her childhood, and when it comes down to it, people will show general concern but not really pay too much attention to her, leaving her to doubt herself if the other person really actually got the full picture or if they just made their own assumptions and moved on, headfast towards Kinako trying to explain.
People don’t really care, they have their own things to think about, they pity her for not being able to keep up, and are curious, throw up rumors and questions they might never really get an answer to. By joining the group Kinako became untouchable, and with her social skills, miscommunications are bound to happen. That’s why school idols most of the time in the Love Live universe, only form deep friendship bonds with others inside their own club, because only those walking alongside them in their idol path know the true hardships that come with wanting to train to win the coveted Love Live concert.
Why not just go and ask Kinako if she’s doing okay, this fake concern where they talk in whispers and drop the subject at their convenience doesn’t sit right with me, and has never done so. I’d rather people just go and ask her, have an honest conversation with her, and just show genuine concern, maybe they’re concerned that she’ll want to rope them into the club, and keep their distance because of that, I can only speculate at this point. However, I’ve always found this behavior strange, and hard to deal with, it’s a nuance, and then the worst is pretending not to have been concerned in the first place. Maybe I’m just projecting a little bit.
The second part of the episode featured prominently Mei and Shiki, as Kinako tries to earnestly invite her to join the school idol, all but a ruse set up by Shiki. It was good to see Kinako try so hard to get Mei to join even though Mei has not been exactly the best of friends with her, or given her a good first impression, it speaks volumes about how she was able to overcome that anxiety that generated because of Mei’s initial respond to them meeting eye to eye.
Kinako struggles to adapt and all of Leilla keeps a positive attitude but knows the risks that come with trying to keep up with such a hard idol regimen. However Kinako has already understood that and has taken it to heart that this is not going to be easy, winning this thing is not going to be easy, but they are going to do their best, and even if Kinako ends up alone as the first-first year and maybe possibly the only one, although the OP would beg to differ, then it’s no doubt Mei and Shiki will join the parade at some point, so to speak, as well as even that annoying vlogger girl. Out of the blue, a mysterious purple hair girl appears as probably a new rival. Is she a new Chinese idol here to take her solo debut as a school idol?! Only time will tell.
Even if there was no performance this week, it was interesting to see the dynamic of the girls grow and develop into forms that they have yet to become.
Full-length images: 36.
ED: 「追いかける夢の先で」 (Oikakeru Yume no Saki de) by (Liella!)