The Spring 2022 Preview Guide
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club Season 2

How would you rate episode 1 of
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (TV 2) ?
Community score: 4.3

What is this?

Nijigasaki High School is known for their diverse subjects and the freedom they give to students. Second-year student Yu Takasaki has been turned on to the charms of school idols, so she knocks on the door of the School Idol Club with her friend, Ayumu Uehara. Sometimes friends, sometimes rivals, the members of this club each contribute their own thoughts and motivations to the group.

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is the latest entry in the Love Live! franchise and streams on Crunchyroll on Saturdays.

How was the first episode?

Nicholas Dupree

I've gathered from fandom murmurings that, among the Love Live! canon, Nijigasaki is considered a bit of a black sheep. There are lots of reasons why: unlike the other three series in the franchise, it's a spinoff adapting the story of (one of) the mobile games rather than an original production. Instead of having a full-sized idol unit, the characters each perform solo, and the first season mostly consists of dedicated character episodes just to introduce us to this herd of school idols. It's also got a decidedly more laidback tone compared to the mainline shows, which can definitely be a bit of a disappointment if you're coming off the melodramatic highs of the original series or Sunshine. I get it. But at the same time Nijigasaki has charms of its own, and I was excited to get back to its particular brand of School Idolotry before Superstar comes back this summer.

And we're already off to a great start as this season premiere delivers something no other entry has given us so far: a full-on School Idol Rival. Yes, there was Arise and Saint Snow and Sunny Passion previously, but they were more like mentors than outright competitors – friendly new characters who could help our fledgling idols along the way and act as a benchmark for their future success. Not so for Lanzhu, who arrives fresh off a plane from Hong Kong to declare her bid for idol supremacy. She does so with unmatched style and confidence too, delivering one of Nijigasaki's iconic music video-style musical numbers with the flare of a true born mega star. She's essentially Nico Yazawa with the resources and power to back up her ambition, and that means a full song with lyrics like “The world revolves around me” and “That's how perfect I am, ah!” with the spectacle to back it up. A full blown School Idol Egomania has come to run wild over the Nijigasakids.

I gather that Lanzhu is a divisive character among fans of the mobile game, and she could very well turn irritating depending on how the show handles her, but as of right now I absolutely love this smug girl. She exudes the kind of energy you get from the best pro wrestling heels, and I think there's a lot of promise in having an actual antagonist for our crew of do-gooder school idols to go up against.

Outside of that introduction, this is otherwise business as usual for the Nijigasaki crew. Everyone's here to show off their defining gimmick once or twice, there's some shipteasing between various members, and we get some always-wonderful Kasumin faces to go along with it all. It's standard stuff meant to lead into Lazhu's introduction, and outside of the fanservice of putting the whole club in sharp-looking suits again, there's not much to it. These characters are all exactly who they were at the end of last season.

That's fine for now, but it's also something I hope this new season can address. We know all of these characters and their gimmicks pretty well – the whole first season was dedicated to that – but now we have a chance to see them develop and get fleshed out beyond that like previous Love Live! sequel seasons. If Lanzhu can help spur that, then she'll be a plenty worthy addition to the cast, and if she can't at least she'll look cool doing it.

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