Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club ?
Alright we'll get to the meat of this episode in a moment, but first we need to discuss the elephant in the student council office. There's something rotten in the state of Nijigasaki and her name is NANA Nakagawa. Or should I say Setsuna Yuki? That's right, not only is the student council president keeping a secret life moonlighting as a School Idol under an assumed name, she's now using her position to try and fast track Pro-Idol legislation. Thankfully the rest of the Student Congressional Panel managed to stop this bald-faced effort to subvert school democracy, but this is still an obvious attempt at using her political station to enrich herself and her personal interests. Therefore I propose President Nakagawa has violated the emoluments clause of our student constitution and should be impeached and removed from office. I cede the rest of my speaking time. #LegalizeIt.
But enough about politics. Right now the Nijigasakids are busy trying to figure out how in the hell they're actually going to organize an enormous music festival on the budget of a high school theater club, and also find what venue could house three-dozen or so idols and all their fans. The solution is classic Love Live! schmaltz, as all the various clubs and fans at the school come together to help make it work and inspire Yu to not choose a single venue, but instead expand the concerts across the whole city. I assume her next step after that will be to establish military control of Tokyo and declare it the independent School Idol Republic, because that's only barely more ambitious than trying to arrange a multi-venue music festival across an entire city as an 11th grader. Granted this is the universe where girls can sing thunderstorms away, but still, maybe you're getting a little too ambitious with all this, girls.
Ayumu would seem to agree with me, but that's mostly due to some serious hangups she's carrying around her neck. Last episode she was obviously uncertain about where the Idol Club, and Yu in particular, was heading, but this episode that uneasiness finally simmers over into full-on anxiety. Not only is Yu dedicating so much of her time to this project, but it has her working closely with Setsuna seemingly constantly. And they seem so close and casual and they keep looking into each other's eyes and oh my god Yu's been learning the piano in secret and performing midnight serenades for Setsuna that HUSSY. Oh god they're totally cheating aren't they?
Joking aside (Barely, really. This is about as close as you can get to the line of romantically coding a relationship without actually pulling the trigger.), the outburst we get from Ayumu as this all comes to a head does a lot to show me where she's coming from. Her original stated reason for becoming a School idol was to reclaim the cutesy, childish side of herself she felt ashamed of, but that's always felt a little too simple, and that's because it's only part of her motivation. In truth, Ayumu wanted Yu to look at her with the same passion and adoration she had for her newfound obsession, and for a little while it actually worked. But now it's not anymore. Yu seemingly has a dream to connect to the whole wide world of school idols, to witness all of the Nijigasaki club on stage shouting out their love, but Ayumu only ever wanted to be the idol of a single person. It's a legitimately fraught scene because you can see all of this bunny girl's pent up fears and anxieties leaking out before it breaks the dam entirely in a messy hug-tackle and a begging plea for Yu to “belong” to her.
Frankly I have no idea where these two go from here, save for a massively awkward club meeting next episode. But that's actually a good thing – most other Love Live! seasons have an obvious emotional arc where one or both of the involved parties just has to be honest about their feelings. Not so for Yu and Ayumu, who are seemingly at an impasse over what they want to do with themselves. It's still likely this will all be resolved by everyone coming together and talking about what they love about school idols or whatever, but at least for now this feels like a much more robust conflict than, say, Kotori moving to France. Nijigasaki has proven before it can handle itself just fine though, so I'm giving it some good faith.
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is currently streaming on Funimation. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.
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