Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
Episode 12

by Nicholas Dupree,

How would you rate episode 12 of
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club ?

Change can be absolutely terrifying. Even if it's not inherently negative, a sudden and drastic shift in what was once “normal” can send someone reeling from the shock of it. That anxiety is at the heart of everything Ayumu's been doing (and not doing) across this story arc – she can sense a change in both herself and Yu, and some paranoid entity in her gut has been screaming that this can only be for the worse. So even when her own feelings get the best of her with her midnight confession, her first instinct is to jump back and pretend it never happened. Yu wants to talk about it and hash things out? Nah, let's just walk to school like always, and ignore the whole begging you to “only be mine” thing. Why yes I'm linking our arms while we head to school but that's just so I can make sure I'm exactly where I always have been and always will be. No reason.

It's a remarkably familiar kind of mental trap to get stuck in. The thought of something is so upsetting that you just ignore it, because so long as nobody acknowledges it, nothing will happen, right? Right??? Of course that's never the case, and time flows on for everyone regardless of how they feel about it. For Ayumu that means the School Idol Festvial is inching ever closer, at once something she's committed to for her dream of being a school idol for Yu and the biggest representation of the inevitable shift in her life that she desperately wants to ignore. So she does what any teenager would do when they're obligated to do something they're not sure of – hem and haw about it with noncommittal shrugs and answers that sound enthusiastic but don't actually move things forward. I've praised this show for how grounded it can be with its character writing, and that scene of Ayumu going “Oh, yeah, sure, that all sounds great” through a meeting about her own concert is maybe the most real-to-life depiction of a high schooler in all of Love Live! history.

Though thankfully the resolution to all this comes this episode – as engaging as this drama has been we didn't need to drag it out across another week – when Setsuna finally gets Ayumu to open up about all the feelings that have been fermenting inside her. Initially it seemed a little strange that Setsuna would be the one to unlock this, but it makes sense once it's clear that the jealousy and insecurity was never really about her to begin with. It was all about Ayumu's fear that she was changing, and how opening herself up to the love of her fans besides Yu could make them drift apart. And in classic romance anime fashion, Yu's ready with a beautiful venue for their wedding her concert, complete with a special flower ensuring her that whatever the future and their separate dreams may hold, the way they feel about each other will never change. It's cheesy, it's corny, and by god is it sweet to see them hug it out and walk home hand-in-hand.

So with that wrapped up, we've got the entire final episode to be one big Idolpalooza, presumably with the other 8 members getting their own musical numbers since Ayumu can't be the only person to get 2. I have no idea if that'll make for a compelling episode of television, but if Nijigasaki wants to do a victory lap after this conclusion, I'm willing to give it to them. Besides, I'm not going to scoff at the chance for another Setsuna song.


Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is currently streaming on Funimation.
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