Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
by Nicholas Dupree,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club ?
Last week I wondered, with the only real conflict resolved and every obstacle towards the festival removed, how could this last episode even try to have a story outside of “and then everyone performed and it was great.” Turns out, they didn't really need to. “School Idol Festival (The Place Where Everyone's Dreams Come True)” may sound like a Fall Out Boy song title with all the sarcasm scrubbed off, but it's mostly a victory lap for Nijigasaki's freshman season and one last chance (for now) to let the cast just be their goofy selves.
You've got your standard fare, like Emma inviting kids on stage for her performance, and Karin needing handlers to keep her from getting lost between changing venues. Then there's more refined advances in Idol Technology like Kanata's naptime concert or Rina challenging her audience to fighting games. But the real show stopper is Setsuna, Kasumi, and Shizuka combining their powers to put on a full tokusatsu stage show. It only makes sense that Idol Gremlin Kasumin would eventually make the evolution into Idol Villain, and I wish nothing but the best for this evil, adorable little monster. We also get plenty of ship-teasing moments between several of the characters that, while not indispensable for any of them, make for nice extra moments to extrapolate on some of their previous focus episodes. I mean c'mon, Shizuku giving Kasumi that hair clip to power up her Cuteness Levels is just adorable.
There is, technically, some conflict in this episode when a sudden rainstorm forces the whole event to pause, pushing their big final performance past the deadline for the venues the club reserved. Now this is certainly an issue, especially since weather-controlling idol demigoddess Honoka Kosaka has seemingly disappeared into the great beyond after graduating high school, but it lasts all of about 1 minute of screentime before being resolved. Turns out yes, a big venue like this isn't going to double-book concerts and can make allotments for weather issues, so going past your 7 o'clock deadline isn't actually that big a deal. So the big final number can go off without a hitch as the entire school idol club takes the stage to declare their dedication as members of Yu Takasaki's harem. All-in-all it's a sweet moment, and it's pretty neat to see the club come together as a team just because they want to sincerely thank one of their members for all she's done for them. There's no word yet on if Nijigasaki will be getting another season, but if this really is the animated conclusion for these characters, it's a fine one to end on.
Overall Nijigasaki has been a pretty fun experience. I don't know if it ever totally captured the sheer goofball energy of its predecessors, but honestly I appreciate the choice to do something at least a little different from the rest of the franchise. Lord knows trying to capture the lightning of Love Live for a third time, with totally new staff, would have likely ended in a disaster. I have a few complaints – Emma and Ai still feel rather underwritten, and for as much as she plays into the early drama Setsuna fades into the background too much for my liking – but on the whole I'd consider this series a rousing success. The varied musical styles and fantastic CG work on display are huge steps forward in their own right, and make me really excited to see what Love Live can pull off next. This series and franchise have been consistent bright spots during some very trying times, and whether it's at Nijigasaki or someplace totally different, I'm very much ready to live for love again.
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is currently streaming on Funimation.
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