Love Live! Sunshine!! Episode 26
by Bamboo Dong,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Love Live! Sunshine!! (TV 2) ?
It's here. The last day of school. The last time that Uranohoshi Girls' High School will ever exist. Once the students are gone and the anime is over, it will vanish. But like all memories, it'll live on just a little while longer—until an eventual movie comes out (why wouldn't it?), until all the scripted adventures in the Love Live! mobile game come out, until every last Love Live! Sunshine!! fan stops tapping at the game or re-watching the series.
For the students, this day is about accomplishments. The third years are graduating and embarking on their new lives. By the time the last day has rolled around, most of the school has been emptied of its things. The cubbies and shelves are bare, the club rooms are empty. Curiously, the students have meticulously cleaned every last inch of the school, leaving behind shiny gym floors and spotless fixtures. It doesn't seem necessary, considering the school is slated for demolition—or at least it seems so, since Mari has given the green light for all the students to splash the outer walls with paint. But I guess it's respect for the halls that educated them for so long, even if the outside will basically be marked with AQOURS WUZ HERE.
I was kind of hoping the show would never resolve who won the Love Live. It might've been fun to never know and speculate forever. But we're given the good news—Aqours are the current Love Live school idol champions. Somehow though, that victory is dwarfed by everything else happening at the school that day, which feels right. The girls have brought home a giant flag, but there's nowhere to put it, no school trophy case to put it in. And whatever great thing they accomplished that day already feels like part of another era. Since then, bigger things have happened—the third years have finalized their future plans, finals have been studied for and taken, and most importantly, Riko has a dog named Prelude. And I guess Shiitake had some puppies, which is honestly kind of weird, but whatever.
Still, while the last day of school is supposed to be a happy occasion, it's hard watching the girls say goodbye. Several scenes choked me up pretty good, like when Hanamaru wanted Ruby and Yohane to help her close the door to the library. Or when Riko played the piano for the last time. Or when someone scrawled “Thank you” on a chalkboard. Or basically every two minutes, but especially when the Aqours members helped each other close the gates to the school.
But life events are rarely black and white. Things that end don't disappear overnight, not as long as you have people who can still say, “Hey, remember when…?” And so Chika finds herself chasing after a paper airplane, headed toward the school. When she gets there, she finds the gates ajar. As she walks around, we get audio flashbacks of the things that have transpired since the beginning of the series. There's a surprise waiting at the end, though. All the students have gathered in the gym for one last concert, including all the members of Aqours. Fittingly, they choose to sing “Aozora Jumping Heart,” the opening theme from the first season of Love Live! Sunshine!!. More importantly, the video we get focuses on the girls in their school uniforms, because while they've had a bevy of colorful and fantastic costumes as school idols, they have always been students of Uranohoshi first and foremost. Cue the waterworks again.
In the end, we never get to see what the new uniforms look like. That's probably for the best.
Love Live! Sunshine!! is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Bamboo will be retreating under the covers until they announce more Love Live!. Follow her on Twitter at @ANN_Bamboo.
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