After 13 amazing weeks, the end is sadly here.

Here’s my final review.


Final eps are so hard to watch, especially if it’s something you really, really love. This week marks the end of Love Live Sunshine, well for now at least because they’d be insane not to make another season. Did all of the girls hard work finally pay off? Did they get to shine as bright as they could on stage? Did they win Love Live? Let’s take a look.

So after all their hard work and practice, the girls of Aqours finally have their time to shine on the big stage in Tokyo. The first half of the ep is spent showing Chika and company practicing hard for the big performance. It’s during the hot summer days so they can’t practice all day, so they do some in the morning and some in the evening. The last thing they want is someone getting heat stroke or something.

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But as great as it is to have all this practice, what about the impending doom that is the school closing? How’s it going on that front? Well thanks to the power of Windows 10, Mari is able to inform the group, quite enthusiastically too, that the number is still at zero. Yes even though they put on such a great performance last time, they’re still at that dreaded zero. It’s the number that’s been chasing them for a long time and so far they can’t escape it. So even though the odds are stacked against them, Aqours continue to push forward and give it their all in hopes of turning that zero into a one.

Much like how Muse inspired Aqours, Aqours have inspired the other girls of the school to want to chip in and do something to save their school. I liked how proactive Chika’s classmates were in this ep, they were really moved when they heard Aqours were practicing every day during summer vacation and that really struck a cord with them. One of my favorite parts in this ep is when her classmate come to visit them after practice and tell Chika that there might be a lot of other girls who want to help out somehow to save the school. It doesn’t have to just be Aqours to handle everything, everyone goes to this school so they all want to pitch in and help out. But why doesn’t Riko look so thrilled about this?

Well as it turns out, there is a rule stating that only people entered into the competition are allowed to sing, so that means even though lots of girls from the school showed up in Tokyo, they can’t all come on stage with Aqours. What’s more is that this rule goes on to say they can’t be near the stage either. I’ll talk more about that later. So even though Chika’s plan to have a big group of girls sing won’t work out, they’ve still got all these girls cheering them off from the stands. With all that support Aqours will feel right at home.

Another part I loved about this ep was seeing all the girls preparing to go on stage. This is a big moment for each and every one of them. Everyone has worked so hard to get this point that they can’t believe it’s really happening. So after one final pep talk from Chika, the girls are ready to take the stage and show everyone just how good they really are.

The last part of this ep is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, their performance. And boy was it something special. Aside from the actual performance, I loved the dramatic retelling of how Aqours came to be. It was such a cool sequence and something that was totally fitting for Aqours. But once story time ended, it was time for the show to begin.

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Honestly it’s really hard to pick a favorite performance as they’re each so amazing. From Daisuki dattara Daijoubu! in ep 3 to the incredible Mijuku DREAMER in ep 9, each time the girls got on stage to sing and dance it was always an amazing sight. So while I was hoping for ages they’d sing Step! ZERO to ONE for the final song, they instead went with Mirai Ticket, which was extremely good and man did I love it. The music, the lyrics, the animation, the whole sequence really showed off just how amazing Aqours are and how hard they worked to get to that point. It was nice seeing all that practice pay off in one spectacular performance and honestly I’ve probably rewatched it a good 4 or 5 times now already. So good, absolutely love it.

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I also really liked how the return of Love Live Moms was present in this ep. We finally meet Chika’s mother along with Dia and Ruby’s, Yohane’s and Hanamaru’s mothers too. Riko’s mother is also at the performance too.

But were the ep falters slightly is after this. I was hoping for a bigger epilogue but we didn’t actually get much. Sure they finally turned that zero into a one… but now what? Did they save the school? It’s not even mentioned as the ep ends with a photo-op on the beach. Another thing that isn’t mentioned is how they did in the competition. That rule Riko talked about… anyone not performing wasn’t allowed near the stage, they kinda broke that rule and that’s got me thinking: were they disqualified? I mean sure they put on an amazing show, but rules are rules and there are consequences for breaking them. The lack of an epilogue here really hurts the ep as there needed to be something to kinda tie everything together by the end. There also isn’t much of a hook for another season here either, but honestly with a money-making machine like Love Live, it would be stupid not to make another season. But all that remains to be seen as so far I haven’t heard of another season. If there is though you can count on me to review it.

So overall while this ep wasn’t perfect, it hit pretty much all the right notes and it was a fitting end for this journey these girl went on to become school idols. I’d love to see them continue this journey and possibly meet someone from Muse along the way, but until another season is announced this is the end we’ll have to accept.

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Final Thoughts

You couldn’t ask for a bigger act to follow. Love Live is an absolute powerhouse that’s brought fans from around the world together for the past 6 years. It’s incredible when you think about how many millions of people these girls have reached and how big the fandom is. It makes me think of when I saw the Love Live movie in theaters, the atmosphere was something I’ll never forget. Being in a room with a bunch of Love Live fans watching that movie, it was such an incredible experience that I can’t really put it into words. So looking at Love Live Sunshine, they’ve got some massive expectations to fill and it’s pretty much nearly impossible to fill them. But nevertheless Aqours rose to the challenge and showed us what they’re made of.

As a whole I enjoyed Love Live Sunshine, and I’m not saying that just because I’m obsessed with the series. I liked it as the stand alone show that it is and I’m not going to compare it to the original as that’s a debate for another day. What I will say though is that I liked how they handled Muse for the most part. The references were nice here and there but at times they got too overbearing and they really needed to tone down. It’s great that they wanted to pay tribute to the legends, but there were moments where they went a bit too far and things felt far too similar. That’s probably the main overall problem with Love Live Sunshine, it strives to do its own thing but for the majority of the show they cling to Muse too much.

I’ve said it multiple times during my reviews, but Love Live Sunshine is at it’s best when they’re not using Muse as a crutch and are doing their own thing instead. Ep 8 comes to mind right away as the girls meet the harsh reality of school idols and Love Live. What made that so great is that it showed them they can’t keep blindly striving to be like Muse because it’s not going to work out the same way. But this didn’t really sink in until ep 12 rolled around and Chika finally realized that copying Muse isn’t being true to herself or Aqours. They need to forge their own path instead. It was great that they finally came to this realization, but honestly it was a little too late.

This was always the problem since it was first announced, but how would Love Live Sunshine be different from the original? I really just wanted it to be a show where we have a group of girls who are inspired by what Muse did and wanted to form their own idol group because of that. While that’s more or less what happened, it’s the part about the school closing that really throws everything off. It was such an unnecessary detail and it showed just an overall lack of creativity on the writers part. Why can’t the reason they want to be idols be because they just want to shine? They don’t need their school to be closing to be the reason and from the moment it was introduced in ep 6 I really was disappointed. I really believe they could’ve done something completely new and different if they tried and I really do think it would’ve worked too. We’ve seen the save-the-school-by-becoming-school-idols thing already, give us something different now. If there is another season I really hope they continue branching out and staying true to themselves instead of falling back to using Muse at every step.

So aside from the plot issues the characters are what really bring this show to life. Honestly I really enjoyed all the girls in Aqours. Yes Riko is still my top favorite, followed by Yohane, but overall each and every one of them is easy to love and ranking them will prove quite the challenge. It’s great though because even though I liked all the girls in Muse, I didn’t like them all as equally as I do with the Aqours girls. Not saying the Muse girls are bad though, they are the legends after all. I also liked how there was a seeming a lot more yuri in this compared to the original. That was a nice touch and going forward I hope this continues.

The music and animation of Love Live Sunshine were two more stellar aspects to this show. From the OP to the ED and all the insert songs and OST in between, Love Live Sunshine really did a fantastic job with the music and like I said it’s hard to really pick a favorite because they’re all so good. The animation is bright and colorful and yes the CG dance sequences are still a strong point to this show. Everyone hates them for various “reasons” but honestly there isn’t anything wrong with them at all. They look better than ever now and going forward they’ll continue this trend.

So looking back at these 13 weeks it’s sad that they’ve come to an end. Love Live will always be close to my heart and I really, really want to see more of Aqours and their journey in another season. I’d love for them to finally meet Muse or even just one member (like Maki!!) but most importantly I just want to see more Love Live. It’s been an incredible few months covering this anime and interacting with fans on Twitter and I’d love nothing more than having another season and getting to experience this once again. So while it was a bumpy first outing Aqours, by the end they were able to pull themselves together and finish in a high note. Even so though, there are issues with the anime throughout and lack of originality is probably what brings it down the most. Hopefully another season can fix this problem though as they’ve got something great to work with. So tallying everything all up now, the story, characters, music, animation and enjoyment, I’m giving Love Live! Sunshine!! a solid 8/10.

Aqours! Sunshine!


That’s all for Love Live Sunshine. Thanks for sticking with me for these past 13 weeks and I promise I’ll be back should this show get another season. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this ep and the show overall so leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter. I’ll be sure to reply as fast as I can.

So up next I’ll be back for the fall season to take a look at the second season of Hibike! Euphonium. You know what they say, KyoAni always finds a way. I hope you can join me for that as I’m pretty excited for it.

Alright then, this post is already way too long so I’ll end it here.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next season!

-Nick


Bonus Pic!

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