Love Live! School Idol Project S2

February 7, 2015

When you have saved your school from closure, what else is there for an idol group formed to just do that as their initial goal? It will be a total waste for them to disband so I guess since they are already here, why not give it a shot and try their hands at Love Live again? And yeah. This is what the second season is mostly going to be. But wait a minute. Didn’t they fail to enter the last time? Well, it’s back by popular demand! Wohoo! I figure that is why we are having a second season. After all, this is going to be their last time together. Gasp! Last time together? What are you saying?! Oh girls, even if this will be your last performance together, you will always be in our hearts, right? Well, if you are a big fan of them. I’m not ;p.

Episode 1
Thanks to the increase in enrolment, Otonokizaka Academy will continue to operate and take in new students next year. Hooray! Honoka has been installed as the new student council president and why, we even have a musical version of it as she sings her way through the school corridors and fields! It might just be her imagination because the moment she took the microphone to address the crowd, she forgot all her lines. Now she can’t laze around since Umi is being as strict to get the jobs done. This is going to be tough work… Never knew the student council was going to be lots of work, eh? Hanayo stumbles upon some shocking information. She gathers everyone and they run around everywhere in school trying to find Honoka. After all that running that could have made them great marathon runners, they finally find her and relay the shocking news: There is going to be another Love Live! Thanks to the popularity of the last one (which was won by A-Rise), this time the competition won’t be based on popularity rankings and will go by regions. Think of it like those sports anime, inter-high competitions of each region will slug it out before the top teams qualify for the Nationals-cum-finals. Their hopes are extinguished when they realize they have to fight A-Rise for a spot in the next round. They’re from the same Tokyo region and this is the most competitive idol region across Japan. This sucks. Well, you’ll never know if you don’t try. Just when everyone gets hyped up to join, here comes Honoka pouring cold water on it. She doesn’t think they have to participate. Say what?! This is an atrocity! They interrogate her and her it seems she is more than happy to sing and dance together. They don’t need some fancy competition, right? After all, their goal of keeping the school alive has been achieved. So to prove her point, she takes her groupies to hang out with her after school. See how fun this is? Erm…

Of course the rest cannot accept this as competing in Love Live has been their dream and they believe Honoka must be overwhelmed by her student council duties. Honoka’s sister, Yukiho is also appalled she doesn’t want to enter. She hints that she and Arisa will enter Otonokizaka next year in April, the same time this next Love Live will start. You know what this means? One rainy day, Niko challenges Honoka to a race to climb the stairs. If Honoka wins, they’ll not participate in Love Live. Niko makes a great start (by getting a head start) but trips. Then the rest tell her the seniors like Eri, Nozomi and Niko won’t have time anymore and since Love Live is only open to students, do you know what this means? If they miss it, that’s it. Even if they get eliminated in the preliminaries, at least they can say they tried their best. After all the motivating talk by her friends, Honoka is back to her usual self and agrees to join. Honoka then becomes God. GOD?! Because she is so happy that she yells to the Heavens for the rain to stop and it did!!! F*CKING HELL, NO WAY!!! The sun is even shining through the clouds! What does this mean? As long as you’ve got the determination, you can do anything! Even stopping the rain?

Episode 2
First obstacle… For the next Love Live, they cannot use songs they have sung. That means only new songs because if so, many will be covering songs of professional idols. Everyone turns to Maki… Oh no. What does this mean? Another training camp! Maki is such a rich girl that in last season they went to her beach villa. Now they go to her other villa in the mountains! Everyone is so captivated by the scenery that they forgot to wake up Honoka who was left sleeping in the train! Nobody even noticed… So in the villa, Maki will be composing songs, Umi writing lyrics and Kotori designing their dresses in their respective rooms. However the pressure is getting to them… Writer’s block? We take a slight detour when a squirrel steals Niko’s wristband. Along with Rin, they couldn’t stop running downhill and amazingly miss all the trees and bushes. Am I playing some sort of platform video game here? Eventually they fall into a river. Back at the villa, the rest notice how quiet it is. Then they realize. Maki, Umi and Kotori have escaped! They’re sighing outside! Oh, the depression! I guess the pressure got to them. So it is decided they split into groups and help them out. Eri and Niko will help Maki compose songs. Honoka and Hanayo will help Kotori with the designs while Nozomi and Rin will assist Umi. Despite the luxurious villa, they have to spend their time outdoors in the wild and as far away as possible. No distractions? But seriously… They’re already facing some hitch. Because the temptation to sleep for Honoka and Hanayo is too great to resist! Rin cannot believe she has to do mountain hiking since Umi is such a big crazy climber. How many more mountains will they climb? And Eri has a fear of the dark… So well, it doesn’t seem any progress is made as we see the groups soaking in the hotspring, lying outside watching the stars and having campfire roast potato. Eventually Maki, Kotori and Umi couldn’t sleep and walk back to the villa where they finally find their groove. Next morning, the girls return to the villa and find the trio asleep. At least there is some progress. When they return, they start practising and Niko suddenly realized she has been had. That damn squirrel still got her wristband!

Episode 3
Due to the large number of participants, each idol team can choose a venue for their performance which will be uploaded live on the internet. However they only have one shot at it. Although the top 4 schools of each region will advance, Muse is disheartened to know they still have to face A-Rise. What’s the big deal? So what if they are guaranteed top spot? There are remaining 3 spots, right? As they need to stand out and attract viewers, the topic of sexy dress comes into discussion. Umi and Eri stand for it and might be willing to drop out! Oh no you don’t! First thing to do to garner support is to broadcast throughout their school their ambitions and goals. Umi and Hanayo are also made to do their introductions since they are naturally shy. Then Honoka had to scream into the microphone to rev up everyone. Did your eardrums explode? They go searching around the school for a venue they had not performed before. Zilch. Looks like they performed everywhere. They can’t do it in Akihabara since it is A-Rise’s turf and doing so is like declaring war. While the girls are admiring the promo video of A-Rise outside their school, UTX High School, suddenly the group leader of A-Rise, Tsubasa Kira takes Honoka by the hand and runs into school! Is this some sort of abduction?! The rest go after them and they meet the other A-Rise members, Erena Toudou and Anju Yuuki who welcome them to their school. Hanayo wants their autograph…

A-Rise mentions they know all about Muse since they have been keeping an eye on them since they can feel they are a team of rare calibre. They note Honoka in particular who is shining brightest out of the 9 of them. They know Muse so well that they can explain each of their good traits! What are they stalker?! Maybe except for Niko… Doesn’t she have any good traits? Maybe… Thanks for the flowers. Niko was a big fan of A-Rise before Muse was formed. A-Rise doesn’t hesitate to say they will not lose to them. Despite being the country’s number 1 idol, that is in the past. They want to continue staying as a group that can please the audience better than anyone. That’s why they won’t lose. But why do they look so shocked when Honoka says they won’t lose too? Is it that determination in her eyes? Was it they never expected her to say that and quietly bow down to their dominance? A-Rise allows them to use their school for their performance venue. The preliminaries are here. A-Rise struts their stuff first and they’re pretty damn good that it might just be the demoralizing factor for Muse. This is what happens if you see somebody’s video and pay too much attention before your act. They’re getting negative already that they can’t measure up to them. So are they giving up? Hell, no! You’ve come this far so give it your best shot! So it’s Muse’s turn to perform their flower maiden concept performance and it seems A-Rise is pretty impressed too.

Episode 4
Everyone is nervous. The results of the preliminaries are out. Those qualified in descending order: A-Rise, East Heart, Midnight Cats and… Mu… Mu… Mutant Girls?! WTF?! What kind of idol name is that?! Turns out to be Honoka’s dream! But it could be a premonition because the same thing happens for real. The top 4 in descending order: A-Rise, East Heart, Midnight Cats and… Mu… Mu… Muse! For real?! Yup. It’s them. Hooray! As the next contest is in December and only one of the 4 may advance, this means they need to practice hard and beat A-Rise. However they notice Niko is missing. It seems she can’t come to practice and have something important. They tail her to see her shopping for ingredients. Could it be she has a boyfriend? When they are spotted, Niko runs. And man, she’s good at running. Thanks to her non-existence boobs, she managed to slip through tight places. As Muse is contemplating what is wrong, suddenly here comes mini Niko! Did she turn into a little girl? Actually she is Niko’s sister, Kokoro. She knows them and takes them hiding and running from who knows what. The paparazzi? Then the biggest shock the girls get to know from her mouth: They are Niko’s backup dancers! Eri calls Niko but she’s not picking up the phone. Kokoro brings them to their home and meet another little brother, Kotarou. Yeah. The backup dancers are here for a visit. The girls then realize something amiss. The posters of Muse have been heavily edited with Niko’s face cut and paste as the centre! Her room is filled with such Photoshop pictures! And she’s good!

When Niko gets home, she’s got some explaining to do. However she runs again after seeing Umi’s death stare. Unfortunately she won’t get far as she bumps into another sister of hers, Kokoa. Niko tries to fool around. They’re not amused. So they can accept that her parents are away for a business trip and she has to take care of her siblings and thus can’t practice. But why the lies of them being backup dancers? She won’t say since it has always been that way. This is her house and what she says is none of their business. The girls leave as they ponder what she meant. Eri remembers when Niko was a first year, she wanted to be an idol. To her siblings she must have been a super idol but when thins fell apart, she couldn’t tell them the truth. She tried her best to be a school idol and even handed out flyers but since Eri was busy with student council work and wasn’t interested in becoming an idol, she didn’t give her much attention. Niko continued to go it alone despite lack of audiences and her other members quit. If she had reached out to her then, would things have turned out differently? One day, Honoka surprises Niko by bringing her siblings to school because they said they wanted to see her on stage. Niko is dressed up like a super cute idol and as Muse takes the stage, Niko announces that this is the last time she will sing as herself. She is not quitting but from now on will be performing as Muse. She is going to be a new person. Her dream is to be the number one idol in the universe and she shines brightest when she is in this group. This is not the end but a new beginning. So let the performance begin.

Episode 5
Honoka, Umi and Kotori are having a field trip at Okinawa. Too bad it is raining heavily. There might even be typhoon. Honoka trying to be a shaman to cast away the rain? I think she is more suited to be an idol putting the sun in the heart of her fans! Yeah! So Rin has been selected as an interim leader to practice for a fashion event this weekend. At first she is reluctant and has no confidence but with the rest putting a lot of faith and encouragement in her, she takes up the job. She’s nervous on her first day and she believes the rest pushed this job to her because they didn’t want to do it. Her confidence is all-time low that she believes she is not the cutest like the rest and not fitted to be an idol. Hanayo laments she might not have gotten over it. During elementary school, she was often teased by boys as she was dressed kind of boyish. Then more woes. Thanks to the typhoon building up, the return trip is cancelled. Honoka and co will be stuck and this means Rin’s leadership is extended. To her horror, as the leader and centre, she is required to wear a girly bridal dress during the performance. She can’t take it and snaps. How far can she run? Anyway she still thinks she can’t do it and so Eri suggests having someone else as the leader. Hanayo is suggested and Rin doesn’t hesitate to entrust everything to her. But Hanayo wonders if she is really okay with this. She is. Really? Yes. As in really, really? Yes. Really, really, really for sure? No doubts about it. So the girls practice like usual and Hanayo even calls Honoka to tell what happened for advice. Come performance day, Rin is shocked that the rest wants her to be the leader. They have practised their coordination so that Rin can be the centre. More words of encouragement and believe why they put their trust in her. Probably Hanayo’s statement sealed the deal. She is the girliest of the girliest, cutest of the cutest that she wants to hug her to death! Is Rin some furry animal? Rin dons the wedding costume and goes out on stage. Safe to say, the show is a success. Better still, Rin has got more confidence now.

Episode 6
Akihabara will have a Halloween theme and Muse is invited to participate as well as A-Rise. Although this is not a ranked performance, it will be a great chance for them to boost their popularity and catch up to A-Rise before the next elimination round. And since they’re going for impact, that scary look on Umi’s face indicates she’s really going to give them the greatest impact they’ll ever have. Some of them attend a live interview on the streets of Akihabara but couldn’t match up to the enthusiasm of the host. Eventually it is A-Rise that takes the spotlight. Umi comes up with the idea of impact by having them introduce themselves dressed in different club outfits. I don’t know. Does it feel like they’re just fooling around? Next idea has got to be the funniest. They try to become another person! It’s hilarious to see Umi as Rin, Hanayo as Niko, Nozomi as Honoka, etc. I won’t say they’re perfect but it’s very close. So much so the original is just appalled. Do they really act like that? Yeah. Everyone so weird. Then this is the ultimate impact and change. Thinking they shouldn’t promote themselves as idols and something wilder, Muse suddenly becomes… KISS!!! Hard rock, punk rock ass! It’s scaring away people! Oh yeah. They really made an impact. And now the chairwoman calls them to her office for an explanation. So wanna perform for the rest of their performance in this outfit? No way! Back to brainstorming. Since it still doesn’t get them anywhere and with no time left, they have to start making costumes and other stuffs. So in the end, everyone becomes themselves. They got so infatuated trying to renew themselves to match A-Rise, they probably forgot that each of them are unique and are best the way they are. And the best part is how they all come together, learn and accept one another. Muse puts on a sterling Halloween performance and gets motivated for the next round. Meanwhile Yukiho is lamenting reorganizing the disorganized books and volumes in Honoka’s room. Then she sees a letter. It must be something big that it is enough to make her go into shocking I-can’t-believe-it reaction spasms.

Episode 7
That letter is actually Honoka’s physical measurements. So? She gained weight! Despite doing some exercise, Honoka is still lax about losing her weight. So Umi gives her a dose of reality by making her wear their idol outfit. That scream… Traumatic… She gets lectured that the extra weight will make her movements sluggish and affect her performance. Thus she will undergo a diet! And while they’re arguing about this, they notice Hanayo happily enjoying her big onigiri. It’s the rice season! Notice something else too? Yeah. She put on weight too! And so the duo undergo strict dieting regiments courtesy of Umi the merciless. One day you’ll thank her. So run! Keep running! Tire easily? That’s because you’re dragging all that excess weight. More running! However along the way, the rice shop seems tempting. Hanayo tries to resist but Honoka persuades. In the end they lose out. So there is a big suspicion that the duo start looking forward to their runs. Then Umi discovers this folly… In the aftermath, Umi reports that Hanayo has got her weight back to normal but Honoka did not. I guess back home, she continued eating like no tomorrow. Suddenly students from the art club come in. They are perplexed that their budget was approved even before the meeting. Kotori realizes it was her mistake. She put it in the approved bin prior because of all that distraction going on with Honoka’s dieting. This is going to be a big problem as the word has spread around. Eri and Nozomi can only do so much so the trio work hard to find a solution. At the meeting with all the club representatives, Honoka admits their mistake, apologizes and hopes they can request to withdraw it. She continues explaining that this year the school avoid closure but has lesser students. Thus the budget isn’t much and they have draft and formulate allocated funds that would meet 80% of their respective club’s requirements. It won’t be much but please bear with them and hopefully this amount will increase if the enrolment for next year increases. I guess it wouldn’t seem nice after seeing them bow their heads and put in all the hard work. So everyone agrees to it. Best ending of all, Honoka lost weight because she has been working so hard that she skipped meals. Now that her weight is back to where it original is, she’s going to start eating! Oh no you don’t, says Umi!

Episode 8
Muse is in an interview but Honoka got fired up an unknowingly fires the first salvo that they’ll win! But the issue now is that they need a new song for their next performance. Nozomi suggests a love song since they never had one before. Well, everyone is looking at Umi. She’s the lyricist, right? And everybody is so tense in wondering if she was in a relationship before. She has not. Relieved? Something feels wrong… Maki doesn’t think they can master it in time but Eri and Nozomi don’t want to give up yet. So they try imagining and mental pictures about romance. What’s the camera for, Nozomi? Well, I just thought Maki played the tsundere part to perfection. While Niko was trying to show off her acting chops (the girls aren’t impressed) and something steamy is about to happen but the camera’s battery went out. Good thing? Because Eri and Nozomi continue to want to work on this, Maki suspects something strange. Why are they pushing so hard? No, I don’t think she has this hidden agenda of joining A-Rise. So the next group discussion on romance has them watch a cheap romance movie. Some are so touched, some are sleeping, some just unimpressed. But the most exaggerated one acting like it’s some horror movie is Umi! Turn it off! So can the idea of a love song materialize in time? They’re up against A-Rise so petty tricks like this won’t work. Then it’s like Nozomi has given up and it’s okay if they do their best with the songs they have. Eri doesn’t feel comfortable with her decision. So Maki later confronts the duo and although Nozomi won’t tell, Eri reveals Nozomi’s dream. She wanted all 9 of them to make a song together by linking their words and feelings. That’s why she suggested a love song. Nozomi continues that Muse is a miracle to her. She has always lived alone and changing schools frequently that she doesn’t have any friends. Till she met Eri was like her personality but distanced herself and couldn’t fit in because of her strong identity. After they became friends, they still couldn’t reach out the other people like them. But now those people are connected in a group sharing the same feelings. It would have been nice if it was a song but it doesn’t necessarily have to because Muse has some achieved something big and her biggest dream came true long time ago. Maki calls the others over so they can all discuss the new love song everyone will help contribute. Yes. Maki will write a new one. Everyone learns of Nozomi’s dream and loves her even more.

Episode 9
It’s a very snowy day and tonight is the final preliminary round. So we see some of the Muse members having their sisters wishing them the best. Then everyone meets up but the new student council trio have the school’s open house to take care off so they won’t be there so early yet. At least Honoka is calmer and cooler this time in handling it all. The other 6 head to the stage venue where the final preliminary will take place. Very big. Very grand. So awesome. They also meet A-Rise there and as usual, the declaration they will not lose. Who wants to lose anyway after coming this far? And now for the big drama problem. The snow has been falling all day that it is wreaking havoc on all transportation. It is about to get worse. This means Honoka and co are stuck at school. Oh dear. An hour till the competition starts. Silly? Desperate? Crazy? But you have got to give it to the trio because they are going to walk through that thick blizzard just to get there! So freaking cold! Yeah. It felt like an eternity just reaching the school gates. When the blizzard simmers down, the trio are amazed to see many of their school mates shovelling a pathway to their venue! Serious! The entire way!!!!!! No way!!!! I mean, yes way!!!!! The damn blizzard almost wiped out their hard work. I know you’re in awe with their steadfast but can you get a move on before the snow piles up again? And so running there has never been faster (isn’t it supposed to be slippery?). Muse finally reunites. Honoka becomes an emotional wreck as she hugs Eri. Crying so hard. Crying so loud. So cold. So scary. Brave girl. And we have everyone to thank for who made this possible. Finally it is time for Muse to put up their snowy white performance and their brand new song called Snow Halation. Thank goodness the snow has stopped. Otherwise how to catch their dazzling performance and for every one of their supporters, friends and family to come watch them.

Episode 10
The freshmen and sophomores of Muse meet up at the shrine for New Year’s Day (the seniors are helping out with Nozomi’s shrine). Maki is the only one turning up in a kimono. I guess the rest didn’t bother to dress. Was there any consensus on that? Along the way they meet A-Rise. From the way they tell Muse to win Love Live must really mean that Muse has won the final preliminary round! There’s a plague as prove sitting in the room! OMG! Congratulations! When Arisa tells Eri her wish to join Otonokizaka to join Muse, this has them thinking they need to get the group together and discuss their future. As Muse practises, they also discuss the next round that they’ll be in. Almost 50 groups will compete and it will be much harder since it will be online as fans will be selective of only the groups they like. As the large number of participants, it is impossible for fans to remember them all and thus many have came up with a catchphrase. They need one that captures their own uniqueness as well as the group as a whole. Time to crack their brains. Later Tsubasa speaks to Honoka. She admits A-Rise’s defeat since all was fair. They’ve been pondering about their future since winning Love Live is no longer their goal. Tsubasa can’t help think about the reason they lost. They’ve practised as hard as them, they had great teamwork as them and certainly have won the hearts of fans with their great performance as them. In fact they believed they tried their hardest and gave their best yet. So what went wrong? You asking Honoka? She doesn’t even know where to begin. So Honoka seeks Umi’s advice and she thinks it may have something to do with the catchphrase they’re looking for. Can Yukiho help? She doesn’t know why but Muse makes her feel like she wants to root for them not because Honoka is her sister or a local group. Muse then makes mochi as thanks for their friends’ support. Niko coming up with a bad pun catchphrase. Something that takes the cake. When Honoka sees the board of wishes at the shrine, she notices most of them are well wishes for Muse. Suddenly she gets inspired of the catchphrase that perfectly describes them. The reason they could go so far, accomplished a lot and still keep on going is because of these people and their support. They try their best, the fans support them, they move on and make their dreams come true little by little with everyone’s strength. This is what it means to be school idols. This is what it means to be Muse. And so their catchphrase: Making dreams come true together.

Episode 11
Arisa is so over the moon that she passed her entrance exam into Otonokizaka. Yeah. She can’t wait to join Muse. Although Yukiho passed too, she doesn’t seem too happy. Even Honoka thinks she should be shouting and screaming banzai. Because Yukiho lets loose this bombshell question: What will happen to Muse after graduation? Umi has now a lighter practice regime since their priority now is to stay healthy. However the girls cannot help avoid the topic of what happens to the group after the seniors graduate. Everyone has their opinion. Some say carry one and some wonder if they should. Eri thinks it is Honoka who has to decide since it is certain that the graduation will happen and they can’t continue working as school idols. Arisa continues to be an eager-beaver and shows off the moves she has learnt. Ready to join anytime? Then Yukiho asks her. What is it that she loves so much about Muse? I don’t mean for her to sound like a sourpuss… Arisa does a lot of thinking and then she confronts Honoka. She has made her decision after Yukiho’s words made her realize something important. She won’t join Muse. She loves Muse when they are the 9 of them and since she is not part of it, she’ll aim to create a school idol group she can belong. Soon, Honoka calls the rest of Muse to hang out. She thought a change in pace might do the group some good. So they really enjoy everything they want from playing games at the arcade, shopping at the idol store, bowling, zoo (imitating penguins and flamingos?), art museum (imitating statues?), praying at the shrine, amusement park ride… Wow. It’s really a fulfilling day. Finally the all-important sunset view at the riverbed. Then the inevitable. Honoka has discussed with her friends and despite their different opinions, everyone came to the same conclusion. With a heavy heart, they announce to the seniors that after the performance, Muse will disband! Because Muse will always be the 9 of them. No more, no less. As expected, everyone starts getting emotional when Honoka realizes they’re going to miss the last train. It was just a ploy to distract them because they won’t stop crying if they start. They take a final commemorative group photo. I wonder how everyone can fit in that cramp booth. Heck, can everyone’s face be seen without something funny happening? After all that laughter, I guess the real inevitable stuff has to happen. Hanayo starts the ball rolling when she starts crying. Oh no! Don’t you start now! Ah, what the heck. Let it flow! Don’t hold it in! Cry all your heart out! Tears flowing, lots of hugging, oh man, such emotional scene. That was really good, right? And with that behind them, all that is left is to practice. A week left to their final performance.

Episode 12
Niko is given the honour to represent Muse and pick from the lots (the performance turn I suppose). I guess it is favourable so it’s not surprising she wants to brag about it but the rest don’t pay much attention to her. After more practice, then it hit Hanayo. This will be their last practice together. Oh no. Please, don’t start it. Niko won’t have history repeat itself and wants them to focus on Love Live. After they pray at the shrine, it seems they haven’t the heart to go home. Honoka suggests they have a sleepover at school. Kotori is able to get her mom’s permission. She’ll overlook it this time since applications need to be submitted 2 weeks prior. Yeah. Don’t spoil their fun. Cheeky Nozomi reveals Eri’s phobia of the dark but this darkness is perfect moment for them to look at the stars. They head up to the rooftop and see an amazing sight of the city lights. Honoka shouts out at the top of her voice, the feelings she wants to convey and she has had since meeting all of them. Morning comes and it is the day of Love Live. The stage is even grander and bigger. Before Muse’s turn to perform, they make their last preparations and drive to give their best. Let’s make it awesome. And they don’t disappoint when they go on stage. After their sterling performance and last bow, they can’t contain their emotions at the backstage. Lots of hugging. Lots of tears flowing. Looks familiar this scene? And then they here the crowd calling for an encore! All their friends and family are supporting them. Even A-Rise. And so out they go again on stage after changing into another outfit. Can’t disappoint their fans and supporters, can’t they?

Episode 13
Honoka is a happy girl because she’s done with her farewell speech. Everyone meets Niko’s mom and younger siblings. Then they see Niko putting up a very kiddie behaviour, pestering her mom to come see something. Guess what? There is a trophy that they won Love Live! OMFG! THEY WON!!! But Umi has got a long face because Honoka is late to come clean up the student council room. Nozomi spots a new (temporary) hairstyle while Eri continues to linger and fell attached to her old student council room she will be missing soon. Honoka gives her a big hug and a thank you speech enough to almost make her cry. That’s a no-no before the ceremony. At the graduation ceremony, this time Honoka is well prepared and ever ready. She also talks about her love for music. With Maki on piano, she even sings a song dedicating to the seniors. The other younger Muse members join them and soon everybody. Don’t worry if you don’t know the lyrics. Just hum along! Later Niko clears out the clubroom. It feels almost empty because most of the idol stuffs are hers. She makes Hanayo the new club president. Who else has a better knowledge on idols? Can’t burden the student council trio either. Reluctant at first, she accepts after support from her friends. With Rin as leader, Maki is made vice president too. Nobody is left out. The seniors want to take a last look around the school and Honoka thinks they should all go together since it’s their last time together. Since she said the taboo word, she is made to treat them all drinks. Yeah, it tastes so good when someone else pays. They visit the alpaca stable (expecting offspring!), the auditorium, basking in the grassy field and finally the most frequented place: The rooftop. Yeah. Lots of memories coming back, eh? As the seniors are about to leave school one last time, suddenly Hanayo receives a big news. So big that she can’t say it here as she drags Honoka back into school with the rest curious enough to chase them. So what is it? Another season? Another Love Live? Or just this ending musical performance for us? And someone please tell me where this place Honoka announced they’re going to go together, a place that we’ve never seen to make our dream comes true? Tell me! I’m such a dumb guy…

One Last Hurrah… And Sweet Victory!
Well, even if there is no more future sequels or spin-offs, the real Muse will still be around and doing their usual stuffs that they have been doing since. So is this a fitting farewell to another idol themed anime or this is just the start of a new beginning? One thing for sure, they have left an impact in the hearts of many with their own unique music and dances. After 2 seasons of Love Live and Muse antics and adventures, I suppose it is time the curtains come down because you know, things don’t really last forever or will they go on forever. Even this idol thingy will die out one day. But hey, let’s not talk about that. As far as this series is concerned, although I am still not a big idol fan nor can I see myself converting into one in the nearest possible future or reincarnated life, there are some funny moments, dramatic moments, friendship moments, heart tugging moments, draggy moments, yawning moments… I know, this show isn’t perfect or it will be my cup of tea, but at least I have this same feeling as them, that satisfied feeling that I can move forward, leave it all behind and be proud of it. Although all I did was just watch 2 seasons of it ;).

There was this dilemma of mine whether or not Muse was going to win Love Live or even make it to the preliminaries. Because from the structure of the show (how far could you go with just over a dozen episodes?) and the way they are focusing on other stuffs instead of preparing for the competitions, it had me thinking that maybe they won’t make it after all. Then they’ll focus the rest of the remaining episodes on something else. Maybe the other characters. Because for each time, we are shown that they are being normally happy in the aftermath. Like the outcome of the competition didn’t matter. It feels like a ploy to get our guards down before they plop the biggest and shocking news that they made it through. It keeps you guessing about the results. Did they win or not? Did they pass or not? Why are they acting so nonchalant like as though it didn’t happen at all? And then the news. And it was absolute sweet victory that they won the Love Live. Icing on the cake. Perfect parting gift. With the lack of hurrah and bravos surrounding their victory, it’s like to make you think it never happened because you don’t see anybody ma king a big deal out of it. I mean when they defeated top favourites A-Rise, shouldn’t the idol world media and paparazzi be hounding them? So I suppose with this season, it is like revenge for making for last season’s failure since the first season was more about to save the school, which was the main reason why the idol unit was formed.

Unlike last season where there is this danger of them being disbanded, this time around they are disbanding for good. It is with mixed feelings that they do so because Muse can only be with 9 of them and nobody else. It may be a trend today of replacing band members, adding new ones or kicking out some but nothing beats the original. Sometimes when you change members so often, it is like a different group and might as well disband the original one and form a new one instead of using the old name. Also, I think that if they want to continue being Muse is also possible. I mean, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be high school students to be idols, right? They might not have to compete in school idol competitions anymore and maybe in some other competition criteria. So I don’t see the idea of them disbanding and stopping becoming idols just because some of them are graduating. It’s not like they’re not ever going to see each other ever again, right? Right?! Unless…

This season also sees some episode focusing on some of the members like Niko’s household, Rin temporarily having a go as the band’s leader and Nozomi’s wish. It’s great to see some character development for them although overall the characters still largely remain the same as we know them from last season. For example, Niko is still the biggest joker and the comic relief of the group. I guess every group needs one like her. In that sense she is my favourite because she makes me laugh with her antics (even if it is not on purpose), no matter how much everyone ignores her or she doesn’t realize her Niko-Niko Smile is looks quite embarrassing (but you have to give her points for doing it every time). And there are some sides you don’t see about her every day… Funny… So Niko, you’re really the most amusing girl of the bunch and please don’t take it to heart because I really love seeing you when you get all funny and stuff.

Then there is Nozomi who is a little devilish sometimes. For instance, the time when everyone was chasing down Niko, Nozomi can’t squeeze into some tight space because her boobs were the major blocking force. So she sends Rin to do the job and you can see her satisfied smirk on her face! It’s like she’s got revenge on something. Eri continues to be the kind and gentle person unlike her strict ways in the previous season so much so you might have forgotten she started off as a cold person then. Same case with Umi’s fear of performing in public. Maki although is mixing well within the group, she still sounds a bit distant from the way she speaks and all. A bit tsundere too… As usual, you can’t beat Hanayo’s enthusiasm for all things idol and her love for anything that is rice, Rin’s energetic or her penchant to talk like a cat (~nya) and Kotori is getting better in designing her outfits for Muse. Lastly there is Honoka who has turned from someone incapable and unreliable into someone more responsible and mature although basically she is still the same fun and loving person we know. Naturally that is why she is unofficially the leader of Muse if I should say. It’s like she has dramatically changed this season and before you know it, she’s much more than the person we knew from last season.

The drawing and art remains the same as last season. This means the use of CG effects when Muse is taking the stage. Although not obvious but you can tell the difference. I won’t say it is horrible. It feels rather okay. I mean going from 2D to CG, that transition takes some time to get used to. The dance choreographies are also okay. As I said, I’m not a crazy idol fan so I don’t really know how to appreciate such moves. But hats off to them and every other idol group, real or fictional for coming up with such dance routines, step designs and arrangements. It really takes lots of effort and practice to get them right and look perfect. I don’t remember about last season but for this season, I can’t seem to help but notice the pink blushes on the characters’ cheeks. It is like a permanent feature on their face and at times I just can’t take my eyes off it. I just kept staring at it. I know, it makes the girls look lovelier. Can’t argue about that, can’t I?

Music as usual plays a big part of the series but honestly for me who isn’t really a big fan of idols, I can say that they sound rather okay the most. I won’t go crazy about it. Sore Wa Bokutachi No Kiseki is this season’s opening theme and sounds like your typical pop idol girl group with lots of energy and passion in it. Donna Toki Mo Zutto is the pop rock ending theme and just like in last season, despite there is only one song, there are a few versions of it. Nine of them to be exact because each of the Muse members will have their turn taking the lead singing this piece (albeit you’ll only be hearing that version once). Sometimes you can guess who will be singing it by figuring which of the characters has the most focus in that particular episode and you can see that character being highlighted right at the end of the animation. The rest of the insert songs are okay. A-Rise’s ones are also not too bad but still my favourite remains the first insert song of Muse from the first season, Start:Dash! I wish they would at least play it once more again here but the real Muse unit has got lots of songs under their belt.

Somehow watching the end of this makes me feel that this series and Muse in particular have come a long way despite it is only 2 seasons long and only a year in this anime’s context. But yet we have seen them achieved so much, grown so much and bond with each other so much that even the sharpest blade or scissors will not make the slightest cut on their string of friendship. And when they turned the final episode into one last (almost) dramatic farewell episode, thank goodness they didn’t spam the tears again (unlike in the couple of penultimate episodes where the tears flow freely) because who knows I could not even have hold it in although the final episode wasn’t really on that high level of emotional scale. Because you know it is already going to end. You know it is goodbye. The inevitable has arrived. But don’t be afraid. Because once you reach there, you’ll remember all the memories and the good times they have brought to us. There’s plenty of that to get us through for the rest of our lives. Thank you and horosho!

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