Love Live! Sunshine!! Ep. 5: Larger Than Life

Behold, lowly mortals who are following the animate lore of Love Live! Sunshine!!, or this scribe’s records of its legends, for the fallen angel Yohane has descended upon the scene once more to grace us with an entire chapter dedicated to her legacy!

Yohane, or rather, Yoshiko, is a “chuunibyou” character, which has gotten fairly popular recently. These types of characters are usually middle- or high-schoolers who pretend they are some greater being, usually taken from some kind of fantasy setting. (The term itself literally means “middle school second year syndrome”, indicating the average time it appears.) Having been popularized by shows like Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! (a.k.a. Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions), these character types are no stranger to the world of fictional idols, as fans of Ranko from The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls can attest. As for Yoshiko, she belongs to the “recovering chuunibyou” sub-type, being embarrassed by her past chuunibyou ways and wanting to put them aside and live life as a normal girl. However, old habits die hard and in her case, her Yohane side seems to come out when she least wants it to.

How one “spontaneously” records a live fortune-telling broadcast, I have no idea.

Admittedly, this is probably where this show will lose some Christian viewers, as Yohane’s “fallen angel” act, complete with black-magic-style fortune-telling rituals, might come a little too close to actual demonic sorcery. All things considered, even if it is play-acting, pretending to conjure up demonic powers is not really a laughing matter for Christians, so allow me to go on record saying that I do not approve of Yohane’s “fallen angel” act. That said, I still enjoy her character for her fanciful outbursts, her conflicts with her actual self, and being overall a lot of fun. It is far from the first time I disapproved of a character’s specific acts while still otherwise liking the character overall.

Anyway, enough about matters of spiritual discernment. Time to go into the episode itself and look at what really makes Yohane–I mean Yoshiko tick, and why she (and other chuunibyou characters) feel the urge to act larger than life.

Delusions of Grandeur

As much as Yoshiko wants to hide her imaginative alter-ego in order to fit in with the class, she finds her “demonic” self inadvertently slipping out. Chika, proactive as she is, tries to use this to Aqours’s advantage by recruiting her and having the group adopt a “little demons” theme, before Dia quickly puts a stop to it. Feeling like the trouble she caused was the last push she needed to seal her alter-ego for good, Yoshiko leaves the group to live her life as a normal girl… but is that what she really wants?

Hanamaru (who has known Yoshiko back in kindergarten) reasons that even though Yoshiko knows her fallen angel persona is just an act, she still slips into it because, in her heart, she is fundamentally dissatisfied with her normal self. Her Yohane side comes from the part of her that wonders if there is more to her than just a normal human being.

Maybe cut back a bit on the Red Bull.

While the whole “fallen angel” persona is how Yoshiko’s desire manifested, the desire to be more than just someone normal is one shared by all the girls, and what drove many of them to become school idols in the first place. In many ways, Aqours was the perfect place for Yoshiko, as it allowed her to express herself in a place where such an expression did not feel out of place. Chika knows this and officially recruits Yoshiko by convincing her that, in their group, she can be herself.

The desire to be more than a normal human being is something I believe to be a God-given part of our human nature. Just as God gave humans a natural inclination to believe that there is a greater Being in power as a way of pointing us to Him, he also gave us a belief that we have a greater role in the world, pointing to our role as God’s children. Our dissatisfaction with being just a normal person doing normal things also serves to push us to do great things with our lives, ideally to serve others. So maybe pretending to be a fallen angel is not the best way of expressing our desire to be greater than normal, but Yohane and many other chuunibyou characters are still a great reflection of this important part of human nature.

Next Stage

There were plenty of other nice moments in this episode, especially with Hanamaru, being from an old-fashioned shrine, discovering the Internet for the first time. There’s also a good lesson in how trying to increase your popularity through gimmicks like making your entire group “fallen angels” will only be temporary, and how it ultimately is best to just be yourself.

Next episode will feature a PV-filming, which will hopefully include our next insert song. And, for dub fans, the first episode of the Love Live! Sunshine!! dub is up, so check that out if you are interested!

One thought on “Love Live! Sunshine!! Ep. 5: Larger Than Life

  1. This is an interesting take on the whole chuunibyou issue, coming from a Christian, actually. Many evangelist Christians have tended to respond to flights of fancy pretty poorly, seeing it as “sinful pride,” particularly when it comes from a person who doesn’t normally assert power in society (A young girl). In fact young girls who have fantasies about being “special” or “important” tend to get derided constantly by people who see them as trying to draw too much attention or love upon themselves. This gives…A huge number of them self-esteem problems, until they fully accept who they are. We’re all special. We’re all important. We’re the stakes in the greatest battle in the world.

    I was chuunibyou as a teenager, and for a good chunk of time after that. And I was that way because I felt powerless and ugly, and the only way that I could live with who I was was by being someone else. I also did it because of a very real phenomenon that I was unable to explain (Still can’t)— “Some guy” was in my head with me, making snarky commentary on everything— and I wanted some logical explanation. Heck, I think I wanted an illogical, fanciful explanation, when really the most likely one is that my brain subconsciously wired “him” into existence due to multiple, complex environmental pressures. That’s…how an atheist would see it, anyway.

    Point is, your explanation, about how we’re all God’s children and we’re part of something much much larger than ourselves— That we glorify God by the qualities of ours that reflect Him— Is actually a better one than just to assume people who want to be “special” are somehow corrupted, or dirty. Perhaps it is more that we wish, indeed, to reflect that which makes us whole, and when you’re a kid, when a Reality where you can do that is so distant– You dive hard into fantasy.

    So…Thanks for considering this more seriously than most people do, and for seeing it from another angle. : )

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