After the heavy drama of the last two episodes, now would be a good time for a breather. Forget about all that heavy plot stuff, put everyone in swimsuits and have them frolic about on the beach. Indeed, episode 10 of Love Live! Sunshine!! is for the most part a fun episode: a chance for all nine of the group members to goof off and show their personalities. As such, while it was an enjoyable episode by all means, it did not provide a whole lot for me to blog in-depth about, so expect a shorter post this week.
That said, this episode did not abandon its storyline entirely, as it does start off what looks to be the next big plot thread, involving a piano competition Riko was invited to. Thankfully, she has Chika around to help sort out her feelings…
While everyone gets a chance to show off their sillier sides in this episode, it was perhaps most necessary for the third years, since this is the first full episode they spend as members of the full Aqours, and so far their actions have been largely story-driven. Having an episode for them to just show off their personalities is welcome, even if Mari just acts as the usual goofball and Kanan just cements her position as the serious, athletic one. Perhaps what was most unexpected, though: Dia, of all girls, turns out to be another goofball of the group. Her “serious” nature turns out to be one that gets incredibly hyped over anything she gets tasked to do, which leads to her hamming up every scene she’s in. Add on how she completely spoils her sister Ruby, and suddenly Dia is one of the most entertaining girls in the group. Of course, Yoshiko, with her super-spicy “Tears of a Fallen Angel,” still keeps her Number One Goofball spot in the group.
As I mentioned earlier, amidst all the fun is the start of the next major storyline. Riko had gotten an invitation to attend a piano competition in Tokyo, which is on the same day as the Love Live! preliminaries. When Chika finds out about this, Riko tells her that she plans to decline the competition invitation, as she considers Aqours and being a school idol more important. While Chika initially accepts this answer, she then finds the music Riko composed for that competition and asks her to play it for her. Then, she asks that Riko go to the competition; after all, she had originally joined Aqours to try to find inspiration for her piano playing, and Chika felt that the piano was still important to Riko. She did not want Riko to make any decisions she would regret and challenged her to think about how important the piano was to her.
The really good friends in your life are those that are willing to challenge you. They look out for you based on what you have told them about your past and your wishes, and when you start slacking off, they kick your butt back into gear. They tell you things you might not want to hear, and they might not want to say (after all, Chika still wants Riko to perform with her), but are necessary for your growth. The Bible has plenty of examples of these friends, too, with Nathan challenging David over his little Bathsheba incident being the highlight. Friends like these are invaluable, and Riko recognizes this as proof that Chika really does care about her.
Again, this week’s post is on the short side, since most of it is just fun, goofy times and the story bits we get are still undeveloped. We do not hear Riko say outright whether she will agree with Chika’s request to go to the competition. Whether Riko will still get to perform with the rest of Aqours at the preliminaries… well, that much is almost certain. But it might be a rocky road getting there.
Next episode, though, the spotlight is on You. It seems that something is bothering her regarding Chika, and that she is feeling a bit distant from her old friend and perhaps even jealous of Riko, whom Chika seems to be closer to recently. If Chika were male this would just be another case of the tired old “childhood friend is jealous of another girl” trope, but with everyone involved being girls, we can maybe look at how this sort of jealousy works even at the level of platonic friendship. Or maybe there is something entirely different going on with You. Tune in next week to find out!