The second season of Love Live! Sunshine!! has begun, so time to return to my weekly episodic blogs on the show! For those that have not seen the first season or my coverage on it, you can catch up on either Crunchyroll (subbed) or Funimation (sub and dub), and read my earlier posts by searching for “love live sunshine” on this blog.
When we last left off, our fledgling school idol group Aqours has just finished performing at the preliminaries for the titular Love Live school idol competition. As we find out in the first episode of the new season, they did not make it to nationals, but they had increased the number of applicants to their school to ten. With a new Love Live competition announced and an upcoming open house for gaining more potential applicants, they set their sights on saving the school from closing and learning to shine on stage.
Unfortunately, reality is far more harsh on these girls than they expected.
Mari gets a call from her father telling her that the open house is cancelled and the school is no longer accepting new applicants. Uranohoshi Girls High will be closing and merged with another school, and that decision is pretty much final. The news leaves everyone in shock. With their goal of saving the school seemingly out of reach, what can they do? What else is there to do, than to keep going and hope for a miracle? The girls resolve to struggle all they can, because they are not going down without a fight, and if there is even a slight possibility of a miracle, they will reach for it.
For the first episode of the new season to throw such an obstacle the girls’ way, it serves to remind the audience of the nature of this show. These girls are fighting an uphill battle, and while they face that battle with smiles and optimism, they will battle nonetheless. For fans of the original Love Live series featuring µ’s, it is a firm reminder how much harder Aqours’s road is, and how following directly in the footsteps of µ’s is impossible. At the start of the second season of the original series, µ’s had already completely averted their school’s closing, and could focus entirely on the Love Live competition. For Aqours, though, their school’s closing is a greater threat than ever, and is something they must face while competing in the Love Live.
In the end, though, Love Live is an optimistic show, and Aqours faces these seemingly insurmountable obstacles with determination. They will have to fight much harder than µ’s had to for their dreams, just as they discovered in the first season, but they will still cheerfully pursue their dreams, because that is what Love Live is all about. I mentioned this before with the first season, but I really love Sunshine‘s approach here, especially in relation to the original series. Whereas the original series laid the groundwork for the story of school idols, Sunshine twists that story up in critical ways that give it a unique identity while still staying true to the spirit of the franchise. This first episode sets the stage for yet another chapter in this particular tale of school idols who have to fight for their dream. Will they succeed? Probably, but I would not rule out the possibility that, in the end, Uranohoshi will still close down, forcing Aqours to accept that they have done all they can and go from there. Of course, if they ultimately triumph, that would make for a nice, inspirational story, too.
In the end, though, like many things in life, it is the journey, not the destination, that matters. Likewise, we will find ourselves in many situations where the odds seem stacked against us. Christians will find particular obstacles facing their lives, especially if we seriously take up our mission to share the Gospel to the world. Thankfully, God will not judge us by the number of souls we convert; He is far more interested in how we persevere in our faith despite all the obstacles we face. So as we bravely face down the obstacles that stand in our way, we can also cheer on the girls of Aqours as they struggle against everything going against them.
All in all, it is looking to be another great season for Love Live! Sunshine!!