I have been busy the last few weeks, so I will be doing a double-episode post to catch up, with a post on episodes 5 and 6 coming soon.
Episode 3 marks the first major event of the season, as Aqours performs at both the Love Live competition qualifiers and the school open house. Of course, to make things harder for them, weather issues cause the open house to be rescheduled to the same day as the competition, forcing the group to deliberate over choosing which one to perform at and momentarily deciding to split the group to cover both events. Thankfully, they discover a way they can perform at the Love Live and still make it in time for the open house: by taking a roller coaster ride down the mountain in a fruit transporter.
The highlight of this episode was definitely the performances. The Love Live performance of “MY Mai TONIGHT” is easily one of my favorite performances. The song itself is one of my favorite musical aesthetics: traditional Japanese music mixed with strong modern musical styles (hard rock in this case). As for the open house performance, it is none other than “Kimi no Kokoro wa Kagayaiteru kai?”, the very first Aqours single from when this franchise started. This mirrors how the open house in the original anime performed the very first μ’s single, though it took Aqours a lot longer to get to this point.
Of course the orange rollercoaster scene is great too, if only because it makes for the perfect header image.
As the group are running towards the open house performance after their fruity shortcut, Chika talks about how rather than hoping for a miracle, they found their miracle when they took action. Of course, for Christians, this brings up the question of to what extent we can expect “miracles” from God. There is a saying that goes “God helps those who help themselves”, which is nowhere in the Bible; if anything, the Bible makes it clear that we are fundamentally cannot “help ourselves” and need God’s help to overcome our sinful natures. That said, the Bible also makes it clear that the Christian life is not about lazing around and just asking for God to take care of everything for us. This is a subject I may go more in-depth with later, as this touches on the infamous “predestination vs. free will” debate that needs its own post. For now, though, within the context of Love Live and what the franchise’s ideals are, its message of taking action to find your miracle does fit. This show is about inspiring people to take action to pursue their dreams, after all.
This is a more laid-back character focus episode, featuring the student council president Dia. She maintains a strict attitude, especially with her passion over school idols, but it does mean that she’s not as naturally close to anyone besides her younger sister, Ruby. This becomes particularly clear to her when she hears the others refer to her fellow third-years as “Mari-chan” and “Kanan-chan”, using the more friendly “-chan” honorific, while they still refer to her as “Dia-san” with the more formal “-san” honorific.
Dia wants to close the distance between her and the group, and tries to get the others to call her “Dia-chan”. Unfortunately, her attempts at being friendly make the others look at her weird, and she instinctively reverts to her strict nature when she least wants to. Eventually the rest of the group, thinking there was something strange about Dia, find about her wishes. They tell her they appreciate how strict she is with the group and that they like her as their “Dia-san”, though they are at least nice enough to indulge her with at least one “Dia-chan”.
As nice as it is to continue to see Dia’s dorkier sides as they contrast with her serious demeanor, this episode does establish her role in the group well. She is the serious one in the group, keeping them on track with the demands of being a school idol. While that does mean she does not get to be as buddy-buddy with her juniors, her role is absolutely critical to the group. Many times, we must work in a group where we or someone else must be the “bad cop” to keep things going. Whether because of official designations of authority or simply having that particular personality, that person might not be the kind of person you can be buddy-buddy with, at least while working in that group. (Ideally these people would have a separate circle of friends with whom they are more intimate with, in an environment where no “bad cop” is needed to get things done.) We can still show we care about them and appreciate their role in the group, though.
Do you know any people you find it hard to get friendly with because their role is to keep you in line, but you nevertheless respect and care about them? You may want to let them know; they will probably be happy to hear that from you. Of course, avoid addressing anyone by anything they do not want to be addressed by.