Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club – Ep. 2

So right as I decide to revive the Love Live! coverage, it’s been announced that Genjitsu no Yohane -Sunshine in the Mirror-, a spin-off of Love Live! Sunshine!! (which I’ve only seen bits and pieces of) will air in Summer 2023. Guess that’s another show to worry about later…

This episode of Nijigasaki is whackier than the first one. A lot of that can be attributed to the formal introduction of Kasumi Nakasu (Mayu Sagara), one of the idol club’s original members who is disgruntled over the club’s disbandment and decides to revive it on her own. Right from the get go, I can tell that this girl is going to be one of the more colorful characters. She’s extremely determined to keep her idol career going, even going as far as cause a ruckus in campus and appoint herself as the new club president. Additionally, she has a particular fixation on the concept of cuteness and expressing that as a school idol. It all reminds me a little bit of Nico from the original Love Live generation though I wouldn’t go as far as to call it a carbon copy of her.

The first thing Kasumi does to revive the club is distract the student council president, Nana Nakagawa, to retrieve the idol club’s room sign. That strikes to me as pointless as the sign holds no real importance and it doesn’t secure the original club room (forcing Kasumi to hold meetings out in town). It’s even funnier as you have something more productive happening in parallel where another character, Karin Asaka (Miyu Kubota), takes the student files to investigate Setsuna’s whereabouts, presumably to help her friend and former club member Emma Verde (Maria Sashide). Kasumi does makes actual progress when she meets and recruits Yu and Ayumu by chance. It’s an inevitable development though I would’ve loved it to see more of Kasumi going out of her way to pamper the two into joining the club. The closest we get is her handing out free food to them.

I’m really liking the chemistry among our current roster of three characters. The contrast between Ayumu and Kasumi is downright hilarious as the latter forces the former to act like her for a video, thereby making her incredibly anxious. Meanwhile, Yu acts more of a middleman now as she’s more outgoing than Ayumu but less eccentric than Kasumi. More importantly, the new dynamic allows for some solid character development. While trying to make Ayumu act cute for the video, Kasumi realizes her assertion of what idols should be might’ve been what caused the club to disband in the first place and she worries she’ll drive Ayumu into quitting. This in turn shows some of Yu’s potential as a manager as she lends an ear to Kasumi’s concerns and assures her that her ambition and vision isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Props to the episode as well for devoting some attention to Ayumu. Despite her anxiety, she manages to find her stride by citing her friendship with Yu over how she’d like to project herself to others. It’s a nice follow-up to her resolve in the first episode as well as another demonstration of Yu’s role within the story.

Once again, you’re treated to another insert song and performance, this time by Kasumi. It’s a very peppy song that, combined with the visuals, really accentuate Kasumi’s affinity for cuteness. I’m really enjoying these performances in how they showcase each of the idol’s personality and style. That being said, I’m a bit confused over how stylistic these scenes are. Like, are these flashy graphics and background actually happening or are they really just in the performer’s head? I love stylistic music sequences as much as the next guy (see my Revue Starlight reviews for proof) but it’d be nice if they’re diegetic in some way and these don’t seem to have a real excuse.

The end of the episode drops a twist of sorts where Karin, along with the other school idols besides Kasumi, confronts the student council president about the files and reveals that the president is actually Setsuna herself. To be honest, I saw this coming a mile away. The physical resemblance between the president and Setsuna is in plain sight. And even if I didn’t notice that, every generation of Love Live! has a character who is the student council president. The original had Eli and Sunshine!! had Dia. It doesn’t surprise me that Nijigasaki follows suit with this archetype.

Regardless, you have to wonder what the president’s deal is. Why she used a separate alias is a mystery and it’s implied that she disbanded the club out of guilt for enforcing her own views onto them. No doubt, Yu will play some part in helping her rebound.

OP: “Nijiiro Passions!” by Nijigasaki School Idol Club

This post was originally published on October 16, 2020

Watch Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club on Crunchyroll and Funimation

Read my Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club reviews

2 thoughts on “Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club – Ep. 2

  1. This was much closer to the energy level that I expect from a Love Live series. Kasumi is isn’t my best Niji girl (that’s Shizuku), but she is up there with Ai and Setsuna in my top three or four, and I suspected the pace would pick up once she joined the cast. Another thing I was happy about: Kasumi’s prank. She was introduced as a prankster in the Niji 4komas, and I liked that about her, but that isn’t part of her All-Stars characterization, so I was happy to see the anime bring it back.

    I liked Kasumi’s MV, but I agree that I didn’t really like the transition to it. With Setsuna’s MV last week, I could buy into it as “we’re seeing this performance through Yu’s eyes.” If they were trying to convey the same feeling with Kasumi’s MV, it didn’t work. That was actually one of my biggest criticisms of Sunshine, epsecially in season 2: most of the performances just looked like music videos air-dropped into the middle of the episode instead of feeling like a natural extension of the narrative. It’s too bad Niji seems to be trending in the same direction, especially when I’m enjoying everything else about it so far, but it’s still early.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Establishing that all the performances are how Yu sees them would’ve been an easy way to justify their music video-ness. I’m surprised the staff didn’t just do that. For what it’s worth, they’re really fun sequences musically and visually but without an actual justification, it feels a bit off-putting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s