Now that all the idols have finally gotten their individual focus episodes, Nijigasaki proceeds forward with the obligatory training camp episode. Sadly, the gang doesn’t go to the traditional villa at the beach. Instead, they train at the school while it’s closed for the summer, to avoid becoming as broke as Laid-Back Camp‘s Outdoor Activities Club. Most likely, Setsuna pulled some strings as the student council president and got permission granted for the Idol Club. I would call this anticlimactic but Nijigasaki High might be one of the fanciest schools I’ve ever seen in anime. Seriously, this campus is so damn huge and it just seems to have everything. The club room the girls rest in literally evokes the look of an inn. There’s also a giant swimming pool, allowing the girls to don swimsuits and indulge in some antics that you’d probably see in an obligatory beach episode. I don’t think the change in location poses much of an issue for these girls’ training camp.
As you may expect, the training camp devolves into CGDCT antics. The girls begin things with a cookout. At night, the first years (Kasumi, Setsuna, and Rina) try to scare the third years (Emma, Kanata, and Karin), only for their plan to backfire on them. At the end of the episode, there’s the aforementioned swimming pool scene. The most training we see in this episode is the girls jogging to build their stamina but that goes somewhat awry when Ai turns the exercise into a game of tag to break up the monotony. Ironically, I think the girls did more training in previous, non-training camp episodes.
Regardless, I do find all of this entertaining. After all the setup and focus episodes, it’s nice to see more of the whole club interacting amongst themselves. Everyone’s personalities bounce off of each other pretty well here. I think the scaring contest is my favorite scene out of the bunch, if only because of the silly get-ups and how the third years manage to outdo the first years. Also funny is how Ai gets roped into helping the first years in scaring the third years and somehow, she doesn’t join both groups when they get scolded by Setsuna for goofing off. It would not surprise me if she ratted out the first years’ plan to the third years and feigned innocence to Setsuna for fun. This girl might’ve played everyone like a damn fiddle.
I wrote at the start of this post that the idols have gotten their focus episodes but as you may know, the Idol Club technically has one non-idol among their ranks. This episode sort of doubles as a Yu focused one. Screen time is divided between everyone in the main cast but there are a couple of scenes that put Yu in the spotlight. Ten episodes in, I don’t really know what to make of Yu. I don’t hate her but her involvement in the plot has steadily waned for the past couple of episodes. The most she’s done lately is joining the club in rallying the girl of the week. Other than that? Nada.
Evidently, the show seems aware of this issue as this episode has Yu wondering how she could support her friends more efficiently. There’s a heart to heart between Yu and Setsuna that ends with Setsuna saying she’ll support Yu if the latter finds something she loves. Setsuna probably means a hobby in general but this does get gears turning in Yu’s head. Yu wants to support the Idol Club but she has done so broadly. It would probably help her to think of something that’s more specific and that she’d be passionate about. This results in her pitching a school idol festival akin to the Diver Fes, not just for the Nijigasaki idols but also for other school idol groups such as Shinonome’s and Touou’s. It’s definitely a very ambitious plan but it excites Yu and it gives her some much needed direction. Also, school idol festival? I see what you did there, Love Live!.
The festival aside, I’m also very curious about Yu’s piano playing. She previously played it in Episode 3 though I didn’t think much of it until now. Yu claims she’s an amateur but I don’t know, she manages to play one of Setsuna’s songs by ear so she may want to give herself more credit. Joking aside, I do wonder if the show will explore this ability some more, like have Yu study music at Nijigasaki and become a composer for the Idol Club.
It’s nice seeing Yu and Setsuna interacting with each other again. It’s been a while since Episode 3 so an update on these two’s relationship feels overdue. You can tell that these two have grown more informal with each other. Yu approaches Setsuna less like a fan and more like a close friend. Setsuna is less stiff and guarded than she was before, instead showing gratitude towards Yu for steering her idol career back on course and promising to return the favor. I like that their heart to heart takes place in one of the music rooms; there previously was a key scene in Episode 3 that took place there so this is a really neat callback.
Aside from Yu, the show also gives Ayumu some renewed attention. Poor thing. Perhaps the moment that’ll grab your attention the most is the part where Ayumu sees Yu and Setsuna spending some time together. I doubt this is leading into a love triangle but there’s no denying that Ayumu doesn’t take this well. Yu is Ayumu’s closest friend, there’s no way she wouldn’t get jealous or concerned when the former is hanging out with someone else. I will admit that it’s a little weird to single out Setsuna. I mean, Yu is a big fan and a close friend of Setsuna but there is a broader issue for Ayumu to concern herself over. At both the beginning and end of the episode, Ayumu chats with Yu about the good old days they had together. The second time however, the conversation ends with Yu talking about the future, theirs as well as the entire Idol Club’s. Curiously, Ayumu appears to be the only one who isn’t terribly enthusiastic about the school idol festival, presumably because Yu will be preoccupied and because she wants to invite other school idol groups. All things considered, Yu seems to be following the beat of her drum and getting involved with various people along the way. Ayumu is worried that she won’t be able to keep up or that she won’t be able fit in.
One last thing: there is no insert song this time around. Not going to lie, it does feel weird not to have one. However, we did have ten songs back to back for nine episodes so I can’t blame the staff for taking a break. Hopefully, when the show does give us a new song, it’ll be worth the wait.
Watch Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club on Crunchyroll, Funimation, and VRV (via Crunchyroll)