Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club – Ep. 13 (Season Finale)

At long last, I finally finished this darn season. I can’t break out the champagne just yet. There’s…a lot of Love Live! for me to watch and/or cover (I guess 2023 is the year of Love Live! catch-up). Still, I’m glad to cross this show off of my backlog. This is also the first Love Live! season I’ve finished watching. I can finally say I’m a fan of this franchise the anime way and not just the defunct mobile game way (R.I.P. School Idol Festival).

Speaking of SIF, we end Nijigasaki with the in-universe SIF. I was really curious how this episode would go about with the music as there are nine solo idols in the Nijigasaki Idol Club so I can’t imagine this show doing nine insert songs along with the plot. I now feel like a big idiot because this episode does the obvious thing of having the girls perform almost all of their previous songs. They even wear their old outfits again. I can’t believe this idea eluded me. I wasn’t thinking smart and cheap enough.

There’s not much to analyze with the festival, other than it simply being fun to watch. Hearing all the old songs doesn’t really drum up excitement but they’ve all been good so I don’t mind the fact that the show plays them again. I am a little surprised with some of the extra activities the girls added to their concerts. Kanata brought beds so that her attendees can nap with her. Rina set up a fighting game tournament for her concert (take that, EVO). It suits their personalities but this must have been annoying to plan out. By far, the highlight of this montage is Kasumi standing on a moving stage designed with her likeness and using it to butt into her friends’ venues. I know it’s actually a bit she planned with her friends but the fact that she actually leans into the idea that she might not have an audience and has to steal everyone else’s is both sad and hilarious. This poor girl is that aware of her own vanity.

Something that I noticed is that the girls actually alternate between working on the stage as well as backstage. Considering that this is a student run event, it does make sense that the school idols would take on extra duties to address the issue of manpower. At the same time though, this festival is so elaborate that it already suspends a lot of disbelief so I’m actually more surprised to learn that there is a staff shortage.

While all the school idols are performing, poor Yu spends most of the day out on the streets promoting the festival. It’s sad that she misses out on most of the fun but then again, she’s doing what she had always promised to do, which is support her friends in their school idol careers. Not seeing her friends perform is a price she’s willing to pay if it means that they’ll succeed even more. Plus, it’s all the more meaningful when Yu finally does get to see a performance.

The part where it suddenly rains is maybe my least favorite part of the episode. Weather is unpredictable so I can’t fault this part for being unrealistic. I can however call this contrived as all it does is artificially raise the stakes and trick you into thinking something bad will happen. The rain causes things to go overtime but that gets handwaved and many of the extras continue to attend the event in spite of the setback. I suppose this is supposed to hype up the final performance but the latter was already going to be hyped by virtue of it being the final performance. All things considered, the rain feels inconsequential.

That contrivance aside, I rather like the final performance. Not counting the OP and ED, this is the first and only time the entire Nijigasaki Idol Club performs together this season. I have three issues with this scene. First, the girls are still wearing their individual outfits. In a way, this can actually sell their unity better as it conveys the girls performing in spite of their differences. Still, I think I’d prefer having more symmetry in this case and have the girls wear matching outfits. It’s mind boggling when you consider that the OP has them in such attire so why they don’t wear them in-universe for the one time they’re performing together is weird. Second, this performance is cheating a little bit by showing you pictures of Yu with one of each school idol. It’s as though the staff knows Yu got sidelined for a couple episodes and they have to do this montage to make up for it. The most egregious is revealing that Yu gave Shizuku the choker with the blue gem that she wears for the play and her idol outfit. I mean, what the hell?! That should’ve been in Episode 8! Finally, the performance eventually becomes a montage of still frames. Considering how animated all the past performances were, I’m shocked to see the staff cheap out this time around. Did they run out of money; what happened here?

Despite all the aforementioned issues, it is really satisfying to see the whole club performing together. What makes this feel so earned is the fact that the club is dedicating their song to Yu. Each and every one of these idols have their own quirks and styles but they all share one thing in common and that’s their collective gratitude to the support Yu gave them. With Yu preparing for her own endeavor, it’s only more appropriate that her harem the Idol Club cheer her on and that they do so together. I figured as much from this season’s OP and ED but yeah, the club really does sound great together. As the final insert song for this season, this really fits the bill.

Evidently, the performance isn’t the only thing the Idol Club has in mind. Early in the episode, we see the girls passing around a notebook to each other and making sure that Yu doesn’t find about it. I’m going to go ahead and assume that they’re each writing a good luck message to Yu for her music exam. What’s really baffling about it is that this thread gets dropped halfway through the episode and we don’t see anyone hand over the book to Yu. By the end of the episode, I was expecting to see Yu to just have with it or find out that everyone somehow and idiotically forgot to give the book to her but neither of this happen. Why do we have this thread if it goes nowhere? Why you go to leave me hanging, Love Live?

Speaking of leaving me hanging, I can’t believe this episode ends right as Yu takes her exam. Are you freaking kidding me?! That’s just cruel. Although to be fair, the result doesn’t necessarily matter. Whether or not Yu passes or fails, the point is that she went all out, just like how each and every one of her friends did this season. Of course, I’ll probably find out the result in due time. There is a second season after all.

Now about that. It’ll probably take me a while to get to Season 2. I’ve decided to cover Sunshine! next, in order to prepare for the Yohane spin-off premiering this summer. After that, I was planning on tackling the first season of Superstar!!. Before I added Sunshine! to the backlog, the plan was to tackle Love Live!, starting with Nijigasaki Season 1, by the order they aired and Superstar!! Season 1 is technically next on the list. However, with the Nijigasaki OVA arriving later this year, I may put Superstar!! on hold and cover Nijigasaki Season 2 so that I can get to the OVA. I’m still deciding on this. Regardless of when I’ll get to it, I very much plan on watching and covering Nijigasaki Season 2. Season 1 isn’t perfect but it’s been a fun ride watching it so I’m down to see more of this iteration of Love Live!.

See you all in Season 2.

Watch Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club on CrunchyrollFunimation, and VRV (via Crunchyroll)

Read my Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club reviews

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