One thing that’s become clear about Chika is that she’s persistent. Even though Riko declined to join the idol club, Chika continues to ask her. Off topic but I like how Riko tries to be polite with her response and gets increasingly annoyed the more times she has to give the same answer. Around the same time, Chika tries once again to submit her club’s application form. While this goes to show how serious Chika is about being a school idol, I think she should just wait until she has five members. It’s for the better that she doesn’t piss Dia more than she already has.
Speaking of Dia, she’s awfully knowledgeable about school idols, particularly μ’s. She immediately corrects Chika on how to pronounce the name μ’s and quizzes the wannabe school idol on trivia regarding the idol group (also spoiler alert, Dia; I haven’t finished the original series!). For someone who is vehemently opposed to the idea of a school idol club at her school, Dia seems awfully knowledgeable about the hobby. You have to wonder then why she gives Chika a lot of resistance.
Not that it really matters but I am a little confused with reverence for μ’s. I know they’re the first ever school idol group in the franchise and I know that in-universe, they become very famous but are they really considered “legends” among the school idol community by the time Sunshine!! takes place? I feel like that would only make sense if a lot of time has passed since School Idol Project…but then, how many years does Sunshine!! take place after that?
Apparently, You will be making the outfits for the idol club. This comes across to me as random, simply because this first episode didn’t establish that she can design and craft clothes. I will say though, her drawings are pretty darn good so if she really does have the craftmanship to boot, then the club really does have one thing taken care of.
After school, Chika and You meet Hanamaru and Ruby again. Chika lures Ruby with a lollipop to help the latter feel less shy around her (and I do mean, lure). This bit doesn’t really make sense but I find it funny and cute so I’ll give it a pass. Unfortunately for Chika, Hanamaru and Ruby also decline to join the club. Hanamaru is already busy working as a library helper. Ruby reveals that she’s Dia’s younger sister and is afraid that becoming a school idol will enrage her older sister. Obviously, it’s only a matter of time before these two join. I’m guessing Ruby will eventually develop enough courage to be a school idol in spite of Dia’s opposition and Hanamaru will follow suit by virtue of Ruby being her friend.
The rest of the episode is centered around Riko. As mentioned in the last episode, Riko is struggling to play the piano. Based on some flashbacks provided by the episode, Riko was very into the instrument when she was little but she later lost that passion when she froze during a recital. Flash forward to the present, Riko has a specific request. She wants to hear the sounds of the ocean, thinking it’ll be a nice change of pace that’ll reignite her passion for the piano. Chika offers to fulfill this request by taking her and You on Kana’s boat to go scuba diving, a better and definitely much safer approach than simply diving off a port in a swimsuit (which Riko tried to do last episode). I really like that Chika sets this all up for Riko. While she very much wants Riko to join her nonexistent club, she ultimately decides that Riko overcoming her block is more important.
The plan pays off in the end. Obviously, it’s hard to hear things underwater so the show has Kanan suggest that Riko imagine sounds that come to mind while she’s scuba diving. This is random of me to think but I thought the girls were going to run in a whale, being that it’s a sea creature known for its singing. That could count as a sound of the ocean. Instead of that, the show has Chika and You take Riko to a spot where the sunlight shines through the water, causing Riko to imagine a tranquil piano piece.
As thanks for helping her out, Riko offers to compose a song for the idol club. Having been preoccupied with getting the darn club to exist, Chika and You doesn’t have lyrics for Riko to work with so the three of them hang out at Chika’s place to write some. To Riko’s surprise, Chika lives at the inn right next to her house. To Riko’s chagrin, she’s afraid of dogs and she learns that Chika has a really big one as a pet. While Riko isn’t an official member just yet, it immediately becomes apparent that she’d be a valuable asset to the club. Aside from her musical abilities, Riko is the only one keeping the group focused on writing the lyrics (albeit comically so).
Initially, Chika struggles to write the lyrics. She wants to write a love song akin to “Snow Halation” by μ’s (never heard of it) but she’s never been in love before so the lyrics aren’t coming to her naturally. You and Riko then suggest that she write based on her love of school idols. I don’t know if that’ll correlate to a romantic song but it does get Chika’s creativity going so I guess it checks out.
For the instrumentals, Chika hands Riko the note sheet for another μ’s song, “Yume no Tobira” to give the latter some idea of how their song should sound. I don’t recall hearing this song in School Idol Festival and I definitely did not get to the School Idol Project episode that uses it so I’ll admit that this significance of this song eludes me. I would look it up on YouTube but I kind of want to save the μ’s version for when I finish the original series. To Sunshine‘s credit, it seems aware of this issue as it has Riko performing a piano cover of this song for a bit. This allows a newcomer to have some idea of why Chika likes this song and wants to emulate it for her club’s first song. The fact that Riko plays the song suggests two other things. One, the song is making her feel comfortable enough to play the piano (and this is actually the first time we the viewers get to hear her play). Two, Riko is starting to see the appeal of school idols or at least why Chika is so into them.
It’s a good thing that Chika lives right next door to Riko as she catches Riko playing “Yume no Tobira” and asks Riko once again to join the club. While Chika certainly doesn’t know when to quit, she does want Riko to be happy and she does raise a good point. Perhaps what Riko needs is a break from the piano (outside of idol work of course but that’s besides the point) and if being a school idol will be fun for her, then she should give it a whirl. Realizing that Chika is right, Riko takes her up on her offer. The final bit where Chika and Riko reach out and touch hands is a little over the top. Maybe I’m being a worrywart but that’s such a risky move on their part; I was afraid the two of them were going to tip over and fall to the ground. That said, it does make a nice image to end the episode on. It showcases the newfound unity between these two and that they’re willing to persevere through any obstacles together.
Watch Love Live! Sunshine!! on Crunchyroll, Funimation, Tubi, and VRV (via Crunchyroll)