I haven’t talked about Yoshiko in a while. Part of that is out of spite because this darn girl just had to get her own spin-off show greenlit and make me consider adding yet another Love Live! series to my black hole of a backlog. Salt aside and in all seriousness, Yoshiko hasn’t really been that prevalent in the plot. Apparently, she let her chuunibyou show during her first day of high school so she’s been cooped up in her home ever since, with Hanamaru being the only student who makes any contact with her. Apart from a few cameo appearances, Yoshiko has been absent from the plot. All that is about to change however as this episode is a Yoshiko focused one and it concludes with her joining Aqours. Now, I really have to talk about Yoshiko. Just my luck!
So in this episode, Yoshiko finally musters the courage to return to school. Seeing as how some time has passed and people have forgotten her eccentric introduction, Yoshiko thinks she can start her social life anew. As a lifeline, she asks Hanamaru to intervene as soon as she relapses into chuunibyou mode. This plan is short-lived when Yoshiko offers to do some fortune telling for her class and she slips back into her persona, a so-called fallen angel named “Yohane”, before Hanamaru can even try to intervene. Before an embarrassed Yoshiko can return to her self-imposed house arrest, Chika and the others learn of her online presence as Yohane and invites her into joining Aqours.
To be honest, I don’t really get why Yoshiko joins Aqours. I get why Chika asks her to join. Yohane is apparently a pretty popular streamer so having her in the club and capitalizing on her fallen angel shtick could give Aqours a huge boost in popularity and a unique niche against the competition. But why does Yoshiko agree to join? My only guess is that joining gives Yoshiko a sense of belonging. Like, Aqours isn’t that weirded out by her chuunibyou and while they are technically taking advantage of her persona, they’re at least willing to indulge in it.
The fallen angel theme does give Aqours a boost in an official school idol ranking though it attracts a very angry Dia, who sees the move as gimmicky and short-term. Sure enough, Aqours’ ranking begins to dip down just as quickly as it rose up. That the club feels compelled to drop the fallen angel act is a little contrived. The only material they produce is a PV; I’d at least wait until a song is recorded and released before deciding if this direction will maintain audience retention. Also, does it matter if Dia is mad at the club? It may make for an unpleasant meeting but at the end of the day, Mari is the one who has final say on what the club can and can’t do. It’s possible that Mari shares the same sentiment as Dia but this isn’t explicitly shown. If anything, Mari looks rather amused with the fallen angel theme.
Seeing as how the fallen angel theme originated with her, Yoshiko decides to take the blame and opts to drop out of the idol club. Obviously, this lasts for one scene as Chika leads everyone else in Aqours in encouraging Yoshiko to accept and love the weirdo that she is. We got to keep Yoshiko in the club after all.
Surprisingly, this episode serves to develop Chika’s character in addition to Yoshiko’s. There’s a scene midway through the episode where Chika confides in Riko that she feels it’s her responsibility to look after everyone, what with her founding and leading the club. At the same time, she feels she’s not strong enough to take on such a burden. At least with this episode, that latter statement proves to be false as Chika manages to convince Yoshiko to stay in Aqours and rally the rest of the club in doing the same. Another interesting detail is Chika acknowledging that everyone has something to bring to the table. It’s that sentiment that makes Chika realizes what went wrong with the fallen angel gimmick. She banked too much on one personality when really, the club needs to embrace each and every one of them. Perhaps the most curious moment is when Chika, as well as everyone else in the group, learn that Yoshiko became Yohane to stand out. Chika became a school idol to prove that even a normal person such as herself can shine so I wonder if she relates a lot with Yoshiko’s motivation.
Yoshiko joining the club ought to be cause for celebration but this episode does end on a rather ominous note by having Dia confronting Mari over an email she recently sent. Judging by the solemn look on Mari’s face and her avoiding eye contact with Dia, the contents of the message must be serious. Considering the plot of this show, I imagine it has something to do with Aqours. Like, maybe Mari preemptively signed them up for a competition or she submitted her, Dia’s, and/or Kanan’s applications to join the club. Whatever the case may be, it must have some sort of ramification for the remainder of this season.
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