Scrub Unit Represent! Love Live Episode 13

Posted by DiGiKerot in Love Live! at April 2, 2013 on 9:27 pm

Here it is, the final episode of Love Live. Well, the final episode of Love Live for now, anyway – I have to admit, I was rather expecting this first season to conclude with the immediate announcement of a second season of the show, to materialise once Gargantia relinquishes the timeslot it’s taking over in three months time, but I guess there’s an upcoming Love Live event to save that particular revelation for. Even if the fairly impressive first volume BD sales figures Love Live has been racking up drop off a cliff once we get to the point where it’s neither dirt cheap nor shipping with a live-event-ticketing incentive, I’d have to think that the CD sales alone have made this production worthwhile for those involved. They’ve gone in pretty darn heavy with the merchandising, too.

But, yeah, it’s the final episode. It’s somewhat sad, because now I’m going to have to find something else to write about on a weekly basis, or more likely I’ll just leave the blog lying fallow and unupdated again for weeks on end. It’s also sad because, as much as I kind of rag on the show for silly things, I really enjoyed this show a great deal – enough to import the insert songs CDs, at least. Not as much as I enjoy iDOLM@STER, mind you – not that I think they’re in competition or anything, given that they’ve got very different approaches and aims, but I liked the rather more scattershot approach iM@S took with it’s content. It’s really kind of weird how incredibly different all the idol shows which’ve been airing as of late have managed to be.

There’s a lot of merit to taking a more strictly narrative and consistent approach to matters, devoid of tonal-whiplash, as in Love Live, though. I do think the single cour running time means that there’s a couple of things they tripped over a little – to the very end, Rin is pretty much just there, more-or-less a non-character – but taken in it’s entirety, it’s a pretty cute origin story, produced with the same high production standards that Sunrise 8 have been managing to consistently churn out shows at in recent times, at least when it was avoiding the CG.

It’ll be interesting to see, should they make a continuation, where they go from this point – they’ve probably got about six months of narrative space (the characters having not switched back to Winter uniforms yet) before the third years graduate, but as Eri points out right at the beginning of the episode, they don’t have any particular goal going forward from here. Love Live is over, and the school has been saved (for a year, at least). They’ve resolved pretty much everything in terms of what could be a narrative drive, and I’ve got no specific idea where they could actually take it going forward. Just being an idol is likely to be a little too thin in regards to what they’ve set-up with this show.

Anyway, let’s get to the episodes actual content…

1) Enter The Scrub Unit

I think it’s hilarious that Nico ends up forming, during Mooooooooooo’s hiatus, a sub-unit with Hanayo and Rin. I mean, I guess it’s technically the line-up for the Love Live web radio show or something, but it pretty much just cements Rin’s position as Filler Girl. Hanayo is a pretty obvious pick-up simply because she’s the other die-hard idol fanatic of the cast, but Rin… well, I guess she’s just here because she always hangs around with Hanayo, and there’s absolutely nothing in her character that actively contradicts her doing such a thing as joining another idol unit.

Unfortunately, the reason why this doesn’t contradict her character is because they never actually got around to establishing a character for her in the first place. She kind of likes sports and makes sporadic cat noises when talks and… well, that’s it.

Maybe they’ll make up for it by making the entire second season about her…

2) PTSD – Probably Temporary Slap-induced Dementia

I also think it’s pretty funny that Honoka is faced with Post Tramatic Stress Disorder when faced with… a dancing video game. Also the implication that doing actual real-world dancing gives you the foot-eye coordination to near-perfect one of these dancing games when, infact, it’s an entirely different skill-set to match up those scrolling icons with foot positions. I’m not sure that Honoka has the required mental bandwidth to process the necessary information in real-time without relying on muscle-memory.

Not that I’d particularly know – I’ve only played DDR twice, and was terrible at it on both occasions.

3) Well, that was sudden…

So, apparently enough time has passed between the previous episode and this one that Love Live has, infact, completely passed our heroines by, and was, of course, won by A-RISE. Fancy that.

This is another case where determining the actual timeline of this show becomes tricky. I mean, at the beginning of episode 11, we’re told that the final acts for Love Live were going to be decided based on the chart positions two weeks from then, with the actual event presumably having to take place at least a week after that just because of logistics. Three or four days pass in the duration of episode 11, then episode 12, by all accounts, actually looks to be set after the final positions have been decided – the implication being that Honoka was actually ill enough to be off school for, at minimum, an entire week. It’s then mentioned later in the same episode that Kotori was to leave Japan in two weeks. Basically, it suggests episodes 11 through 12 or 13 actually take place over a period of at least a month.

4) The Worlds Saddest Slime

In the background there, next to Eri’s schoolbag, looks to be a beanbag of a slime representing Honoka’s present mood. Or maybe Nenji from Horizon, if we want to keep things on a Sunrise 8 level – I know I’d be depressed if I only had three hit points.

5) Poor george

Alas, for all the sudden progress they made before the end of the previous episode, once more breaking the top-twenty, george didn’t make the top-ten in Love Live. Isn’t that a shame.

I have to say, what a weird bunch of names these units have. I’m pretty sure Madonna is taken as well, unless it’s the Madonna, in Japan taking Japanese classes, and that they’ve relaxed the rules on what counts as a “school idol” so much that adults taking late-night college classes actually count. That’d be interesting.

Actually, the names in the top-ten table here kind of remind me of what the top unit charts look like in the iDOLM@STER games, just in terms of fruity names, although there generally tends to be rather less English there.

(Actually, the annoying thing in iM@S is that, because of the way 360 leaderboards work, you can only have one entry at a time – so as soon as you start playing with a new unit, your ranking ends up dropping to the point where your new unit is. I mean, even I was top-ten (actually, I think it might have even been top-five) at one point, but, alas, I started another game in an attempt to grind-up to my last unlocked achievement. It still remains unclaimed).

(Also, UC_G? Universal Century Gundam?)

6) Take off! Be Ambitious!

Someone working on this show is having too much fun being oddly subversive with the background English. I commented on it back a few episodes ago when Yukiho was studying, where one of her books had commented on the dangers of going out in the rain shortly before Honoka fell ill. This time around, it’s suggesting that you “Take Off! Be Ambitious!”, which is technically what Kotori is actually doing here – she’s fore-going her limited time-span career as an idol (particuarly so, given she’s a second-year school idol) for an actual career in something as relatively hard to break into as fashion design. That’s pretty ambitious if you ask me!

7) I don’t know, it probably takes courage to…

“Take Off! Be Ambitious!”

Just saying, I can’t help but think that moving to a strange foreign country to study fashion design with a well-known design would have actually been hard mode here, and going back to your school-idolling ways is the easy way out, but, hey, we all know that Honoka is an ESPer with mind-control skills, intentional or otherwise, so it’s not like Kotori had much of a chance of escaping anyway.

8) The Japanese sure are polite!

Or at least are made of extremely stern stuff. Or deaf. I mean, these folks in the background here flinch not-in-the-slightest at Kotori when she just suddenly starts singing.

Also, no car-dancing this time. They shouldn’t be allowed to use this song without car-dancing. It wouldn’t even have been hard to fit it into the scene in terms of establishing context. It’d have been so, so easy to have had Honoka dodging cars (to music) whilst she was running for her waifu life.

(It’s also a bit weird to have this song acknowledged in the show, given it’s appearance in the first episode seemed to take place in some bizarre alternate universe where things devoid of context happen spontaneously)

9) That’s cheating if you ask me!

Yeah, yeah, it’s all nice and impressive that you managed to fill the auditorium – at least as far as you can see, anyway. It would be very easy to hide a few empty seats in there amongst all those distracting glowsitcks. I can’t help but note, however, that you had to ship in family members from the neighbouring middle school, as well as your parents, to manage it. That’s totally cheating, if you ask me, but then again it wouldn’t surprise me if this was a compulsory assembly called by the Headmistress. Or maybe Nozomi just threatened to molest the entire school.

Actually, this entire scene makes absolutely no sense within the context in which it is seemingly presented. The timeline the show presents to us is that Honoka calls Umi out to the auditorium with seemingly no prior notice, Honoka goes to get Kotori from the Airport, then Honoka and Kotori manage to return just in time for the concert, the implication of the set-up being that, somehow, Umi and friends managed to organise the entire performance – including an audience full of glowstick-wielding students, middle-schoolers and parents – within the amount of time it took Honoka to get to the airport and back. To be fair, it might have taken a couple of hours to get to the airport and back, but it still smacks one as being more than a little improbable. I do wonder if there’s supposed to be a suggested time-skip in there somewhere, or if it really is supposed to be taken as it’s presented.

10) Saving the Worst for Last?

It’s a little funny, given how I praised the CG usage in the last concert scene in the show as being pretty good, precisely how bad it looked throughout the concert scene at the end of this final episode. The cut of animation pictured above looked particularly terrible – I mean, it doesn’t look great even as a still, but it somehow managed to look even worse when actually seen animated.

11) ???!?

That’s, errr, Maki’s mother on the right there, right? It’s kind of weird how they’re suggesting, completely out of nowhere, that there’s some kind of peculiar, entirely unexplored history between these two in this cut right here. I wonder if it’s just here to the sake of it being an odd moment, or if it’s a feeder for an eventual second season…

12) £25 on Nozomi being Mariko…

I thought it was pretty hilarious that the online video identified them as “No Name”, mainly because it’s starting to tread into AKB0048 territory. It makes me wonder which AKB member’s names the members of Moooo’s would succeed – I’m going to say that Nozomi would be Mariko, just because of boobspheromones. I guess Honoka has Yuuko’s haircut as well?

13) I like the implication that…

A-RISE just sit around watching videos on the internet whilst wearing their stage costumes. I’d like to think that they’re so dedicated to “the bit”, as it were, that they wear those costumes all the time.

It reminds me of the scene in the final 0048, where Mr. Hater is sitting watching the performance in his Mr Hater mask. That particular case was a bit more peculiar, because it suggests that, given it was a barely-advertised guerrilla concert he likely didn’t know about in advance he was watching, he either wears the mask all the time, or hastily had to put it on to watch the thing. The implication that he has to be wearing that mask in order to watch a 0048 concert is, well…

Getting back to point 9, though, it strikes me as being a bit peculiar that they’re watching the Moooo’s performance given that it seems to have been hastily arranged – it suggests that A-RISE just randomly sit around together browsing idol Youtube whilst lounging around in their stage costumes.

Also, I do like how completely unimpressed Erina looks here. Also that their dressing room, or wherever they’re hanging out, seems to be decorated with a poster of themselves.

14) Moooo’s Music Start?

Okay, this is the one where I think I might be legitimately missing something. The episode ends with Honoka getting the group to proclaim “μ’s Music Start!”. That’s fine, except she proclaims it like it’s a thing that she’s been doing all along. Honestly, I’m struggling to remember more than two prior occasions in the show in which someone has actually said this, one of which was during a cut-away gag, and the other, immediately prior to the OP in the third episode, wasn’t in such a context that I’d have thought I’d need to acknowledge the phrase as being significant.

Have I really just blanked entirely on this being a recurring catchphrase, or is Honoka ending the series on what is effectively a bit of an ass-pull?

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