Because I Suppose I Should Write About It, Love Live OAV!

Posted by DiGiKerot in Love Live! at December 8, 2013 on 7:03 pm

The second series of Love Live doesn’t start until April, which leaves them having to come up with some way of selling more CDs. Concert ticket application forms can only go so far, and that’s been milked as far as it can go for the time being elsewhere. Instead, throwing in a goofy short OAV (particularly given that they were going to have to animate a music video anyway) was the solution they came up with, then they doubled-down on it by throwing in a bunch of dumb extras in for the LE release (which was only just a little more expensive than the regular BD-coupled version), just to allow them to maximize the benefit of the fan-cash-extraction process. Also, continuing the same smart move they’ve been running with all along, they used fan voting to determine it’s characters focus, ensuring that the audience has some incentive to pick it up.

And I guess it worked, because I somehow ended up with a copy of it, and I admit, I probably wouldn’t have bothered if it wasn’t for the OAV episode (certainly, I didn’t pick up Cutie Panther or any of those other sub-unit singles). Not that a fifteen minute OAV, divorced of any kind of series narrative, of which five minutes of is devoted a music video, leaves me much to write about.

The packaging, as much as the tat is pretty much just tat, is actually pretty nice. The bonus items are housed in a big box, which gave them the opportunity to use a nice big wrap-around illustration to hold that and the CD case together (as well as charge a small fortune on international shipping, but ho-hum). There’s a random character card stuffed in with the CD (I got Eri). The extra tat is pretty, well, the Alpaca-head card case (as in, it’s got a transparent pouch on the other side in which to store an ID card) is pretty darn dumb, if somewhat hilarious in it’s mere existence. I guess the key chains, using the cover-art from the sub-unit singles, are nice, and the “lunch bag” (it’s a dinky tote bag) is pretty cute. It’s nothing that’s really worth the extra expense over the standard with-BD edition, though.

As for the actual OAV content, well, let’s take the usual format…

1) Ooooo! Ahhhhh! Pant Pant! Gasp!

This OAV, by the way, is conceptually Maki-focused. What this really seems to mean is that the production staff used this as a good excuse to start the episode with two minutes of little but Pile (still a great name for a voice actress, by the way) panting and moaning into a microphone in a rather lewd-sounding fashion. Sure, she’s technically running away from something (and the animation here is actually pretty well done, with some neat camera work and lighting, as much as such things exist in animation), but I’m sure that’s going to do absolutely nothing to prevent some terrible people from just looping the audio as background noise to their reading of MakiNico comics of the filthy entirely pure variety.

I’m sure that wasn’t at all intentional, oh no.

2) You will never escape from our badly designed cage!

I’m sorry, mysterious religious cult folks, but this cage of yours is terrible – well, aside from the curious optical-illusion surrounding it, which results in the number of bars and the distance separating them to vary massively depending on which angle is it viewed from. That’s kind of neat.

But otherwise, even forgetting the fact that there’s no obvious mechanism there to have allowed it to be lowered down as elegantly as it was, there’s no roof to it. Given that the bars are spaced at easily-climbable intervals, and the only thing preventing escape are spikes placed further apart than Maki is wide, that seems like a rather terrible design decision. Whoops.

Oh, well, I guess I’ll accept it’s a dream, and dumb things do kind of happen in them.

3) Glasses!

Has Hanayo been freed from the brainwashing dominion of the Contact Lens Agenda? Alas, not really – this is the only scene in the OAV in which she is donning her spectacles, a sight little seen since the early episodes of the TV show. I suppose I do, at least, appreciate them remembering to make an oh-so-brief shout-out to those who fetisihize the superior form of sight correction. Well, as long as they aren’t like that prat of a main character from Kyoukai no Kanata.

(Also lot’s of panting and groaning in this scene, but considerably fewer Hanayo doujin to accompany it. I’d imagine).

4) A Mystery Requiring the Koten-bu

We never to find out why the piano doesn’t work. Not that it’s really that significant or anything – I’m not sure that it’s going to be enough to cause enough sleepless nights that it’ll be brought up as a plot point in the second season just to give people closure – but the scene does raise another question. If Maki is transformed into a ghostly child form here, who informs the rest of the gang that she supposedly isn’t feeling well? Infact, did Maki even manage to make her way home overnight? Wouldn’t her parents have reported her as being missing? Surely this should have been a bigger deal at the school? Why am I trying to make a plothole out of something so dumb and ephemeral?

I guess that’s more than one question.

5) New Installment, New Wardrobe

It certainly looks like Honoka has been back to her favourite clothing outlet in order to grab a new shirt, though I guess they only sell “HO” (No, not in that way) shirts in really gaudy colours.

I’m kind of presuming that, chronologically, this OAV is supposed to take place sometime between the first and upcoming second series of the Love Live TV anime, as much as these kind of things have a solid franchise canon. The change in practice clothing, despite Kotori’s jaunty off-the-shoulder ensemble, is likely supposed to be representative of the fact that we are moving into the back-end of the year, post-summer – most of them are wearing much thicker layers. The other thing to note is that the girls are now back into their Winter uniforms – they switched to summer costuming in the TV anime back around episode seven, before Eri and Nozomi joined, and didn’t switch back before the end of the series.

This, theoretically, probably puts this OAV around the October/November time period, making it a smidgen over half-way through their school year (significant because of Eri, Nozomi and Nico’s impending graduation). It also means they’d have skipped over the girls long summer break.

As much as you can, you know, quantify in terms of timing something that might be a dream. Maybe Maki just envisages everyone in winter uniforms all the time?

6) Still Not a Character

I’m sorry, what’s her name again… Rin, was it? Sporadic cat noises do not a character make. Please try harder to be at least in someway significant in the next series, please.

7) This padding’s so easy on the knuckles, I could punch all day!

Because I rarely pass up the opportunity to make a dumb Simpsons reference, and because it’s a good opportunity to remind folks that Nico is the best character and if you don’t like her (and the blatant MakiNico baiting contained within this scene) that you are a bad person. Sorry.

8) Becoming Meguca!

I’m not normally the sort that’d pick on reduced-detail distance shots, though it’s a bit odd given they could reasonably assume that everyone watching this would be doing so off Blu-Ray, or that it’s not a thing that’s an issue in other similar cuts in the episode. Or that the thing is only fifteen minutes long makes it feel somewhat more egregious.

Maybe that parts of the episode feel only a moustache-donned fluff-ball away from having Eri trapped in Witches field makes it feel somewhat appropriate, though.

9) Never-Ending Party!

Apparently “Never-Ending Party” means it gets dark, and that everyone in attendance will be subjected constantly to fireworks. This is good to know.

(And don’t worry, Nico, I still think you’re cutest)

10) “We Were Worried About You Having A Cold, But I Guess We Didn’t Have To Be”

I know I’ve gone on at length previously about how, if you actually start paying even the slightest bit of attention to the things which go on in Love Live, the show actually makes very little sense, breaking all kinds of laws of narrative and continuity, as well as the very space-time continuum, in fashions which are difficult to reconcile unless you assume that most of the cast are escapees from Index’s Academy City.

To wit, what Eri is saying here is speaking volumes about the universe in which this show is set, because if you think about it for a moment, what she is saying is that it’s great that Maki didn’t catch something as relatively insignificant as a cold because she only transformed into mysterious ghostly child version of herself and trapped them all inside a dream.

Because, you know, that’s totally less alarming than catching a cold she’d recover from in a day or two.

11) Smiley Buckle!

This is the point where things cut into the music video, which is where it becomes entirely unclear if this is still part of Maki’s dream, rendering everything that has gone on entirely pointless because it’s all been an unconscious construction, making all these people just Maki’s mental constructs of them rather than the actual characters, or not. I don’t suppose it actually matters.

What does matter, however, is that all the girls have unique belt-buckle designs. Yeah, I realise that, of all things, it’s a weird detail to pick up on, but whilst most of them are kind of boring, I do like that Nico’s has, rather appropriately, a smiley-face design. I guess that Rin has a cat-face as well, but who cares about Rin?

12) Lazy “L”

Seriously, Honoka, put some effort into it!

I have to admit, the first time I saw a stitch of this scene of the girls spelling out “LOVE LIVE” with their upper limbs, I failed to pick up on what they were actually trying to spell for a few moments. I entirely blame Honoka, and her lazily constructed little “L”. I mean, I guess it’s an attempt to differentiate herself from Hanayo’s effort, but it’s not like the other characters saw the need to come up with a way to signify “V” or “E” in a different fashion.

In terms of the rest of the dance sequence, well, it’s a dance sequence, I guess. The main thing which grinds me are the hops – I appreciate that CG is here to stay, at least as far as long-shots on complicated dance scenes go, and I also appreciate that the close-ups are done in rather lovely traditional 2D animation, but that just makes it even more egregious when the characters leap up into the air in a curiously weightless fashion. You’d have thought that using CG animation would have allowed minor tweaks in motion to be far easier to implement, which makes me scratch my head as to how someone deemed it satisfactory in the context of the rest of the dance.

13) In Black and White

Like a Panda. As in Pandering. To Fans. Awww yeah.

Sorry, I’ll get my coat.

Bonus Comic

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