Puella Idol Nozomi Magica – RebLoveIon – Love Live series 2, episode 8

Posted by DiGiKerot in Love Live! at June 1, 2014 on 5:58 pm

This week on Love Live… I don’t get around to writing about it until mere hours before (or, at this point, after) the next episode airs. Whoops. Event travel decompression, compounded by Real Life Stuff and, well, a new iM@S game really served to eat way more time than it probably should have, and getting caught in a hail storm last weekend didn’t really help from a health point of view.

Also, flying macarons.

I suppose the big news this week, Love Live wise, is that they actually managed to get the Kotori’s Sweet Holiday event going, albeit under a compressed time period compared to what it was originally supposed to be running under, in the English version of School Idol Festival. If you are already playing the game, you are probably well up on what this involves at this point, though – needless to say, it’s a good time to be burning through your LP as frequently as possible!

In other Love Live game news, I guess School Idol Paradise, the set of Love Live Vita games, have been pushed back again. Once again, it’s perhaps concerning, but I’m not too worried about it – the game is coming from Dingo, who have a good pedigree when it comes to making solid-playing rhythm games. Also it means I can defer having to pay that bill until after my summer convention season is over, though it does mean I’ll have to find a new game for playing whilst on the move.

In less game related news, I guess twitter chatter today, which I’ve not really had time to follow-up on properly, is suggesting that the full version Shocking Party is confirmed for being part of the OST release rather than being it’s own A-RISE-related single, which is somewhat disappointing, honestly.

(Also, I guess the English Weis Schwarz boosters for the series are in distribution channels now – I had a both a trial deck and a booster box ship from AmiAmi earlier in the week, but I saw the booster packs being sold in local comic shops whilst shopping yesterday)

As for this weeks episode, I’m weirdly torn on it. The first time I watched it, it sat a little oddly with me. I mean, for all that we joke about Rin having barely been a character, it’s not like we’ve actually seen that much of Nozomi either, comparatively speaking. She gets a break compared to Rin because, whilst the show has never really delved into her character too deeply, she has been constantly seen running her machinations in the background, scheming and manipulating things, somewhat omnipresent in everything going on.

That’s probably why I had a bit of a hard time buying into what the episode was showing me the first time through. The episode is presenting Nozomi has some kind of socially awkward girl who has problems making friends and expressing her true feelings, yet that necessarily hasn’t already been reflected in what we’ve actually seen in the show. Nozomi seems to know everyone – certainly, whilst not necessarily friends, she was certainly on some kind of terms with Nico even pre-mooo’s – and well enough to be able to manipulate them into doing what she wants. The confident facade she puts across is not something we’ve really seen crumble at any point.

Also, she has no problem with sexually harassing girls she’s only recently come to know.

That being said, I did buy into it more on successive re-watches, so I don’t really want to come across as being too harsh on it, but I do think it pangs a little more of them stretching in order to find some kind of story they could write around Nozomi more than something that’d necessarily been planned all the way up front, if you catch my meaning. It’s definitely one of those things which feels a little weaker when placed in it’s context than is necessarily reflected in its own, contained execution.

Which isn’t to say that they haven’t been setting this up in the current season of Love Live or anything – Nozomi’s melancholic looks make even more sense when you consider her impending separation from the friends she’s finally managed to make if you consider if having been such a struggle.

Anyway, some specifics…

1) Dancing, Dancing Don’t Stop my Dancing

This weeks “thing in the animation to pick on” is the girls stage positioning here – we first see them lined up in an arrow formation, only for them to be more-or-less completely rearranged on stage in the very next cut. Then they jump back to the original formation a further cut later. It’s just a peculiar thing to be inconsistent about, and was immediately a little obvious (and jarring) to me. It’s almost as if they’re moving around as quickly as Quicksliver from that new X-Men movie, repositioning to confuse and confound the television audience like a bunch of jerks.

(Is this where I bust out the Love Live Greater Esper Theory again? No? Fair enough)

(Also, nice to see our friend the announcer back!)

2) East Heart, Stage West

It turns out that the Midnight Cats actually exist beyond being merely a poster in the idol research club room! It’s pretty funny that, even thought they technically turn up on screen frequently in the show, and even though they’re only seen statically here, they actually have more unique art in this episode than they have had in the entire series up to this point.

The other group here, standing furthest away from our heroines, has to be East Heart, the other qualifying group from this particular Tokyo regional, purely by process of elimination. I do kind of wonder if we’ll see more of any of these characters in coming episodes or not.

(I’m kind of surprised Nico and Hanayo aren’t freaking out a bit here, though – I’d have to presume at least one of them is a Midnight Cats fan, and there’s been no suggestion that they’ve ever been in their near vicinity before)

3) Shippity-do-dah

Umi’s reaction to the suggestion of writing a love song, and the pressing of the other members upon her when it comes to determining her previous romantic experience, amuses me for mostly meta-related reasons. The problem with having a unit with nine members is that it’s an odd number, so when the yuri-goggle-equipped members of my twitter timeline come to start pairing people off, it inevitably leads to having one member left unallocated.

More often that not, in the case of Love Live, the left-over tends to end up being Umi. I mean, there was some movement in the first series early on with a UmiEli pairing that eventually got overridden by a preference towards NozoEli, generally leaving people to reach beyond mooooooo’s to Eli’s sister Arisa (little seen in this second season, by the way). But then, what do you do with Yukiho, eh?

Not that all this shipping stuff is generally my thing, but given I’ve seen more than a couple of comments regarding what to do with Umi in recent weeks, this kind of just amused me on that level.

4) Sorry, I’d prefer an interesting girl…

This week on “They Missed A Trick Here”, the mock romantic present-giving scenes are a little reminiscent of those in the Mogyutto “love” de Sekkinchu! PV – particularly Hanayo’s effort – but it’s not quite on the mark enough to be really seen as being particularly referential. Given how weirdly specific they’ve been with some of this stuff previously, it seems oddly lazy for what could have been an easy win from an amusement point of view.

Of course, we also have Nozomi being an upfront, camera-wielding pervert (of sorts) here, though in the context of the episode, I guess it’s capturing precious memories that she’ll treasure for life or some other kind of sappy, super-laden nonsense.

Also, Nico totally made the best effort, and her compatriots quite clearly have no appreciation for quality acting.

(Also, Nico should totally wear her hair down more often).

(Also also, the comedy scene climax music stinger continues to be hilariously goofy)

5) Cafee?

I’m not really sure what caused Rin to make the particular leap of logic (or Hanayo to follow along with her – shared telepathic delusion or something?) that would lead to her thinking that Eli was plotting to join A-RISE, nor what possessed her up to leap upon her chair, simply from the information that Eli wanted to perform a new song.

Of course, store name changes aside (though, given that at least 75% of the population of the Love Live universe seems to be female, changing Burger King to Burger Queen seems like an entirely sensible alteration), it turns out that this is a real-world Japanese location, that was scouted and throughly photographed the moment that sunlight permitted access.

And I promptly can’t find the relevant comparison photographs for it. Whoops.

6)In Soviet Russia, Candy Eats You

I’m kind of wondering how this candy works – I half expect that you unwrap it only to discover a series of successively smaller candy wrappers, ultimately discovering that the sweet at the end of the process is but the size of a pea.

7) Merry Christmas!

Oh, the things you could imply from Honoka’s sweater here…

I mean, clearly, with the show getting up towards December, she’s just getting into the Christmas spirit. Unfortunately, however, it would seem the Japan hasn’t quite gotten the grasp of how laughing works in the English language, and have truncated Mr Claus’s classic Ho Ho Ho to but a single iteration.

Or Honoka just likes to wear clothing that suggests her own name.

8) Q-tec?

Either Honoka has a terrible television, or this is a really awful video transfer of whatever movie it is that they happen to be watching. It’s a BD, but pixels all over the place!

Of all the reactions to the movie, whilst Umi has the most violent, I actually find Honoka’s to be the most amusing. Given that she apparently fell asleep just three minutes into the movie, citing it “being slow” as the problem, one has to wonder exactly what kind of movies she actually enjoys. I’d have suggested maybe the stereotypical efforts from Hollywood super-director Michael Bay, but perhaps even those may not exactly be event laden enough in the opening minutes to hold her attention. Infact, I’m wondering if only something as hyperactive as The Lego Movie could hold Honoka’s attention.

(On a related note, on my recent flight to Chicago, I ended up watching The Lego Movie in Japanese. I only put it on with the intention of seeing if they’d dubbed Everything is Awesome (yes, they did. Subete wa Saikou!). I ended up sitting through the whole thing, though, mostly because I was spending the entire movie wondering if that was actually Miyuki Sawashiro I was hearing as WildStyle (or WildGirl in Japan)…)

(Also, I do like the casual dress in this episode. Can’t help but notice that Rin is wearing shorts, rather than a skirt, for the first time in a while though)


9) To Be Corrected on BD

This is where I was going to make the title-justifying joke about Madoka Magica, but aside from not really having enough time to suitably doctor an image, it started to feel somewhat less necessary upon rewatch.

I mean, the comparison with Madoka is in regards to Mami’s apartment. When the TV broadcast version aired, people were somewhat impressed by the set design – whilst it was certainly designed in the sense that all Shaft locations tend to be, it’s sparse and desolate nature was seen as being a pretty great mirror of Mami’s character as it was revealed in the following episodes. She was a lonely, isolated child who struggled to find anyone she could share her situation with, and the cold, spartan and empty apartment seemed reflective of that.

Nozomi’s situation, as it’s put in this episode, isn’t actually too far from that, albeit with fewer malevolent white alien-rats, but the joke is that, when they did their usual updates for the BD release of Madoka, Shaft filled Mami’s homestead with all sorts of arbitrary tat, completely changing what people had assumed was the entire point of the set design.

Honestly, though, on rewatch, whilst I think there’s a little of that going on in Nozomi’s apartment, it’s more in the way they chose to light in to evoke a mood in this scene, rather than the actual decoration. There’s a sensible amount of stuff in there, without it being particularly cluttered, and she has some cute artefacts. I mean, heck, her kettle is a goddamn pig – that’s awesome and I totally want one!

(Except we all use electric kettles over here because they are actually practical)

They actually change the lighting of the environment post-flashback, when Eli and Maki decide to take to their ‘phones, which is successful in completely changing the atmosphere of the scene, alongside the sense of mood switching to something rather less melancholic.

10) How long does it take to read a book?

It’d probably be easy to look at the flashback scenes, notice that the cover of the book Nozomi is reading doesn’t change, and laugh at the fact that she seems to have been reading the same thing across several different schools – is she transferring on a daily basis, or is she just a really, really slow reader?

In reality, it’s probably one of those things that never really took off over here – a book cover. Whilst I have no idea if they’re actually used all that commonly over in Japan, it’s not uncommon to be able to get generic dust covers that you can wrap around any particular book you happen to be reading to protect it from damage.

Or more realistically, disguise the fact that you are reading something nerdy (or probably lesbian porn, in Nozomi’s case) that you perhaps shouldn’t be in public. This does rather make me wonder why you sometimes see anime-related book covers given away as store-bonuses for anime-related products, though – wrapping your book in something inherently nerdy seems to rather defeat the point.


It sounds kind of like snow-balls, and it sure is winter. Terrible pun is terrible, I guess.

Nozomi thinks they’re delicious, though.

12) Kinda pointless writing about this now…

Of course, in the duration of writing about this episode, the ninth episode of the series has actually aired, likely rendering commenting on how completely transparent what this scene was suggesting as coming up was to anyone with any grounding in Love Live outside the anime a somewhat fruitless exercise.

I will say, though, going back and re-watching some of those old, pre-TV anime Love Live PVs again for comparison purposes… boy, those look rough. I’m not even talking about the CG, either – I genuinely can’t stand the character art in the 2D cuts. As such, I’m looking forward to the obvious thing happening so that there’s less future need to look at the thing it’s replacing!

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