Bishojou Idol Sailor Muse Crystal – Love Live series 2, episode 9

Posted by DiGiKerot in Love Live! at June 8, 2014 on 6:58 pm

Because even Sailor Moon knows that NicoNicoNi-ing is serious business. Also, Moon Princess Halataion.

Also, Love Live doesn’t have toast either.

How are you guys doing in the first English School Idol Festival event, anyway? I guess I’m not doing too badly – there’s still a ways to go, and who knows that is going to happen when people potentially start getting desperate in the last few hours before it concludes, but I’m floating around the mid-500s for the event overall, and the 40s in the Event Song rankings. It puts me a reasonable position to get that second Kotori SR card for idolisation, but there continues to be a lot of churn below that rank 200 mark, so we’ll see. Maybe I’ll get desperate and burn through my last four stones!

Anyway, this (or lasts, at this point) weeks Love Live eschews a lot of it’s usual humour and hyperactivity for something rather more sedate in pace, displaying such remarkable concepts as a linear and clearly defined timeline. It’s interesting in so much as, even when things were building up to a dramatic moment in the first season, for as (arguably over-)earnest as it tended to get, I don’t think there’s another episode of the show which displays quite the same kind of tone as this one. It’s not a bad thing, and I certainly don’t want to sound derogatory in what I’m about to say, but it’s certainly a brave move to put aside a lot of what makes your show entertaining and amusing on a week-to-week basis in favour of building a more somber and anticipatory tone.

The side effect of this, I guess, is that it’s a somewhat less of a content-dense episode than we normally get, despite them dropping the usual recap and end credits in order to cram more in. One of the things I like about the show, and one of the reasons I can actually find enough to say about it each week to actually bother writing about it, is that as thin and inconsequential as the events happening on screen often seem, they blow through a lot of individual scenes, and if you’re into characters or animation and directorial/storyboarding technique, there tends to be an awful lot you can unpack from each of them. Maybe it’s just the advantage of having had such a long, public gestation period, but they manage to pack an awful lot of character into every scene – I don’t really think it’s much of a surprise that the popularity of the franchise ballooned as much as it did once the TV anime hit the airwaves, as it provides the attentive audience an awful lot to latch onto.

As a result, when they pull things back as they did in this episode, it just ends up giving events that bit more gravitas, but it does mean that I have rather less to write about!

And speaking of which, the usual…

1) Zenkai no Love Live?

Once again, we are plunged into confusion and chaos by the lack of an episode recap. It’s even worse given that we are introduced to this episode by some of the shows little-seen-this-season characters – I mean, seriously, how am I even supposed to realise that is Yukiho when the scene doesn’t start with – or even contain – a gratuitous arse shot? She’s not even wearing shorts!


Because the thing to do on the most important day of your life is to sleep in for an indeterminate amount of time past when you’re supposed to be getting up, obviously.

3) Now in low definition!

Slightly weird cut of Eli here, in that, the further away from the screen her face is, the fewer detail lines there are. I guess it’s supposed to add to the sense of a lack of focus over part of the image or something, or at least soften this slightly scowly-looking expression.

I’m vaguely amused that Alisa seems to be getting up-to-the minute notifications on Honoka’s movements – in so much as she knows she’s on the move already – via Yukiho. Those two sure are close… or maybe Yukiho is just on KiraKiratter and the information is second hand. I’m pretty sure that Aikatsu is just the logical conclusion of all this school-idol nonsense another ten or twenty years into the future, anyhow.

Actually, come to think of it, does the Love Live universe even have non-school idols? Also, do the boys-only schools have their own school idol contests? It feels like Sunrise should be concocting a spin-off to compete with UtaPri or something…

4) TAIHEN!?!

For once, it would appear that Hanayo has had an attack of the sensibles, at least in comparison to the rest of the girls. I mean, given that it’s clearly rather cold, given all the, you know, snow, it’s odd that Hanayo is the only one sensible enough to be wearing tights. Infact, it seems a little brutal that, on a day in which the girls don’t even seem to have to be attending school – everyone other than the second years head straight to the venue – they have to make the entire journey there in their school dress, rather than something more casual. I guess it’s this kind of adherence to school dress that lead Kakyoin in Jojo to sunbathe in his uniform in Jojo a couple of weeks ago.

I do wonder how many of Hanayo’s precious Alpaca’s had to be torn asunder from their fluffy coats in order to produce her warm, warm scarf, though.

Also, on a random note – I’m a little colour blind, but haven’t Hanayo and Rin swapped image colours here, as far as their umbrellas go at least? How lewd!

5) But Snow won’t turn informer.

The snowmen, by my reckoning at least, are from left to right Umi, Honoka, Nozomi, Eli, Nico, Maki, Rin, Hanayo and Kotori. I’m willing to admit I’m wrong if someone can come up with a good argument as to why one of those is incorrect, though!

6) As if it wasn’t obvious already…

Geez, I’m wondering what they are foreshadowing here, eh?

Though what exactly they’re doing filing the lyric sheet to Snow Halation in with the rest of the student council paperwork is anyones guess. I suppose it’d have made a curious school open day if Honoka had started reading those off instead of the speech that she was supposed to be doing, and I probably wouldn’t put doing so it past her, honestly.

7) This week animation error

They forgot to colour part of Nozomi’s scarf the right colour. Whoops.

As a side note, pretty much every character ties their scarf in a different fashion (and unlike, say, Vividred Operation, the scarves are tied in a fashion that’d probably actually work). The exception is that Kotori and Nozomi are pretty much wearing theirs in the same fashion, though the scarf designs are different enough to distract you from the fact. I guess there’s simply a limit to how many different ways you can tie neckwear sensibly.

8) Superior Japanese Umbrella Technology

Seriously, though, I don’t think I’ve heard owned a brolly that’d cope with the kind of punishment these girls have here. Frankly, I’m rather astonished they hadn’t turned inside-out the moment they stepped outside.

Alternatively, I’m also surprised that, given the umbrellas were coping with a rather furious breeze quite adequately, they didn’t just take to the skies like Mary Poppins, flying their way to the event stage. I guess that’d be a stretch even for Love Live, though.

(Also, I’m disappointed that Honoka’s umbrella doesn’t have Ho written all over it)

(Also also, the whole walk across the across the schoolyard was hilariously overwrought. It’s almost some kind of Solid-Snake-In-The-Microwave-Corridor level stuff – it made my button-mashing finger sore just thinking about it…)

(Also also also, I was going to use this shot, but it doesn’t really quite get the point across, mainly because Honoka looks so darn ecstatic about being in such a terrible situation…)


That’s when the episode credits start this week, mostly because they wanted to get them out of the way early, out of the road of Snow Halation.

As for Snow Halation… I can’t help but notice that Rin ended up with shorts as part of her costume, rather than a skirt. Such is remaking an earlier effort, I guess.

More seriously, I really don’t know about the way they presented the song here. It’s not as if I don’t like the song (even if School Idol Festival threatens to pound it, along with every other Love Live song, into my head to the point of tedium), but I wasn’t really a fan of the performance.

For one thing, I skipped the chance to bring it up earlier, but I’m really not a fan of that stage design. It’s big, which admittedly is a given due to the scale of the performance, but it’s also very visually noisy. Maybe it’ll look better at the resolution of the BD release, but those arches over the stage as simply way too busy in terms of design. They’re distracting, and I’d hate to be one of those poor people watching on the bandwidth-starved TokyoMX broadcast in Japan, where they whole thing probably would have descended into a whole mess of incomprehensible compression artefacts.

The side effect of the stage design, though, is that the staff seemed really, really pleased with it, and as a result they pulled the camera way, way back for panning shots way more frequently than they normally do, and honestly, I just don’t find the long-shot heavy performances particularly interesting to watch. The everything-turns-yellow moment was neat – even if it does have unfortunate connotations when it comes to snow – but it doesn’t really make up for the rest for me.

But, whatever – I still prefer it to the original PV version, if only because I really, really can’t stand the character art in that, although a large part of that is probably just being used to the TV anime designs, admittedly.

Anyway, the episode ends, jumping straight to the next episode preview, the second that Snow Halation ends, so I guess we’ll be waiting until, err, a few hours ago to find out which group progresses to the Love Live finals!

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