Quick Notes About Love Live Nijigasaki

Posted by DiGiKerot in Love Live! at October 4, 2020 on 12:36 pm

Well, I suppose I should write something about the new Love Live show, if only for old times sake. I can’t really say I have much productive to say about it – at this point in time, there’s an effectively infinite number of people who’re better placed to write about it than I am, and I’d rather just enjoy the show casually than try and pull it apart too much.

That being said, I liked the first episode. It did the important thing of staking it’s distinct ground, at least. Given it’s a large part of the theme of the first season of Sunshine, which spent a lot of time making both direct reference and structural allusions to the events of the original Love Live before it crumbles apart with a clear statement that it’s fruitless to be a mere imitator, it’d be kind of hypocritical of them not to, to a degree.

Mostly, though, the Nijigasaki show just has a marked difference in atmosphere. Both the prior Love Live instalments have a very deliberate way of handling themselves, a lot of which establishes a very specific cadence – the tempo of the dialogue, it’s physical and verbal slapstick, it’s sense of scene transition and it’s habit of seamlessly changing setting during a conversation without interrupting it combined into something that was very identifiably Love Live even with staff changes between original flavour and Sunshine.

The Nijigasaki show does the thing I kind of like, though, which is to take the slightly weirdly spin-off where one of the characters has a robot face and plays much of it far more down tempo than its forbearers. Not to say that there aren’t wacky things in even the first few minutes of the episode, but it does mean that when they climax with the hyperreality musical number, it hits with a degree more impact than when they do the same in the Love Live movies (Or even Honoka dodging oncoming traffic). It’s a different kind of considered pacing, one that’s deliberately downplaying itself despite the patent absurdities that it otherwise surrounds itself with.

Anyway, Nijigasaki is largely set around Odaiba. It’s not exactly an uncommon location in anime – even Shinkai’s Weathering With You has its dalliance in the area – but it’s normally represented for a very specific reason that it’s not in this case.

It’s a little odd in comparison to Sunshine specifically in that it’s set somewhere that is already a bonafide tourist hotspot (although it is sometimes easy to forget that OG LL does make Akihabara its stomping ground as well, so it’s not exactly new ground). Even from a Sunrise lore point of view, that mall that our heroines start the show in houses Gundam Base on its upper floors, the flagship store for buying Gunpla.

Didn’t really take many photos around Odaiba, but here’s a funny t-shirt from Strict-G at Gundam Base

Although this is where a peculiar sense of cognitive dissonance sets in. Sunshine pays an extreme amount of attention to the specifics of its sense of place – I’ve been that aquarium and I’ve stayed at Chika’s house and they’re both pretty accurate. Nijigasaki, on the other hand, I’m pretty sure should have a 1:1 Scale Gundam Unicorn in a few of those shots.

Although the big weird is the school, which is Tokyo Big Sight. This is not an uncommon sight in anime – at least in terms of exterior shots – largely because it’s where Comiket is held. Well, where Comiket is held when we aren’t in the middle of a global pandemic, anyway.

Definitely a school and not a convention centre.

Though this is specifically where the dissonance hits me in a weird way. I’ve been to Comiket, and whilst they take measures to disguise the building from a distance, it’s hard to shake the memories of standing in a queue for two or three hours from some of the closer exterior shots. More than that, though, the building interior is close enough to being accurate that it comes across as being some kind of peculiar building cosplay. I’m not even sure that this is a sensation exclusive to having been to Big Sight specifically (even if certain spots to bring back memories of buying the kinda gross Comiket Novelty Green Tea), as I’m sure anyone who has spent enough time around the LACC, the Walter E Washington or the London Excel will recognise the trappings of a convention centre in things like the specific design of the signs, or the corridors that are designed for shifting thousands of people around more than they are a bunch of students. The number of shots which focus on the sign for the West Hall (note: Love Live stuff was in West 2 at C97) is kind of funny.

I’m sure I’ll get over the sensation after a couple of episodes. Heck, a lot of it is probably just a pining for travel, as I’ve sure missed anime conventions this year (and also anywhere that’s not in a three mile radius of home, honestly). I think it’s a pretty confident looking premiere in any case.

Also can we get a show about the Soumen club. I bet those guys get up to some wacky hijinks.

Seriously, stuff was gross. Can’t say I tried the Aqours Water, though!

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