Let’s talk about Rin and Nico.
I really enjoyed episode 5. It struck me as the first episode this season that actually took a moment and gave a character some time to think about and make a change. Let’s just say that after episode 5 some people thought Hanayo might start wearing girlier clothes.
I want to bring in episode 4 as a point to compare. Episode is the Nico episode where we learn about her family situation and the various circumstances she has to struggle with. We got some nice back story going there too, along with her adorable younger sisters and brother (all voiced by Nico’s seiyuu too). But in the end, was Nico a reformed woman? Nope.jpg. She might be just too tsun to quit, so her μ’s friends gave her an out and helped her out.
I think the comparison only make sense because how the story play out so similarly between the two episodes. Both focuses on a girl in such a way that puts the spotlight/pressure on her in order to reveal some newly discovered issue, in which the team helps to resolve. And it’s done so in this weird surprise to the audience, kind of like a surprise happy birthday party minus the awkward secret sharing that the girl-of-the-week get suspicious on.
But the key here is just to highlight that Nico smoothed out her issues in terms of lying to both her group mates and her siblings by making this fairy tale transition that’s kind of an allegory of the idol identity versus the personal identity. Versus Rin having actual character development.
Not that is particularly problematic; I am no Love Liver but I do like Nico more than most out of the cast (favorite is by far Alisa, partly because she has more of a concentrated dose of Nishida Asako’s flairs), and it isn’t the first time I’ve called upon Yukarin as “sekai iichi kawaii” so Nico’s tropes are all too welcomed. I’m just not sure how possibly this shallow shell of modern amusement can compare to what simple coming-of-age maiden problem that Rin has overcome, along with her dozens of other anime heroines, no less than every magical girl since…ever. The fact that Nico’s episode is composed so similarly to Rin’s just cracks me up every time thinking about it.
I thought the way the camera framed Hanayo at the end was brilliant; it’s like those “maidenly” shots of Haruka Amami where you see her slender but subtly remarkable body in motion, her head above her chin out of frame, for less than a second. Great way to cap off an heartful Love Live episode.
And I don’t know where to go with this post–I can conclude a half dozen different ways. Let’s just say that for those of you who think anime is primarily entertainment, just be aware that when you posit this philosophically, it is, to say the least, shallow? We can do better than that.