Sometimes, we’re all idiots.
The second season of Love Live! School Idol Project was full of ups and downs. It was largely unable to maintain the strength of its predecessor, and floundered without the clearly-defined goal that propelled the narrative of the first season. With no school to save, the series leaned on the appeal of its characters, leading to an uneven presentation.
All too often, sequels fall into this trap, leaning too much on audience fanservice where some of the personalities presented cannot carry their weight against others. However, Love Live! did reach greater heights in its second season, and they happened when the entire group was together.
Love Live!‘s heart has always nestled in the same goofy spot as an MGM 1940s movie musical – with similar marketing and moneymaking desires – where someone’s farm, career, or unrequited crush on the boy next door can only be solved by song and dance. Season one saw the nine girls become school idols in order to save their high school from imminent destruction. Season two returns to these roots in episode nine, “Melody of the Heart,” when μ’s is unable to attend the preliminary round of the Love Live competition due to a snowstorm. Fortunately, what appears to be the entire student body shows up to shovel a pathway for the girls to use. Group leader Honoka Kousaka promptly calls them idiots before the girls run down the cleared path en route to their performance.
Is this improbable? Yes.
Is it corny? Yes.
Does it work? More than anything else in the entire second season.
What follows is a showstopping performance of the single, “Snow Halation,” a song born of the girls’ respective desires and loves. In a season full of focus on the individual personalities within the group, a simple moment before the performance where each girl reflects on their respective love is as cheesy as it is wonderful. It’s a rare episode that encapsulates everything that Love Live! succeeds with, and allows the viewer to relish in their own emotional attachment.
In the spirit of the holidays, I sang “Snow Halation” for you all.