Love Live! season two pick up shortly after the end of season one, and as a result I’m going to have to dish some season one spoilers in this review – ye be fairly warned! Eli has stepped down from the position of student council president, and Honoka has taken up the role with Umi and Kotori by her side on the council. But this isn’t the only big change facing the girls of μ’s. Eli, along with the other third year members Nozomi and Nico are rapidly approaching the end of their time at Otonokizaka Academy and at the end of the year will no longer be eligible to be school idols.
At the end of season one μ’s never actually made it to the titular Love Live contest, and the group as it stands is running out of opportunities to reach their goals as a group of nine. When a new Love Live tournament is announced, Honoka shies away from the idea and the wheels are set in motion. The inevitable departure of the third year trio forms the overarching theme of this season as μ’s eventually decide to tackle not only the Love Live contest head on, but also the previous champs A-RISE in the new local preliminary format the contest has adopted, and on top of it all, decide among themselves what happens to μ’s when the school year ends and Eli, Nozomi and Nico are no longer members of the group.
As well as the overarching story, this season also takes plenty of time to flesh out some of the characters who got a little less backstory in season one. We get introduced to Nico’s younger siblings and come to see a different, more caring (yet similarly conceited) side of self-proclaimed #1 Idol in the universe. Rin is thrust unwillingly into the spotlight as the groups ‘center’ at a big fashion event and has to learn to embrace her feminine side after a lifetime of being teased for being a short-haired tomboy (that episode also contains possibly the cutest confession of sorts in anime history, if it doesn’t melt your heart you are a monster). Best Girl Nozomi also gets an episode dedicated to explaining her lonely past, and goes a long way in showing why the other eight girls, Eli in particular, and working towards the Love Live with them means so much to her. All this combined with the ongoing dilemma of the future of μ’s and the pressures of the Love Live makes for quite an emotional ride as μ’s story moves towards it’s conclusion.
Of course, we get a bunch of new live performances from μ’s (and one from A-RISE too!), and as with season one they’re all great, catchy songs with wonderfully choreographed animated routines to go along with them. It’s a very compelling season with plenty of humour and emotion throughout, and a wonderful bittersweet ending. No prizes for guessing how the series ends, but watching the third years leave the school for the last time was a little tough – Probably not helped for me by the fact that my favourite character, Nozomi Tojo, is one of third years. When so many anime series end with a resounding whimper these days it’s incredibly refreshing to actually feel something when that last episode ends. Of course, μ’s story doesn’t quite end here – there’s also the Love Live movie which takes place afterwards, but as far as the TV anime goes this is a fantastic sendoff and a nice little circular reference that mirrors the start of the season finishes it off which really brought a smile to my face.
Extras on the discs are limited to clean OP and EDs and some promo videos, it’s not ground breaking stuff but nice to have. Unlike the first season which was released sub-only, this season includes an English dub, too. All I have to say on the subject is for the love of μ’s don’t. It’s a great season and a great ending to the televised adventures of μ’s. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on the movie when Madman release it soon. With the new animated series Love Live! Sunshine following a new school idol group on the horizon, the incoming girls of Aquors have some big shoes to fill. μ’s music forever!
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.