Review: Love Live! Sunshine!! Complete Season 2 (Blu-Ray)

The Aqours crew are back for Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2, as Chika and company continue the fight to save their beloved school, and also come to terms with what the impending end of the school year means for the future of their group as members Mari, Dia and Kanan prepare to graduate.

Despite not making it to the National Love Live contest after the regional qualifier at the end of the first season,  perennial underdogs Aqours get busy straight away preparing for the next round of Love Live contests when Mari, best Aqours girl (fight me) and Uranohoshi’s school chairman, takes a call from her father who informs her an upcoming school open house event is to be cancelled and the school closed at the end of the year no matter what. Determined not to give up, the goal eventually becomes 100 prospective signups to keep the school open and that forms the carrot on the stick that keeps Aqours racing towards their goal of winning the Love Live nationals and saving their school.

Now that all the characters and setting have been established in season one, season two gets to spend some time fleshing out the characters a bit more – we get to spend some time with the mature and imposing Dia as she becomes frustrated trying to connect with the younger members, see Yoshiko and Riko take in a stray dog despite Riko’s crippling fear of canine creatures and spend some time in Hakodate when Aqours are invited to watch rival group Saint Snow perform, which turns into younger sisters doin’ it for themselves after a disastrous final performance for Saint Snow leads to Saint Snow’s Leah and Aqour’s Ruby combining forces  to create a song for their older sisters and fellow idol group-mates which the two groups end up performing together as Saint Aqours Snow, all the while keeping an eye on the enrolments as they slowly tick closer and closer to hitting the magical 100 required signups in the lead-up to the next Love Live contest.

Where everything more or less went according to plan for Tokyo girls Muse in the original series, the deck continues to feel stacked against Aqours just as it did in season one, and the events of the series lead to plenty of moments that tug on the heartstrings as things don’t always go the way the hopeful school idols are aiming for, but nonetheless an unflappable optimism runs through the whole season as the series moves towards an emotional ending as the enrolment deadline passes and Aqours finally make their way to the big stage of the Love Live Nationals.

Once again the animation and music are great throughout the season, and the extra involvement of sister duo Saint Snow in this season brings a bit of a rock-inspired edge to the soundtrack this time around that could easily pass for kickass Babymetal tracks if you added some gruff metal backing vocals to the songs. As ever, it’s Love Live, so the drama can get a bit silly and over the top, but that’s all part of the charm. Sunshine season 2 is a satisfying, fun and surprisingly emotional close to Aqour’s TV-based journey, but it’s not the final full stop as there’s still the succinctly titled Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow left to close out their journey entirely. Just like I said last season, If you didn’t care last time, you’re still not going to, but if you’re a ride or die Love Live fan you’ll love this.

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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.