“They didn’t sing Step! Zero to One” -Alkaeid
Kibitz — a word of Yiddish origin, defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “to watch other people and make unwanted comments about what they are doing”
It’s been 6 weeks, and the dust of this series has settled, but some of us here at NOHK are still kibitzing at this series which practically defines what our fandom is at the moment. What up? It’s time for the after-action report for the sunniest series this season. What else could it be? Let’s go, Aqours! Sunshine!!
After 1 and a half month of constantly dodging social media on Sundays or late night Saturdays to avoid spoilers from the fan pages which are always updated, and after the Rippi hype I had to contain this past week, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief and cry tears of melancholy (that’s supposed to be happiness and sadness combined, right? :v). I never prepared myself for the end, because I think this is only just the beginning. Season 2 when? :>
But alongside the character development, character flourishing, and the stepping out of μ’s shadow, the story felt somewhat weak. One friend jokingly pointed out when I was on my way to a local hobby store, “Once they stopped copying μ’s, they started to suck.” Well, story-wise, they started to suck, but not enough to outweigh the positives of the show.
Wait a minute, the story sucked? What would you expect from a show that started off just plain copying μ’s’ character archetypes and motivation? Originality? Uniqueness?
But that’s too negative even for me. The archetypes only seemed copied because we’ve watched a ton of other titles to determine such. The motivation to save the school is familiar, but the conditions have changed. Who in their right mind would transfer to a school in the provinces when the opportunities are in Tokyo, or at least in the more urbanized areas? This stereotypical problem I posed is the main factor keeping our girls at Aqours at 0.
Wait, at 0? Didn’t they get their well-deserved 1 during MIRAI TICKET?? 1 crazy person enrolling in a school that’s about to be combined and shut down??? My take on that is that that 1 enrollee is just an aesthetic to dramatize MIRAI TICKET. I believe that it’s a glitch in the system, because that 0 has not been truly reached. I feel that the ending is too lacking for the 9 girls to deserve the 1 they’ve been fighting for the entire series.
In my opinion, and I think Alkaeid shares the same (I think he pointed this out to me first), Sunshine could have ended at 12. 13 was our only complaint. It was a lackluster ending that kind of killed the hype that the previous episodes created. There was this inner feeling of “What the hell? This can’t end at 13!” during early second half, when there were too many things happening. Then 13 happened, and I was all like, “Well, this happened.” Also, what’s with Riko and the useless tension? What’s with the support trio wanting to step up?
What’s with Chika’s mom?!?
But at least MIRAI TICKET was good, until Chika decided to address the crowd mid-song. I only learned recently it’s fun and suitable to that in concerts, but in a competition, why?
And don’t get me started on the skit that summarized the entire series. Alkaeid even pointed out that if you were a neutral fan in the crowd of the qualifiers, you wouldn’t care about the backstory.
But if it meant promotion, that’s what they tried in episode 5 and 6, and since those didn’t seem to have a huge impact, this might have been the better way.
I think I can better describe the series if I broke it down to each character and how they turned out by the final episode. No ratings this time. I know how broken my scale is. 😛
The leader of the group who started off as a simple country girl who fell in love with school idols during one of her visits in Tokyo. A sort of similar starting story with Honoka, iirc, except for the desire to save the school, which only comes later first half. She only had the desire to be like the μ’s she admired, and that desire evolved from just an admiration and mimicry to a passion dedicated to having fun with her friends on and off the stage, with saving the school more of a secondary goal now.
Her kidnapper vibes while being able to passively attract girls to her (looking at her ships atm :>) is a force to be reckoned with, if only she was a bit smarter. At least in Episode 8, she didn’t do what made me dislike Honoka during the first season, and that was to take things into her own hands without talking with anyone in the group, referring to Episode 12-13 of the original. Just wished she had more interaction with Kanan. They’re supposed to be close. XD
Yousoro~ I have to admit. I jumped to her cruise ship the moment she set sail, given her outgoing personality and athleticism. Her charm also came from her indescribable popularity with other people even if Aqours wasn’t a thing yet and her sailor blood. Gotta love salutes. I wasn’t even put off by her obsession with clothes, which I think should have been more emphasized. No more discussions of clothes after the initial one? Who was making the clothes, then?
Anyway, I think You was too selfish with her goal of “wanting to do something with just Chika” that stood for a long time. She wasn’t open about the fact that making a group might sometimes turn out where you’re closer with other people in that group, but that doesn’t mean you become less of a friend to that person. Simply put, jealousy can lead you to assume a lot of things. Good thing she was honest about her feelings for Chika in the end. 😀
Our Otonokizaka transferee who’s always wanted to escape that school due to her recent bad experience with music, specifically piano. This made it even more difficult for her to avoid due to Chika’s
lure on her invitation to be at least a composer. But, thanks to Chika, she’s received the courage to go back to her musical roots. Episode 9 confession says so. That’s so against her defined uke nature (yep, feels weird using uke for non-BL stuff LMAO).
Her narration in Episode 4 reminded me of Shiori, and also because she likes to read and how reading takes her to unbelievable places, zura. Her moé mostly comes from that “zura” speech ending, loli Zura, and her illiteracy with technology. She’s one of the less-impact characters (you can call it normal, perhaps?) in the series after that certain episode dedicated to her and getting Ruby to do what Ruby’s passionate about, also realizing her potential to be a school idol.
There are two things that can tick you off in Sunshine. Probably one of them is Ruby’s scaredy-cat, anxious, timid nature that makes her both an easy kidnap target and a damsel in distress just waiting to be saved. She’s a really cute mascot character for the group, and she shines more behind the loving embrace of her onee-chan.
Gan (| |)
Yeah. That’s the best I got.
There are two things that can tick you off in Sunshine. Probably one of them is Yoshiko’s, well, Yohane. I’d dare call it even more cancerous than the “Nico Nico Nii~”. She desperately wants to remove her chuunibyou image so that she can live a normal life and not get looked down or frowned upon by the masses. In the end, Chika and Aqours told her to embrace it. Aqours might actually be the Dark Side in disguise, if that’s even possible.
Although, I do think the voice she uses for her tsukkomi to rebutt her fellow first-years is hilarious. I wish she was shown more normally sometimes. You can get desensitized of her antics way too fast to the point you’ll just get annoyed. But at least she’s famous in the occult world.
Beyond her iron lady exterior is a delicate girl who cares about her school and friends deeply. She started off appearing with an intimidating attitude, but once the series went on, you’ll notice she’s not much too different from her sister Ruby, as shown in flashbacks. Besides the obvious “idol otaku” tag, her mannerisms when it comes to things she’s scared of (say Tokyo, this instance) mirror Ruby’s usual mannerisms.
I also understand the feeling of wanting to rage quit after a terrible experience, even to the point of just outright hating it, and you’d usually not care what other people think about that, which made the sister relationship somewhat difficult. Dia’s hatred towards school idols can be translated by most gamers as simply salt. That’s a serious topic for another day, though. XD
The ichiban “funny” girl in my nigan. Remember when I said something about the Japanese recently incorporating conyo in their daily conversations? I was made aware through this character, and most likely, I have a bias for her from being currently a language learner. No joke~ Only disappointment with her is the lack of washi-washi in the second half. 😛
She shined a bit more during and after her kandou scene with Kanan. She’s definitely matured from a timid, jishin ga tarinai bishoujou to a lively, somewhat impulsive rijichou who loves her friends really much.
(And please don’t think this is an excuse for me to code-switch to a language I’m still learning. Though, it’s fun. やってみようよ～)
Hug shiyo~ Her concern for her friends goes greatly unnoticed, also to the point that it’s misunderstood. Can I first note, though, how sexy she is? uuuuuuuuuu
I mean that dive suit and when she changes from it to her swimsuit… TMI, but diving and running early in the morning kept this girl at tip-top shape. That just might be the secret to a healthy body. Exercise. Well, at least she doesn’t have to worry about the hectic training school idols do, because she’s all too used to it, and that’s what easily made her a choreographer during practices. I wish I knew what troubled her during the year(s) she wasn’t attending school, but I guess that pings back to my old blog post on how things unnecessary to the main story shouldn’t be tackled. Season 2 when, then? ;A:
I titled this post Kibitz mainly because of Mari and Kanan. Both of them forced an idea to one another, and that’s what caused the first fall of Aqours. The third-years also called their first group Aqours. To this day, I still don’t know what Aqours means. It’s pronounced like “aqua”, and it spelled with “ours”, as in the pronoun. The seas are ours, probably? Oh, crap, I strayed!
Anyway, Mari wanted to continue the performance in Tokyo, but Kanan wanted to quit because Mari was injured in the right ankle. Without even talking to each other, and with Dia only being an intermediary, not even bothering to say what she wants to say, they went on to appear in Tokyo “not being able to sing”, which is definitely a lie now that they’ve gone back to the Chika-led Aqours. If neither of them forced their will and instead talked it out like the friends they were, we might not even have this Chika-led Aqours in the first place, and that would have been the second coming of A-RISE.
And speaking of A-RISE, Saint Snow, anyone? Were they as useless of a tension as Riko’s Episode 13 stint? Probably. They’re not significantly mentioned through the latter episodes, making me forget their existence altogether. Too bad.
Let’s talk about the songs some other time. I think they’re a better topic solo. We’ve gone overboard already. XD
Episode 13 was the only thing that sucked. If Kanan and Mari were honest with each other, we won’t have an interesting story. RIP Saint Snow; they’re much less significant than A-RISE was. And always communicate with your friends. Never assume nor impose.
With that, I’ll see you in the next one, because people fear the UnKnWn.
(Pics disclaimer as always.)