Spoiler alert: we probably hate your ship..
So, before I roll into the guts of this post, as a quick note, myself and Patches, late (?) of What About the Waifuz?, will be blogging Love Live! Sunshine this summer. Ahead of that, we decided to chat over what things we’re looking forward to in the show, how we feel about the characters, and shipping. Going forward, these posts will have ~better formatting~, but I need to sleep sometime tonight, so…
Day: So, Sunshine – who are your favorite characters so far?
Patches: I liked your ranking that you just posted on Twitter.
Day: Oh, thanks.
Patches: Mari is 100% my favorite.
Day: So, to review for context since this’ll be a post:
1. Mari 2. Riko 3. Kanaan 4. Dia/Yohane 5. Hanamaru 6. Chika 7. You 8. Ruby
Patches: Mari—according to the wiki—has good taste in music, seems mysterious, and is the oujo-sama. There was no way she wasn’t going to be my favorite.
Day: Her taste in music is something typically sorely lacking in the Love Liveverse.
Day: Riko is A+ gay imouto material, and I’m at the point where that is probably the best way to snag my attention with high school girl anime characters.
Day: I’m too old for them to be my adorable girlfriends.
Patches: Riko seems good, not a total wet blanket like Umi, which seems like there will be none of in this season.
Day: Thank fuck. I didn’t like Umi anyway for that from the get-go, and she got worse and worse over time in that regard, blech. Screaming because you’re seeing people kiss in a movie is so absurd.
Patches: Yeah. Umi is just not terribly coherent/fun.
Day: Manga!Umi isn’t bad, though… probably since she isn’t a wet blanket so much as she is wary of Honoka’s tendency to sometimes get really excited and not see things through.
Patches: Which is fair. But, manga!Honoka is way more talented than anime!Honoka, so, it’s a good way to contrast Umi as a hard worker and Honkers as the talented flake.
Day: Yeah! And her desire to save her school feels a lot more grounded… But, back to Aqours – Kanaan.
Patches: Kanaan is going to be all the good parts of Nozomi without any of the bad ones.
Day: Admittedly, I might have her ranked lower if I weren’t feeling defensive about how much the Japanese fandom seems to hate her.
Patches: A+++ Aquors Mom material. I like that it seems like You and Chika are already good friends with her? Original Flavor had the classes feel very segregated until the show worked on them. I like the idea that there are more cross-class relationships from the outset in Sunshine.
Day: I like that she’s sexy and she knows it. if anime teenaged girls are going to be sexy, I much prefer that they themselves have the agency to be aware of that and in (relative) control of it.
Patches: There is that, too. :3
Day: Regarding inter-class relationships, I think this is another spot where the manga handled it better, since Honoka admired Eli and she and Umi and Kotori had known Eli for years.
Patches: That is true. But Sunshine also has both Kurosawas in the group, so supposedly Hanamaru also has a relationship with Dia.
Day: in the case of Uranohoshi, too, it would be weird if they weren’t relatively aware/friendly with each other anyway – school’s only got 100 students, after all.
Patches: That’s true.
Day: Hanamaru and Dia… in love.
Patches: it’s interesting to me that you point out Riko as the “Gay imouto” because that is really also Hanamaru?
Day: Hanamaru’s a little bland at the moment, but I quite like her voice, so that pushes her up the ranking a bit. Riko’s got more definition as a character at this point, though; I feel like Hanamaru right now is largely defined by the fact that she’s friends with Ruby. Aaand her vocal tic drives me up a wall.
Patches: That will not be the case for me…….. The only think I think I explicitly disagree with you on is Chika. Now, I will say I am biased in two directions on this.
Day: I still feel like she’s too much of a copy of Honoka at this point.
Patches: 1. Unless the “Center” is trash like Haruka, I tend to like them as default. 2. She’s a Honkers FANGIRL. Like, this is important. So, I think the Honkers obsession lends Chika a bit of dimension Honoka didn’t have?
Day: I wasn’t super keen on Honoka at first, either, but she’s now my second favorite of the original girls. So, could change, just… I need her to differentiate a bit more.
Patches: I like that Honoka railroaded the cast into it in a good way. I also think that Honoka wasn’t super into idols AT FIRST. She was into trying something new. Chika I think starts off already into idols, which is neat. She wants to share THIS THING with everyone.
Day: (I also don’t like Chika’s bangs. I realize this is pretty minor, buuuuut there it is.)
Patches: Someone pointed out that the designs are hair-swaps of the original Love Live cast. Now, granted, this has something to do with the CG animation. THAT SAID, I also love Mari’s hairstyle, so…
Day: I don’t like Ruby, but her hairstyle is cute
Patches: Ruby and Dia are BIIIG question marks for me. I want Dia to be a little more ridiculous than Eli. Eli was so “Dad”.
Day: Dia is obviously elegant, which, yes, like it, but her shtick so far seems rather… hmm.
Patches: I want Dia to be… maybe closer to Miyuki from Lucky Star? Elegant, proper, but like wants to have fun when no one is watching. Or a mature Iori.
Day: Well, I guess I’ll have to see why she is so against school idols. Dia’s firm opposition is too similar to how Eli was from what, admittedly little, that we’ve seen. Ultimately, I think Eli’s opposition had an interesting source, so the show’s got some work to do here.
Patches: That’s true. But I like her design a lot, so, I want to like her.
Patches: Ruby is terrible now, but, like, those characters can get good. Kayochin was awesome.
Day: Urk, Ruby. Tt seems so odd that a girl would be terrified of men and boys when the male population has apparently been reduced by two-thirds.
Patches: Hahahaha! Fair.
Day: Well, Kayochin also was timid but not explicitly androphobic.
Patches: I do dislike Yukiho. But, Makoto from 0048 has shown me that you can make an arc for those characters.
Day: Ruby…. there’s some potential there, I’ll grant that. At the same time, her potential lies in “getting over her fear by becoming a consumable product for a male audience”. Which…………. yeah.
Patches: But the timid girl in 0048 finally learned to like what she was doing and show it. Like, if ruby learns to like performing for her sake, then it could work. Her “redemption” episode made me hate her less. She’s still at the bottom of the cast for me, but she didn’t fill me with white hot rage. It was clear she’d put in the work, and liked performing. She just didn’t feel equal to the others, and in her redemption episode, she seemed to get over it. As an ex-band-member, like, I can get on board with you wanting to perform for the sake of performing.
Day: I did find it funny when she was glad the jellyfish stings made her boobs swell up. That seemed like a very teen girl thing! But, hmm, who haven’t we talked… Yohane! I love her voice!
Patches: YES. Oh, god yes. IT’s perfect.
Day: Ugh, I love her, she seems like A+ trash potential, which is greeeeeat.
Patches: Yes. So trash.
Day: Basically, I expect her to be this season’s Nico.
Patches: But, like, I feel it’s super forgivable in her. She’s a 1st year. So, like, choosing a trash high school
persona seems natural. I dislike fake Nico, because she should know better. Zero chill/bitch Nico is GREAT.
Day: Well, but to me, Nico’s sweet act is because she’s the only one who actually understands what the idol industry is about. I don’t like that persona of hers, but it’s much more in keeping with the sorts of stuff people want out of idols.
Patches: Yes, but I was upset that she didn’t seem to understand what was great about their group as it was.
Day: out of the cast, nico’s the only one who, in the real world, would have a chance in the idol industry as it is.
Patches: Nozomi maybe also. It’s also TECHNICALLY true that Kotori might have some success, but her voice isn’t that great.
Day: Arguably, though, Nico was seeking something out of being a school idol that wasn’t in line with what others were.
Patches: That’s true.
Day: Well, since Kotori was apparently THE ONLY MEMBER OF THE CAST who had thought beyond high school, yeah, maybe she could’ve handled it. I still boggle at that. Eli is obviously the high-achieving girl, but she hasn’t spent thirty seconds thinking about what she wants to do once she’s out of high school.
Patches: Her success as Minalinsky also points at it.
Day: Yep, only girl with a part-time job… and one of the ones who honestly doesn’t even need it.
Patches: Kotori too strong.
Day: Kotori can be my gay imouto~ Ahem. Aqours.
Patches: So, Yohane I think will be fun to watch. The disjoint between her chu2-ness and the idol thing will create good comedy. Also, again Mari is way harder than she’ll ever be and is basically an angel.
Day: I also feel relatively optimistic that they won’t be trying to break her of her chuuni ways. I don’t mind chuuni characters, but I don’t like “break them of their chuuni ways” storylines.
Patches: Well, I am hoping that we get something like Ranko.
Day: Then there’s You, whom we haven’t discussed. OK SO I ADMIT IT I am unreasonably biased against You. I’m totally convinced she’s a LUG, which has made it basically impossible for me to like her at all. I realize this is based on pretty much no evidence whatsoever, though.
Patches: I like the fact that she’s a legit athlete, and I also like that she’s buddies with Chika and Kanaan.
Day: I liked her originally since she was an athlete ^^;
Patches: Dat swimmer body.
Day: Pfft, she’s a diver, not a swimmer. The poor girl’s cup size would be extremely unconducive to a successful swimming career.
Patches: I thought Kanaan was the diver.
Day: So, they’re different types of divers – Kanaan is scuba diving, You is high diving.
Patches: Ahhhh. But, yeah. I also like that they cast You as a good mix of gung-ho and self-aware.
Day: It’s also nice that she’s got a career objective. Look at all these reasons why I should like her!!!!!! LUGs just can’t catch a fucking break with me
Patches: Since I don’t feel that betrayal as keenly as you do, I can see why I am willing to cut her more slack.
Day: Actually, honestly I was only burned by a LAG. Damn girl was in denial until after she got out of high school, and then suddenly she was in love with one of the stockroom women. Terrible.
Patches: Okay – so ships. ChikaXRiko is a given because OBVIOUSLY.
Day: ChikaRiko IS a given, but I’ve noticed that its not as popular as YohaRiko?! Which, uh, whaaaaaaaaaaat?!
Patches: I don’t… Yohane is hard… because Mari is a good ship, but like Mari can also ship with basically everyone.
Day: Yohane is too busy with the darkness, if you ask me.
Patches: “Sexuality is for humans. I have transcended humanity.” *laughs while covering one eye*
Day: Put another way, Yohane comes off as a bit immature, and I could see her being behind the curve on romance. MariKana I love, but it seems really unpopular😦
Patches: Why? That’s a high quality ship from where I sit. I think the fact that they both seem so “with it” is part of the appeal. Again, like Mom + Dad in Original Flavor, but a little more equal? EliNozo relationship in canon never really seemed entirely fair whether manga or anime. Kanaan seems already good mom-like to Chika and You, and Mari will be a good, mysterious Aquors Dad.
Day: Nozomi’s got the more old-fashioned idea of women’s power going on – i.e. manipulation as a means of getting stuff done rather than direct, personal action.
Patches: Yes. At this point, Kanaan seems a little more straightforward.
Day: Mari and Kanaan don’t seem to know each other yet, either, so, easier for them to meet as equals.
Patches: Yes, but in the PV it’s implied that Kanaan knows WHO she is.
Day: Speaking of PV – lol @ mari’s “foreigner” Japanese. Not clear if that’s something they intend to keep up! She doesn’t use that way of speaking in anything else! Seems like it’d be tough to keep up. As an aside, Riko’s VA knows English and lived in L.A. for a few years.
Patches: So, then you like HanaDia, but that seems SO doujin to me.
Day: Well, I think it sure as hell beats HanaRuby and MariDia. It’s not a ship I’d die for.
Patches: MariDia is not a thing. HanaRuby I am willing to wait on. Ot has a lot to do with their interactions, of which we’ve not seen much. It’s why I love RinPana so much. Even before Love Wing Bell, it was clear they super cared for each other. So, if Sunshine shows me a friendship like that, I can support it.
Day: Sadly, MariDia is the thing if you go on pixiv =( I think also probably its that Kanaan is totally unpopular in Japanese fandom.
Patches: You think it’s the “she knows she’s sexy” thing.
Day: I do.
Patches: I like MariKana from a character point of view. Again, I can see why people want to draw Dia.
Day: The ships I’m nonnegotiable on are RikoChika, and MariKana.
Patches: RikoChika is going to be so cute.
Day: I don’t really have any other ships, I realize.
Patches: Well, Yohane is off the table, and you dislike You, so this makes sense.
Day: Ruby and You out in the cold! Ok, they can be together. YouRuby.
Patches: That sort of makes my skin crawl for some reason
Patches: Ruby is so loli in a way I don’t like.
Day: I’m thankful people aren’t shipping her with her sister (yet).
Patches: Yeaaaaahhhhh. Sigh.
Day: Y’know. I like incest ships, and I’m just worn out on incest ships. There’s been tooooooo much of it in anime over the past several years.
Patches: Yeah. Okay. I think the family is moving, let’s wrap it.
Day: Wellll…. we didn’t quite touch on what we’re actually looking forward to with the show. OOPS.
Patches: I can tell you:
1. Mari Mari Mari Mari Mari
2. Yohane is ZHA DARK ROURDO
Day: I am made hopeful that the director is different than the one for the rest of Love Live. I want something where the Love Live actually feels competitive rather than a foregone conclusion, although I’m not too optimistic that we’ll get that. If they don’t really want to be a sports show, then I hope that they end up not really actually doing that well in competition but it ultimately doesn’t matter to them that they don’t. This is probably too much to hope for, buuuut a woman can dream, right?
Patches: I actually think I’m interested in the way this narrative unfolds because while Sunshine is using a similar conceit, Chika really is into idols, and, so, I am hopeful that this will focus a lot on the girls wanting to be involved. But I would take a more competition-focused show.
Day: Basically, either I want a. a show in which it is competitive, or b. a show in which it isn’t really and that’s because the winning bit doesn’t really matter all that much.
Patches: My concern is that the PVs have been pretty spare with extras? So it’s hard to contextualize the show within its setting to some extent.
Patches: I would take Tsuritama as an idol show, but then again, Tsuritama is great. What I want is for the girls to be interesting – plot is optional if I really like the cast.
Day: Yeah… Love Live original just was… hmm… it wanted to be about a successful group but not actually spend any time investing in making them believable as a success, so, feel like it was half-assed in two directions.
Patches: Though the Snow Halation episode was really good.
Day: That worked in part because they made the idol group feel organic to the school, too. You finally got a sense that they existed within the school rather than as this thing off to the side.
Patches: Yeah. Alright. Got to go. Say hi to your shit-for-taste husbando for me.