Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club: Next Sky

Alt title: Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai: Next Sky

Movie (1 ep x 30 min)
2023
3.572 out of 5 from 106 votes
Rank #4,969
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club: Next Sky

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DGFischer
9

The Love Live! Nijigasaki School Idol Club OVA Next Sky is a pledge of a strong school idol concept that is ready to go beyond the two season barrier of its predecessors.  Plans are in the works for a full length movie in 2024 (a projected trilogy ... very ambitious), so think of Next Sky as a half-hour appetizer. I also think of it as the first salvo against the fourth SIP project, Superstar! which will develop its ground-breaking third season.  It will definitely lead up to that debate in the Love Live! universe, which is the argument over the best version, Nijigasaki or Superstar.  The OVA gives the Niji girls the early lead, but Superstar! has a yet-to-be-developed storyline based on the cliffhanger ending of Superstar Season Two. The winners, of course, are the fans of the Sunrise franchise which create better premises each time a handful of girls create a nine to thirteen girl squad of talented performers. Next Sky is a story of two girls whose idol dreams are in jeopardy.  One is Shioriko, one of last season's recent additions.  She feels that her staid, rigid personality is a turn-off to those fangirls who flock to the concerts.  Dull don't do it.  Shioriko must conquer her dull demeanor or drop out.  The second girl is Isla, an English girl who met Ayumu as she was visiting the UK.  She followed Ayumu to Japan on a two-week junket to learn the ways of the school idol.  But her dreams of idol-hood are dashed when her high school will not support a school idol club.  Her hopes of being with friend Penelope on stage can be too easily derailed.  The secret to both girls' problems is the same, find the limits and move the barriers. For the techno-geeks in the fan base, Rina Tennoji's mecha-mask is back online and creating cute smiles (flipchart followers, look for her shocked expression, the humorous highpoint of the OVA).  For the sleepyheads, Kanata seems to have gotten past her narcolepsy.  For the fans of arrogant, over-rated, and cutting edge singers, Lanzhu and Mia are blending in and mellowing out (Kasumi, however, remains that annoying pipsqueak first year). As sound goes, Sunrise has yet to find an English voice with that English lilt (hey, Kinmoza! didn't either ... pity!).  But that back subbing Japanese for the English sections is always entertaining.  But voice talent is invested in the top-notch songs which accentuate Next Sky.  Far better quality than SIP and Sunshine!, but the song and choreography will be a challenge for the talents which are working on the Superstar! project.  Again, another variant of the Niji vs. Superstar debate.  Nijigasaki does continue the trademark soft pastel renderings of the girls, proving that simplicity, in its proper place, works. And, ah 2024 ... let those school idol girls battle for supremacy.  I'm all for it!

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