Love Live! Sunshine!! has arguably even more Les Yay than its parent series (page very much in progress), as they're teasing them directly in-series (and in real life as well) as opposed to other medias.
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Chika x Riko
From the beginning of the series Chika and Riko have shared a lot of Les Yay. In the first season of the anime, a heartfelt scene between them seems to happen at least Once an Episode. Especially that Riko herself is a Yuri Fan.
- In the first PV, Chika and Riko are sharing a seat on an empty bus. They later fall asleep smiling, with their heads touching.
- The first season's ending theme is arguably the most Les Yay between the two of them, even when compared to the subtext shown for various other couples. First there is the photo of the two of them which shows Chika cupping Riko by the chin with the two of them very close to each other's faces. On the photo is written the words "Make my day!" and there are multiple little hearts around Riko as she stares at Chika. Finally at the end of the song Chika and Riko, who were staring straight ahead, instead turn around and look at each other before clasping hands and starring at the ocean together.
- In the first episode of the anime, Riko meets Chika when the former is about to jump into the still-chilly ocean, not aware of how cold it is at that time of year, and Chika glomps her to stop her from jumping in. They wind up falling in, and they share a cute scene on the beach at sunset as they dry off and get to know each other. It culminates in them holding hands, smiling at each other.
- The anime's second episode, being mainly focused on Riko, is practically dripping with Les Yay. Chika continually badgers Riko to become a school idol, dragging You along for the ride, while Riko apologetically declines. After a while Chika meets Riko alone on the beach, and Riko confides her past Performance Anxiety and her desire to hear the ocean. Chika immediately asks Riko to meet her on Sunday to try and hear the sound of the ocean. Riko is visibly touched by this. At the end of the episode, Riko is playing "Yume No Tobira" on her piano, when Chika appears at the window, revealing they are neighbors, and encouraging Riko to follow her heart. The last shot of the episode is the two straining over the edges of their balconies to touch hands, huge smiles on their faces.
- When they're alone at the beach, there's a moment when Chika peeks under Riko's skirt to check if she's wearing a swimsuit.
- Taken Up to Eleven in episode 10. The episode put heavy emphasis on how close they are, making it clear that they care about each other significantly to the point that Chika even tells Riko she should go preform at a Piano Recital instead of a Love Live preliminary since she wants her to do what she loves. But all of that pales in comparison to what happens in the ending, in which Riko outright declares to Chika that she loves her. Such passion!
- While episode 11 is mostly focused on You and her ambiguous feelings for Chika, there is still a little bit of subtext between Riko and Chika to go around. Firstly, when everybody says their farewells to Riko at the airport, Chika noticeably stares at the terminal for a bit after she leaves, a fact that doesn't escape You's notice. Later on when the third years find the original club application slip to form a School Idol band, they are noticeably surprised to realize that You was the first person to put her name down since they assumed that, due to her close relationship with Chika, Riko was the one to put her name down first.
- This moment◊ in Season 2, Episode 4. Riko and Chika's dynamic can sometimes verge into Like an Old Married Couple territory.
Chika x You
- The Koi ni Naritai Aquarium PV has some heavy subtext between Chika and You, as it involves You arriving late to the aquarium and seeing Chika chatting up with Riko which causes You to leave (helpfully the music that kicks in at this point is You saying "I miss you". Afterwards she is shown looking quite morose by herself and Chika looks quite upset when she can't find her. You observes this while she watches Riko in a walrus costume (which again the lyrics switch to English as the song says "I love you"). Finally Chika is able to recognize You inside the costume and, after You falls down the stairs in surprise, Chika tearfully hugs her and rubs her face on You's cheek.
- Episode 11 has You troubled over how close Chika and Riko have become; Mari blatantly suggests she's jealous that Riko took Chika away from her. Later, she imagines her "being honest with Chika" (as per Mari's suggestion) in three obviously Love Confession-like scenarios, including a Wall Pin of Love (again) where she asks Chika to choose between her and Riko, a situation that plays out like a shojo-esque Anguished Declaration of Love, and proclaiming her devotion to Chika while wearing a walrus costume. She ends up hugging Chika so forcefully that they fall on the ground while crying into her chest; looks like she took a page from Mari's book after all.
- Season 2's episode 11 has You confessing that she adores Chika so much and then she said that she want to maintain their relationship until they're old ladies. This is as close to a love confession as she can get, and Riko even had the good sense not to intrude on the two. Afterwards, they're standing side-by-side and holding hands in front of the bonfire.You: You know... I always admired you. I wanted to see what you're seeing. I wanted to see what scenery you're seeing forever. Shall we continue until we become old ladies?Chika: Yeah!
- Then on episode 12 they're reminiscing the beginning of the series, with them running together to the place when Chika first saw μ's. After that, You hugs Chika from behind and said that she's very happy that they're finally able to do something together. And again, Riko choose to reveals herself after the exchange occurs.
Hanamaru x Ruby
- Even just from the promotional material, we've gotten some Les Yay between Hanamaru and Ruby - Hanamaru says she hopes to accumulate good karma so she can be friends with Ruby again in her next life, repeatedly calls her cute, and says that she aspires to be like her because she's 'dazzling', and their 'typical off-day schedule' includes them meeting up and then 'date at Numazu City♡ (Shopping!)'
- The Aqours Valentines messages has the girls give chocolates to an unseen person (the viewer) and generally being flustered about it. Hanamaru is the sole exception: she's nervous because the only person she's ever traded chocolates with on Valentines is Ruby. Her message basically has her talk about how she and Ruby make chocolates together, and then we get this gem:Hanamaru: Yeah, I make chocolates with Ruby every year and we give em to each other. Ahaha. I reckon one day well be brides together too!
- The "Taking it Easy! Deep-Sea Aquarium!" audio drama CD has a some Les Yay between Ruby and Hanamaru. Basically, after Hanamaru ends up buying Ruby a stuffed fish doll, Yoshiko DEMANDS to know why she didn't get one too. Hanamaru apologizes, claiming that she didn't think Yoshiko would want one, but Yoshiko insists that she does and ends up fighting with Ruby over the stuffed fish doll. Hanamaru then decides to hold a competition to see which of the 2 girls can best express their love for the stuffed doll. Ruby goes first and Hanamaru immediately declares Ruby to be the winner. Yoshiko goes afterwards and Hanamaru still declares Ruby to be the winner. Yoshiko is obviously upset, but Hanamaru claims that she's an impartial judge. She then asks Ruby to "do it again", and this time she's totally enamored by Ruby and her ridiculously cute declaration of love.
- The Aqours Valentines messages has the girls give chocolates to an unseen person (the viewer) and generally being flustered about it. Hanamaru is the sole exception: she's nervous because the only person she's ever traded chocolates with on Valentines is Ruby. Her message basically has her talk about how she and Ruby make chocolates together, and then we get this gem:
Kanan x Mari
Continuing Eli and Nozomi's legacy, Mari and Kanan have gotten a fair amount of Les Yay ever since the start of the anime.
- In episode 6, Mari tells Kanan that she is Kanan's "stalker" during what appears to be a secret visit to Mari's house late at night.
- The whole pier scene from episode 8 played out more like two former lovers with Mari wanting to reconcile and Kanan not wanting to. Complete with Mari wearing a long white dress (which looks like something you'd see in a soap opera) and dramatic waves in the background. Not to mention her saying Kanan's name like one would say their lover's name.
- Episode 9 only added to Kanan and Mari's tease. Kanan threw away something she loved to do for Mari's own well-being by throwing their concert so Mari wouldn't have to perform with her leg injury. She also lives up to the saying "if you love someone, let them go" in regards to encouraging Mari to study aboard.
- Their dramatic reconciling also added to that with the two tearfully hugging each other.
- In episode 10 the two of them share a futon◊ and Mari straight up cuddles into Kanan's bosom.◊
- In the first episode of the second season, Mari claims that she gained some weight. Kanan picks her up saying that she didn't, implying that it's not the first time Mari got princess-carried.
- The fourth episode has Dia mention that Kanan and Mari's relationship recovered so quickly despite the conflict between them in the first season. Kanan and Mari reacted by holding hands. They also generally act just like parents who found about their daughter's (Dia) awkwardness in socializing.
- Kanan tries to be brave as she stands on the glass floor panel at Goryokaku Tower, where Aqours visits, but then she's afraid and hugging Mari. Mari's reaction?"My, you're so bold, Kanan!"
- In the 11th episode, Kanan gets down on one knee and asks Mari to dance, with her gesture being similar to a marriage proposal. Since they had no dialogue, make of that what you will. Still, Dia and Hanamaru tease them about it and Ruby is blushing hard.
- The lyrics of Mari's solo song "New winding road" consists of separation and reuniting one day. Make that of what you will.
- Mari's thoughts when hosting Kanan for a sleepover:"Wow, a sleepover with Kanan in my room? Feels like something amazing might happen on that night! I'm sure we'll have an unforgettable memory of love! Of course, prepare a set of underwear to lend her!"
Mari x Dia
- Mari loves to tease Dia and is fairly affectionate towards her in general. The two of them generally have a excellent (comedic) chemistry with each other.
- Very◊ affectionate◊ indeed.
- In Episode 7, Mari provokes Dia enough for Dia to resort to the Wall Pin of Love, a romance trope common enough in shoujo manga to be considered cliché. The nature of the action makes it very unlikely the writers chose it without noticing the connotations.
- The early stages of the series had Dia/Mari as the more prominent 3rd year pairing until the anime decidedly leaned more towards Kanan/Mari.
- A lot of fans noted how Dia and Mari's relationship had NozoEli vibes, which is arguably the most popular ship from the previous series.
- As Dia is a stereotypical Yamato Nadeshiko and Mari is pulling the Funny Foreigner card, a lot of people already shipped them before they had a lot of interaction.
- Especially in earlier depictions of the characters, Dia and Mari were remarkably much seen together.
- In season 2 episode 7 after it's revealed that the school didn't get enough applicants and will be forced to merge with another and Aqours wonders if they still wish to participate in Love Live!, Dia is shown hugging a crying Mari in one of the shots.
- In season 2 episode 8, they proudly show off their winter boots together while Mari presses her gloved hand on Dia's own.
- In the Drama CD's, Mari is told to stop talking about herself, so she decides to switch the subject of the conversation to Dia.
- In Aqours' Gallery from March 2016, Dia states multiple times how beautiful Mari looks in a kimono with descriptions like, "I was pretty surprised by Mari's brilliantly shining face".
Yoshiko x Riko
- A prominent pairing of the Sunshine!! series (named as YoshiRiko, YohaRiko or officially: YohaRiri), which began from a story featured in the November issue of Dengeki G, and was supported by both the fandoms and Rikako and Aika themselves. After steady streams of fanart & strong support, the ship finally makes appearances in the second season of the anime:
You: What's going on?Chika: "Lily"?Hanamaru: They sure must've fallen hard, zura.Ruby: Yeah.Riko: It's not like that!Yoshiko: Welcome to Hell Zone.Chika: You sure seem to having fun.Riko: Even Chika-chan?
- Episode 5 of season 2 is their shared Character Focus episode, so they're always together, even having a "date"-like scene in the rain when waiting for Anko to come out.
- Also, several fans might have strongly implied that Yoshiko's (or along with Riko's) mother actually shipped both of them by leaving her daughter's cellphone in the Sakurauchi household.
- If you're an eagle-eyed Yuri fan that is looking for "hidden subliminal lesbian messages", the magnet on the whiteboard that Riko touched is gray-colored. Yes, that means Riko indirectly "touched" Yoshiko.
- Come next episode, Riko is influenced by Yoshiko's chuunibyou tendencies and they start debating like a pair of villain characters. Yoshiko then nicknames Riko "my little demon Lily"; lilies (Yuri in Japanese) are an explicit Japanese symbol for love between two women. Subtle as a brick. note
- In episode 11, Yoshiko can be seen approaching Riko in the front of bonfire and smiling softly at her, while Riko returns her smile afterwards. They're holding hands afterwards.
- In episode 12, it seems that Yoshiko knew about Riko... ehem, hobbies, forcing Riko to silence her with a chuunibyou-induced attack. Hanamaru then remarks that Riko is fully becoming Yoshiko.
- Episode 5 of season 2 is their shared Character Focus episode, so they're always together, even having a "date"-like scene in the rain when waiting for Anko to come out.
Yoshiko x Hanamaru
- The pair of Hanamaru and Yoshiko (YoshiMaru/YohaMaru) probably has the most number of official art with heavily implied shipping.
- Official album covers like this and this
- Promotional item art like this.
- This official illustration in particular is a favorite of YoshiMaru shippers, since not only are they paired along with the other heavily hinted at pairings of the series (ChikaRikoYou and KanaMari), they're also the only ones not looking at the camera.
- Dengeki G posters◊. Hint: two of them are not like the others.
- And they just◊ keep◊ coming◊.
- YoshiMaru is the first shiptease in the anime, appearing in the Season 1 opening song as Hanamaru giving a lap pillow to Yoshiko. It is also the last shiptease to appear, in a similar, but modified scene during their Season 2 finale song Wonderful Stories. One can say it is the ''alpha and omega'' of Love Live! Sunshine!! ships.
- Separated after kindergarten, reunited by the Red String of Fate to remember their Forgotten First Meeting. Your classic romantic setup.
- They have their moments with both of them being very touchy with each other. In season 2 episode 3, when Yoshiko and Dia prepare to fight it out in a match of rock-paper-scissors, Hanamaru smacks Yoshiko's ''behind'', leading to her victory. Yoshiko even sounds embarrassed afterwards.
- Season 2 Episode 2 is a fan favorite. Not only did they spend most of the episode being partners, they are also paralleled with another very prominent pair in KanaMari.
- They are the only pair with indirect kiss moments in the anime, shown in Season 2 Episode 2 when Hanamaru shoves a macaroon she was previously nibbling on into Yoshiko's mouth, and Episode 8 with Hanamaru shutting Yoshiko up with her spoon.
- Yoshiko and Hanamaru end up spending the majority of season 2's 9th episode acting like Ruby's proud parents.
- The pair has the most depictions of sleeping together, particularly in season 2. Episode 8 has them sleeping in the same hotel room. In, Episode 9 has them sleeping on the same bed. And in episode 10, they slept under the same blanket, while the other prominent ships (KanaMari, ChikaRikoYou, DiaRuby) each sleep under their own.
- Season 2 Episode 9: Hanamaru's "Yoshiko-chan is big everywhere, zura".
- Yoshiko and Hanamaru's profiles seem deliberately written to be complementary to each other.
- Fallen angel vs Catholic choir singer
- Occult practitioner vs Buddhist temple girl
- Aqours' video editor vs Technologically-challenged
- Hates mikan vs Loves mikan
- Gamer vs Bookworm
- Even their icons (purple demon head and yellow flower) are of complementary colors.
- Interconnected home screen messages are usually limited to full-group events note , with the unique exception of YoshiMaru. During Christmas, Yoshiko and Hanamaru's separate SIF home screen messages show that they spend Christmas togethernote . Amazingly, self-proclaimed fallen angel Yoshiko has no qualms about visiting Hanamaru at the church.Hanamaru: Merry Christmas! I'm going to sing carols as a part of a choir today, zura. Yoshiko is coming to watch, too.Yoshiko: I came to hear Zuramaru sing hymns at church, but the atmosphere here on Christmas is... amazing! I like it!
- A chapter of the Aqours main story in SIF has Yoshiko and Hanamaru cuddling to "recharge" after a getting worn out from a live.
- In season 2 episode 12, when the third years start their massive pillow fight, Yoshiko's first instinct is to hug Hanamaru. Amusing, considering there are a few people between them, and Riko was within arm's reach.
- In the "Love Live! Sunshine!! Perfect Visual Collection I" official artbook, Yoshiko and Hanamaru images are printed on face to face pages, creating the illusion of making the characters kiss when closing the pages.
- More subtly, Hanamaru's twintail bands◊ come in white/gray and yellow. Those are Yoshiko's and Hanamaru's image colors, respectively.
- The subtlety is taken Up to Eleven when Hanamaru's and Yoshiko's images are passed through a color inverter. Their hair color palettes are direct inversions of each other,as shown here.
- When Chika, Riko and You go around advertising their first live to meet the audience quota Mari set for them, You demonstrates her natural charisma and seems to immediately gain several fans. At one point we see a picture of her saluting with almost a crowd of them. Naturally, none are guys.
- You seems to be increasingly drawn to Riko as well, leading to natural Threesome Subtext. This culminates in episode 6 of season 2; when Chika collapsed after her failed stunt attempt, You and Riko hold her hand and reassure her that her training was not in vain. OT3?
- It just keeps going from there, and the second season ends up having a lot of Chika/Riko/You moments, such as in episode 12 where Riko tearfully hugs both Chika and You, who hold her tight as she cries.
- Then in episode 13, You says that she "loooooooveeeeees" Riko and Riko said that she feels the same. Just like last season, it's unclear if it's romantic or platonic love.
- Ruby and Dia are also shipped with each other as, unsurprisingly enough, a number of fans support Incest Yay Shipping rather than normal, platonic, sisterly love.
Dia: "You're become even prettier too."
- Taken up to eleven in their Duo song "Manatsu wa Dare no Mono?", and further strengthened in their VA performance as Inferno Phoenix at the 2nd Live, especially that one part where Arisa and Ai's faces got within kissing distance.
- And then there's the 2nd season's 8th Episode, when Dia is cradling Ruby's face. It really doesn't look like sisters' bonding scene.
Your eyes really are unfair, aren’t they?The twinge of loneliness in themAttracted me because they are so similar to mine; I may become unable to turn backThis is the beginning of love, right?
- Some fans also note that some of the lyrics of Dia's solo song "WHITE FIRST LOVE" might have strongly implied to have incestual subtext on it: (Not helped to the fact that this song is released simultaneously along with Ruby's)
- The 9th episode came with a new pairing: Ruby x Leah. They're quickly become friends and spent the episode supporting each other.
- One of the Drama CDs included in the Awaken the Power single mentions that Leah wanted to take Ruby back to Tokyo, just to let her stay by her side.
- In the "Live Action Special" video, Chika kisses a coelacanth which turns out to be Ruby, despite the fact this takes place in Riko's dream.
- Near the end of Season 2's first episode, Chika does a flip on a pull-up bar. The next shot shows Riko and You visibly blushing and keeping their eyes open with their fingers. It's more likely than not that they got a peek up her skirt.
- In chapter 14 of the Sunshine manga, Ruby meets Yoshiko for the first time and spends an inordinate amount of time gushing about how pretty she is and hopes that she can be friends with her. It definitely comes off as Ruby developing a little bit of a crush on Yoshiko.
- Like the mothers in the previous Love Live! anime, several of the Aqours members' mothers are shipped with each other, with the most popular ship being Riko's and Yoshiko's mother, due to talking to each other often.
- The yuri fans had a field day with episode 11 of season 2, where Chika x You, Riko x Yoshiko, and Kanan x Mari were all teased.
- While what she means isn't quite clear, during the group's time in Hokkaido, Yoshiko suggests going down the streets to "hunt for little demons"...
- The dub for Season 2 Episode 4 ramps the Les Yay due to the Affectionate Nicknames. Here's a comparison video of the differences.
Real life (Voice Actresses)
There's a lot more Actor Shipping in Aqours, mostly due to the amount of Ship Tease the voice actresses are actively doing. The most popular ships seem to be AnShukanote , KyanRikanote and NanaAinyanote .
- In the Sunshine!! LIVE & FAN MEETING event in Nagoya:
- Shuka (You) talks about planning to sharing a bed with Rikako (Riko).
- Nanaka (Kanan) and Aina (Mari) pretending to share a chocolate bar.
- Aika (Yosh-Yohane) and Arisa (Dia) doing the "Sustenance, Shower or Sex" roleplay. note
- And again, Shuka considers playing a pocky game with Anju (Chika).
- In the Guilty Kiss Niconama, a fan asks which one of the members of Aqours is cute and cool, Aika asks if Aina is cute, and when Rikako asks her if she's cute, Aika (and Rikako) immediately blushes. To make things better, Aina makes a heart-shaped hand gesture in between them.
- The "Welcome back" skit note appears in an Aqours Second Year Niconama. The Les Yay comes in when Anju delivers this line to an unsuspecting Shuka and Rikako.
- Shuka responds to Anju during this punishment game.
- Nanaka Suwa actually ships herself with Aina Suzuki. They have a lot of these moments from pictures, videos and interviews to the point that the other members continuously remark on their special relationship.
- They have a sizeable amount of various photos posted on their social media on them teasing, including one of them with their faces got within kissing distance.
- Shanghai FMT - Nanaka and Aina reenact the Princess Carry scene between Kanan and Mari.
- A&G Tribal Radio with Nanaka, Tatsuki and Aika - In the Q&A portion, the hosts present a set of questions about the three while the answers are provided by the unavailable members. All answers by Aina to Nanaka are pretty much what a girlfriend would answer to her lover (in fact, she answers 3 times for questions regarding Nanaka). Kanako and Aika lampshades it during the same interview. Highlights include:Aina: She takes me by the hands and guide me around amongst the crowds.Aina: Her laidback, caring actions make my heart race.Suwa: Ah. My boyfriend quality leaked out.
- Uranohoshi Girls' High School Radio - Aina talks about how cute Arisa is during the first time they met. Arisa says that she could already feel Nanaka being jealous and Aina counters that she loves Nanaka the most.Nanaka comes in later at the show to present Aina her surprise birthday cake.
- In this Aqours Niconama, Nanaka flirts with Aina for a bit.
- The Aqours 1st Live BD captured Nanaka and Aina together in their free time as the other members saw them at a distance and commented on their arena date.
- Another instance of the two flirting in this skit from Trio da yo! Episode 6.
- During live concerts, Suwawa's intro includes her saying her character's lines and after saying "Yoshi, jaa hagu shiyou" (Alright, let's hug), she goes to hug one of the other seiyuu. There have been at least three different occasions where she runs past the other girls to get to her target with those she had run past having disappointed faces.
- This cute picture of Ai Furihata (Ruby) and Hinata Satou (Leah), featuring teddy bears and Held Gaze.
- The Ultra Jump's 100 Questions:
- Suwa Nanaka's:
- 88th question: Suwawa jokingly answered that the advantage being a woman is being allowed to touch with other girls.
- 89th Question: Suwawa wanted a harem if she's a male although she is surrounded by the other members in several photos, which is seen as a harem by the LGBT Fanbase.
- Suwa Nanaka's:
- A translation of Men's Non-No magazine throws things around.
- Q: "If you could date someone in the Aqours cast, who would it be?"
- Anchan: Kinchan
- Rikyako: Shukashuu or Ainya
- Suwawa: Ainya
- Arisha: Shukashuu
- Shukashuu: Ainya
- Aikyan: Everyone, but if she had to pick one then it would be Kinchan
- Kinchan: Aikyan
- Ainya: Aikyan
- Aiai: Aikyan
- Q: "If you could date someone in the Aqours cast, who would it be?"
- The live concert choreography for "G Senjou no Cinderella" practically reeks of subtext once the rest of Aqours join the third years on stage and start dancing with them.
- The Aqours members relationship diagram gives us a bit of insight on what the members think of each other. Some notable entries are:
- Shuka on Anchan: When Anchan wakes up and is half-asleep, her face looks like a baby and I find that cute... I said it even though I wanted to keep it a secret.
- Arisha on Rikako: The way she eats is kind of cute.
- Anchan on Arisha: Her face is small and brimming with cuteness, and during recordings I am drawn to her eyes!
- Arisha on Shuka: She has a nice body.
- Anchan on King: She has such a genuine face that is my type! (and her smile, her sleeping face, her white skin… etc.)
- Suwawa on Ainya: The part I like is… everything!
Despite the manga chapters not being official (though the canonicity of each stories are still none-to-debatable due to being officially published) in this release, the Anthology features a number of daring, somewhat straightforward Ho Yay moments that is not entirely featured in the official stories. Note that the product listings for the anthologies usually contain a line saying "different artists draw their own interpretations", which is basically a disclaimer. Read at your own discretion.
Folder update is still in progress!
- Gasshuku (Summer Training Camp) Chapter:
- The 6 4-koma chapters submitted by Mezashi, which is known to draw YoshiMaru 4-komas.
- A chapter contributed by Harutsugu Nadaka, appropriately titled "Guilty Kiss", consists of a moment of Riko and Yoshiko attempting to kiss lip-to-lip after she found out Riko's secret Yuri doujin stash (ironically, she agrees), with her surgery face mask on. Their moment is later secretly taken by Chika and Mari themselves.