The results of entrance exams are on show at Otonokizaka High School, and crowds have gathered to see who made it and who missed out. The news is good for both Eli and Honoka's sisters, but of course the prospect of new students also means that it's almost time for some of the third years to depart.
When mentioned by Honoka's sister, this prospect hits μ's leader like a lead weight as she finally has to face up to a prospect that has been left buried by all of the group's members until after the Love Live. With Arisa and Yukiho both keen to join the group, they certainly wouldn't be short of new recruits, but do the remaining six girls even want to countenance the prospect of carrying on without Eli, Nozomi and Nico? Even those graduating can't agree on how they'd like to imagine the future of the group, and despite further attempts to push back thinking about what happens until after the Love Live, the issue simply won't go away.
It's actually Yukiho and Arisa who finally bring Honoka to her decision, as their eagerness to join μ's gives way to a realisation that they only love the group in the first place because of the unit of nine unique people that it consist of, and that without just one of them it wouldn't be the same. It seems that this consensus is eventually reached by the other remaining members too, and thus Honoka makes the most of a day off to give everyone a day together to remember, visiting one place which each member wanted to visit before finally announcing that the Love Live will also be the swansong of μ's. Cue lots of tears, and not just from the show's cast...
Even though I've largely been tuning into Love Live for its sense of undemanding fun, I have to give it some credit for the soft centre that it's displayed over recent weeks - thanks to its lovable cast of characters its easy to get swept up in their sadness at the end of an era, and even if it doesn't come close to matching K-ON's episode which attempted similar it still packs enough of a punch to be memorable and rather beautifully bittersweet. Now we just have to see how μ's journey ends over the next couple of weeks, but hopefully there are some laughs (and maybe more tears) in store before we say goodbye.