This article contains details about plotlines described in the anime.
Do not proceed unless you want to be spoiled.
Hanamaru Kunikida is one of the nine main characters of Love Live! Sunshine!!. She is a first year in Uranohoshi Girls' High School. Her image color is yellow. She is a member of AZALEA, a sub-unit under Aqours.
Hanamaru, known as "Maru" for short (by herself and her friends), is a first year student and the daughter of a family who has run a nearby temple for generations. She lives with her grandparents, and since she does not have a computer, she often reads a lot. Hanamaru is Ruby Kurosawa's best friend, and both are often seen near the other. She also attended the same kindergarten as Yoshiko Tsushima, also one of her friends.
Hanamaru has a distinctive verbal tic and dialect, tending to end her sentences with "zura" (ずら), as well as using "ora" as a first-person pronoun to refer to herself.
In the anime, in the first episode, Hanamaru and Ruby are quickly approached by Chika Takami, who invites them to be school idols. Confused, Hanamaru quickly dismisses the invitation. It is later revealed in Season 1 Episode 4 that Hanamaru actually was interested in school idols, especially after seeing a picture of Rin Hoshizora from µ's, but couldn't bring herself to being a school idol herself because of her appearance and lack of physical condition. She talks Ruby's sister, Dia Kurosawa, into paying attention to what her sister actually wants, which was being a school idol. After Ruby joins Aqours, she tells Hanamaru about the story of Rin and µ's, and Hanamaru finally decides to join Aqours, supporting Ruby in her endeavor.
Hanamaru is a hardworking girl who diligently works at her family's temple. She spends a lot of time reading alone and is easily distracted by books. Since she was raised as a temple girl, Hanamaru does not watch the television much, nor does she use the internet, making her outdated. Because of this, she is fascinated with modern technology, yelling her catchphrase "Mirai zura!" (未来ずら "It's the future, zura!") when she sees something advanced such as a computer. She was often teased due to this, but was usually defended by her best friend Ruby; however, the first time it happened, Ruby ended up crying, causing Hanamaru to comfort her instead.
Hanamaru seems to be quite self-depreciating, calling herself a "chibi procrastinator" and "neither cute nor interesting". She aspires to be like Ruby, whom she sees as "beautiful, cute and dazzling". She is also gentle and caring for those around her. Despite her appearance, Hanamaru is also smart and not easily fooled.
Due to the fact the Second Years are considered "the heart" of Aqours, Hanamaru has some difficulty relating to the Third Years', which is shared with Yoshiko; this is due to her preferance for the indoors and for calmer activities. Season 2 Episode 2 explores this, and after a rainy evening forces the girls to stay indoors, the First and Third Years' are able to relate to the others, with Hanamaru seemingly relating to Kanan Matsuura the most.
Hanamaru is shown to have a playful and mischievous side of her; this is especially present when she teases Yoshiko's Fallen Angel behavior and her embarrassing moments (often alongside Ruby), which annoys Yoshiko all the time. She has a surprisingly large appetite, able to eat a food helping quickly and often asking for another one immediately after, and is usually seen eating sweets in the background, the most common of them being a roll of noppo bread.
In Season 1 Episode 4, Hanamaru stated that since she was little, she was a quiet girl who played off to the side.
Clubs and Hobbies
She is a gifted singer, earning her a spot in a choir. She loves reading and has a deep fondness for Japanese literature, often spending most of her time in the school library, which she helps out at. Her ambition is to become a writer some day.
- Note: Dengeki G's Magazine is a monthly magazine that is part of the Love Live! and Love Live! Sunshine!! multimedia projects. As it is usually the first source of news for all major projects under these titles, its monthly sections will detail how the project has progressed over time. The issues are usually published a month ahead of time. For example, the July 2010 issue would've been released on 30th May 2010.
|Aqours DIARY: Everyone's Diary (March 2018)|
|Question & Answer Corner|
|Please tell us your favorite genre of light novels.|
Asked by アシュンさん @Twitter
What I like most is Japanese literature. The genre I love best is Bildungsroman--- coming-of-age novels, stories about maturing are just great♡ When I first read novels like Yasushi Inoue's Shirobamba and Serizawa Kojiro's Ningen no Unmei, I was really really moved--- My heart was so excited that I became unable to sleep at night zura♪
Out of all the songs you sing in the choir, is there one you particularly like?
Uwah~ I will be troubled if I don't manage to choose one--- ehehe♪ But the songs I like are numerous, like "Nobara no Niou", "Izayorokobe" and so on... Maybe I like more cheerful songs. Ah, but in the end, my number one has to be the Christmas song "Ame no Mitsukai no", huh? It's a song I remember singing alone so many times since childhood♡
What are your favorite snacks? Also, which end of the taiyaki do you start eating from?
Maru's favorite snack is--- ohagi and mikan♡ There're a lot of mikan farmers around here, so since childhood, my house would be overflowing with mikan every time it got to the mikan season--- No matter how many there were, I always ate them all♪ Ah, and Maru loves red bean paste, so Maru really loves ohagi. And, oh, taiyaki must definitely be eaten from the tail onward. After all, they're so cute zura...
Being a temple girl... When it comes to summer, do you enjoy listening to ghost stories?
Scary stories are--- Maru has always been bad with them since a long time ago. My grandmother at the temple always said, "Ghosts and hitodama aren't things to be afraid of, everyone is nostalgic for this world, and they are just our ancestors who have come to visit, so they won't do anything bad to you", but--- But as expected, scary things are scary zura... That's why I always keep my eyes tightly shut on dark nights and sleep zura♡
What is your favorite snack that has red bean paste?
As expected, that would be rice cake dumplings zura--- Ehehe♡ Just thinking about it makes my mouth water♪ Since I live in a temple, whenever it comes to the spring and autumn equinoctial weeks, we make a whole mountain of rice cake dumplings♡ I give them out to the other members too!
Hanamaru-chan loves Japanese literature, but does she also read foreign literature?
Books by foreign authors are filled with katakana--- they're a little bit difficult zura♡ Ahahahaha---... But when I was a child, I loved the Harry Potter series and read all of it, and I also loved Tales from Earthsea. Lately I also read a few novels by Kazuo Ishiguro-san!
When you buy books, do you decide based on the cover? Or is it the title, or the wraparound band?
I usually read all the works of my favorite authors, so I tend to buy books just based on the author's name. If it's someone new, I read the short synopsis on the back cover to decide, but in the end perhaps it's the wraparound band after all? If there are lovely words written on the wraparound band, it gets me excited♡♡
Do you have any daily routines?
The temple's daily routines are the morning cleaning sessions and making offerings to Buddha--- aside from that I don't think there is really anything that I decided on by myself. Aah, I'm so slothful huh... Ah! There's something! Choir vocal exercises♡ I do them after having breakfast. They're also useful for Aqours's songs♪
What's your favorite season?
My favorite season--- Nope, that's troubling zura, I haven't really thought about it before zura---. Even though I know it's definitely not summer--- Nope nope nope. Maybe it's winter after all♡ I love the scenery of light snow falling gently during Uchiura's cold winters. I want everyone to see it too!
Is there anything you take note of when cleaning the temple?
When cleaning the temple, using the dust cloth is part of the basics, but I always make sure to wipe all the corners of the temple properly! When I was a child, I didn't wipe corners at all, and I didn't squeeze the water out of the dust cloth enough which left the Buddha statue dripping wet--- I messed up a bunch of times but now I'm a full-fledged temple maiden zura♡
To the book-loving Hanamaru-chan, just how many books do you have in your room?
Ah--- what should I do, I never really counted them before--- I don't know zura... Hmm, maybe, I have 2 large bookshelves and 3 smaller paperback-size bookshelves so--- around that much♡ Ever since childhood, I would always go to Numazu's bookshop on my off days and buy entire paper-bags filled with books--- I remember being filled with joy over it!
- Does not work on iPad, or any medium that does not support the .ogg audio format.
|01||Greetings from Kunikida Hanamaru||2:49|
|01||"I Want to Shine!!"
|In Episode 1, Uranohoshi Girls' High School student Chika Takami discovered the school idol group μ's while trying to catch a runaway flyer. Having had looked for something to devote her all to for a long time, she was inspired and decided to form her own school idol group.
With help from her friend You Watanabe, Chika tried to gather members at the school entrance ceremony, without any response from the student body. You and Chika then encountered first year students Ruby Kurosawa and Hanamaru Kunikida, and Chika tried to interest them in joining the school idol club. Yoshiko Tsushima suddenly interrupted the conversation and Hanamaru recognized her from kindergarten. Yoshiko ran off with the other two first years chasing her and Chika proclaimed she would recruit them later.
|02||"Catch the Transfer Student!"
(転校生をつかまえろ! "Tenkousei o Tsukamaero!")
|In Episode 2, Chika and You met Hanamaru and Ruby again, luring the shy Ruby out of hiding using a lollipop. Chika learned Yoshiko had not been at school after running out of class on the first day, and that Dia is Ruby’s older sister.|
(ファーストステップ "Faasuto Suteppu")
|In Episode 3, Chika met Ruby and Hanamaru after their trip to a bookstore. After receiving a flyer from Chika, Ruby asked what their school idol group's name was.
Before their concert, Aqours worried about people not attending due to the rain. They laughed it off and stood behind the stage's curtain, hand in hand. However, when the curtains raised, they only had a small group of audience. Included in the audience were Mari Ohara, Ruby, Hanamaru, and a disguised Yoshiko. Despite this, they continued their concert and performed "Daisuki dattara Daijoubu!" while Kanan and Dia listened from outside the gym.
|04||"Two Girls' Feelings"
(ふたりのキモチ "Futari no Kimochi")
|In episode 4, Hanamaru explained how she came to love reading, using it as a way to deal with her loneliness, and how she met Ruby.
Chika, Riko, and You entered the library to return books they had found while cleaning up, just as Ruby was excitedly telling Hanamaru the news of the school idol club officially being formed. Once again, Chika tried recruiting the duo as school idols.
As soon as they were alone, Hanamaru asked Ruby if she wanted to become a school idol. Ruby declined, saying she cannot like things her sister cannot stand, and that she was okay not being a school idol if Hanamaru was not interested.
While Hanamaru was at the bookshop, thinking it was impossible for her to be like μ's and Rin Hoshizora, Yoshiko passed by in disguise, muttering about why Hanamaru (referred to as ‘Zuramaru’ by Yoshiko) was there.
Met by a very excited Chika, Ruby and Hanamaru started a trial period as members of the school idol club, saying they would join if they liked it. Short of a place to practice, the school idol club ended up taking their dance practice to the rooftop, inspired by μ's.
When Hanamaru struggled running up the stairs during stamina practice, Ruby stopped and suggested they run together. Hanamaru told Ruby she should care more about her own feelings and exhorted Ruby to go on without her. To herself, Hanamaru thought about how her own dream was to let the light of Ruby’s aspirations and dreams out and shine in all the corners of the world.
While Ruby and the school idol club were celebrating having reached the top, Hanamaru met with Dia and told her to pay more attention to what Ruby had to say about her feelings.
After Ruby officially joined the school idol club, she confronted Hanamaru at the library. Ruby explained how she suspected that Hanamaru went along just because she thought being a school idol was something Ruby wanted to do, but that she also thought maybe Hanamaru was interested herself, too. Ruby drew a parallel to Rin also thinking she was not fit to be a school idol, and admitted she had always wanted to become a school idol with Hanamaru. Hanamaru finally agreed to become a school idol after Riko, You and Chika entered the library, Chika saying what matters is the will to do it, rather than your skills.
(ヨハネ堕天 "Yohane Daten")
|In episode 5, The school idol club, now with five members, were looking at their ranking and comments online. Hanamaru was revealed to never have seen a computer before, due to living in a temple without many electronics. The members of Aqours wondered how they could stand out more in order to raise their popularity.
Whimpering in the school idol clubroom, Yoshiko explained she knew she was not a fallen angel and wanted to be a normal high school student. Chika, on the other hand, got the idea of fallen angel idols as a way to make them stand out more. Therefore, she asked Yoshiko if she wanted to become a school idol, addressing her as “Fallen Angel Yohane-chan”.
Much to Dia’s dismay, the school idol club uploaded a fallen angel themed video online using their new costumes. Dia showed the Aqours members that the initial boost in rankings the video had gotten them was already declining and their rank was dropping. This broke the spirits of the school idols, causing Chika to second guess their trying to be like μ's and Yoshiko to once again say she wanted to be a normal high schooler and quit the school idol club.
The day after Hanamaru made the other Aqours members understand why Yoshiko had wanted to be a fallen angel in the first place, they confronted Yoshiko wearing their new costumes and asked if she wanted to join Aqours as the fallen angel Yohane. Chika yelled to the fleeing Yoshiko that she was fine the way she was and that μ's got so popular due to their being themselves and not caring about what others thought. After being assured all the members of the school idol club were okay with her antics, Yoshiko accepted their offer and joined.
|06||"Let's Make a PV"
(PVを作ろう "PV o Tsukurou")
|In episode 6, news of the school possibly being closed and merged with a school in Numazu reached Chika, and she was overjoyed to be put in a similar situation to the one μ's faced, becoming motivated to do more school idol activities in order to save the school. After some careful thinking, Aqours decided to create a promotional video, with the purpose of showing people what made their small town Uchiura a great place. They all went out to film, but most of the things the group could come up with seemed quite unimpressive after reconsideration. The group gathered at a café to think things through, and Chika realized that what they had at their current school was something special she did not want to lose.
Showing the chairwoman their promotional video, Mari told Chika and the rest of Aqours that they did not know what it was that made their town and their school great. After Mari proclaimed she knew better herself, Chika decided not to ask about it, considering it something they had to figure out for themselves for it to be worth something.
On her way to the clubroom Chika spotted Dia on stage in the empty auditorium. While she did decline Chika’s offer of joining the school idol club, Dia stated she was happy that they wanted to save the school. As Dia was leaving the room, Ruby stopped Chika from calling out to her, and a flashback showed the third years seemingly right before a school idol performance. Mari showed up and told Dia you can not run away, only move forward, but Dia denied she had been trying to run away.
In accordance with Uchiura tradition, all the town members gathered early in the morning of the first day of beach season to make and release floating lanterns. Riko, for whom it was the first time experiencing the tradition, talked about how she did not realize there were so many people living in the town and suggested that maybe that was the special thing about Uchiura and Uranohoshi Girls’ High School. Hearing this, Chika gathered everyone’s attention and introduced Aqours, saying they needed the help of everyone in town to save their school. "Yume de Yozora o Terashitai" was performed as an insert song by the currently six Aqours members, thus concluding the episode.
|In episode 7, the members of Aqours realized that their PV had boosted their popularity enough to push them into the top one hundred school idol groups. Because of this, they were invited to perform at an event in Tokyo.
Getting to Tokyo, the school idol club (sans transfer student Riko) tried not to let on that they were from the country side, without much success. After getting temporarily separated, Aqours paid a visit to Kanda Shrine, and got excited about running up the same stairs that μ's once used for stamina practice.
Once they reached the top of the stairs, Chika heard Sarah Kazuno and Leah Kazuno singing “SELF CONTROL!!”. Although the two girls were strangers to Chika and the rest of Aqours, Sarah recognized them from their PV and asked if they were in Tokyo for the upcoming event. The Saint Snow members then left, leaving Aqours impressed with their acrobatics and singing skills.
The next day, Chika went out for a run and visited the place where she first found out about school idols, UTX High School. There, the rest of Aqours caught up with her and the six of them saw the next Love Live! competition being announced on the screen of the UTX building. Aqours decided they wanted to enter the competition.
At the event location, the Aqours members were surprised to find out the girls they had met at Kanda Shrine were school idols, too. Sarah introduced herself, and the episode ended just as Saint Snow were to take the stage.
|08||"Isn't it Frustrating?"
(くやしくないの? "Kuyashikunai no?")
|In episode 8, Saint Snow performed “SELF CONTROL!!” on stage at a school idol event in Tokyo. After all the school idol groups invited had performed, neither Aqours nor Saint Snow were announced as one of the winners. In spite of their loss, Chika talked about how it was Aqours's best performance yet. The other members, on the other hand, worried about how far from being top idols they were.
Having been given the results of the audience poll used to rank the groups at the event, Aqours learned that they not only placed last, but also got zero votes. Approached by Saint Snow, Aqours was complimented on their performance but told they might be better off giving up competing in Love Live! by Sarah, and warned not to take Love Live! lightly by a crying Leah.
On the train ride back to Numazu, five quite depressed Aqours members and one seemingly less depressed Chika discussed Saint Snow’s statements. Once they arrived they were greeted by Uranohoshi Girls’ High School students, relieved and happy to hear it was the group’s best performance so far. When Dia arrived at the scene, Ruby ran into her arms, crying.
Dia talked to Aqours about their placing last, saying she was afraid it would happen, considering how tough the school idol scene had gotten. She explained how she, Mari and Kanan formed a school idol group two years back, but were unable to sing at the very same event, overwhelmed by the other groups’ performances and the atmosphere.
Riko Sakurauchi followed Chika to the beach, who, after holding all of her feelings in for a long time, finally allowed herself to cry and let out her frustration about all of their hard work not bearing fruit. When Chika said she thought it would make the other members sad if she allowed herself to be sad, Riko pointed to the rest of Aqours and said that no one joined for Chika’s sake, it was a decision they all made on their own. The sun’s rays hit the six girls standing in the water as they decided to try to turn their zero into a one.
(未熟DREAMER "Mijuku DREAMER")
|In episode 9, the six members of Aqours tried to figure out what to do for the upcoming summer festival. Chika wondered what made Kanan (who had been evasive when Chika asked her about it) quit being a school idol since she did not think it was like Kanan to quit just because of one failure. Ruby revealed she had heard Dia speaking to Mari back then, saying neither Dia nor Kanan were running away.
On one of her early morning walks Kanan was followed by the school idol club, who overheard Kanan and Mari talking about Kanan’s returning to school. However, Kanan said she was not going to become a school idol again and that she did not want to talk to Mari any more.
At school, Kanan and Mari got into a heated argument, which made Chika burst into the room and yell at them to break it up, and to come to the club room of the school idol club after school. There, Kanan continued to claim that the fact she could not sing in Tokyo was the reason she had quit being a school idol. Once she had left the room, the other girls pushed Dia into revealing that Kanan did not sing at the event to prevent Mari from performing with an injury, and that she quit being a school idol because she did not want Mari turning down other opportunities.
Aqours convinced Dia to join them, Chika saying they’d all help out if juggling school idol duties and student council president duties got too much, and Ruby handing her a stage costume. All nine girls performed “Mijuku DREAMER” as an insert song, and Dia turned out to be the one who wrote “Aqours” in the sand, it being the same name the third years’ previous idol group had.
|10||"We've Got Stewshine"
(シャイ煮はじめました "Shai-ni Hajimemashita")
|In episode 10, summer vacation began for the now nine members of Aqours. Summer is the season of the Love Live! competition, and Dia had somehow managed to get her hands on the training schedule μ's used when they were active. Since Kanan and Chika had been asked to help run a snack bar on the beach, the members decided to camp at the Takami family inn in order to make time for practice.
Initially intimidated by a competing snack bar on the beach, Dia quickly took charge and assigned tasks once she received encouragement from Mari. Riko, Chika and Kanan begun advertising in order to draw in customers, seemingly somewhat unwillingly. Meanwhile, You, Yoshiko and Mari started cooking the food.
With everyone exhausted after attempting to train the way μ's did, they all sat down to eat Mari’s Stewshine and Yoshiko’s Tears of a Fallen Angel takoyaki that had not sold during the day.
Aqours's second day of managing the snack bar wasn’t all too successful either, but everyone enjoyed the curry You made using both Mari’s and Yoshiko’s culinary creations. Dia tried to hold a lesson on Love Live! history, but it was cut short due to Chika’s sister Mito thinking they were being too loud.
|11||"Aye-aye, My Friend"
(友情ヨーソロー "Yuujou Yousoro")
|In episode 11, all the members of Aqours saw Riko off as she left for Tokyo to compete in a piano competition that would take place the same day as the regional Love Live! qualifiers. They made the promise to sing together on the same stage next time.
As “special practice”, Dia got the eight of them to help clean up the school’s pool, and once they finished they decided to practice their dance in the empty pool. With Riko missing, Aqours needed to adjust their formation, and opted for You to fill in Riko’s spot.
Chika and You struggled to find harmony in their dance, Chika being accustomed to the way Riko performed the dance moves. They had just made it through the part they had problems with because of You’s mimicking Riko’s movements, when Riko called from Tokyo. After Ruby, Hanamaru and Yoshiko greeted her, the call was cut short due to Chika’s battery running low just as You was about to say something to Riko.
The night of the Love Live! qualifiers and Riko’s piano competition, everyone wore the matching scrunchies Riko had sent as bracelets. Riko played her piece at the competition, and the remaining eight Aqours members performed “Omoi yo Hitotsu ni Nare” on stage.
|12||"It's Time to Fly"
(はばたきのとき "Habataki no Toki")
|In episode 12, the members of Aqours were happy and relieved to find out they made it through the regional qualifiers of the Love Live! after a nervous wait. While the video of their performance had gotten a lot of views and comments, the number of applicants for the school’s open house was still zero.
Chika couldn’t help but compare Aqours to μ's, and wondered if the school idols she looked up to weren’t regular people after all. Calling the other Aqours members, she suggested they’d all go to Tokyo before Riko went back home, and try to figure out what made μ's great.
In Tokyo, Chika had arranged for Aqours to meet up with Saint Snow, who told Chika and the others they did not know what made μ's and A-RISE different. To them, what mattered was winning and following in the footsteps of their predecessors. Together, both groups watched the announcement of the Love Live! finals being held at the Akiba Dome on the screen outside the UTX High School building.
At Riko’s suggestion, Aqours visited Otonokizaka High School. They learned that μ's had not left anything from their school idol days at Otonokizaka, saying their hearts would be connected even without those things. Chika and Riko said the visit had brought them closer to the answer of their question.
On the train back to Numazu, the nine of them took a stop to look at the sea. Chika said that they couldn’t compare themselves to μ's, and all of the members started realizing that they had to run freely, stand on their own feet and not chase after someone else in order to become great. They decided that what they were running towards was turning the zero into a one.
|In episode 13, Aqours were practicing for the Love Live! regionals during the hot days of summer vacation. Meanwhile, the number of applicants for Uranohoshi Girls’ High School was still zero. At the end of the day, Mutsu, Itsuki and Yoshimi showed up to tell Chika that they, along with other people in the school, were also interested in saving the school and had thought about becoming school idols. Chika invited them to sing with Aqours at the Love Live!.
The nine members of Aqours met up with Mutsu, Itsuki and Yoshimi, who brought with them an abundance of other Uranohoshi Girls’ High School students. However, everyone’s excitement was restrained when Riko announced that the rules said only the people who had applied initially would be allowed on stage. In the end, although only Aqours would be on stage, all the other girls decided to cheer them on from the audience.
Before their performance, the school idol club members reflected on their time together. Ruby and Hanamaru were embraced by Yoshiko, while Mari, Kanan and Dia thanked each other for getting this far, and Chika told You and Riko she wanted to enjoy everything the future had in store together. Proclaiming there weren’t just nine of them, Chika opened the door to the stage.
Prior to performing their song, Aqours introduced themselves by telling the audience their story and their goal. When they counted to nine, part of the audience yelled “ten”, pronouncing their being the tenth member of the group.
Halfway through the performance of “MIRAI TICKET”, Chika called out for everyone to shine together with them. The Aqours supporters of the audience ran down to stand next to the stage, creating a circle of blue light sticks around it. Meanwhile, the number of applicants for the school flipped from zero to one.
(ネクストステップ "Nekusuto Suteppu")
|In episode 1, Mari and Dia were motivating the student body, including the rest of Aqours, to work hard at attracting students to the school this term, too. Chika showed up just when the upcoming Love Live! was mentioned, and they all decided Aqours was going to participate.
During their regular afternoon practice session on the roof, the girls started discussing holding a concert at the open house. Realizing they would not be able to stay as long at school with the buses’ fall timetable, they set out to find a place to practice in Numazu.
The next day at school, Aqours revisited the issue of a new practice space. Without anyone noticing the third years suddenly disappeared.
In a locale made available to the group thanks to You’s father, the third years revealed that the open house had been cancelled, and the decision about the school merger made final. Chika reacted strongly, saying she would personally seek Mari’s father out and convince him to change his mind, but let it go when the others explained to her how there was nothing to be done. Disheartened, the girls went home.
When Chika showed up at school early to tell the universe she was not going to give up yet, she was surprised to find the rest of Aqours followed a similar impulse and were there, too. Together, they decided to keep working toward their goal no matter how impossible it may seem. They were going to aim for a miracle.
|02||"The Sound of Rain"
(雨の音 "Ame no Oto")
|In episode 2, Aqours got the news that the school would stay open for another year if the number of prospective students was raised to at least one hundred. Although this initially sounded like to much for them to handle, Chika motivated them by saying they should not worry about whether it was possible, but rather simply make it happen.
With the Love Live! coming up sooner than expected, the second years found the workload of having to create two songs at once difficult to handle. To make it easier on them, everyone decided to split the workload and had the second years create a song for the open house while the third and first years created one to perform at the Love Live!.
While Chika, Riko and You headed for Chika’s house to work on their song, the rest of the girls initially tried Mari’s home as a work space, but found the extravagance there too distracting. Having moved somewhere more understated, they discovered that the differing tastes of the third contra the first years made it difficult to agree on lyrics and music for the song.
Ruby sent a text to Chika, Riko and You, who so far had not come up with anything either, asking them to come at once. In order to better work together, the first and third years decided to spend some time together try to get to know each other better.
Having tried a couple of activities together, it was clear that the two groups did not find the same things fun. Needing to seek shelter from a sudden rainstorm, the girls headed to a temple nearby as per Hanamaru’s suggestion.
Revisiting the idea of creating a song together, it still seemed hopeless until the ceiling started leaking. Together, they all helped place plates and pots on the floor to catch the water, and found that although the tones and tempo of the different raindrops were out of tune, they all came together to create music.
When all nine girls regrouped, celebrating the two completed songs, Mari received a phone call.
|In Episode 3, a new problem arose. The school open house was postponed by a week, putting both the Love Live! qualifiers and the open house on the same Sunday.
Aqours tried to find a way to travel between the two venues in time to perform at both events, without luck. With going by boat and by helicopter both out of the question, it seemed the only possible way to make it in time would be to perform as the first group and catch a bus.
As the order of the performances would be decided by lottery, the group decided to let Yoshiko do the honors. Much to everyone’s disappointment, they ended up as the 24th group to perform. The group thought the only option left was to choose just one event, but could not decide on one. The next day Chika and Riko suggested they split the group and perform at both events, to which the group reluctantly agreed.
When Sunday finally came, Chika, Riko, You, Dia and Ruby were overjoyed to be joined by the other four onstage for the performance of MY Mai☆TONIGHT. Confused when the second years immediately ran off after the song ended, the group found out Chika had arranged for them to use a monorail for mikan transport to travel back to school. With this and help of their school mates, they made it back in time to perform Kimi no Kokoro wa Kagayaiteru kai? at the open house.
|04||"Don't Call Me Dia-san"
(ダイヤさんと呼ばないで "Dia-san to Yobanaide")
|In episode 4, Chika woke up in an unusually happy mood. In reply to the other girls’ queries about why she was not nervous to see whether or not they had passed the Love Live! qualifiers, she stated she was sure they would pass, something that proved true moments later. Chika’s mood fell with the realization that Aqours was out of funds after the recent performances. They turned both to the gods and Mari’s family in a futile effort to get more money, but had to begin thinking about other options.
Forced to come up with an idea to replace one she shot down, Dia led the group into setting up a stand at a flea market. Her expectations of getting close to the others and being addressed informally fell short as she became upset with the rest of the girls not handling the task in the same way she would.
Working together at Izu Mito Sea Paradise, Dia tried her best to make small-talk and play around, becoming increasingly frustrated as the others took this to mean she was angry or upset with something. Finally, Mari and Kanan told the others what was going on, explaining how Dia, despite her cold exterior, gets lonely easily. When a class of kindergartners at the aquarium ran amok, Dia took control of the situation by being authoritative but not as harsh as usual.
At the end of the day, Aqours gathered. Chika told Dia that it was best if she acted like herself, and how they all appreciate her for who she is. Dia accepted this, and was delighted to finally be addressed with the preferred honorific.
|05||"Taking in A Dog"
(犬を拾う。 "Inu o Hirou.")
|In episode 5, Aqours had to cut their practice short due to the rain. Yoshiko was offered a ride with the others but said no as she lived nearby.
The group gathered at Chika’s house to decide on a theme for their performance in the Love Live! regionals. While the girls were discussing trying new things for this performance, they noticed Yoshiko had gone home early without warning.
A few days later, the members of Aqours became concerned with Yoshiko and Riko's weird behavior.
|In episode 6, the venue for the Love Live! regional preliminaries was revealed to be the same as during the last Love Live!. During practice, everyone was happy to discover Aquors on a list of groups most likely to make the national competition. Before they had time to finish celebrating, the less good news that success in the regionals would rely heavily on the number of students in the school hit them.
Chika’s brought the question of what made Aqours special up at practice, prompting Mari to introduce a move the third years had failed to pull of when they created Aqours to the rest of the group, much to Kanan’s dismay. Despite Kanan’s warnings that it would be the most difficult for the center, Chika said she would be able to do it.
As Chika was struggling to learn the move, everyone became increasingly more worried that she was pushing herself too far. After almost a week of endless trying and failing, she agreed to Kanan’s demand that she give up if she could not do it come next morning.
Determined to make it work, Chika spent the night on the beach practicing. Despite Riko, You and the first years coming to cheer her on, she failed and felt that she had not accomplished anything. Riko and You reminded her that she had forgotten to thank herself for how far they had come already. As Chika was getting ready to try the move one last time the third years showed up, and the episode concluded with Chika perfectly landing the move during the performance of MIRACLE WAVE at the Love Live! regional preliminaries.
|07||"The Time Left"
(残された時間 "Nokosareta Jikan")
|In episode 7, Aqours was announced to be one of the groups in the Love Live! finals. The video of their performance had been doing well, the only problem was that the number of applicants for the school was not rising as hoped.
Calling in another favor from Mari’s father, the girls managed to get an extension until 5 AM the next morning. Chika initially was eager to do anything she could to help make the number rise, but was talked out of it by the rest of the girls.
By 1 AM, there still were only 87 applications. Becoming more and more desperate and restless, they sent out the first years to buy something to eat. Yoshiko, Hanamaru and Ruby talked about how they were thankful for everything Aqours had given them and how they wanted to take care of their upperclassmen.
They were still six applicants short by the final hour. Everyone was on edge waiting for the last two applications to drop in during the last minute. Finally, the application page shut down.
The next day, Mari announced the news to the rest of the school. Aqours initially tried to ignore what had happened and commence practice as usual, but stopped when Chika started crying. They decided to call it a day and take some time to think about whether they still wanted to partake in the Love Live!.
Sora mo Kokoro mo Hareru kara was performed as an insert song while everyone took to their respective houses to consider what to do next. Meeting up the next morning, the nine girls agreed that they would never manage to shine as school idols when they had not succeeded in saving their school. At this moment, the rest of the student body showed up saying that they would like for their school to be remembered through Aqours, and convinced the girls not to end their journey yet.
|In episode 8, Aqours were invited to Hakodate to attend the Hokkaido Love Live! preliminaries as guests. Before the competition, they visited Saint Snow in their dressing room. Chika accepted Sarah’s challenge to bring their best to the Love Live! finals, but Ruby noticed that something seemed to be the matter with Leah.
During Saint Snow’s performance, they made a mistake in the choreography and fell on stage, which ended up costing them their spot in the finals. When Aqours went back to their dressing room, they had already left.
The Uchiura girls went sightseeing in Hakodate, and ended up at the restaurant where Sarah and Leah worked. At dinner the sisters’ fight about Leah wanting to disband Saint Snow resurfaced. In contrast to the other Aqours members, Ruby seemed to understand Leah’s feelings, saying she probably was afraid being a school idol would not be worth it without her sister.
|09||"Awaken the power"
(Awaken the power)
|In episode 9, Ruby recruited Yoshiko and Hanamaru to help out with the concert for Dia and Sarah. Leah felt uncomfortable around the other first years to begin with, but soon warmed up to them. The first years told the rest of Aqours they would be staying behind for a while, neglecting to mention the actual reason they were doing so.
Seeing Leah’s room for the first time, the first years found a snow globe with a snow crystal inside it, and Leah told the story of how it became the symbol of Saint Snow. Yoshiko’s surprising social tact and Ruby’s reasoning brought the four to a conclusion regarding the theme of the song they would be creating: unknown powers.
The next day, Ruby and Leah had to talk to the board of the christmas event they wanted to perform their song at. It went better than expected, and afterward Ruby sent an email to Mari asking if she could make sure Dia came to Hakodate to watch the performance.
After Leah, Ruby, Yoshiko and Hanamaru have made a radio announcement about their upcoming performance, Leah was confronted by two of her classmates. They told her how they used to think she did not like them, but how they were proud of Saint Snow despite what happened at the regionals.
Ruby and Leah finally revealed their secret to their sisters, and the rest of Aqours were acting mysteriously about also showing up in Hakodate. At the event, Saint Aqours Snow performed Awaken the power.
|10||"Finding a Way to Shine"
(シャイニーを探して "Shainii o Sagashite")
|In episode 10, Aqours got a visit from Saint Snow to help them practice. After Aqours switched their kimono for more appropriate practice wear, they were pushed hard by Sarah and Leah.
The guests were surprised to find out the students of Uranohoshi had failed to save their school from the merger, but were quick to show their support. Mari recieved a phone call from her parents offering her the position as director at the new school. Due to already having plans for next year she turned the offer down, making everyone aware of their limited time left together.
The third years gathered the rest of Aqours for a late night drive to find shooting stars. Arriving at a plateau, the rain still had not stopped. Just as the girls wished to be together forever in spite of this, promising to work on making the sky visible, the episode concluded with the clouds clearing up to reveal a night sky full of shooting stars.
|11||"Uranohoshi Girls' High School"
(浦の星女学院 "Uranohoshi Jogakuin")
|In episode 11, Aqours and the rest of the students of Uranohoshi Girls’ High School were preparing for the School Closing Festival set for the next day. Chika, You and Riko set up an arch at the entrance, Mari set up a stand to serve an improved version of her Stewshine dish, and it turned out Yoshimi, Itsuki and Mutsu were the ones to suggest holding the festival.
Preparations continued, with Hanamaru and Yoshiko working together, Ruby making costumes and Dia putting aside her student council duties to focus on the event. Everything was going smoothly until Shiitake turned up at school, setting everyone back by destroying some of the decorations. To give students more time to finish preparations, Mari arranged for transport home with the help of her family.
The next day at the festival, everyone’s hard work paid off. Chika walked around school seeing Kanan and You’s underwater showcase, Ruby and Dia’s Love Live! Quiz, Yoshiko, Hanamaru and Riko’s fortune telling stand, as well as her older sisters’ serving grilled mikan. At the end of the day, Yoshimi, Itsuki and Mutsu showed an impressive balloon display.
After the festival, the students all gathered around a bonfire. Mari spoke about how much the school had meant to her, and ended up voicing her regret about not being able to save it through tears. The student body cheered her up by showing their support for Aqours through a chant, and finally they all sang together.
|12||"Sea of Light"
(光の海 "Hikari no Umi")
|In episode 12, the members of Aqours met up at school, and set off toward the Love Live! Final in Tokyo. Arriving in Tokyo, the girls headed to Kanda Shrine, where they prayed for good fortune in the competition and realized many other school idols had done the same. Before leaving, they met Saint Snow, and Sarah asked Chika if they wanted to win the Love Live!.
Back at the inn, they started a pillow fight to take their thoughts off of the upcoming performance. Chika, You and Riko decided that come tomorrow they would all go their separate ways before meeting up at the venue.
In the morning, Chika asked the other members of Aqours if they wanted to win the Love Live!. After going on their respective excursions, the first years crossed paths and reflected on their past, present and future. Finally, all nine girls ran toward the concert as a group, and did one final Aqours chant together before performing WATER BLUE NEW WORLD at the Love Live!.
|13||"Our Own Radiance"
(私たちの輝き "Watashitachi no Kagayaki")
|In episode 13, the day had finally come for the combined graduation and school closing ceremony. At school, Yoshiko had hair dressing problems, attended to by Ruby and Hanamaru.
Dia was surprised to find out Mari had arranged for the students to paint farewell messages on the school walls, and the student body arrived at the ceremony splattered with paint. Mari handed out diplomas to the graduating students, and Dia held a speech as student council president. To conclude the ceremony, Aqours announced their Love Live! victory, and Aozora Jumping Heart was used as an insert song.
Afterwards, Aqours and the other students went around the school to close doors and finish saying their goodbyes, to each other and to the school. You and Riko were in the music room, Yoshiko, Hanamaru and Ruby in their classroom, Kanan and Dia in Mari’s office giving her her diploma, and Chika closed the door to the club room. Finally, Chika was about to break down in tears as she was closing the school gates, but received help from her friends.
Some time later, Chika went to the school auditorium and found Aqours, including the third years who had come back to sing together one last time. For their last performance, Aqours sang WONDERFUL STORIES.
- The name Hanamaru means "flower, blossom" (花) (hana) and "round" (丸) (maru), in which her character symbol consists of a spiral and a flower.
- Hanamaru's surname Kunikida means "country" (国) (kuni), "tree, wood" (木) (ki) and "field, rice paddy" (田) (ta/da).
- Unlike the rest of Aqours, Hanamaru wears a yellow cardigan in her winter uniform, similar to Nico Yazawa wearing her pink cardigan as part of her summer uniform in the original Love Live!.
- Hanamaru is the fictional artist of Maru's 4-koma, a 4-frame comic strip detailing Aqours's activities that started serialization in Dengeki G's Magazine October 2015.
- In real life, Hanamaru's home is based on Raikoji Temple.
- Unlike the other girls, Yoshiko calls Hanamaru "Zuramaru" (ずら丸), as a reference to the latter's verbal tic.
- Hanamaru is the shortest of all of the Aqours characters at 152 cm (or 5'0"), which is ironic since her seiyuu is the tallest of Aqours seiyuu.
- Please refer to this character's Image Gallery.