Episode 4 of Love Live Sunshine has two new girls join the now official School Idol Club. Kurosawa Ruby and Kunikida Hanamaru were approached by Chika several times before, but they always turned her down. Now, however, they have taken the initiative to join. It wasn’t an easy road for either of them, however.
A while back we discussed Watanabe You, and her role as a traditional “Childhood Friend” character for Takami Chika. Childhood Friends thrive in a static environment, where they don’t have to confront their feelings for the protagonist. So stories with them almost always start with a disruption, very frequently the unexpected arrival of a new love interest. Enter Sakurauchi Riko.
The idea of the “Childhood Friend” (Osananajimi, in Japanese) has long been a staple of anime and manga romance stories, particularly ones with a harem bent. They are, especially in popular consciousness, somewhat tragic figures. The girl who’s been by the hero the longest, but is never able to convey that she likes them as more than just a friend. Love Live: School Idol Project technically has had many “Childhood Friends”. Honoka, Kotori and Umi all knew each other for years before the story began, for example. However their is only one true “Childhood Friend” character in this franchise, Love Live Sunshine‘s Watanabe You