A few days back I did a short note on HPT and I realised the story behind this song is an intriguing story and I decided to go all the way and all too deep. So here’s a semi-essay on the symbolism in the PV. Mr. Puchi AFGlow got drunk and did a full edit on the whole piece so I decided to add even more to give him more work to do. HAH.
When the PV first shows Kanan, she’s seated in the last row, right next to the window. The classic main character trope. If her being the center for the song isn’t enough, this further cements her position as the main character in this PV and the best girl in the series.
We get establishing shots of the characters. Notice after their short introduction, they all look up towards the sky, hinting that there is something important up there. When we reach Ruby and the camera zooms in to her eyes, we hear the train alarm we hear in Japan. That blaring alarm which warns you to slow down and watch your step because the doors are closing.The term “door closing” can also mean lost opportunities and I believe for Kanan’s case it was the chance to become a school idol. She gave it up because of she believed that she was helping her friend but she failed to realize one thing.
Kanan appears wearing the same clothes which shows that she didn’t plan for her journey. What journey are we referring to? The journey on which she sits on a train looking adorable? Or a journey where she was pushed to being honest with herself to be a school idol? In my opinion, this whole train ride could signify Kanan coming to terms with becoming a school idol again.
The scene cuts to the venue where the girls will perform. It’s an old, rundown train station with the words Aqours on it. The plants surrounding it are yellow, and the building is worn out. It’s easy to assume that the venue represents Aqours as a whole. But it shows a desolate scene, whereas the Aqours we know is vibrant and alive. But there was another Aqours. The original Aqours that broke up. These ruins are what’s left of it.
But something happens to this place when Hanamaru’s solo ends. The chorus comes in and BOOM. A train appears and the grass turn green. The whole place comes to life, with the exeception of the ruins behind the girls. Aqours has been revived, with new blood and a fresh new start. At the same time, the mark of the old Aqours in the form of the old building remains, a sore reminder of the painful past.
I feel that the train symbolizes moving forward. It signifies the change that will happen for Kanan (the main character). They show the other members of Aqours standing on the train, as if beckoning Kanan to join them and move forward. When all the girls have finished their appearances in the PV, the winter scene, which signifies the end and death, bursts into green again. How I see this is that the fresh start the girls had grew cold (the time before the 3rd years joined and they got their first 0) but once everyone got together, everything became green again.
Now this is one of my favorite parts where all the loli versions appear. But Kanan ignores them. I mentioned before on twitter (https://twitter.com/srippiP/status/849030627970080768) that the loli version represents your true self. So at the start, Kanan rejects the rest of the members, even with their good intentions. But then another (obviously superior) loli appears. The loli she acknowledges first is her own. That means if you don’t accept yourself, you won’t be able to help anyone. Earlier when I spoke about her wanting to help Mari, the reason why it failed was she was unable to be honest with what she really wanted and it ended up tearing her apart from her friends. Essentially causing the problems to snowball and if it weren’t for Chika and the rest they would have never reconciled.
So when Kanan accepts herself, the train transforms and shoots forward, leaving the ruins and her past behind her at last. She accepts herself and now she can move on with her head held high along with everyone else. And they don’t just trudge forth, they shoot for the galaxy. It is interesting that the one who is piloting the train isn’t Chika the team leader, but Kanan the oldest and the backbone of the group. As it was with their Love Live predecessor, it seems there isn’t one member that makes things great, it’s the combination of all 9. They emphasize this even more with the various cutaways to each of the girls doing their best. In Kanan’s case it is caring about the other members and putting others before her, which has both radiant and dire consequences.
After all the members finish saying their one liners to Kanan, she looks up to the sky again. Again, she hears another sound we associate with trains. However, it isn’t a warning alarm, but a whistle. The doors are no longer closing and she can hop onto the Happy Party Train to take off into the sky. Free from the chains of her past and ready to step from zero to one, become an Daydream Warrior. Maybe even find love in an aquarium.
If we look at the lyrics to Happy Party Train, it talks about moving forward. (thank you LL wikia I was waaaaaay too lazy to TL the whole thing) So it further confirms my whole big chunk up there. Everyone is on a journey and not a single one is easy. However we don’t have to do it alone.
When I rode with no hesitation on the PARTY PARTY TRAIN
There were surprising people by my side
How far does the rail go? I still don’t know
I want this PARTY TRAIN to run forever
If you take a step back behind all the pretty visuals and the lolis as well as the lolis, you notice that the screenwriter took into account the original story from the anime and gelling the PV into it. Hata Aki also did the lyrics for the song and since she’s been doing this for LL for years, she understands the characters perfectly to craft the lyrics that suit Kanan perfectly. That or I am over thinking this on levels that should not make any sense. With this PV I’ve finally decided to step back onto the Love Live train and move on from the ruins of the past. And no Mike I’m not a tsun bitch.