Aikatsu Friends! Shining Jewel (or Aikatsu Friends! ~Kagayaki no Jewel~ if you prefer) is the second season of the Aikatsu Friends! anime, and the first entry of the Aikatsu franchise to be produced in the Reiwa era.
The director for the anime was Shisho Igarashi, the writer was Yuuko Kakihara and the studio that produced it was BN Pictures. Aikatsu Friends! Shining Jewel started airing on during the 2019 Spring season of anime, and ran through until the end of the summer 2019 season.The second season of Aikatsu Friends! takes things in a somewhat different direction from the first. In the first season, the Friends were all striving towards attaining the ultimate title of Diamond Friends, so this meant participating in various Cups to move towards that goal.
Shining Jewel, on the other hand, has a different approach. The introduction of new characters sees Aine and Mio working to help two Friends reunite after five years, and perhaps save a country as well.Aikatsu Friends! Shining Jewel is not without flaws, and its biggest problem is that it is only half the length of an average season of Aikatsu. As a result, sacrifices have to be made, and as such it feels like Honey Cat get to do next to nothing in this season. They do have their moments, but they just feel so sparse compared to the focus the other characters get.
Another character who gets the short end of the stick is Coco. She shows up in her role as an assistant for the Aikatsu! Navi system, and that’s about it. She doesn’t even get to show up for a number of her Aikatsu Navi Coco segments at the end of each episode.
Had Shining Jewel been the same length as the other Aikatsu seasons, then there would be no doubt that Honey Cat and Coco would have likely got more time in the spotlight.
There’s also a lack of new songs from the already-established cast members. Yes, the stuff they do have is very good, but it would have been great to hear something new.What Aikatsu Friends! Shining Jewel lacks in quantity, though, it more than makes up for it with quality. Three new characters join the main cast. First up, Wakaba Harukaze.
She has absolutely no trouble fitting in with the established characters. Her inexperience may lead her to have some doubts sometimes, but she can always find some help from the experienced Friends. One more thing particularly noteworthy about Wakaba is that she is a solo act.
The character who effectively kicks off the plot of the second season of Aikatsu Friends! is Hibiki Tenshou. Hibiki’s first appearance leaves an incredibly strong first impression, and pretty much establishes her character then and there. This season of Aikatsu Friends! seems quite keen to push things to the extreme. Also worth noting is Hibiki’s rivalry with Mirai; a lot of fun things happen when they’re together.Finally, we have Alicia Charlotte – the princess of a place called the Principality of Solvette. She and Hibiki have history together; in fact, a large part of the plot focuses on Hibiki’s attempts to reunite with Alicia and reform the Friends unit I Believe. Alicia is very much an ice queen (or perhaps more accurately, ice princess).Something that helps to make Shining Jewel stand out is its setting. Of course, parts take place in Star Harmony Academy in Japan, but the girls also venture out to the aforementioned Principality of Solvette, spending multiple episodes there at a time. A change of scenery can be nice, and when it plays host to the story that is Hibiki and Alicia’s relationship, even better.All right, enough beating around the bush: Aikatsu Friends! Shining Jewel is a yuri anime. Hibiki went through a bad break up with Alicia, and seeks the help of Aine and Mio to try and win her back. It has always been heavily implied that there is a romantic connection between Friends (that is the two idols who make up a unit, just in case that wasn’t clear), and then this season takes it and just plain puts it out there for everyone to see. There are plenty of moments that feel like they are straight out of a romance, especially when it comes to Hibiki and Alicia.
There are moments between the other Friends, but Hibiki and Alicia definitely shine the brightest when it comes to that type of thing.A new addition to this season of Aikatsu Friends! are the Jeweling Dresses. Again, this is something that ties into the plot, though the shorter length of this season does leave this feeling like something of a incomplete plot thread. In short, don’t expect every member of the main cast to obtain their own Jeweling Dress.
It may be shorter, but Aikatsu Friends! Shining Jewel is still an incredible improvement over its first season. Anything involving Solvette usually results in some extremely compelling viewing.
Quality over quantity as Hibiki and Alicia’s story takes centre stage in Aikatsu Friends! Shining Jewel and presents an extremely enjoyable viewing experience.