Tag: Love Live!

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club anime series cover art
Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club

Series Overview

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai / ラブライブ! 虹ヶ咲学園スクールアイドル同好会) is the fifth season of the Love Live! series. However, despite it being the fifth season, you could very well watch it first due to how the series is constructed.

The first two seasons are Love Live! School Idol Project. The third and fourth seasons are Love Live! Sunshine!! And the fifth season is Nijigasaki. You can start with any one of the three because they’re all independent despite being set within the same universe.

Of the current three sub-series within the Love Live! series, Nijigasaki is probably my least favorite. That’s probably in part because I had already seen four prior seasons of effectively the same thing — Love Live! always seems to follow the same formula.

**Spoilers start here**

To be fair, Nijigasaki does make some drastic changes compared to the other two sub-series. But the same Love Live! tropes are still there. For example, there’s the student council president who wants to shut down the club but then ends up joining it. This happens in every Love Live! and is something you just come to expect.

I’ll discuss the major differences between Nijigasaki and the previous seasons of Love Live! later on. But one thing I want to point out here is that this season focuses much more on the differences between all of the girls. Previous seasons were about working together as a cohesive unit. This season is about the individuality of the girls.

If that sounds like something that interests you more than the typical Love Live! group structure, it might be worth giving Nijigasaki a try.

Nijigasaki High School Idol Club

While the previous two Love Live! idol clubs each have 9 members, the Nijigasaki idol club has 10. The 10th member is Yuu Takasaki, who serves as the manager for the club and isn’t one of the idols. I believe she’s also an anime-original character.

Ayumu Uehara is Nijigasaki’s protagonist. She’s the Nijigasaki equivalent of Honoka and Chika from the previous two seasons, which is to say that she’s pretty generic. However, Ayumu is my least favorite of these three because she’s also just a terrible person.

Setsuna Yuuki is the student council president who’s secretly also a school idol. Considering she has the same name as the extremely popular idol from the school, I’m not really sure how nobody ever realized they were one and the same until now.

9 of the 10 members of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club from the anime series Love Live!
9 of the 10 members of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club

Kasumi Nakasu is this season’s hyperactive underclassman. She’s obsessed with people thinking that she’s cute. But she tends to drive people away because of how overbearing her personality is. The original idol club was disbanded because she and Setsuna couldn’t agree on the direction it should go in.

Rina Tennoji is a shy girl who’s also technologically gifted. She covers her face when performing with an LED screen that displays emoticons. Ai Miyashita is Rina’s best friend and doesn’t have much of a personality aside from dressing fashionably.

Kanata Konoe is the sleepy girl of the group. Her personality trait is that she’s always tired and can sleep anywhere. Emma Verde is a similarly shallow character, with her defining trait being that she’s European.

Karin Asaka doubles as a school idol and popular teen model. She’s seen as the cool and mature member of the club. And finally, there’s Shizuku Ousaka, whom I literally don’t remember. I guess her defining trait is that she’s the forgettable character because I honestly couldn’t tell you anything else about her.

Differences from Previous Seasons

The biggest difference between this season and the previous seasons has to do with the fact that it focuses on the individuality of the idol club members. In fact, it leans so heavily into this individualistic aspect that they aren’t even an idol group. The Nijigasaki idol club is made up of 9 solo idols (and Yuu).

This also means that despite being the name of the series, there’s actually no Love Live! this time around. If there was, it would have meant that all 9 girls would have had to be invited individually, which just isn’t feasible. Instead, they decide to put on their own school idol festival with other idols from nearby schools.

At first, this school idol festival idea seems like a good one. But as the series progresses in the later episodes, it becomes clear just how terrible of an idea it really is. Because all of the girls are solo idols, they all have different ideas about where the festival should be held and what it should look like. Oh, and the idols from other schools all get a say as well.

Setsuna Yuuki from the anime series Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club
Setsuna Yuuki

In the end, the festival is spread out over a large area, with each idol or idol group having their own venue. Effectively, they’ve just split up the festival so their fans have to travel in order to see multiple performances and simply can’t see them all because some are happening at the same time.

That’s not so bad for a real music festival. But when you have school idols who only have about 100 fans each at most, it kind of defeats the purpose of the festival in the first place. What they ended up doing was putting on competing concerts that divide their fanbases, not bring them together.

And the final thing I’ll mention is that because all of the girls are solo idols, they have to divide the series’ screen time between them. Following a group of 9 idols is very different from following 9 individual idols. That’s a major contributor to why these girls felt so superficial compared to those in the previous seasons.

Conclusion

Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is a 5/10 from me. Originally I had it rated as a 4, but after thinking about it more, I don’t think it was bad. It just wasn’t good. It followed many of the same tropes that the previous seasons did. And the few new concepts it attempted just didn’t seem to work out and only harmed the series.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤️ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Roman for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2

Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2

Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2 anime series cover art
Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2

Season Overview

Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2 (ラブライブ!サンシャイン!! 第2期) is the second season of Love Live! Sunshine!! and the fourth season of Love Live! School Idol Project overall. And since this is the fourth season of the series, and every season is basically the same, you should probably know what this series is like by now if you’ve watched it.

But since it’s been almost two full years since my last Love Live! season review, let’s go over the basics anyway.

Love Live! (the event) is a national competition for school idol groups. There are many reasons idol groups would want to participate in Love Live!, but the reason the two groups in this series (μ’s in the first two seasons and Aqours in Sunshine!!) entered the competition was as a way to save their schools from being shut down.

As it’s been two my memory is a bit hazy, but I’m pretty sure the first season was all about Aqours qualifying for Love Live and going through the preliminaries. This second season is therefore about the real competition. The original series focused on two separate Love Live! events, not one spread across two seasons.

Sarah and Leah Kazuno of Saint Snow from the anime series Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2
Sarah and Leah Kazuno of Saint Snow

Since I’ll be talking about Aqours a lot in the rest of this review, I’d like to take a moment to mention the true best idol group participating in Love Live!, Saint Snow. Saint Snow is a two-girl idol group made up of sisters Sarah and Leah Kazuno. These two are actually good characters and their music is better than Aqours (sorry, Aqours fans).

I’d also say that the main reason season 2 of Sunshine!! is better than season 1 is because Saint Snow is featured in twice as many episodes.

Ranking the Aqours Members

The best piece of hate mail I ever received came as a response to my ranking of the Monogatari girls. So why not continue to make people angry by ranking the members of Aqours from best to worst as well?

Picking a best girl this time around was actually hard. But in the end I’ve decided that second-year Riko Sakurauchi is the best member of Aqours. She’s basically the Sunshine!! version of Maki from the original series, and Maki is good.

A close second to Riko is the third-year Kanan Matsuura. I like the fact that she’s a normal human being and that she has a ponytail. As you’ll see, those two traits alone are enough to put her above the others.

Chika Takami, Dia Kurosawa, and You Watanabe are third, fourth, and fifth respectively. Chika’s your standard female lead — energetic and airheaded with a big heart. Dia is a bit annoying, but I can deal with her. And You is just extremely forgettable because of how average everything about her is.

First-years Yoshiko “Yohane” Tsushima and Ruby Kurosawa are sixth and seventh. This is the territory of characters that are actually annoying. I want to like Yoshiko, but the fact that she has to correct everyone to call her Yohane at least three times per episode is pretty annoying. And Ruby’s just your timid girl trope.

Third-year Mari Ohara is eighth. At first, I didn’t think any of the third-year members would be this far down the list, but Mari’s constant use of English words and phrases really took its toll on my sanity.

And the worst girl of Aqours is Hanamaru Kunikida. She actually says “zura” more than all the other girls with catchphrases (including Mari with her English) say their respective catchphrases combined.

μ’s (Muse) vs. Aqours (Aqua)

In my review of Sunshine!! season 1, I compared all of the Aqours members to their μ’s counterparts. But which school idol group is better? To answer that question, I’m going to look at everything except the music each group made — because that would make way too much sense.

I actually just don’t feel like going back and listening to all the songs made by each group.

Going by members, μ’s has the clear advantage. The only member of μ’s I remember being annoying was Rin with her “nya’s.” And as I’ve already explained, Aqours has multiple annoying characters (five of the nine). I also just like the character designs for the μ’s members more as well.

But the thing that really puts the members of μ’s above the members of Aqours is the fact that they’re more like real characters than tropes. Sure, some of them are pretty trope-like, but the members of Aqours take it to another level — especially the first-years.

Aqours third years Dia, Mari, and Kanan from the anime series Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2
Aqours third years Dia, Mari, and Kanan

What about the idol group names? Well, Saint Snow would obviously win if they were a contender (and they would have one members-wise as well). But between μ’s and Aqours, I think μ’s wins again.

Both group names are pretty bad at first glance. μ’s is pronounced “Muse” and Aqours is pronounced “Aqua.” Going by their spelling vs. pronunciation, μ’s is the better of the two. At least it somewhat makes sense because that’s technically how it should be pronounced. But in no scenario is Aqours pronounced as “Aqua.”

I also have to say that μ’s is a better name from a musical standpoint as well. The Muses are the Greek goddesses of the arts (which includes music) and there are nine of them (μ’s also has nine members). Aqours was just picked as the name because the girls live near the ocean — it’s just not as creative.

Conclusion

In the end, Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2 is a 6/10 from me. It’s basically the same as the previous season and the second season of the original series. The only Love Live! season I thought was better than the rest was the first season of the original series, and that’s probably in part because it was novel at that point.

I do want to mention one other thing I actually liked about this series besides Saint Snow, though. The fact that the series ended with Uranohoshi Girls’ High School getting shut down despite Aqours winning the Love Live! was pretty good. I liked seeing the girls come to terms with the fact that not everything will always go their way.

If you enjoyed this review, remember to click the like button ❤ down below. Also, follow me over on Twitter @DoubleSama so you don’t miss out on any future content. And come join our Discord server if you’re interested in discussing anime with other members of the community.

Finally, I’d like to thank HeavyROMAN for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

My review of Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is available here.

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Love Live! Sunshine!!

Love Live! Sunshine!!

Love Live! Sunshine!! anime cover art featuring Aqours
Love Live! Sunshine!! Cover Art

Overview

Love Live! Sunshine!! is the third season of the Love Live! series, although it doesn’t follow the same characters as the first two seasons. In the original seasons of Love Live! we followed a group called μ’s (pronounced Muse), but in Sunshine we follow Aqours (pronounced Aqua).

If you think Sunshine!! is going to be a different story set in the world of Love Live!, you’re probably going to be a bit disappointed. While the location is new, and the characters are technically new, the plot is exactly the same as the first season of Love Live!

Once again, the high school the main characters are attending is going to be closed down, and so the girls form a school idol group in order to attract new students and save their school. Sounds familiar, right?

This story takes place after the events of Love Live! season 2, and the girls of Aqours even explicitly say they want to do the same thing μ’s did, so I don’t really feel like anyone can argue this is a new or unique story. As you’ll see, even the characters aren’t that original.

Aqours

Chika, or Honoka 2.0, is the protagonist of the series. She’s essentially the same exact character as Honoka. They both act the same, and they even have roughly the same hair color, so there’s really no point in calling her a new character.

You is Chika’s best friend and first other member of Aqours. While she’s a bit more unique, she’s the Kotori of Sunshine!! which means she’s the one who designs the costumes and serves as Chika’s right hand.

Rika, the third member of Aqours, is Maki 2.0. In the original series, Maki was a first year student, but Riko is a second year student, so it’s almost like this is just a continuation of the same character. She has dark red hair, plays the piano, and is the composer for the group just like Maki.

Hanamaru is a first year member of Aqours (the previous three were all second years). While she’s technically not a copy of Hanayo from season one, as far as I’m concerned she is because her character annoys me by ending all of her sentences with “zura.” She’s really more of a combination of Hanayo and Rin.

Ruby is the Nico of Sunshine (at least half of Nico). Just as Nico was pretty much the mascot of μ’s, Ruby is the mascot of Aqours. This time around, instead of saying “Nico Nico Ni,” the catchphrase is always something about Ruby doing her “Rubesty.”

The last of the first years is Yoshiko, or Yohane. Unlike the rest of the characters, Yoshiko is fairly original. Yoshiko shows severe signs of chunibyou and thinks of herself as a fallen angel. There is no character from the original series like Yoshiko.

Now onto the third year students. As with the original series, these three join the group later on after refusing to join for various reasons.

The first is Dia, the student council president who doesn’t want a school idol group because of some hidden thing from her past. Oh, what do you know, that’s exactly like Eli. However, Dia is also similar to Nico in that she’s a die-hard school idol fan, but she doesn’t want anyone to know.

Next we have Mari, the Nozomi of the series. She’s one of Dia’s best friends and is the one who keeps pushing the girls of Aqours to continue trying their best. Mari also tends to say phrases in English and it’s kind of annoying except for the fact that I’m pretty sure she made a JoJo’s reference in episode 12.

The final member of Aqours is Kanan. Kanan is the character who rationally thinks things through, just like Umi was. Both of these characters even have roughly the same color hair. Kanan also gives snorkeling lessons for work and Umi’s name means “ocean,” coincidence? I think not.

Riko Chika, and You (left to right) from the anime Love Live! Sunshine!!
Riko Chika, and You

Conclusion

So now that you see how the plot and characters are the same as they were in the first season of Love Live!, I think you’ll understand why I couldn’t rate this season any higher than a 6/10. It’s simply not original.

The key difference between the Sunshine!! and the original that I saw was the ending. The first season ended with μ’s failing to win the Love Live!, but the end of Sunshine didn’t show the results of their performance from what I remember (although they probably lost).

The OP for Love Live! Sunshine!! is available here.

After almost two full years, my review of Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2 is here.

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Love Live! Season 2

Love Live! Season 2

Love Live! School Idol Project season 2 anime cover art featuring μ's (Muse)
Love Live! School Idol Project season 2 Cover Art

Overview

Since this is the review for the second season of the anime Love Live! School Idol Project, there will be spoilers for the first season included in this post.

Once again we find ourselves following the school idol group known as μ’s (Muse). After they failed to make it to the Love Live! in season one, the girls find out that a second Love Live! is already being planned. This time around they are determined to make it.

In case you’ve forgotten, μ’s is made up of nine members, three from each year at the high school they attend. The first years are Rin, Maki, and Hanayo, the second years are Honoka, Umi, and Kotori, and the third years are Eli, Nozomi, and Nico.

The first Love Live! used a ranking system to determine which school idol groups were good enough to compete, however, the system in place for the second one is a bit different. There are no more online rankings to determine which school idol groups can compete.

This time there are three different stages to the competition. First each group puts on one performance and the top four groups from each region get invited to perform at the regional stage. Then, the winner from each region is invited to participate in the Love Live!

While the competition should, in theory, get harder as μ’s progresses through the competition, they’re actually in the same region as the previous champions A-RISE and so will have to compete against them at the regional level.


Spoilers

So what’s really different between season one and season two?

Other than the set up of the competition, there isn’t actually too much of a difference between the two seasons other than their predictability. In the first season I was actually surprised that our main group, μ’s, didn’t even get to participate in the Love Live!

However, since the second season is the final season following these characters, I was sure that this time around they would not only make it to the Love Live!, but win it too. It just isn’t the kind of series that I would expect any other ending from.

Unfortunately this means that the second season was more predictable and therefore less interesting to watch. As a viewer, I knew they were going to win each competition in this season so there was no real sense of suspense. Further, since they did win each competition there was no sense of shock that they lost.

That said, it still had an emotional ending and I don’t really think I would change anything about it.

Umi, Nozomi, and Honoka from the anime Love Live! School Idol Project
Umi, Nozomi, and Honoka

Conclusion

So what does this all mean for the rating? In the end I decided that the second season of Love Live! School Idol Project wasn’t quite as good as the first and so only gets a 6/10. It was a good end to the story of μ’s, but it lacked the twists I enjoyed from the first season.

As I’m sure I mentioned in my review of season one, I’ve been told that the Love Live! series gets better as it goes on so even though I liked this season slightly less than the first, I still have high hopes for the next chapter in the series: Love Live! Sunshine!!

For now, though, Sunshine!! isn’t one of the anime I’m expecting to watch in the near future since there are a lot of other series I want to watch first. However, I will definitely be watching it at some point and there will definitely be a review of it.

The OP for the second season of Love Live! is available here.

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Love Live! School Idol Project

Love Live! School Idol Project

Love Live! School Idol Project anime cover art featuring the members of μ's (Muse)
Love Live! School Idol Project Cover Art

Overview

Love Live! School Idol Project is an anime about, you guessed it, school idols. The anime follows nine girls who make up the school idol group known as μ’s (Muse).

μ’s was formed in order to make the high school the girls attend more popular. In recent years, there have been less and less new students applying to the school and it’s in danger of shutting down entirely. A school idol group is one way the girls think of to attract new students because they’re the new big thing for any popular school to have.

One of the most popular schools in the area has its own idol group known as A-RISE which is the most popular one in the country. While μ’s wish they could be like A-RISE, it doesn’t seem like they will be making to that level of fame any time soon.

However, a special event is announced called the Love Live!

In this event, school idol groups from around the country have the chance to qualify to perform in a live competition to decide which group is the best. Only the most popular groups are invited to the event and so μ’s must work even harder than they ever have to earn a spot.


Characters

μ’s is made up of nine members, with three coming from each year in the school. The first years are Rin, Hanayo, and Maki, the second years are Honoka, Umi, and Kotori, and the third years are Eli, Nozomi, and Nico.

Rin Hoshizora is an athletic tomboy. She joined μ’s because her best friend Hanayo was afraid to join by herself. Rin tends to annoy me because she often tries to “talk like a cat” if that makes sense.

Hanayo Koizumi is probably my least favorite character. As mentioned just above, she’s best friends with Rin who was the one who pushed her to join the School Idol Club. Hanayo is completely obsessed with idols which is part of why I don’t like her, but the main reason is that her voice sounds like one continuous voice crack.

Maki Nishikino is the best of the first year members; she’s the most normal. Maki’s the tsundere of the group in that she tends to appear annoyed with the other members constantly even though she actually likes them deep down. Her job in the group is to compose the songs.

Honoka Kousaka is the main protagonist of the series and one of the founding members of μ’s along with Umi and Kotori. Rin is a very energetic girl who tends to overreact about everything. She reminds me a lot of Akko from Little Witch Academia.

Umi Sonoda is one of Honoka’s two best friends. She’s the dependable, hard-working one of the second years and so is the one who comes up with practice schedules for the group. She’s also in charge of writing the lyrics for the songs.

Kotori Minami is the other best friend of Honoka and Umi. While she’s more dependable than Honoka, she isn’t quite as uptight as Umi. Kotori wants to be a fashion designer and so she designs and creates the costumes for the girls to wear during their performances.

Eli Ayase is the first of the third years and the president of the student council. She used to be a ballet dancer and so she trains the rest of the girls in choreography.

Nozomi Tojo is the vice-president of the student council. She tends to guide Eli by getting her to admit her true feelings about things. Nozomi also frequently uses tarot cards to predict things.

Nico Yazawa is the final member of μ’s. She’s the president of the Idol Research Club, which she is now the sole member of, and has been obsessed with becoming an idol for years. She tends to take being an idol way to far with her persona involving her “Nico Nico Ni” catchphrase pictured below.

Third year student and member of μ's, Nico Yazawa (from the anime Love Live! School Idol Project)
Nico Yazawa

Conclusion

Back when I reviewed Fuuka I made a statement about not understanding the appeal of anime about music because you could just watch a better anime that also happens to have a good soundtrack. Love Live!, however, has changed by mind about the genre.

I ended up enjoying the first season much more than I originally thought I was going to, and in the end I’ll give season one a 7/10. It’s not as good as I was told (so far), but it was still good. There will be another post specifically for season two coming in the near future.

The OP for the first season of Love Live! can be found here. *This video is no longer available.

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