The Traditional Otonokizaka High is facing a crisis of being closed down. Second-year student, Honoka Kosaka, decides to become a school idol, a growing trend in Japan, in order to increase the number of students registering to attend her school. With her childhood friends, Kotori Minami, and Umi Sonoda. They combine their efforts to form the group, “μ’s” meaning Muse.
As their pop idol journey kicks off, the three girls are joined by six new, very different girls, Maki Nishikino, Hanayo Koizumi, Rin Hoshizora, Nico Yazawa, Eli Ayase, and Nozomi Tojo. Together this group overcome many trials, all in the name of saving their school and winning the Love Live! Competition.
Let’s talk about the packaging for this Blu-ray set. The disc set comes in a pretty standard disc case, with a nice bright cover artwork, filled with the colourful spirit which the show embodies. On the inside, the set comes with two Blu-Ray Discs, containing 13 episodes. The Disc art has some cute “Chibi” versions of the Muse Girl’s but that’s about it. Overall, the packaging is a let-down much more effort could have been put into it but… The good thing is that this doesn’t affect what’s inside the discs. The set comes in English and Japanese both subbed. Again, it seems like they put little no effort into the “Extras”, it’s pretty much just there to say it was done, and it’s almost a waste of time to view.
In the First Season of “Love Live!”, Otonokizaka High is on the verge of closing down due to a low volume of student registration. Honoka Kosaka, a second-year student finds out of this tragedy to befall her beloved school and takes it upon herself to do something about it. She decides to create a school idol group, a growing trend in Japan, along with her friends’ Kotori Minami and Umi Sonoda.
They face many obstacles along the way but always manage to overcome it one way or the other. With this persistence, the group soon grows exponentially. First by Maki Nishikino, pianist and songwriter, then by Hanayo Koizumi, who has always dreamed of becoming a pop idol along with her friend Rin Hoshizora. They are then joined by the zany Nico Yazawa, the president of the idol study club. In season one they have two goals, save their beloved school and win Love Live. They are able to save the school but fail at the latter.
In this season 2 disc, it picks up in what seems like some months later. One goal completed and one pending the story takes a shift and focuses more on character building, and the Love Live! competition. This concept is a lot more globally relatable than ‘girls who really love their school and are trying to save it from closing down’, for most I could assure you, high schoolers care little to none of this valiant effort most of them are too busy trying to graduate. This show is surprisingly a breath of fresh air, although, I am usually a fan of all things “explosion” this series had the right balance of comedy, drama and music to keep me entertain. You will find yourself growing closer to the characters in this season because all the introductions were done in season one, with that out of the way, there is much more time that can be spent feeling them out.
This show has a big cast of main characters with a whooping nine “average girls” the writers had to work hard to make each of them different but yet still likeable, in my opinion, the writers did a great job. Which each personality an entire dynamic was added each person persona wise playing an important role. We have the loud, boisterous and self-motivated leader Honoka, to the shy idol loving fanatic Hanayo they all differ so much, but it shows how people with a common interest no matter how different can build a bond. What I really like about this season is how they were able to capture the ‘other side’ of the girls. From season 1 Eli and Nozomi where for the most part they were always shown as the confident go to girls in the group, but in this season their sensitive sides were explored.
This show has all the right elements of glam and glitter. With the newer “shiny knees and elbows” type art style, it fits in quite well with the atmosphere and the theme of the show. The dance scenes were always weirdly interesting with the CG mixture to add depth, and movement which helped nicely with the cinematography, although I could think of many practical reasons for it being done, so I don’t have a problem with it. There were times when the character movements filth a little stiff and robotic, but I was always beguiled by the accompanied music.
Now, Let’s hop on the treble clef and fly off into the realm of music and sound. As a musician, I am usually very critical of this space, if the sound falls short it throws me off big time. Also, considering that this is a anime on Pop Idols my critique meter was on extra sensitive. I love, Love, Love, the choice of supporting music used, it was dynamic, and always on point fitting the different modes of the scenes. The choice of a lot of string scores worked really nicely in the scheme of things. Now as for the singing, well… I witnessed the growth of impact and maturity with each song that was done. Each with different messages and different approaches I felt light I slightly grew with the characters through each song. However I would have to say I am a little disappointed with the Final “Love Live” song the piece didn’t feel at all suiting of the big finale track but, other might argue otherwise. One other thing for a group with nine member they did a lot of “melody”, I sometimes clasped my hands in prayer hoping for some nice harmonies from time to time. Either way, the songs were catchy and enjoyable, so for this one, I’ll stay in the seat and ‘let the choir sing’.
The Japanese voices are well suiting the characters, and totally embody each of the different personalities. As for the English, I was surprisingly satisfied with the dub (GASP!), indeed I wasn’t disappointed with the actors this time around. Usually, I would watch a couple English episodes for the review sake but… I ended up watching the entire season in English, and this was done willingly!
Love Live! Puts a nice spin on the usual slice of life type anime. It takes you on a journey, of determination and hope. I actually find this as a nice guide for up and coming performers and idol groups. As basic as some of the problems might have been you get a constant reminder of what’s needed to be successful. As for everyone else teens, especially girls should really enjoy this show, it has a nice balance of drama and comedy. It even had a dinosaur like me singing (and if you are wondering nope! I didn’t dance… really! I didn’t….). All in all the show isn’t perfect, but it is fun, so if you haven’t already seen it I’d go out there and get it all season one and two.
The copy of Love Live! School Idol Project Blu-ray set used for this review was provided by NIS America
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