I have to admit that, after dropping it for several months, I came back to Love Live!: School Idol Project not because I was in love with the show, but because I'm mildly addicted to the cell phone game. Upon my first viewing, I thought that Love Live! was a pleasant show with nice character designs for fairly unmemorable girls, as well as some very cheerful and fun pop music floating around in the background. It was the music that drew me to the game the minute I got a cell phone good enough to play it, and the game that dragged me back into the anime.
Now that I've watched all of Love Live's first season, I do like it better than I thought I would. The characters are very likable, there are some plot developments that I genuinely didn't expect, and nothing about the show really seems to be forced. It's believable that these girls would be friends, the way their idol singing quest plays out makes sense (even though I would like to know the background of this world where school based idol singing groups have become so important to popular culture), and when one of the girls ends up being unexpectedly important to the plot, it makes sense. It's a little slow paced, but since this isn't a show I was watching for the action, that wasn't a bother.
There were a couple of things about this show that I found to be very bizarre. One, which is rather specific, is the episode where everyone finds out that one of the girls has a part time job and, despite the fact that this is a bit of an unusual job everywhere except for in anime, none of her friends so much as flinch. Their relationships seem fairly realistic both before and after this point, so I was surprised that none of the girls so much as ask her what this occupation is like, or how the customers treat her in the face of this revelation. It's not a big problem, but it's conspicuously odd in context.
The other issue I have with this anime is the god-awful horrible CG dancing animation. I know, it saves on the animation budget, and other idol anime do it, too, but it still looks weird and bad. The funky CG heads and noodle limbs are quite distracting, as is the fact that their outfits and hair actually seem to be better animated in the normal scenes than the dance scenes. I don't begrudge anyone else liking this style, but it's certainly not my thing.
Love Live!: School Idol Project isn't my favorite anime by any stretch, but it's so pleasant that it's difficult for me not to recommend it to people looking for a low drama anime with some exemplary fluffy pop music. Though I don't know that I'll rush to watch it, I look forward to seeing season two.
Quite possibly one of the most inspiring and generally feel-good shows you'll find, Love Live! School Idol Project is a beautiful, cute, and packs a few curve balls.
The animation quality is crisp, clean, and simple. The performances look like they were made in the Love Live! video game's program, but it works for the show. Even with very precise motions, the characters still look alive, exhibit their unique personalities, and are full of energy. There is a distinct different between the animation in the performances as compared to the normal animation but it's not a good or bad thing, no matter which way you look at it.
The music is touching. I never played the games, but it appears that they are using the same songs so there is a lot of fan service to the soundtrack rather than them trying to make new music. Even the background music is fitting and sometimes a little over triumphant.
Love Live! brings together a host of characters from your usual archetypes. Even each character's backstory is practically a clone of any generic and flat character from any other anime (especially harem) show out there. That being said, Love Live! still brings on the character development and the feels. I cried multiple times each episode, especially as the season came to a close. Even with "generic" characters, Love Live! manages to make their cast memorable, lovable, and entertaining to watch.
The only issue I have with the series is the very episodic pacing. Each girl has an episode to herself and there are a few episodes about the group as a whole. Each girl has something to learn or overcome in her episode and that becomes the "theme". This bothers me a bit, but it's not a big enough turn off to stop watching.
What they do exceptionally well (aside from character development) is the curve ball. There are a few things that happen later in the season that were very unexpected. I was genuinely surprised at how the season ended and I was glad that a second season was announced a year or so later.
Highly recommend watching this especially if you love cute, peppy anime with lots of great music and a wonderful cast.
Cant wait for the next season but ill tell you guys a lil of my opinion so far. It is a bit of one of those addictive animes at times escpecially the beginning episodes. Its a big rollercoaster of drama towards the end and personally I wanted to growl a few times at some of the characters actions towards eachother. The ending was alright but def could have been better had they actually participated in the big event they had tried to get in. Okie thats all ill say, youll just have to watch to figure out what I mean!
Love Live is everything you think it is from the outset. It’s a high school drama centered on a group of adorable girls becoming idols. It’s nothing new, it doesn’t strive to change the game; yet it still manages to beat the competition as far as I’m concerned. And I’m not familiar with all the competition because I’m not a huge fan of this slice of life/music genre that seems to have cropped up after the success of that one episode of Haruhi Suzumiya and the massive success of K-On. All I know of is the first season of K-On, which is massively hyped up. I reviewed it pretty decently though and in retrospect…I think it’s because I’m a sucker for this moe garbage. I fall for the cute girls just as easily as the rest and even when reviewing some titles I seem to relax my rating because I enjoyed following the cute girls as they do cute things. I’m pathetic, I know.
Why am I admitting my being a moe blob? Because that’s how I get caught up in these types of anime. My thinking that Azusa was adorable got me watching K-On. My thinking Nico was cute got me watching Love Live. And while Azusa was my favorite character from K-On, Nico is actually not my favorite character from Love Live because she’s kind of a bitch. But that’s beside the point…
Love Live has the same type of set-up as many of these high school drama-y anime. Just like K-On, we follow an idealistic, loud, clumsy, and annoying girl. In Love Live, she decides to start an idol group due to the popularity of these groups around Japan. It’s all a last ditch effort to save her high school which could possibly shut down. She recruits her two best friends, a very boring moe girl named Kotori and the super shy girl, Umi. Umi doesn’t want to perform in a short skirt because that’s embarrassing. Meanwhile, she wears the school’s uniform skirt that, in reality, would be as effective a piece of clothing as not wearing a skirt at all.
They face all kinds of obstacles such as a really unsavory girl named Nico and a student council president who keeps pushing them aside.
Story-wise, it’s nothing new. The only real plus I can give the story is the fact that the girls actually practice. There are lots of parts that have nothing to do with practicing but the sheer fact that we are given a group of competent girls that are actually trying to succeed at what they are doing makes the anime more enjoyable and gives the audience more reason to invest themselves in the group and hope to see them succeed.
That being said, this is a music anime and I believe that every music anime I’ve ever reviewed I’ve stated one thing:
NOT ENOUGH MUSIC!
This is the exception. Love Live contains a surprising amount of music. This is an equivalent to America’s High School Musical so it better well have some goddam music. But unlike High School Musical, we’re not subjected to Ashley Tisdale’s nose, which makes this anime a big plus in my book. We’re also not subjected to understandable lyrics, which is probably why I enjoy the music of these types of shows. Let’s face it; the music in Love Live is garbage. It’s bubblegum pop, the kind of stuff you’d expect teenaged girls to write. The meaningless lyrics and nonsensical English words or phrases thrown in are a staple of these types of songs. But it’s what you’d expect from sixteen year old girls and I guess that makes it alright. Start: Dash is pretty catchy and while none of the music may be memorable, at least there is enough of it going around that you get excited for the next piece.
That being said, the music is accompanied by an idol performance most of the time. The animation of this show is usually pretty good with very adorable girls, great backgrounds, and good movement. But the issue comes with these dance performances that become very shoddy CGI mixed with traditional animation sequences. While the animation looks good, the sudden use of something akin to Miku Miku Dance is frustratingly out of place and gaudy. I don’t know who decided to change the style, but fire that person for season two. Please. No more computer animation.
Even with a big cast of really likeable and adorable characters it still fails to impress with anything new. Every character is a stereotypical something-or-other. You have the tomboy, the tsundere (really two of them), the well-to-do upper classman, the pervert, the ditzy leader, the shy and fraidy-cat friend, and the girl with very little personality. Working together, these characters are fun despite some having very little depth. The show does give most of them a good amount of focus and fleshes them out a bit, but they’re, once again, typical. The development they’re given is the usual.
Now for some smaller tidbits of hate: Why do all Russian girls in anime and manga have to be ballerinas? I’m looking at you Black Lagoon, Love Live, and Gunslinger Girl. Also, why the beach episode? If one episode contributed nothing to the anime as a whole it was the beach episode. Also, the drama at the end regarding Kotori was forced and very predictable. The entire outcome was extremely easy to see from a mile away because the same plot device has been used before to the same effects.
So where does that leave Love Live? Despite the story’s predictability, the characters predictability, and the MMD style dancing, it’s still highly enjoyable. Watching this band of girls come together and work hard to attain a dream is actually kind of heart-warming. The pacing is a little rough and the music isn’t the best but there’s a good amount of music and a good amount of fun to be had. It’s not an anime to be taken seriously, you hop on this ride to meet some new friends and enjoy their interactions and triumphs. It’s no masterpiece by any stretch, but for what it is, it’s a good, though flawed, anime.