Love Live! School Idol Project

TV (13 eps)
3.777 out of 5 from 8,651 votes
Rank #2,464

Honoka Kousaka is heartbroken. Her school, Otonokizaka High, will be forced to shut down unless it can find more prospective students. Luckily, Honoka and her friends have a plan: they'll form an idol group and throw concerts to attract others to join the school! But following through won't be easy – they'll need to find talent, make outfits, find practice space, build stamina and more in hopes of keeping Otonokizaka High alive!

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Before continuing, please note that this review covers both Love Live! School Idol Project and Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season. The individual season scores have been broken down and combined to create a single review score for both seasons. Story: It is only recently I have shown an interest in idol-themed anime series beginning with AKB0048, AKB0048: Next Stage, Idoly Pride, and now the Love Live! School Idol Project series with the latter being highly recommend to me by a few other fans of the genre. Our story begins at Otonokizaka High where the school is being threatened to close its doors to perspective students in the upcoming year, meaning that when the current freshman class graduates, the school will be closed permanently. When the announcement is officially made, second year student, Honoka Kousaka, depressingly faints in the arms of her two best friends, Umi Sonoda and Kotori Minami. She makes it clear that the schools eminent doom does not seem right! After all, she absolutely loves Otonokizaka High, a school with a storied tradition and rich history. For Honoka, it runs even deeper for her since her mother attended high school there as well. She and her two best friends try to come up with ideas on how to increase prospective student enrollment applications to their school. Unfortunately, they come up empty in every possible way, until one day Honoka visits the modern contemporary designed high school, UTX. It is here she gets her ultimate idea that she believes can truly save the girls’ school, which is to form a school idol group. At first, Umi thinks Honoka is in way over her head since school idols work just as hard as the professionals do with their songwriting, singing, dancing, choreography, production, design, and anything and everything you can image as it relates to school idols. Fortunately for Honoka she has Kotori who’s always at her side waiting for the next great Honoka adventure to embark on. She and Umi are always taken along for the ride by Honoka, and this will eventually be no different. Once the girls decide to go for it, they realize that not only is it very hard work, but that there are many obstacles in the way that they must overcome in order to fully realize Honoka’s dream, including extreme opposition from third year student council president, Eli Ayase. She wants to keep the school open just as much if not more than Honoka, but she feels that a school idol group is a foolish way to go about it. Eventually, Honoka’s pure determination and willingness to succeed completely eclipses all of Eli’s attempts to stop her. In fact, it drives and pushes her even harder in that past the midway point of season one, Otonokizaka High’s school idol group, officially called µ's (or Muse) is a full nine members strong. By this time, the group’s goal to save their precious school is not the only goal that they have, but another major goal lingers in the foreground, and that’s the national competition, Love Live! That becomes the core story basis for the second season. Now as simplistic as the above might read, both Love Live! seasons are filled with ups and downs, good times and bad ones, successes and failures, laughing moments and crying moments for Muse and for the viewers watching this wonderful anime. I know I shared plenty of instances where I laughed with or at the characters or even cried along with them. Sunrise did a high-quality job at capturing the viewer's attention and pulling them into the story and its characters. Animation: I did a double take when I first noticed which studio was behind this anime…the Gundam studio, also known as Sunrise. After pondering it for a few minutes, I then realized that they were the perfect studio to take up this project, especially since it is intensely action-packed, heavily science fiction-based, and loaded with many mecha units flying around fighting each other in drawn out, over dramatized battles. Yeah, that is me just kidding and being facetious at its absolute finest. The fact that Sunrise is the studio behind this beautiful anime does come as both a shock and a blessing. Why? Their production values are high, and it shows! The detail and color are so often lively and vivid that watching Love Live! is like feeding your eyes with some of the most visually delectable candy available today. Even the CG visuals are done at a much higher level than 99% of the anime in existence that utilizes that form of animation. The simplest moments and character movements are intricately executed where even the smallest details do not go untouched or unconsidered. Both seasons are so visually stunning on almost all merits that the main cast of characters’ eyes are more vibrant and detailed than entire characters in other anime productions! No joking! Sound: Now you must wonder, since Sunrise succeeded so perfectly in the visual production, how would the audio production turn out? And the answer is…spectacular! The music, the harmony of the Japanese performers while singing, and the over all diversity of vocals make the sound of the Love Live! School Idol Project franchise a great success! Each school idol group and their performers often shined in both concert and personality while performing. The songs are diverse in lyric, melody, and acoustically that I often found myself wanting to sing and dance to some of them, although I was able to contain myself, thank goodness for that! The soundtrack is good enough for me to acquire a portion of songs because I personally enjoyed listening to them that much. If you like idol-themed anime with stellar audio performances, then you should have no problems here. Characters: With Muse being comprised of so many members, it is hard to image each individual member getting a chance to shine without being over shadowed or even lost among the other members of the group. Surprisingly, that is not the case. I can confidently say that each character is unique and given a chance to blossom through each of their individual developments. The best part is that when put together, they shine just as evenly and bright. The only one that stands out more than any others is Honoka. Being a member of the core-three protagonists, along with Umi and Kotori, Honoka unknowingly shines and elevates the rest of the group. She is so unaware sometimes that she can seem airheaded at certain moments or in key situations, more so in season one. An example of this is when she truly believes that each member of Muse should be in the spotlight as the group’s center, or lead, position. What’s the catch? Although true, when she takes the center position, she truly does light up the stage and outshine all the other members, but without completely compromising their performances as well. Lastly, regarding Honoka, is that what makes her the most special is the way her character develops and matures. It is a wonderful experience to watch and be a part of when embarking on her story alone. She can quite possibly be the greatest Eternal Optimist with the greatest drive and highest level of energy in anime (and without ever becoming annoying). She is at least in that conversation. Let me not take away from the other members of Muse though, especially Umi and Kotori, because each of them is delightful with a bit of wholesome in their own special ways. Umi is the athletic, shy, hardworking type that always pushes Honoka. Kotori is the soft-spoken, multi-talented best-best friend that always believes and willingly goes along with Honoka’s ideas, schemes, or plans, sometimes to the detriment of the three of them. Together, they are constantly being dragged or pulled along for one of Honoka’s crazy, eventful, random, and/or unpredictable adventures. They almost never know what to expect, but they never leave her side and are always there to support her in any way possible, sometimes to Honoka’s personal detriment. Now quickly onto the remaining members of Muse. Eli is one of three seniors in the group with Nice and Nozomi being that other two. She is the professional dancer and one of the hardest working members of the group. She originally is against the whole school idol concept, believing it to be a fad or ploy that would ultimately hinder Otonokizaka High’s chances of staying open instead of saving it. Nozomi is the somewhat mysterious, enigmatic member who is on the student council with Eli as the vice president. She is always plotting and pushing the girls in ways outside of the practice and performances of Muse. Nico is the hot-headed, single annoying member of the group, especially when she sings her rather stupid “Nico-Nico-nee” jargon. However, she brings that missing "annoyance" element to the group along with her hard work and true fangirl admiration and fondness for school idols. Worst part about it is that her catch phrase is so annoying that I found myself actually saying it myself, and that is not funny! Finally, there are the three freshman students, Hanayo, Maki, and Rin. Like Nico, Hanayo has been a longtime fangirl of school idols, except her personality is almost a complete opposite to Nico’s. If Nico is mostly outspoken, annoying, and obnoxious, then Hanayo is more introverted, shy, soft-spoken, and polite. Maki, the musician of the group, is a pianist who plays beautifully and composes the melodies for the group’s songs. Additionally, she sings well and has a private, but spitfire personality that brings some needed tension and provocation to the other members. In closing, we have Rin. She has been friends with Hanayo since their childhood days. She typically is pushing Hanayo to step out of her shy shell with a similar energy that Honoka displays. Together, these nine high schoolers make up the school idol group Muse, and do so with a barrage of charm, uniqueness, and individuality. They are a pleasure to watch in the performances and day-to-day interactions with each other. Overall: There is not much more I can say that I haven’t already. Bottom line, the series is well-written overall with excellent characters and high production values. That sounds like a win-win-win to me. Love Live! School Idol Project Story:  21 points Animation:  9 points Sound:  9 points Characters:  24 points Entertainment:  18 points Achievement Score:  High expectations, Spot-on results, +1 to OVERALL Total Points for Season One:  82/100 Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season Story:  21 points Animation:  10 points Sound:  10 points Characters:  27 points Entertainment:  20 points Achievement Score:  High expectations, Slightly Above results, +3 to OVERALL Total Points for Season Two:  91/100 Additional Information: Video Format:  Blu-ray (2016) Audio Format:  LPCM 2.0 English Publisher:  NIS America Equipment Used:  LG 60UH6550 4K TV, Vizio 5.1 Sound Bar System SB3651-E6, Sony Blu-ray Player BDP-S5200

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