Love Live! Superstar. What to say of this part of Sunrise's Love Live! franchise. Hopelessly addicted to the LL! formula, but just as capable of being the maverick production as followed by Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. For example: Superstar joins SIP and Sunshine in that annoying feature of two girls stuffing their faces into the camera during the opening theme (that would be you, Chisato and Sumire). Nothing really important. Just a Love Live! tradition it seems. Still, annoying as all get out. Liella joins, µ, and Aquors on the winners circle in Love Live! competition. But Superstar seemed to gather more of the opposition on the tournament trail with Sunny Passion and Marguerite Wien (along with the posters of the two other unnamed groups that reached Love Live! finals). Superstar gives the rubber match of imperiled girls' academies to the academies saved (2) versus academies closed (1). But Superstar achieved this in the first season so that more concentration could be given to the goal of winning Love Live! during the second season. Superstar joined SIP and Sunshine in the established nine-girl team concept (Nijigasaki went nuts gathering 13 girls for their idol club). But Superstar broke from the 3 first-years, 3 second-years, 3 third-years formula by building slowly over their two seasons. Five girls in the first season, four new girls in the second. This gave opportune time to establish the personalities. And it's this nine-ness which make for Superstar to break one more formula ... extending the storyline to a third season. Maybe. This has everything to do with Liella at this moment composed of five second-years and four first-years who will be next season's class of Yuigaoka Academy’s third and second-years. That is, with the late plot twist of Kanon's possible move to an international school. Is it on or is it off? And how much of this is Marguerite Wien's scheming? With this suspenseful thought in mind, let's critique the second season. Technically, the animation is not as sharp as season one. The choreography in the finals was not as complex as seen in SIP, Sunshine, or Superstar season one. The 'Songs of Liella' segment, while it has pleasant snippets of song, uses an animation process so clumsy that it contrasts violently with the CGI offerings that Love Live! is known for. Not a fatal flaw, but having the two techniques in a single episode just weirds me out. Even BanG Dream! knows better to separate their chibi productions from their standard fare. But the thought that there will be a good chance at breaking the two-season barrier is intriguing. I can't wait to see how this plays out ... and would be supremely disappointed if it doesn't.
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