Otonokizaka academy has a long history, but is doomed to close with enrollment down. Honoka wants to keep it open, but has no clue how to do so. She discovers the "school idol" trend, and it seems great way to put the school in the spotlight. Except the school doesn't have school idols. Honoka takes it upon herself (and her two friends) to make it happen by forming a group called Muse. But other obstacles are in the way. Why is the student council president so against the idea?
I'm probably a little biased not being into idol stuff, but I'm open minded and was in enough of a mood to give Love Live a try. Lacking much that's good isn't the same as being bad, which is where this anime sits. The idol content is fair if you're into that, otherwise the fundamentals of this show are pretty bad.
It starts fine, typical of a rise to fame story; with the girls struggling to keep the group together when no one takes them seriously. Their first concert to an empty auditorium, was especially compelling. Then more girls are gathered for the idol army. For me this revealed my big problem with Love Live: I didn't like any of the girls.
Muse has nine members, probably only to cover the standard personality types and hair styles. They could have been condensed to 4-5 characters easily. Most contribute nothing. Oddly that includes the pony tail girl who starts off as an adversary, then later joins the group. But without that bitchy antagonist role, it's like she has nothing to do. None of them are terrible though, aside from the twin-tail girl Niko becoming more annoying as time goes on. It's the main character Honoka who cripples Love Live. Honoka is a air head with... lots of energy? I have no idea why she's the focus, or why I'm supposed to like her.
In Season two, the first episode has Honoka breaking into song, in an absolutely brilliant musical, a fun twist because it fits so well (and I say that despite hating musicals). Trying new things combined with better animation gave me hope this could become something good. Yet it quickly flops on its face.
Honoka becomes the school president for no reason. It adds nothing to the story aside to giving her something to complain about. Season two is basically about completing the one thing left unresolved in season one. Until then, time is filled by giving each girl her episode. For character development it was okay, although the only girl I grew to like was the big boobed shrine maiden. Season two fails in many ways, particularly with a showdown with rival group A-Rise that doesn't even happen! The last quarter is spent with the girls moping, as three of them will graduate at years end. It's a bit of a downer (as intended) but I honestly didn't care.
There is a very weird disconnect with the group (Muse). You never see their competition aside from brief encounters with A-Rise, a rivalry which is thankfully friendly. There is no mention of their fans aside from some Internet scoreboard where their rating magically goes up sometimes. The idol performances are nice, even if the 3D CGI rendering used doesn't blend well (improved in the 2nd season). The choreography is great, but paired with fairly bland songs. I recall one girl saying
For an idol show Love Live isn't bad, it's just unfortunate it only amounts to yet another one among the pile (certainly inferior to Wake Up Girls). Ironically Muse chooses a slogan of
A-Rise performances are in episodes 2 and 13, which are pretty cool.
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