Why "Love Live! School Idol Project" is the best idol anime series ever made
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39 / Inside your compu...
Posted 2/14/15 , edited 6/3/15

Dear forum members:

There are always personal opinions, but there are personal opinions that are better supported than others I think Love Live is the best idol anime series ever made, and I'm going to give some reasons on why I think so.






[Begin list of reasons for the opinion, please feel free to hit browser back button anytime]

Legions of extremely dedicated fans around the world

The first season of Love LIve topped Japanese anime charts as well as those of other related media, and the second season was even bigger- Its first blu-ray release sold over 82,000 copies in the first week alone, breaking the Japanese record for not only anime blu-rays but blu-rays in general, becoming the second LL release to do so after the final volume of the first season set the previous Japanese record.

Okay, sometimes it's not a good idea to crowdsource certain things, but you can't go too wrong on a series with such a large and dedicated fanbase (I'm probably just a small tater-fan in comparison to the general LL fandom... More on that in a few seconds).

The story of how I got into Love Live is a rather odd one. I read a story about a man in Hong Kong who is so into the series that he got himself a Nozomi tattoo for Nozomi's birthday. Now this isn't just any regular tattoo; It's a huge design that just about covers his entire back and was done in stages which spanned more than one wave of anime blog/news coverage. Here's a link to some photos but the squirmish and easily disturbed needn't apply- http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2014/10/26-1/fans-incredible-love-live-nozomi-tojo-back-tattoo-completed

(There is actually an arguably even more extreme story of a man whose life was completely transformed because of Love Live: http://en.rocketnews24.com/2015/02/11/the-power-of-anime-man-quits-smoking-turns-his-life-around-thanks-to-love-live/ )

When I saw the tattoo photos I thought, "WHAT in the world could make someone do that?" When the series first came out, I didn't think of checking out Love Live because I wasn't particularly attracted to the simple premise. Mind you, I'm not a snob who only watches what he thinks of as "deep shows"- I just kind of overlooked LL because the premise didn't grab me right away.

Since what this fan did obviously got my attention and piqued my curiosity, I started watching and the rest is history... After the first episode (more like the first opening animation) I was hooked. After binging the first and second seasons, I still haven't had enough so I went and bought merchandise. I haven't purchased any anime merchandise in more than 10 years (games not included) but Love Live not only got me to buy "something" but the two main artbooks, the best collection CD, and the first season blue-ray boxed set from NIS America on almost the same day. It may not be much to some, but a huge leap for me going from nothing in 10+ years to this... I'm currently trying to suppress the urge for LL figurines because once that starts it might never end.

Elaborately planned, meticulously packaged

Unlike other series, the Love Live project was planned from the very beginning to be a full idol "experience". It was a collaborative project between ASCII Media Works' Degenki G's Magazine, the music label Lantis, and the anime studio Sunrise. It's not a standalone anime, nor is it a series that's done as an afterthought which attaches itself to a pre-existing popular item (e.g. games, actual idol groups, etc).

Since this idol project is meant from the get-go to be not "just" an idol anime series that's either attached to something else or a standalone anime product, all the elements mesh together well and don't hamper each other. For instance, there's another idol anime which main theme song was derived directly from the main vocal-less theme of its originating videogame. The result of that was a song that had kind of not-so-great lyrics... The words were clearly shoe-horned into the melody, resulting the overall song not being good (catchy melody + not-good lyrics = meh song). Not only that, the characterizations of the idol group members suffered from being somewhat one-dimensional due to the fact that again, the series was derived from a videogame. Other idol series suffer in various other ways because they're just not planned from the beginning to be an integrated multimedia project the same way Love Live was.

Great singing and dancing numbers

Love Live has great planning, but what about its actual execution as an idol show? Let's start with what I think is pretty much the most important thing about an idol show- The sing-and-dance numbers. To that end, Love Live just completely kicks ass:


In order to have really smooth animation of dancing, some tradeoff had to be made for CG but the results were still amazing- Full fluid animation of everyone dancing just like a professional Japanese idol group for every song. You seldom see this in idol shows, where in many other series in the past I see just really bad CG for certain older shows or a whole lot of skipping/zooming around to save animation for some of the more recent ones. For LL I could really get into their stage performances because so much of the dance moves are animated.

Even the protagonists' main rival idol group puts up amazing dance moves in the second season [minor spoilers]:


Superior character design

Another important thing about idols is that, well, it sure wouldn't hurt at all if they're cute and adorable. Kawaii is in the eye of the beholder but in my eyes Love Live has the best character designs of any idol anime:

Characters with more than enough personality to spare

What keeps me glued to Love Live was not the story. The story was admittedly simple, but it didn't need a big convoluted plot nor need to lean on the strength of a storyline because the personalities of its characters make things interesting and fun. It was a joy just watching them interact, the background / development episodes being minor addons which give additional sympathetic points (just in case you don't love them enough already). As for the characters and characterizations, everyone have their own favorites but I tend to lean toward two in particular...

[Minor spoilers]

The dichotomy between the ("dere") idol personality and the "real life" personality was hilariously portrayed by one of the characters. The dichotomous moments are simultaneously funny, endearing, as well as ANNOYING:

One of the ways of summing up the first part of the story is how one girl managed to rally and change the hearts and minds of everyone around her by the sheer force of her endearing personality and infectious positivity. Her expressiveness is, again, both hilarious and endearing:

My absolute favorite idol performance of the group actually came at an early time when

Songs that are nothing to sneeze at

The songs are good. They have to be, in order for the music label Lantis to pump out album after album of Love Live singles with both the full team as well as the mini 3-member idol units (Printemps, BiBi, and Lily White). One of my favorite songs is the infectiously-catchy baby maybe Koi no Button: http://love-live.wikia.com/wiki/Baby_maybe_Koi_no_Button and another being Snow Halation.

...Neither are all these other stuff in the Love Live multimedia project expressedly designed to suck wallets dry and make people HAPPY to fill it just to empty it again

Self explanatory. The voice actress idol concerts where they dress and perform as the characters, videos/CDs of those concerts, games, more games, more artbooks / magazines / figurines / toys, more merch and memorabilia, more everything, et cetera. No wonder some guy gave up smoking and drinking for Love Live (see news link near the beginning of the list of explanations).

Gives warm fuzzy good feels

Love Live gives the warm-fuzzies. Warm n' fuzzy like birds chirping on a sunny spring morning. It's like an anesthetic. It's goooood, try it. Just a little bit. No big deal, you can stop at any time.

Now that, is why I think Love Live is the best idol anime. NOT why you should think so, but why I think so. You don't have to agree with me on ANY of this at all. Hope you've had a great Valentine's Day
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Posted 2/14/15 , edited 2/15/15
Yeah, I'll agree that Love Live is pretty good.

But then, that "other" anime idol group has Go Shiina and ESTi backing them, which are some of my favorite composers ever. This song alone, I think, remains unmatched to this day.
Posted 2/14/15 , edited 2/15/15
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34 / M / Canada
Posted 2/14/15 , edited 2/15/15
Good for you.

Nothing has impacted me to this level yet

Maybe I should watch an idol show one of these days, but I never like their music
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39 / Inside your compu...
Posted 2/14/15 , edited 2/15/15

Nope I'm the guy piloting the Love Live Gundam.

Trick4Treat wrote:

Nothing has impacted me to this level yet

That's good because otherwise your wallet would really feel the impact.
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☆Land of sweets☆
Posted 2/14/15 , edited 2/15/15
likeable characters, solid character development, great songs and soundtrack that fits the mood perfectly
+ character design is adorable
Love Live is harasho / 10
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F / Boston-ish
Posted 1/17/17 , edited 1/17/17
New Year cleanup -- closing threads with no new posts since 2015.
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