Final Review: Love Live! School Idol Project

DISCLAIMER: Anime reviews on this blog will attempt minimal to no spoilers unless other noted. If a review seems dull or shallow, it’s because I’m trying to make sure not to go into too detail for those who are actually interested in the show before or after reading the review or those who have yet to finish the title. If you want further details, there are usually tons of reviews that can be found elsewhere on the internet. Furthermore, anime reviews in general are the sole opinion of the author writing it and thus differ across the users. There is no such thing as a “right answer” only a majority agreement. You are free to have your own opinions and thereby free to state and/or argue/debate in the comments section below or on the Fansub TV Forums. The review is not necessarily meant to serve as a recommendation but rather a personal opinion of having completed the series.

Love Live! School Idol Project is based on a Japanese multimedia project that began in 2010. The anime adaptation focuses on the Love Live! cast trying to save their high school from shutting down due to low applicants. The franchise has spun off various music videos since its inception, some of which were included in the anime itself. Love Live! premiered in Winter 2012/2013 for 13 episodes, was simulcasted by CrunchyRoll and licensed by NIS America.

Love Live! is arguably the most “innocent” anime title in a while. The story is as simple as it gets: a group of girls with some sort of ambition in a highly believable setting with highly believable results. The show spends a bulk of its time recruiting members in the first half of the series and then moves on pursuing the ultimate goal. In this case, preventing the school from shutting down and attempting to participate in the Love Live! competition. Unlike most titles be it fantasy or a school-life setting, Love Live! is more realistic in that not everything always goes the way people wants it to. Members don’t automatically join and takes some convincing to do while exploring some character back story in the process. Furthermore, while the idea of Honoka getting sick the day of the deciding performance is an overused plot device, at least a “miracle” didn’t happen. The idea of Kotori leaving the group was rather random though and didn’t seem to add any significant development to the story. It seemed more as if the staff ran out of material to write in the final couple episodes and decided to simply stuff a random event in there to keep the plot moving. Conclusion feels weak not because there doesn’t seem to be a reason for muse to exist any more. They didn’t really have the same drive as they did from the get go. Other than that, there’s one main problem with this series: Tari Tari did the EXACT same thing less than a year ago with a far more interest cast and better hooks.

Art is generally nice for this show. Nothing in particular really stood out but it was certainly far from basic designs. Character designs are pretty much the same across the board. Same base with little creativity. A number of inconsistencies were also present particularly with long-distance shots and side-views of characters. The dance sequences are very nicely done as the CGI is much less noticeable than say in Pretty Rhythm -Aurora Dream- and to some extent AKB0048. Sunrise really put a lot of budget into the animation for this show and is certainly better than the other high school titles they did recently, namely Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou, Phi Brain, and Natsu-iro Kiseki. Falls short in comparison to Binbougami ga! though.

OP and ED themes are average but fitting with the series. Inserts are a number of cheesy/fluffy originals similar to many K-ON! songs, some of which are from the music videos in the last few years. Background music is average coupled with above average sound effects. Seiyuu is mostly composed of up and coming ones in the industry, which is a perfect match for the series’s setting. Generally speaking, the cast and acting are very well done.

Enjoyment? My biggest problem is the lack of suspense factor in this show. Granted it’s a simple school life title, it may be too simple for its own good at times. There is little motivation to watch it when you have complex titles like Shinsekai Yori or suspenseful ones like Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Initial D: Fifth Stage in the same season. The show is a good time waster for its innocence and plausibility but generally falls short in comparison to say The [email protected] I have yet to finish AKB0048 -Next Stage- so I’ll refrain on that comment as I don’t like where the series is heading at the moment in the penultimate episode.

Overall, Love Live! is by no means a gem title. It’s a fluff series that can be really breezed through or overlooked as there are a number of titles that outclass it, namely Tari Tari, The [email protected], Lemon Angel Project, and to some extent, K-ON! if you still consider that in the same category. For what Love Live! does as a standalone, it is by no means bad but simply average.

 

Story and Character:

  • Premise (0/1): Overly simplistic
  • Character Personalities (0.5/1): Annoying to an extent. Some characters are amusing, namely Kotori and Nozomi.
  • Character Development (1/2): Certainly there. Some characters kind of just bandwagon.
  • Character Usefulness/Presence (1.5/2): For a simple main cast of 9 characters, some seem to have little to no significance
  • Pacing: (0.5/1): First 10 episodes are pretty much the series. Last few episodes feel out of place
  • Reasonable/Plausible (2/2): Very much so
  • Conclusion (0.5/1): Leaves much to be desired despite wrapping up various events.
  • Total: 6/10

Art and Animation:

  • Backgrounds (1.5/2): Far from basic. Detailed.
  • Character Designs (0.5/2): They are all drawn from the same base. Inconsistencies
  • Fluidity (1.5/2): Inconsistencies for distance and side views.
  • Visuals/Special Effects/Flashiness (2/2): Very solid dance performances.
  • Art and Animation “Expectation” (1.5/2): Better than Natsu-iro Kiseki and Phi Brain. Worse than Binbougami ga!
  • Total: 7/10

Sound and Music:

  • OP/ED/Insert Themes (1.5/3): Average all around. Fitting with the series.
  • Background Music (1/2): Average
  • Sound Effects (1.5/2): Above average
  • Seiyuu (2.5/3): Decent and fitting with the characters
  • Total: 6.5/10

Enjoyment:

  • Amusement (0/2): Fluffy but boring overall
  • Weekly/Next Episode Anticipation (0/2): No real hooks
  • Presentation: (1/2): Linear and easy to follow. First half of recruiting members may bore some
  • Re-watchable (0/1): Not really.
  • Recommendation (0.5/2): Generally outclassed by Tari Tari, [email protected], Lemon Angel Project, K-ON!, etc… especially the former
  • Value (0/1): Not really
  • Total: 1.5/10

Preliminary Score: 5/10

Final Score: 5/10

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