Chika Takami, a self-proclaimed normal girl, has never been involved in any clubs and lacked any notable talents. However, after a visit to Tokyo, she discovers a stage where even an ordinary girl like her could shine—the world of school idols. Inspired by the former superstar school idol group μ's, Chika is determined to start her own school idol club in her seaside hometown at Uranohoshi Girl's High School. But even before gathering any students to join the group, the aspiring school idol finds her greatest obstacle to be student council president Dia Kurosawa who stands firmly against the creation of the club.
Just when it seems there is no hope, Chika meets Riko Sakurauchi, a transfer student from Otonokizaka High School, home of μ's. Somewhat shy but a talented piano player, Chika believes her to be a promising recruit, though convincing her to join is easier said than done. In spite of that, Chika chooses to charge forward and overcome the obstacles keeping her from forming a school idol group that shines as bright as the nine that came before her.
Love Live Sunshine is the successor to the popular Love Live, which recently ended with a movie. This continuation to the series really got me excited, since love live is one those anime that I don’t get tired or re-watching (I probably re-watch it twice a year or so.) and also at some point I religiously played the mobile game every single day. But still, in the end, little by little I got disappointed of the show throughout the season. Spoilers ahead for those who haven't finish them yet.
The dialogue of the characters isn’t well thought out. It’s basically them spouting memes non-stop hoping that some of them will stick as much as the infamous nico nico nii. Seriously,Hanamaru went from somewhat shy bookworm to just simply saying zura and mirai most of her dialogue. There’s also the part where she’s just stuffing her face with the noppo bread in the background most of the time just to fill the advertisement quota.
The way they recruit their members feels forced, this got painful for me to watch when Yoshiko joined in specific. The setting is somewhat a rehash to the first LL the way I see it. There’s too many to point out but the point is that they basically just used the same plot points, which seems like lazy writing. The only part where it felt original was the third year drama.
The most annoying part that really irked me is the constant mention of μ’s. I feel like they mention them too much, mentioning them a few times is okay and all but mentioning them literally all episodes except the last one is a little bit too much.
Should you watch it because you’re a Love Live fan? Sure why not. Overall it’s not that bad of a show, I still enjoyed watching it on time every week, but I felt like they could do better, since the characters and the songs are pretty solid. But I guess to me this feels like more a last minute cashgrab to pander to the hardcore love live fans. read more
Please don't read this review if you haven't finished the anime, honestly, don't do it.
Last year, we were told that μ's had come to an end and a PV of the new LL! idol group was shown. Their name is Aqours. They are going to continue on the μ's legacy and (try to) become more successful than μ's. They are namely, Chika, Riko, You, Ruby, Yoshiko (or Yohane whichever preferred), Hanamaru, Dia, Mari and Kanan. I had indifferent opinions about them at first. I didn't delve too deep like how I did during the μ's era to be honest. None of them interested me because the brand new LL!Sunshine!! project was too rushed, where μ's was still around and had their movie and their Final Live concert upcoming. While the news gave a slap to all the LL! fans, most of us started to worry if Aqours could do better than their predecessors.
Now that it comes to an end with its finale being aired last night. Let's go!
Note: In LL!, story, is NEVER ever the selling point. Same goes to LLSS!!.
Reusing and referencing the good ol' stuff from μ's isn't a bad thing if the series is executed well. As a fan of the original LL! I sincerely hope that LLSS!! is better, or at least on par, with the original. Surely, the beginning looked promising and didn't disappoint me, and the rest of the series didn't either. A good beginning makes a good ending, eh? Not happening in LLSS!!, unfortunately.
I am here just going to say, the ending... is not meant for everyone. The way the series ended was, not something I will rate 1/10 but still, bad. It could be done better but man, imagine you are sitting on the LLSS!! hype train all along the journey just to reach a cliff and everything goes downhill and bam.
One thing you can never complain in LL! and LLSS!! is their art. It's really good, and the art improves so much coming to LLSS!!. (tho the CG dance may be pretty annoying from time to time)
For OP, OST and ED, they are really good. VAs did their amazing work too.
My only concern goes to the inserts. They ARE good, but not impacting enough in their respective episodes.
I have a mixed feeling about the characters itself. 3rd years' (Mari, Kanan, Dia) chemistry is great even though I am not a fan of either one of them. 1st years (Ruby, Hanamaru, Yoshiko) did a great job too though I never like Yoshiko (sorry but chuuni isn't to my liking). 2nd years (Chika, You, Riko) tho, they have the same problem as μ's (Kotori, Honoka, Umi) had. There's too much focus for them, and they aren't that great either.
I swear I really enjoy everything up to the 12th episode, but the finale is.... wew. Let's not talk about the weird skit which I think it's actually okay-ish, I am disappointed by the absence of "Step ZERO to ONE" after being referenced so much in the anime. The question "Why do you not perform it and instead using a new song that doesn't give that much impact as a finale?" will always be in my head from now on.
Overall: 7/10 (Revised score: 8/10)
The series is good, but nowhere better than the original LL! first season imo.
TL;DR: A good start, with a badly executed ending.read more
At first sight, Sunshine is completely devoid of novelty: a new version of Love Live with new girls and different scenery and not much else to set itself apart. And for the vast majority of its run, that's exactly what it is; despite clear quality improvements in visuals and the way it handled its drama and involved its characters, it failed to be interesting or fun, and it had a gnawing lack of original purpose. But at the last stretch, everything kind of clicks together; the series turns some of its biggest flaws into a defining feature in such a surprising way it made me see the whole series in a slightly different light. Sunshine still might be nothing special, and overall uninteresting to watch especially after seeing the first Love Live unless you somehow find the girls cute and fun just at face value, but at least its seemingly self-aware spin beats easily being nothing but an uninspired copy.
As I already stated, Sunshine is far from an impressive experience. As if to deliberately feed my cynicism, very familiar scenarios and scenes play out once again, increasingly ridiculous members are recruited without much thought for their talent or experience, the performances succeed too conveniently to feel strongly about them, and despite the increased quality of execution, behind everything there’s a sense of lack of strong drive to make it engaging or a purpose that could set itself apart. Put together, all of this made it hard to root for the girls enough to feel proud of their performances or consider them deserving enough of success to feel bad about their setbacks. But at the final third of the series, it sets itself apart somewhat.
After sorting out some misunderstandings and going through a small crisis, the girls make a realization; turning 0 into 1 isn’t about getting a vote in a popularity contest based on quality of performance, turning 0 into 1 is about giving a performance that can express the feelings for their hometown and school so sincerely that it convinces even one person to transfer to their school placed in the middle of nowhere. Sure, the exact delivery of this in the final performance is rather heavy-handed and makes such a bad, lame and self-absorbed show I was half-expecting them to get boo'ed off the stage, but it was based on sincere expression. And such cheesy messages that usually would feel really forced actually had some impact because they caught me by surprise in a way that actually turned by criticism and cynicism about it into something that legitimizes what it was ultimately about.
That is, the realization had weight exactly because the parts that didn't work didn't have the same kind of inspiration or motivation behind them. Of course it wasn't involving, it wasn’t the real Aquors, it was a group of girls with the boring goal of wanting to be μ's. And the effect of the change in point of motivation felt concretely noticeable from how after the realization and finding a new source of motivation, the training clearly intensifies. The criticisms about lack of strong individual goals stop being relevant because the group's common view on what is important is defined by something more than just winning Love Live. Sure this is all super cheesy and embarrassing, but the fact it can embrace being that way, and how it is reinforced by Sunshine's questionable purpose in relation to the original Love Live is what makes it more effective.
That said, there’s no denying that the series is still not very interesting for the majority of its run. In terms of drama, the series has decent ideas such as Riko’s struggle with inspiration which might be basic but decently grounded and connected to the overall theme of following your dreams, and how the third-years were always looking out for each other was heartwarming enough to kind of overlook how contrived it was. But 13 episodes is a short time to try to do something with strong impact for nearly the whole cast of 9 characters like the series tries to do, and as a result execution is mostly too rushed to have strong impact. And aside from the time restrictions that lead to rushed buildup and resolution, the excessive use of melancholic lighting and soundtracks doesn’t do any favors, making many scenes feel forced in their portrayal.
Maybe the drama would have worked better if I didn't have problems with the main part of the series, the girls. Sunshine tries really hard and has some decent ideas but sadly overdoes it, way too many of the girls feel exaggerated and calculated in the way they act and talk, like the creators were too focused on trying to leave a superficial impression with overblown antics and quirks rather than on creating naturally enjoyable characters. The girls have relatively stock personalities so outside of drama and performances their presence on the screen is largely defined by their signature quirks and catch-phrases. Which ones someone enjoys, if any, is a matter of personal taste, but at least to me most got old very quickly or felt boring and overdone from the very beginning. There are better parts, too, my overall favorite was You who especially early on managed to have a positive presence without excessively relying on some weird habit, whereas Hanamaru probably had the only fun quirk but even it was eventually overused. Overall, I still find it hard to find much positive to say about other characters than the two just mentioned without also having major reservations about it that in too many cases tilt the overall impression of the character to merely neutral or even negative, but as a group they work out decently well thanks to generally taking the time to go through various character arcs that cement each of the girls as a committed and motivated part of the group.
Even in terms of comedy, it just wasn't my thing, it's based on making silly faces and noises and acting random without much of a punchline, and at worst it keeps reusing certain really annoying and narrow jokes over and over again. Even if never outright funny and often annoying, it can be a bit amusing at times, and the way the anime is filled with really vibrant and detailed animation helps. But even then, there are several parts where its antics backfire by being so exaggerated and random they end up forced and weird rather than fun.
Despite the flaws I mentioned, Sunshine is not bad in terms of quality, it's significantly better than the first season of the original Love Live in terms of a lot of things from an objective standpoint; the drama has a better basis, the cast is well-rounded, the story is always moving forward, it doesn’t do anything disagreeable or incoherent enough to mark it as a failure, it has a clear message about breaking free of one's shell and pursuing one's dreams, (even if it generally trivializes the effort needed to do so way too much to make me buy it, let alone consider it inspirational), and while the cast feels really forced and might lack the popular standout characters of the first season, it could be argued the message portrayed as a cohesive group is stronger. But still, the lack of novelty kept it almost completely devoid of charm that would help overlook such problems, and it only barely managed to scrape itself some sort of an identity at the last stretch. But while it's not enough to change the fact that the series is not fun or interesting to watch, it's much better than being nothing but a boring rehash.read more
Spin-offs tend to be not as succesful as the original. I myself was secretly skeptical at first, worrying it might be some cheap show to get some money out of. However, after having watched the first couple of episodes, I can genuinely say that Sunshine has even surpassed the first season of the original Love Live in my eyes. Honestly, I'm quite surprised with the outcome.
Sunshine has received a huge upgrade in all aspects. Sunrise improved the series by a mile. Props to them! Visuals are outstanding, more so than the original. As usual, the show is very colorful. The background sceneries are incredibly pretty to look at— especially the seaside ones— and the character designs are clean and very cute. And yes, there's still the use of 3DCGI during live performances. However, in Sunshine, it's less distracting, more fluid and should now be on a tolerable level, which makes it more enjoyable to watch.
It's not perfect by any means. The story is undeniably similar to that of the original. A simple story, following a group of nine girls chasing their dreams in becoming recognized school idols. But that's not all. Coincidentally, the school will close down if there are not enough applicants! What is their solution to this problem? You guessed it: becoming idols, and drawing attention to the school to attract more applicants, preventing it from closing down. Does this sound familair? Now, I marked this as a bad thing, but is a story copy really that bad? Surprisingly no, not really. For real fans of the series such as myself, it's easy to overlook, that is if you're actually putting a little effort into liking it. At the very least try to enjoy the show, rather than bashing it just because both stories are more or less identical to each other. The first episode started somewhat weak and felt rushed, however, the series immediately picks up in the second episode. There is also a good amount of slice of life, or rather, "cute girls doing cute things", which may or may not be your cup of tea. It certainly is mine. And hey if you like idols, you most definetly will like those things, anyway.
The characters in Sunshine also bear a great resemblance to the cast from the original. And just like its predecessor (the first season), the characters did not receive an enormous amount of development. Also, it suffers quite a bit from the melodrama at times. Well, what do you expect from a show with nine characters and just twelve episodes? A future second season would set things straight, probably. Don't expect serious characterization. I do have to mention that I had an easy time liking the characters, and sympathized with them during sad and emotional scenes— even if I didn't like them one bit at first. You and Dia, just to note a few examples. Chika is pretty much an exact copy of Honoka, the side-ponytail being the only difference. I'm quite fond of her positiveness and leadership ability, and basically being the driving force of the group. Hanamaru, or rather Zuramaru as I like to call her, is a fun character, too. Not only is her lack of tech knowledge humorous, her zura's are also charming, in a way. "It's the future, zura!". And so the characters each have their own traits, which may or may not be to your liking. The one character with a disturbing amount of annoyance is Yoshiko. She reminds me of that one Chuunibyou show I didn't like very much. I'm also quite disappointed with the fact that a couple did not receive the screentime they deserved. By that, I'm actually mostly referring to a certain blue haired ponytailed goddess. However, that beach episode made up for it, uh, just a little bit. Kanan is a fine-looking lady for sure!
Who is the real star of Aqours? The girl— who coincidentally looks a lot like Nico— with the gorgeous red twintails and aqua eyes, of course. Her name is Ruby. The one who invented cuteness and has the voice of an angel. She certainly stands out the most with her design, cute expressions and such. She made her debut in the first episode unlike the Nico. Ruby has already accumulated quite a reputation by just a couple of scenes alone— and now that I think about it, the show needed more of those. The more we got to the end, the less Ruby we got (with the exception of a few cutesty scenes), though, I was honestly fine with that. It indicates how much I actually liked Sunshine, even with the absence of Ruby in recent episodes. Keep staying unbearably cute, it makes my life so much better. I am keeping this short, since I do not want this to turn into a Ruby love post. I love Ruby, by the way.
I can honestly say that the characters from Sunshine are a whole lot more likable and memorable than its predecessor. Still, I have to mention that none of them have been able to completely fill the gap that's been left behind by Nico. Though, Ruby is the cutest in the whole wide world and mostly makes up for it, however, not entirely. I kind of miss "Nico-Nico-Nii!", but I guess "Ganbaruby!" is a good enough replacement.
It's also quite bothersome that there was no sort of real recruitment process going on. Apparently, looking cute is all that's needed in order for one to become a true school idol. Singing and dancing skills are irrelevant and are no requirement. Let's just deal with that later. Ruby looks cute, that's already plenty! Seriously though, this part has been ignored.
The sound is what you would expect from the Love Live series. The musical performances are outstanding and definetly worthy of praise. Again, the songs are linked to parts in the story. The hardships the girls went through, and following their dreams, you can actually "feel" the emotions they put in their songs. The song in EP13 is especially a good example. The vocals are great and the voices of all Aqours girls fit well with each other, not to mention the regular voice acting is admirable, too. Have I already mentioned Ruby has the voice of an angel? Also the background music fits quite well with the emotional scenes.
If you had any doubts about Sunshine, I can assure you there is little to worry about. It's certainly an enjoyable show for fans and newcomers alike. Just remember that Ruby is best. Sunshine has the potential of being exceptionally good. And seeing as how popular the Love Live franchise is (especially in Japan!), it will most definetly get a second season in order to make that happen and flesh out the characters a bit more. I look forward to the day I see my lovely Ruby animated again.
There’s no device more perfect for taking your gaming on the go than the smartphone. Mobile has become the number one hub for games you can just pick up and play. For anime fans looking to get their fix, here are 10 anime mobile games for the iOS and Android.