A sequel to the main series and follows the Aqours girls as they prepare to enroll at a new school. While the first and second years run into some unexpected trouble, the third years end up going mysteriously missing on the way to their graduation trip. Separated, the girls begin to realize the value of their friendships as they attempt to find a solution to their various crises.
It's a heck of a lot better than the second season, but that ain't saying too much.
As someone who still holds the original Love Live in somewhat high regard, Sunshine was quite frustrating to watch. The first season was decent, OK, but left a lot to be concerned about regarding its future. And sure enough, every single concern I had was present in the second season, with a few extra frustrations tossed in for maximum joy. The drama was overblown, so cloying, so far up its own arse that it thought minivans flying into the moon is apparently what idol fans were clamoring for. The
characters remained one-dimensional caricatures with minimal growth, save for perhaps Ruby's and Ria's involvement with one another, which was probably the season's one saving grace. So, yeah, a bit disappointed I was, perhaps one might say.
And so comes the movie, Over the Rainbow, bringing the series back somewhat to its roots, serving as a reminder of what Sunshine should have been in the first place.
Though there is plenty of drama here as per Sunshine routine, this time around it serves more as a companion to the quieter, sillier moments and the characters' interactions with one another. Because they no longer have to spend every waking second freaking out about their school potentially shutting down, the girls of Aquors are free to finally do their own thing and focus on their own future rather than that of the school's. What will happen to Aquors now that the third years are graduating and leaving the group? Is it worth continuing Aquors without the full nine present? Can Rea move forward on her own now that her partner and role model has graduated from Saint Snow? These questions are far more compelling, far more human than something as artificial as "well, the school might be shutting down, so I guess we have to be as popular as we can or whatever and scream about shining every ten seconds or so."
The result is that the drama hits, because it actually matters this time around. Though Over the Rainbow is still a bit too heavy for its own good (this is an anime about high school pop idols, after all...), the conclusions the characters come to feel like the natural destination for their story, and the bittersweet ending— the final concert in particular— carries a tinge of emotional weight similar to that of the original Love Live's ending. If you are easily moved, perhaps you might be on the verge of a tear or two, but in my case it was just too late to feel all that much.
The musical performances (and I do mean 'musical' musical, a la Grease or La La Land) are undoubtedly the high point of the movie; notably, the opening sequence near the train station, the girls gradually introducing themselves and speaking to the audience through lyric, was very cleverly choreographed and a catchy little song in itself. The animation is more of a mixed bag, as even with movie treatment the dances are mostly comprised of artificial-looking CG, not all too different from any typical episode of the TV series. The way the camera quickly zooms in and pans around is a lot more enthralling, however, and some of the stills and background shots (especially of the Italian cityscape) are stunning and on par with some of the best the industry has seen. But I guess Love Live has always been pretty palatable to the senses, hey?
So, if, like me, you were critical of Sunshine but enjoyed the original series, Over The Rainbow ain't too bad. It feels closer to the original, better balancing the drama with the comedy and focusing more on what the viewers want— music and girls— rather than trying to wax philosophical and change your life through the sheer force of melodrama.
If ever there is a third Love Live anime series, I'd like to see them do something slightly different. We've done this story twice now, identical format and all, so I can't really imagine a third time around would get people all that excited. Why not have all the girls start as first years together, so the story can run for longer instead of being reset every time a couple of the seniors inevitably graduate. Things could even continue beyond high school as they would all still be together. Heck, while we're at it, you could also lower the cast from nine down to five or six so that they all have more screen time and can get more fleshed-out. Just my ten cents.
But if the upcoming All Stars mobile game is any indication, the next iteration of Love Live characters look to be more of the same.
... not that it matters, I suppose, because I will play it, and I will enjoy it solely because there is Nico.
Love Live is part of a bigger multimedia franchise. This is important to consider because the Anime serves more or less as an advertisment for the games and to create a basic level of attachment to its characters. I don't think it's justified to call the Anime adaptations a cashgrab, but all of them so far have been pretty mediocre and anyone who has seen Love Live Sunshine (LLS) knows what the expect from the movie.
If you happened to like LLS, that's great. You will probably like "Over the Rainbow" (OTR) too, as it does essentially nothing different from the TV series.
If you didn't like the TV series, well that's too bad. You probably won't like OTR either. The movie managed to leave behind the forced drama about Aquors' beloved school closing but at the same time it introduced new unnecessary drama.
Like the TV series, the movie lives off mostly of the cute interactions between the members of Aquors. Everyone has retained their quirks and they are used for comedy throughout the movie. We get to see a lot of new musical performances which makes you feel like you're watching disney movie because the characters happen to sing and dance in the most unlikely of situations. Sometime during the movie it became clear to me that the story of the movie is just an excuse to show the characters' new performances. This is also where the movie differs a bit from the TV series: There is no longer any driving force behind Aquors trying to perform as school idols. Heck, there is no longer any driving force behind the story at all. The TV series concluded it perfectly with Uranohoshi closing and merging with another school. And here we are in OTR, with Aquors thinking about how to continue their lives, now that Dia, Kanan and Mari have graduated.
The trip to Italy could have been a great adventure if it hadn't been botchered by the reason of why Dia, Kanan and Mari disappeared. As it turns out, Mari's mother tries to force her into an arranged marriage to restrict her freedom. An interesting turn of events, but the way it's resolved is in typical LLS fashion: Mari convinces her mother to cancel the marriage if Mari can show her that she can make people happy while performing as a school idol. Of course, her mother agrees and Mari manages to persuade her later on. I know that drama has never been a strength of Love Live, but come on ... that whole arc was really laughable.
Dragging through the movie is generic ganbatte talk. The characters are motivating each other a lot, but that's really only on a superficial level. It has been like that in the TV series as well and it's continuing in the movie. Combine this with the fact that there is no competition anymore and you may start wondering what kind of goal our characters have in mind. At the beginning of the movie, it is clear that due to Dia, Kanan and Mari having graduated, the remaining members of Aquors have trouble performing at their full potential due to lacking 3 members. Fast forward to the end of the movie, they suddenly are able to perform with only 6 members, despite having learned exactly nothing.
Aside from Mari's arranged marriage, other subplots have been introduced during the movie as well. One example would be Leah from Saint Snow having trouble to assemble a new school idol unit, now that she can't perform with Sarah anymore. This subplot, like all others, was left severely underdeveloped and it's resolve was basically pulled out of thin air. A new character was introduced as well, You's cousin Tsuki, but she didn't really serve any purpose besides just exisiting.
Music should be one of the greater strengths of Love Live, yet I find most of the songs to be pretty generic J-pop. I have no deeper attachment to any of Aquors' members (neither to the Anime characters nor the real singers) and with the exception of "Mirai Ticket" I have not found myself to really enjoy any other of their songs. Maybe I'm not the target audience of Love Live, but I don't see what makes the music any different from other idol groups.
My rating of 4 may seem harsh, but you should put it into your own perspective. It's the same rating I gave the TV series because I think the movie is just "as good" or "as bad", depending on your perspective. As I said in the beginning, if you liked LLS you will probably like the movie too. But looking at LLS as a standalone Anime, I think it's just bad. It's bland characters, bad story, forced melodrama, repetitive comedy and average music all makes it a bad Anime for me. Sadly, the movie offers no real development and makes the same mistakes. That's why I think only fans of LLS will love it. It's certainly not made for a general audience.
After a long wait, the movie has finally arrived for us to watch!
Love Live! Sunshine!! Over the Rainbow (or in short LLS:OTR) was quite a phenomenal movie. Though it didn't really do much new when it comes to Love Live's nature.
The story makes zero sense. I won't spoil, but we get MORE drama throughout the movie that feels so out of place, and many flaws you can point out that make no sense. But if you're already used to Love Live!, you'll understand the basic concept does not make sense at all (Ex: Where the heck does the music come from?), and still a few
If we put the story aspect aside, we get a masterpiece of a movie. The songs and dances in the movie were amazing, especially with the constant switching between CGI and 2D, which I found to be done really well (especially if you compare it to the very first season of LL).
The songs were really good overall, a few bangers, a few mediocre ones, it balances it out.
The setting in general was really nice (Italy!), though it's quite a shame that like in µ's movie they didn't have way too much time abroad and went back to Japan to solve the rest of the series.
The movie gave the finale we needed for the series, and I still have hope to see spinoffs or similar anime adaptations in the Love Live! universe.
Oh, and by the way, if you're a 3rd years fan, this movie just hits the sweet spot that gives them quite some screen time.
In general, if you're already a fan of the series, you're going to love the movie, but if you aren't really, you'll meet the same old flaws and problem yet again.
u went to America for their movie, Aquors went to...ITALY!??!...what was Giorno their guide?
Where the u's movie merely did a cursor glance at any resolutions and pretty much retread of it's anime series finale just with America added in...Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie Over the Rainbow gives us the resolutions that the anime series left us and did it BRILLIANTLY.
Well the premise of this movie to even get Aquors to Italy is that Mari, Kanan and Dia have gone missing and Mari's mother tells the remaining to find Mari and Mari's mother will give them a huge sum of money if they
succeed, thus Italy but it's not as easy as it seems, but this plotline is only the base premise as Chika and the remaining Aquors have a bit of a problem both performance-wise and friendship-wise what with Mari, Kanan and Dia having graduated and it's affecting them harshly. Later on, Saint Snow comes in and much like Aquors' breaking up, Saint Snow but more precisely Leah can't take it that Sarah is also graduating and is ALSO having problems forming an school idol group on her own.
For characters themselves, Mari has taken focus for the first half of the movie what with Italy and all, but she gets some much needed development aside from being the wacky Engrish girl and sure....her development is to do with her mother thus family issues and as much as it's cliche, Mari's development was still decent and a nice foundation and push for the plot to move forward. Yoshiko's chunni gets her own due, yes for laughs but nonetheless. Hanamaru and Yoshiko seemed to be the comedic relief of the movie Yoshiko...being Yoshiko but Hanamaru gets the running gag of eating EVERYTHING in Italy. Kanan and Dia become essentially satellite characters to Mari for the first half of the movie but what with both of them having development from the anime series it kinda makes sense for Mari to take the spotlight as she needed it. Ruby much like Leah gets the same development with their older sisters but Ruby is at the end of it as she KNOWS and has moved forward whereas Leah is at the middle of it and finally given the resolution she got in this movie. Chika, Riko and You gets oddly enough the least amount of development with once again You getting the least out of the three. Chika being the de facto leader of the 6 remaining Aquors members and really she does most of the decision making for the movie, while Riko and You are the cheerleaders, You does have one other addition that of You's cousin, Tsuki who is a student of the main school that Uranohoshi's student have transferred to and much like You helps Aquors, oddly enough Tsuki got the development that You needed as Tsuki tags along with Aquors and later on finds how great being School Idols are and in turn making the main school to show that Uranohoshi is worth being in their school (instead of the branch school they got dumped into). Riko though is similar to You, screentime wise and "yuri shipping goggles-wise" got way more than You, as Riko interacts more with both Chika and Yoshiko. Once again You gets shafted.
The animation done once again by Sunrise, well the background work was AMAZING especially during Aqours' stay in Italy. The character designs and expressive facial animation was done to great and sometimes wacky results. Character designs-wise, though it's still consistent as the anime series, the movie gave Aquors are VARIETY of costumes for any time they change locations or a new time of day (seriously, their sets of costumes could fill up a rich mansion's closet!). The Live's CGI got better as well from the second season's anime series, though it's still obvious when they use CGI, they blended quite well to the point it's not distracting, just noticeable. All in all, Sunrise went ALL OUT for this movie's animation and for such a "farewell" movie, it was to be expected.
Voice cast was back and great as always, with some standouts being Aina Suzuki as Mari because come on, while Yoshiko and Hanamaru's voice actress Aika Kobayashi and Kanako Takatsuki gets to go full ham or comedic and their one liners were great. Tsuki's voice actress who was uncredited (?) was pretty much the same cadence as Shuka Saitou voiced by You pretty much showing that Tsuki IS very much You's cousin. But all in all, since they not only voice the characters but the singing was great and with that. Aquors' voice cast is back and better than ever in this movie so all in all. Great voice cast..as always.
Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie Over the Rainbow did what u's couldn't with their movie and that is RESOLUTIONS and Over the Rainbow actually made it a tearful but satisfying resolution and farewell with Aquors and tied up loose ends from it's anime series and to that end makes it a much better constructed movie, yes it's similar to the u's movie at the start (main cast goes somewhere outside of Japan) and the 3rd Years have graduated and having to deal with it and to Over the Rainbow's end with characters have a mixed development to their resolutions, some little to nothing *cough* You the ever satellite character *cough* but Over the Rainbow nonetheless ENDS tying up ANY loose plotlines with it's characters the anime series left hanging, whereas u's movie gave us an open ended farewell and left it at that.
u's anime series and movie was too happy go lucky, almost coincidental in how things ended up as to be status quo and got the series in a static limbo with its movie's finale, but to state, LA doesn't think u's movie is horrible as a result, that movie did what it did, yes with some flaws but it was a farewell just not a decent one, whereas Aquors from it's anime series dealt with being an idol group and with it's 3rd Years gradating soon in a much more logical way and with this movie gave us a proper farewell and resolutions that were established in the anime series.
If you haven't noticed, LA was very satisfied with this movie as LA can see Aquors moving forward in earnest. Over the Rainbow...well went over the rainbow and once again, gave us a pretty satisfying, yet tearful farewell, what else would you want more for an idol movie than that showing that an idol group can happily move forward with no regrets.