Sep 24, 2016
13 of 13 episodes seen
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Love Live is back with another fresh cast of characters who, let's be real here, are all waifu-worthy judging by their looks alone. I myself was skeptical at first, incredibly worried this may be a case of "milking the cash cow". Thankfully, no. Sunshine has even surpassed the first season of the original Love Live in my eyes. Honestly, I'm quite surprised with the outcome.
Sunshine starts off with a story that sounds undeniably similar to that of the original. Let me clarify-- it's not an exact story copy. I'd say only the base, its starting point, is the same. We won't, for instance, see our
lovely Nico look-a-like in the same kind of situation as the real Nico. The girls of Aqours each have their own story to tell.
It certainly is hard to make a good anime with this many main characters in such a short amount of time. Love Live Sunshine is no different. Just like its predecessor, the girls did not receive an enormous amount of development. What do you expect from a show with nine main characters and just thirteen episodes? Things could've been handled differently. Sunshine, unfortunately, repeats the same mistakes. A future second season would set things straight, probably, though. Yes, again, similar to the original. Then, why did I give Sunshine a much higher rating? I'll get to that in a bit.
I don't blame anyone with a huge attachment to Muse to doubt the new series, with the introduction of complete new characters. Aware of that, though, I think they should still give Aqours a chance, a chance to shine. And, it sure did shine. Sunshine's cast is a whole lot more likeable and memorable than its predecessor. I had an easy time liking the characters, and even sympathized with them during emotional scenes-- even if I didn't like them one bit initially. Mari and You, just to note a few examples. The new girls are what made Sunshine so much better for me personally.
Talking a little about my favorites; Chika, 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. Honoka was one of my personal favorites from Muse-- it wouldn't be that strange to have Chika as one of my favorite Aqours girl as well. 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 very charming. "It's the future, zura!" The girls each have their own quirks, some which may be irritating, and some that are genuinely fun. The one character with a disturbing amount of annoyance, though, is Yoshiko. She reminds me of that one Chuunibyou show I didn't like very much. Yoshiko comes over as obnoxious, and feels completely out of place. I'd much rather have a different girl in her stead. Oh well, it can't be helped.
What's more disappointing is the fact that a couple did not receive the screen time they deserved. And by that, I'm actually mostly referring to a certain blue haired, ponytailed goddess. She had so little screen time in the first half of the show, I was starting to question whether or not she'll become a member of Aqours later. I guess 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 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. Though, I was honestly not that upset about it. It indicates how much I actually liked Sunshine, even with the absence of Ruby in the latter 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 her.)
Now, I do have to mention that none of the new characters have been able to completely fill the gap that's been left behind by Nico. Ruby, though, is the cutest in the whole wide world and tries her absolute "Rubesty" to make up for it. Her efforts, however, were in vain. I still missed hearing the phrase "Nico-Nico nii," but, oh well, I guess "Ganbaruby" is a decent enough replacement. I kind of go a little crazy whenever Ruby says it.
Something that was quite bothersome was that there was no audition process of sorts going on. Chika was captivated by the beauty of this natural wonder, named Ruby. She got an invitation right on the spot. Apparently, looking gorgeous and cute is all that's needed for one to become a true school idol. Singing and dancing skills are irrelevant. Seriously though, this part has been ignored, yet again.
Notable are the outstanding visuals, a huge improvement over the original. The show is very colorful and the background sceneries are very pretty, especially the seaside ones. 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.
The sound is what you would expect from the Love Live series. The musical performances are outstanding and definitely worthy of praise. The hardships the girls went through, following their dreams-- you can actually feel the emotions they put into their songs. Mirai Ticket, sung in the final episode, 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's angelic voice? Great background music as well.
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. I'm very disappointed, though, that the anime did not learn from its past mistakes. Sunshine has the potential of being exceptionally good. And seeing as how popular the Love Live franchise is (especially in Japan!), it will surely 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.
"Let's change that zero into a one!"