Trashy Pandas Love Live! School Idol Project Review May 22, 2014
*THIS ONLY CONTAINS THE FIRST SEASON I WILL EVENTUALLY GET AROUND TO WRITING THE REVIEW FOR THE ENTIRE SERIES BUT SCHOOL IS TAKING UP ALL OF MY TIME*
“Datte kanosei kanjitanda. Sou da susume. Kokai shitaku nai me no mae ni bokura no michi ga aru.”
“I feel we have a chance. Yes let's push forward. I don't want to regret it later. Our future lies right ahead.” from the song Susume by Muse.
Hope. Desires. Goals. Perseverance. Friendship. Love. Music. The girls of the school idol group Muse share all of these wonderful things as they give it their all to be a part of the most popular event for high school idol groups: Love Live. The nine girls strive to save their school from closing by trying to attract perspective students through the formation of a school idol group that, they hope, will one day be a part of Love Live. Honoka Kousaka leads her group of eight other cute, talented high school friends towards Love Live. The anime Love Live! School Idol Project has become my #1 favorite anime because of the wonderful, loveable, and memorable characters, the outstanding animation style, and, most importantly, the best, most addictive, and energetic soundtrack, which all culminate into one amazing story of friendship, love, hope, and music.
The plot for Love Live! Is very straight forward, easy to follow, and enjoyable. The story goes as anyone would expect after watching the first episode: the main character and her friends work to save their school from closing by trying to attract new students by gaining popularity through the formation of a school idol group which becomes known as “Muse”. This formula is followed for most of the story, however there are several complications that are not expected and some twists. I'm not going to spoil it, even though this is a review. While being not very complex, the plot forms a solid foundation for the anime, is consistently present, and keeps the story progressing. There is not much else to say without spoiling the twists and turns. The plot fits well and proves fairly interesting.
There are no “official” romances in Love Live!, however, there are subtle and clear hints at possible relationships that could be. My favorite of the possible romances is Honoka x Maki. Honoka is the energetic, lively leader of Muse while Maki is very level-headed and reserved. I love the contrast that would make their relationship work like a charm. Other than this, there are no relationships to expand on, you just get enjoyment from shipping the girls together.
The main theme of Love Live! Is never give up despite how impossible the road ahead may seem and always remember that your friends are there with you every step of the way. Friends are there to stick with you through thick and thin, good and bad weather, shit storms and double rainbows. Also, be aware of your friends and their feelings. Another key part of the theme is to never give up on your dreams. No matter how many setbacks and roadblocks are in the way, the prize at the end of the road is worth the experiences that are encompassed by the journey. The theme is not much more complex than this.
IV Animation and Art Style
The animation for Love Live! Is mind-blowingly amazing. For the most part, the animation and art is in 2D, but when the girls put on their performances, the animation switches over to 3D character models for exciting, energetic dance routines. Starting with the 2D aspect, the girls have extremely cute, distinguishing physical appearances. I love the designs for the girls' eyes; the eyes are realistically proportioned and detailed. The girls' bodies are realistic and resemble what actual high school girls would look like, i.e. they don't have obnoxiously large breasts and overly exaggerated sexual features except Nozomi, who has large breasts but not to the point that it's the only thing the viewer cares about or notices. I love that the girls aren't sexualized like in a lot of anime such as Sekirei or High School DxD; I feel the anime would have been totally different if that were the case. As for the surroundings and environment, it's pretty standard. NOW, for the 3D animation. Wow, wow, this hits it out of the ballpark: 3D song and dance routines that will make you sit in awe while watching these amazingly cute girls have the time of their lives. I wish that there were a lot more of these, but I highly doubt the animation budget could have incorporated them. Still, I digress, the 3D animation makes a massive impact on the viewers and is just spectacular.
The characters in Love Live! Are some of my favorite characters of all time because of how unique, well designed, and beautiful they are. Honoka Kousaka, the protagonist, is an extremely lively, spontaneous, and strong willed girl who will do anything to achieve her dreams. Honoka forms Muse with her friends, Umi and Kotori before reaching out to get more girls to help with reaching their goal. Honoka is so lovable; she is so determined to do everything she can to keep her school from being closed down. There isn't anything bad to say about her. Umi Sonoda, one of Honoka's best friends from childhood, is a very calm, sensible, and serious girl who does archery at the high school while being a part of Muse. Umi is very talented with poetry and has superb writing skills; she writes mostly all of the lyrics for Muse's songs. Umi is just as determined as Honoka, but a lot more forceful when it comes to accomplishing things. She is a very lovable and is attractive in as a strong female character. Kotori Minami, who is my favorite character and my #1 waifu, is probably THE most adorable character I've ever seen. I love her hairstyle; it's a champagne blonde color, sort of more ash colored (I don't know how to adequately describe the various shades of hair color). The way she wears it is straight down in the back with a shoulder length pony tail that is combined into a folding thing. I don't know how to describe it, but it's absolutely adorable (look it up on google images). Kotori is a very shy girl who loves her friends, and the members of Muse, more than anything. The other members of Muse are Eri Ayase, Nico Yazawa, Nozomi Tojo, Maki Nishikino, Hanayo Koizumi, and Rin Hoshizora. Eri is the leader of the high school's student council; she was apposed to the idea of Muse, but ended up joining and loving the experience. Eri is very kind, hardworking, earnest, and the best dancer in Muse. Nico Yazawa was the head of the School Idol Research Club at the school, who had previously been a part of the school's former idol group. She is extremely passionate about the group's success and wants more than anything for Muse to be a part of Love Live. She is a very tsundere-esque character but has a very sweet side that makes up for the annoying side. Nozomi Tojo is the manipulative student council vice president who indirectly helps Honoka form Muse. Nozomi also gives Muse it's name. Nozomi is very rational and the most caring member of the group; she sees deep into the other characters' feelings and does whatever she can to help them out. But she loves boobs, a lot... she grabs the other characters' breasts all the time. Maki, is the beautiful girl with dark red hair whose musical talent exceeds anything that I could ever hope to do. She is an amazing composer and does most of the work to set Umi's lyrics to a dynamic, lively tune. Similar to Umi, she is very reserved and has a lot of trouble being open with the other girls of Muse. Maki is a genius whose family wants her to become a medical doctor and inherit the family's hospital. Hanayo Koizumi is one of the three first years who is Muse's biggest fan before she joins the group. She is the most shy girl of them all who share's Nico's obsession with school idols and Love Live. Hanayo has a very kind heart, but I don't think she has a whole lot of depth from what I remember. Rin Hoshizora is the last first year and Hanayo's best friend from their childhood. Rin has the same liveliness as Honoka and has that cat-like cuteness that some anime characters have: the cute cat smile, high pitched and playful voice. Again she doesn't have a ton of depth but I still love her character as much as all of the others'.
The soundtrack for Love Live! Is just... I... I don't have a large enough, or refined enough vocabulary to do the music justice. Spirited, lively, energetic, peppy, bubbly, and beautiful is the best way for me to explain the music. I'm not a musical expert, I play bass guitar a little bit, and I love the music. The girls have the most gorgeous, beautiful, resonant voices that I've ever heard and I can't get enough of hearing all nine of these adorable girls sing. Each song is so full of energy that I want to start dancing with them, even though I'm a guy. On another note, I mainly listen to heavy metal, thrash metal, metalcore, hard rock, and classic rock but I love Muse's songs just as much as I love AC/DC, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Avenged Sevenfold, and Disturbed. If that doesn't say something about how amazing these girls are, then I don't know what does. The lyrics aren't as shallow as I thought they would be. The lyrics aren't very deep at the same time, but it's not easy to have deep lyrics for a peppy school idol group and keep the songs and performance entertaining and lively, now is it. I regret my lack of musical expertise and knowledge of musical jargon; I can't give Muse's musical talent the justice it deserves, so please go and check out the songs available on YouTube or watch the anime yourself so you can experience this amazing work of art.
I give Love Live! School Idol Project an 11/10 for its beyond outstanding ability to spread cheerfulness, the amazing and lovable characters, the jaw dropping animation sequences and the spectacular music. Love Live! Receives the Pandas Seal of Approval, a gold medal, and the #1 spot on my top ten favorite anime list. I would highly recommend this to anyone, of any age, because of how open it is to everyone. The second season is currently airing and episode 8 is scheduled to be released within the upcoming week.