It's literally Love Live but better.
If you've seen Love Live before it's very clear where Action Heroine Cheer Fruits takes its inspiration from. They both have 9 main cast members and the whole concept of how the Cheer Fruits rank up and build a more local brand is directly copied from Love Live. While that does make it have a lot of Love Live's pluses and faults, what Action Heroine Cheer Fruits is able to do is add to it with its own unique charm and ideas.
First, the foremost interesting point about Action Heroine Cheer Fruits is its subject matter. Rather than be the thousandth iteration of an idol anime it focuses on something else entirely, that being super sentai like units. The unique premise itself is something I enjoy to see and personally, I enjoy it when shows are able to showcase more uncommon ideas and themes. It's not just that it covers local heroines but it's able to portray them well and show some of the perks of that role. It's heartwarming to see them act for the kids and it's great to see the impact that a unit of local heroines has on the community. The effect of local performers like these have on their communities is not often focused on, so it was nice to see a show that is able to express that and show the power it can have on a community.
Furthermore, the way that they made their performances were also a joy to see. Considering these local unit performances are designed to do live on stage in front of a small selection of people it makes sense that they don't have the highest production values behind them. And it shows, not only in the weak production values of the show but how they get by that in their performances. They use ingenuity to make their performances impactful, using whatever things that they manufacture together to make the great performance that they want to do. Using things such as cranes and planning along with local events and timetables in order to provide the best performances they can. The way that they not only perform for the locals but manage to so effectively include the local events and culture into their performances is what makes their message of locality shine so much. They truly feel like a local unit through and through.
The characters suffer from the same problems that the character's from Love Live do. While the ideas behind the characters are interesting, like they are in Love Live, the sheer amount of them makes it hard to go into depth into them. While they do at least get an episode that they are able to have the spotlight, the spotlight has to be shared with the general plot and the performances. With 9 characters to balance between the only time, a character can really get focus is in their episodes. This leads to more flat feeling characters and ones that despite having their own charms are harder to really love in the same way that one can if they were given more time. Despite each character having very good moments and making a good impact in their episode, the lack of full focus keeps them from having the true power that strong characters can have.
The animation can be somewhat lackluster at times and considering that a good portion of the show is movement based this is a bit of a problem. Moments that could have been made much stronger with better animation are weakened by the low quality. The performances themselves had a lot to gain by having better quality. While on one hand, it does weaken the show on another it can be endearing. Because the show is so local based and is so unpolished it does reflect the nature of the town and the atmosphere that they have. While personally, I think it goes too low quality for some of its moments the general idea and reflection of itself is quite nice.
Another strong point of the show is the whimsical traits of the world. One of my favorite facts is that one of the girls lives in a train car out by the station. It's such a cool house and she even has a miniature train that goes around on the top of her room. It's not that important of a point, most of these whimsical traits aren't, but they're something I do love to see.
While Love Live is polished, pretty, and bombastic, Action Heroine Cheer Fruits is muted, homely, and local. While the two shows are dealing with a lot of the same subject matter and material the implementation between the two varies completely. And that's what makes Action Heroine Cheer Fruits much more than just a copycat. Even though its ideas are straight from Love Live, and even though some of its copies are done unnecessarily and make it too like the original, the overall feel and result of the two shows are quite different. And they both have their worth. Even though I like this more than Love Live I can understand why someone would like Love Live more. It has its own charms and while I personally really enjoy the atmosphere and message of Action Heroine Cheer Fruits it's not like Love Live is devoid of that, it just doesn't resonate with me as well. The only big quality difference between the two is that Action Heroine Cheer Fruits keeps it's forced drama to a minimum while Love Live loves to roll around in it like it was a pig in the mud. But for what could have been just a shameless copycat it has a lot of power and charm to it, making it a worthwhile show of its own.