Anime Review: Love Live! School Idol Project

Year: 2013
Length: 13 Episodes
Genre: Idols, School Life, Comedy

Story: 6.5/10 & Characters: 7/10
In short, the story is about 9 girls, who one after another, find their way into a girl idol group that is created for the sole purpose of getting enough students interesting in their school, in order to not have it shut down. However, on their way to reach this goal, they enter a certain event called “Love Live”, which works like a tournament to find the best school idol group in the country.

As it seems, this kind of idol culture is really taking over in Japan. I haven’t seen many of the numerous idol anime that have been popping up lately, so Love Live! is one of the first ones for me, and it will probably also be my last. Despite the fact that my last statement might sound quite negative, I can assure you that I still enjoyed Love Live!. Not for the idol anime this is meant to be, but for a fun show with good characters. I know, like 50% of this show is the girls dancing, singing, or improving their skills as idols in any kind of way, and while I don’t like seeing them actually performing, I love the rest.

The group of girls is just fun to watch, even though I do often forget about some of the members. Honoka, Umi, and Kotori, who are like the main group, have the most screen time, while other characters like Rin or Hanayo tend to be forgotten. Other characters like Maki and Nico only stand out because they are either totally annoying, such as Nico, or because they are somehow a little more important to the group than others, like Maki. Then there’s also Eri and Nozomi, who in my eyes didn’t get enough screen time at all, but that’s just my personal preference, because these two are my favorite characters.

love live characters
click to enlarge

I guess you can say that despite their individual talents, all of the different characters work really well together. Still, I’m not happy with the distribution of roles. One character composes the songs, another one writes the lyrics, and then there’s also one who makes the costumes. These should be the three most important characters, yet Honoka, who can’t do anything except for being annoying, is the main character and has the most screen time. Ah well, I guess it’s hard to give 9 characters an equal amount of screen time, so it’s not as bad as I make it sound. Also, Honoka is still nothing compared to Nico when it comes to being annoying. I was sometimes really on the brink of stopping the episode, just because of Nico and her annoying catchphrase “Nico Nico Nii”.

Honestly, this was not cute at all, but really annoying instead. Last but not least, I’d also like to mention that I was positively surprised by the ending of this anime. Shows like this usually end with the band achieving their biggest goal, but despite the fact that they managed to get enough people interested in their school, they didn’t even manage to participate in the Love Live event, which was really surprising. But as I said, it’s a positive surprise. Also, since the second season is currently airing, they have enough time to catch up on that now.

Music: 8/10
Well, Love Live! is an anime about idols and music, so we get a loooot of different songs, and despite the fact that I’m quite fascinated with the way they made so many catchy songs for this show, I still can’t say that I liked them. I do love Japanese music, but just not this kind. Nevertheless, this rating needs to be as high as it is, simply because I’m quite sure the soundtrack will appeal to a lot other people.

Animation: 7.5/10
While the animation was really good for the most part, I absolutely hated the animation during their performances. It’s like a mix between the animation style that they use throughout the rest of the show and the animation style that is used for stuff like Vocaloid music videos. It’s really weird seeing both animation styles mixed up like that, especially since the latter makes the whole thing look so… shitty. I’m sorry for using that word, but it’s really irritating. See for yourself:

Yuri: 3/10
I yet again decided to watch this specific anime because of all the great yuri doujinshi that are available about the characters. NicoxMaki is probably the most famous pairing, closely followed by ErixNozomi, but there are other, smaller, pairings such as UmixKotori or UmixEri around as well.

Just like with Pretty Cure, the anime doesn’t really have any yuri at all, yet so many people decide to write about them. That makes you think that something just has to be going on between the characters. But nope, it’s not, at least not in the first season. Well, I almost forgot. There is some breast groping going on, but that’s about it.

love live eri nozomi nozoeli
ErixNozomi by Waterfall

Total Enjoyment: 6/10
Finally, I can say that I don’t like the idol aspect of this anime that much, but that’s obviously the main theme of the show. Then again, I really enjoyed most of the characters, even though some of them were really annoying. I guess in some cases, the really great characters make up for the really annoying ones, and apparently, they also helped me like the idol aspect a little more.

Well, maybe I’m just not a fan of this genre, so you might disagree with my rating, but I just can’t help it, this whole idol thing is just not my cup of tea. Still, I’m going to watch the second season, maybe it will be better.

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24 thoughts on “Anime Review: Love Live! School Idol Project

  1. If season 2 doesn't work for you, then Wake Up Girls is another idol anime that's more about characters and idols, than songs and performances. The yuri factor is even less, but I thought it had a better story overall. There's still the problem of having enough time for every character, but it's got 7 idols, and a producer (who's useless) and a manager. The main drawback is the rival idol production company is way over the top in how they're being portrayed, which really contrasts with the more realistic and down to earth view of the Wake Up Girls unit (that being the main characters).

    Also, you're going to need to watch the movie before the actual series. A warning for the first couple of episodes that it's showing the sleazier side of the entertainment industry, so you can expect some “fanservice”, but it was so uncomfortable to watch for me, that it didn't feel like anything of the sort.

    Probably the most story-oriented idol anime I've seen yet.

    I really love Love Live, but I also really enjoyed the songs, and don't get bugged by 3DCG. There's still going to be that in the second season, but it's less than the first season.

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  2. I think if season 2 doesn't work for me, then I'll probably just stay away from this genre, especially if there isn't even any yuri going on.
    But surprisingly I'm enjoying season 2 far more than I did season 1, so there's hope.

    Still, I really enjoyed K-on, but I'm not sure whether you can call this an actual idol anime.

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  3. I wouldn't call K-ON an idol anime, simply because they were only a band, and weren't trying to become famous or represent the school in any way. This show on the other hand is… very interesting. I watched exactly for the same reason, and was trying to see why NicoXMaki was so famous, but it's obvious it's just because; 1-their personalities fit (must I say it…Tsundere), 2- I guess they're the most popular, I wouldn't know. 3- They're the cutest (I would agree). I'm not a fan of the main character, she's extremly annoying to me, maybe if Umi took that role… Spin-off?

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  4. Yeah, K-On really does give off a different feeling, maybe it's because they are a “real” band and not idols in that sense.

    And you're right, Niko and Maki go well together, even though they have quite…difficult personalities 😛

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  5. I forgot to mention that awkward looking 3D, and how “awkward” it looked. I noticed it immediately on the opening of the first episode (which is weird because it contains spoilers showing everyone who joins before they do).

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  6. Oh yes, Honoka and Nico being annoying, that's the way it is xD “Nico Nico Nii” is really not cute, but sometimes even so ridiculous that it's funny again 😛 sorry, I meant funny in a ridiculous way…
    Also concerning to the ending, I think it's all for the purpose to get a second season (which they also even did!). Would be too unrealistic if they'd have already won the competition, from nowhere to a famous idol group. Ok, actually, the whole series is unrealistic, but this would be even more unrealistic.
    As for the music, I totally agree with you. (ehem, surprise! :P) This kind of J-pop is mainly focusing on the lyrics which we do not understand very well or at least, we do not care about the lyrics that much as Native speakers. I also am ignoring most of the translated lines because then I'd have to look on them, but if I would do that, I wouldn't pay attention to the dance. Oh yes! The best looking animation you've ever seen in the whole woooorld!! It's so good that I've even skipped this part most of the time, or I went to search for snacks and use my time better. It really looks cheap in comparison to other animation programs. I even think MMD looks better if it comes to dance animation. Oh, back to the topic, the music, right :3 eh, well, to be honest, in the second season I somehow like A-Rise due to their Electronic music 😛 (lol) but ok, µ‘s songs might be liked by most people since it's J-pop, you're right 😉

    Finally, I didn't expect Yuri at all, so it wasn't such a disappointment when I finished the series. And since it wasn't my first idol anime, I was already metally prepared for the idol plot/thing. Also, if you don't like the idol genre, I would discourage you to ever watch something from the ganbatte genre. This is even more extreme, I'm not exaggerating 😉

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  7. Exactly! A-Rise's music was way better than µ‘s songs, but why am I even surprised by this 😛

    I never really managed to get myself to just skip their performances. I can skip the op and end themes, but I'm always afraid I might miss a little yuri hug or kiss, but no… it never happens and instead I have to sit through this awkward change of animation styles and this overly enthusiastic J-Pop music that I could also live without.

    And what is that mysterious ganbatte genre? Now you got me interested 😀

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  8. I first thought they just did it for one song since maybe their animation budget was low for that episode, but then it kept happening and I was just wondering why they'd still go with it, even in the second season…
    Also the cover of the anime pretty much showed all 9 members already, so I guess it was clear from the beginning

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  9. Ahhhh, that's more like it. My opinion of you has been restored after this review. for a minute there I thought someone had hacked your account.

    I mean you loving Love Live is unbelievable. You finding it okay makes more sense.

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  10. Oh! Meaning that the similarity of our tastes rise from 96% to 97% 😉
    I really hope to get more A-Rise songs in the second season^^

    Lol, I somehow knew that the performances are just performances with ugly dance animations and well, songs I don't like, so it was the best way to skip them 😛 Have to laugh at you though, it's really funny to imagine you sitting in front of your laptop [Alic-] and eagerly waiting for some change, but then got totally disappointed each time xD

    Oh no, my warning was counterproductive? D: Well, Ganbatte, as the genre already says is about someone who wants to achieve her/his dreams, like, from a common teenager to a superstar. I've watched a series about circuses and I had to force myself to watch it till the end 😛

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  11. Our similarity once was at 98%. What happened to that 1%? 😦
    Ah right, you told me you like Ravers Nest… 😛

    I didn't just sit in front of my laptop and waited for it, I also occasionally rolled my eyes and sighed 😀

    Ganbatte doesn't sound so bad, does it? Does this mean, that stuff like Pokemon is ganbatte too? 😛 I mean Ash wants to be the Pokemon master, but I guess he still hasn't made it…

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  12. Oh no! I don't like Ravers nest, just a feeeeew songs of it 😛 But it's obviously because you don't like Dream³, that's why our similarity went down :P!

    And lol, that sounds even funnier 😛 Why didn't you look for snacks in the meantime? You know, food solves every problem :3

    Uhh…I don't think Pokemon is Ganbatte. I think should mainly be about music (e.g. superstars), circus or sports (e.g. football teams), and most of the time it's about this topic. I've already watched Ro-Kyu-Buu! and Kaleido Star which belongs to this genre, I think there might be more which I've watched, but I can't remember anymore. And no! Don't watch them if you haven't, really! Ro-Kyu-Buu! even has a male harem and lolis, lots of lolis, yep 😛 (and it's about basketball)

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  13. It's not only Dream³, it's also ふわり日和… How can you like this?! 😛

    Of course you would say that, you food addict! But You might be right, maybe I'll just eat a jar of Nutella next time I'll have to watch this, but wait, then Love Live will make me fat… not a good idea 😛

    Oh god no, a harem and lots of lolis? Sounds like a bad combination, so this time I might actually listen to you hehe

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  14. I strongly disagree.
    For me, Hanako is my favorite. She's so bubbly and kawaii, that I fell in love with her personality.
    Also, I love the singing and dancing, it's a big part of why I watch it.
    It is realistic. It's about friends rather than relationships.
    The whole reason they didn't do to the Love Live in season one is because Hanako got sick.
    I just can't get into K-on as much as Love Live: School Idol Project because it was too boring.
    Love Live made me cry. I like Muse's music better than A-Rise too. A-Rise is too mature.
    If you don't like Love Live, don't watch it.
    Don't bash it either, because it's my favorite anime; and I've seen a lot of anime.

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  15. I'm already sorry for what I'm about to do, but you're really making it too easy for me.
    So first of all, if you love this show and this character so much, then please at least get the name right. It's not Hanako, it's Honoka.

    Also, are you saying that people should only write reviews about the shows they loved?
    It's strange, most people read reviews to find out whether the show is worthy to watch.
    So the more reviews and the more different opinions, the better.
    I don't think I should sugarcoat my own opinion just because some other people might disagree with it, because that's not what writing a review should be all about.

    Also, I never said I hated the show, I actually enjoyed it and just don't like the idol aspect of it.

    I'm sorry for the tittle rant, I know you probably didn't mean it that way, it just makes me a little angry to see people trying to tell others to keep their own opinion to themselves, simply because they don't agree with it.

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  16. A-Rise's music are K-pop, did you find?
    Oh, I did enjoy this anime, and μ's. Yup, it is annoying sometimes, but that doesn't matter. The music is the core. There are over than 16 CDs and 4 lives (in the real world) of μ's. I like it also because it's quite healing. Just a little surprised you don't enjoy this anime.

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  17. Not exactly K-Pop, but it comes closer to it than μ's music.
    Oh, I'm about to write my review for the second season and I can already say that the ratings will probably be a lot better.
    Also, I watched a live show of the seiyuus yesterday and it was quite nice, still not my thing though 😛

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  18. Let's be honest here guys…
    If that is not the gayiest idol group ever created, than I'm not even a human being.
    Not saying this to be offensive, okay? Okay
    Seryously, if those girls doesn't have feeling for each other, then all we know about romantic relationships is wrong

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  19. I can’t choose only one of them. All were so fantastic!. This was my first idols anime so yeah they have a special place in my frozen heart.
    Nozomi & Eri is one of the best couples in yuri history.

    Liked by 1 person

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