Shipping Nico x Maki so hard!

Love Live! S2 ended like it began – singing, dancing, smiling, and hamming it up like nobody’s business. But I finished the series smiling, so I think it did its job.

Sports Idoling

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out why I enjoy Love Live! despite not liking idols or idol anime. Here’s what I think it is: This isn’t an idol anime. Not like THE IDOLM@STER, at least. Other idol shows seem to focus more on the industry of professional idoling, which holds no interest to me. But Love Live! is basically a sports anime where the sport is idoling. It combines the amateurs-striving-for-greatness feel of a sports anime with kawaii girls singing and dancing, and that’s proven to be a winning formula. From training arcs to heart-pounding competitions, it’s a sports anime at its base.

Disney Magic – Hamming It Up 100%!

In my introduction of the first episode I mentioned that it had a very Disney feeling to it, and that continued through the season. Most of the meaningful drama was sacrificed in favor of over-the-top ham, cheap platitudes and feel-good moments (Ex: getting rid of the μ’s name when that’s a terrible idea). There was very little character drama, with the only moments that really made the heart pound being the ones right before their big competitions. Which is a shame, because the character drama in the first season enhanced the story. Here it felt too buddy-buddy, and while the girls didn’t have to be sniping at each other all the time – their unshakable friendship was nice to see – when drama is replaced with no drama, the series ends up feeling emptier.

Stretching It Out

Unlike the first season, where it seemed like they had a lot of story to tell, this season felt like it had a good six episodes of material stretched out into thirteen. Much of the season was unabashed fluff, which is both good and bad. As a fuwa-fuwa Disney magic sort of show, seeing all the girls goof around as friends was enjoyable to see. It’s just that they were goofing around so much that many episodes felt like 80% fluff, and now I don’t remember what happened in any of them. I remember the strong arc of the first season clearly, but this season had a vast fluffy middle area where I honestly have already forgotten most of what went on. The story also seemed more self-indulgent, more inclined to navel gaze (trope!) while the characters all talked about how wonderful being an idol is rather than doing anything substantial. Slice-of-life anime can afford to leave behind little more than vague warm feelings, but I feel like Love Live! was better when it aspired to more.

Snow Halation

I’ve leveled some criticisms at the second season, but in truth it’s not bad. The reasons why it underperformed the first season are a little tricky, which is why I wanted to explain them. Episode-by-episode though, it was one of the series I always kept up with (that’s rare for me), and I consistently enjoyed each episode. Friendship is huge in Love Live!, and that drew me to it each week more than anything else. I think we lonely humans not-so-secretly wish for a group of friends as close as μ’s, and the ideal way they were portrayed never failed to give me the warm fuzzies. Bonus points: Snow Halation (their winning preliminary song, in episode nine) is probably my favorite μ’s performance of either season. That, plus improved CG making all of the performances look better, made each episode fun to watch…even if I wonder how well they’ll endure in the mind.

μ’s Music End

In the end, Love Live! has been selling like hotcakes and a movie has already been announced, so the story will continue. A respectable sports anime with cute dance sequences, peppy J-Pop, and plenty of the power of friendship…yeah, that’s not a bad way to spend a few hours. Until we meet again, school-idols-formerly-known-as-μ’s. Make everyone’s dream come true!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the novel I’m writing at The last four posts: Book update: Off to see the editor, The gap, Turning off comments, and Connection.

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  1. As much as I loved Love Live, season 2 had the worst episode of any anime I’ve ever seen. They made a whole episode about Honoka being fat and didn’t even draw her to have more weight on her. It was a poorly thought out episode. At least when Aikatsu did it, they showed Ichigo to have actually put on weight.

    Other than that, I enjoyed this season. It was very pretty towards the end, and emotional. Just that one episode ruined it for me. (:

    1. If that was the worst episode you’ve ever seen, you need to watch more anime. That didn’t even crack my Top 100, though it didn’t win any points by perpetuating unhealthy and unsuccessful dieting techniques.

      1. Hahaha, not quite. XD I just think this was an episode that sent a very VERY poor message to girls which, because of the animation, made me think “Thin isn’t thin enough”, hence why my opinion stands.

      2. To be perfectly fair, most of the time when someone gets just a little overweight, it doesn’t really show. 5-10 lbs can give you a bit of a belly, but that’s easily camouflaged. You have to get more overweight than that for it to really show all over.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed the Snow Halation performance, I wonder how much of the budget was allocated to it.

    As for the series itself, it did what it should, its a light, fluffy show that makes you feel happy and urges the audience to buy the merchandise. I will now go and play the app game and hopefully resist the temptation to spend money on it.

  3. Thoughts: Honestly I can’t say that I enjoy S2 of Love Live more than the first. S2 is just WAY to random for me. A couple episodes are almost entirely dedicated to something stupid that gets solved by either “friendship” or “realizing that the answer was in front of us all along”.
    A good example of this is that accursed “what should we wear?” episode (shivers).

    It feels like the show didn’t really have a sense of direction. It’s almost turned into a “concert of the week” format with maybe a character getting development happens but the fact that they stuff it ALL into one episode really cheapens the characterization. The episode that focused on Rin really made me upset with the group. They constantly pushed her to be the leader of the group when she was obviously uncomfortable with it. And despite her objections they never tried to understand how she felt which made them really come off as jerks. However like I said because of “FRIENDSHIP” they are able to spring the fact she was going to end up being the leader anyway (even though they didn’t practice it that way) and it still worked out. Needless to really ruined the episode for me.

    I liked the process of building up the group for a noble cause in the first season much better. Everything clearly flowed together and things went a nice/realistic pace. Now it’s just episode after episode that have almost nothing to do with each other. It’s quite a let down for me.

    Furthermore…………………oh who am i kidding I still unconditionally love this series regardless!
    Every episode has a heart warming conclusion, I just love all the characters involved and the build up to the seniors graduation made my heart quiver in agony. I don’t why but anime graduations have some the strongest impacts on me. They are usually the most painful parts of any slice of life school anime (Sakurasou’s still makes me sad inside…..) but I love seeing them happen. You really get to see what the characters are made of and it really makes you dread possibly not seeing them again. Considering how horrible the endings of a lot of shows has been so far this is the easily the best one and I too left with a big silly grin on my face =).

    I’m actually shocked at how well the series is selling too.
    I believe it sold 82,515 copies officially breaking the record for Best TV anime sales for all blueray discs in japan. Of course they put a bunch of goodies in the the enclosure which no doubt boosted the outcome but that’s still a crazy accomplishment.

    1. On the graduation thing, pardon me while I once again quote Kurt Vonnegut:

      6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

      Compared to what happens in many other shows you can hardly call a graduation sadistic. But there’s an undeniable air of not-wanting-to-do-it/see-it-happen from the writer and readers alike, so you’ve got to do it anyway to make the story better.

      Besides, it’s always better to have a purposeful ending rather than see a story continue on forever until it become irrelevant and hated.

      1. Yes, but this whole graduation thing made me think, at one point, that the whole franchise was going to end (not that it was really going to since it’s selling like no tomorrow). I wonder how they would continue the ‘story’ for the real group seeing that some of the character bios are now outdated if the anime is followed.

      2. You spam that quote alot 😛
        Not that i blame you because it’s an awesome quote! :I

        I wouldn’t want something like Love Live! to continue forever because with this season as an example it’s pretty apparent that the quality would diminish pretty fast. Still a part of me wishes it didn’t because although not the best with it’s flaws it’s still a fun show that brightens your day.

  4. There’s a lot that I liked this season, put in spoilers just in case:

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Personally speaking too I’m still not a fan the mixing of CG with hand-drawn animation in Love Live’s performances. If the iDOLM@STER anime can manage hand-drawn animation throughout a performance, they could do the same here.

    1. Yes, but doing the entire show with traditional animation would have been more expensive, and that would eat into their profits. Not that there aren’t plenty of profits to go around from this series.

      1. So true. I guess I was thinking along the lines that Sunrise is just as big as Namco Bandai, and therefore would have a budget to afford complete traditional animation. That’s just my assumption since Sunrise, Inc. has a lot of big name anime under it, notably Gundam. I forgot there’s still profits to think about.

  5. Still enjoyed it overall.

    I’d probably say the Snow Halation episode itself was one of the more problematic with the way they REALLY over-dramatized the whole thing with the snowstorm and whatnot. It just felt really unnecessary.

    1. Also, as far as I remember, I would’ve thought that the songs would come out in chronological order as the real song releases. Seeing that they had several new songs underway in the first few episodes already, I would’ve expected a new song as well rather than snowhalation.

    2. The Snow Halation episode was pretty meh, except for the Snow Halation performance itself. That was another symptom of the six-episodes-stretched-into-thirteen factor.

  6. I’ll always remember that one episode when it was discovered that Maki still believes in Santa. That was one of most funniest moments when I watched the second season.

  7. Overall, really enjoyed it!
    Yes, yes the thing with “Snow halation” being Well,I didn’t mind because this was one of my favorite songs and was glad it was included in the 2nd season.

    I love second season’s ending theme <3 Such a energetic song!!Really matches the anime.

  8. I actually enjoyed the entire Love Live series.

    It may not be comparable to The Idolm@ster but still, it’s an enjoyable ride.

    Comparing Snow Halation to Private WRS, I prefer the latter.

    Anyway, the way Stilts-nee chan puts it “But Love Live! is basically a sports anime where the sport is idoling,” than GuP is also a sports anime where Panzerfahren is sports.

    Can’t wait for the battle against Anzio

    1. You’re absolutely right. Garupan functions more like a sports anime than anything else. Training, exhibition matches, a big tournament…the arc is all sports even if each match is a battle.

  9. (I have no intention of offending anyone with my thoughts.)

    Didn’t quite like the drama in S1 because it was like a failed plot device for me as the characters (Honoka in particular) were so obviously puppets for the writers. Show Spoiler ▼

    Are they perhaps implying that we should wait for others to lead us in making big life decisions? It got me quite riled up. Or maybe I’m taking this too seriously. But that was rubbish at its best.

    And Umi not wanting to wear the idol uniform at first because it was short, when her school skirt is the same length. I find this to be a very lousy way of saying, “Hey look, Umi is a very modest character”. It would make sense if she wears a longer school skirt, but that wouldn’t make a lot of fanboys happy would it?

    Basically, my beef with the 1st Season was the horrible writing.

    1. On your spoiler:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      And yes, season 1 had some forced drama to be sure, but contrasting that to NO drama felt so…impermanent to me. To each his or her own though.

  10. You know, after much thinking, yeah it does feel like a sports anime.
    Enjoyed the series, especially since I wasn’t looking for anything particularly heavy at that time. Heck, I picked this series up during S2Ep9 already lol. I guess it’s whimsical feel with a dash of sports (lol) is really part of the charm.

    Now the question is, how are they gonna milk this even more (aside from the movie) now that the series has ended. ^^

  11. LL S2 was great…one laid back anime for me. I did personally enjoyed the funny dramas and all (though most of my attentions was on Eri btw). Gonna miss it soon especially Eri, my forever Seitoukaichou XDDD

    Jaa, looking forward for the movie release. Thank you for all the gags and dramas and yuri moments girls~ Was hoping to flood my room with the graduation scene, but too bad…happy ending it is. 🙂

    onion warrior
  12. “Shipping Nico x Maki so hard!”

    I think they already started taking advantage of that one with Music S.T.A.R.T. though there were a lot more moments in S2 than S1.
    OT: Also more Umi.

  13. I haven’t really watched too many idol series. Only this one and Idolmaster. But what I’ve always liked about Love Live is that you can tell how much passion the director and all the staff have for this show. Honoka breaking out in musical numbers, for example, always makes me laugh. Love Live is a fun, innocent and cute show. I’m sad to see it go, but at least we have a movie to look forward to.

    Nozomi best girl.

  14. I just went in for the lulz, frankly to ridicule each and every moment of the anime. I got my wish but i also got more than that.

    Going through all 26 episode in two days, it is safe to say that the story is quite ridiculous, the CG is just horrible, some of the voice acting is ear-bleedingly “moe” (example Kotori) and most of the songs are forgettable, but dammit, I’d be lying if I say I was not entertain. I became attached to them. I was emotionally invested to these fictional idols. I wanted MOAR. And every step of the way, every scene, I kept smilling like a wierdo.

    I kinda wish the movie continues the story rather than try to tell some ‘in betweener” story. I would really want to know more of what happen after the graduation. But, I seriously doubt they risk doing that.

  15. Finally got round to watching it and I have to say that the thing that blew me out of the water was the fact that the Season 1 opening performance was the encore to the Love Live! Now, that’s foresight and I haven’t seen an anime that did something that clever in a long, long time.

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