Love Live! School Idol Project (1st and 2nd Season Review)

Apparently, poppy young girls called “idols” dominate urban culture regions of Japan. This bright form of vocal art is definitely hit or miss by most. I’m only glad that Love Live! could be my first segue into this genre of anime, and not some generic idol series instead. For others new to spunky idols, here’s Love Live!, a true story of struggle and determination.

Honoka dives into her second glorious year at Otonokizaka High School with overwhelming passion only to find out that if the school doesn’t receive enough transfer students the following year, then it will close down forever. In an effort to save her beloved school, Honoka starts an idol group, which are currently popular, with her best friends Umi and Kotori to attract new students.

As the hardships stack up, μ’s (pronounced “Muse”) recruits six new members including three first-years and three third-years. Pouring all of their hard work, time, and love into their music, the girls pursue the “Love Live,” the top-dog high school idol contest in the region! But will their combined efforts be enough to save their blossoming high school life?

In terms of plot execution, this anime is a bit rigid. A lot of the characters have individual qualms that conflict with the idol competitions, for instance: studying abroad, future professions, failing grades, and other talents besides singing and dancing. And while I’m glad that these characters have realistic conflicts of their own, the show never bothers to touch up on some of these issues, some development even being dropped as “the show must go on” with all nine members intact (end of first season specifically). Don’t get me wrong, I love happy endings, but had some of these characters gone their own ways, then the show could have been more gripping, tear-jerking, and even relatable.

But where the show falters, the characters easily fill in the holes as the show’s richest feature. Each and every one of the girls are overly loveable, memorable, unique and just plain cute! Their constant teasing yet support of each other adds to the overall enjoyment and sense of reality that the show carries. Additionally, each of the characters, including the rival members of “A-RISE,” have some sort of back story and/or standout characteristic that adds a whole new level of depth to them. I’ve never seen a cast of girls so likable and so well-developed like they are in Love Live!

Honoka is seriously the most bubbly, loveable, natural-born leader character ever! Obviously being the main character, she undergoes the most development. You can definitely tell a difference before and after the two seasons. Her charisma and perseverance is nearly unmatched – well, until the rest of the girls step in to cheer Honoka up when she’s discouraged!

Two other characters in particular stuck out to me, which are the third-year student council members Eli and Nozomi. Eli embodies the student council attitude with her over-concerning will to protect the school. Of all the girls, she sets the standard for maturity and true talent (besides Maki), as she was a professional ballet dancer during her childhood in Russia. Though her story is never glanced back to, she just has this irresistible kindness and devotion that can’t be ignored.

Nozomi is vice-prez of the student council and serves as Eli-cchi’s advisor/best friend. After they both become a member of μ’s, however, Nozomi becomes a motherly figure that everyone looks up to. From the start, she is always watching over everyone and never loses faith in μ’s. She is the key that all things related to μ’s creation tie back to, and Nozomi hilariously uses these tarot cards to predict the outcome of everything. Nozomi also has this strange impulse of rubbing the other girls’ breasts when they “misbehave” and whatnot. It’s totally out-of-character, but it was always funny to witness!

As for visuals, the producers at Sunrise like to keep things very colorful and dazzling. Each of the girls have their own concept design to them as well, which helps to define their personality and distinguish them in the crowd. Especially enjoyable are the expressive faces that the characters give off. All of the emotions and feels are perfectly captured on their cute lil’ faces, allowing you to feel exactly what they do without them needing to say a word. And speaking of cute, some of them can pull of the most devilish smiles I’ve ever seen – Umi and Eli can be pretty freakin’ terrifying when they want to! 😀

The only “glaring” issue I found with the animation was actually with the CGI used in the performances. There’s such a crude switch between 2D and 3D in every other frame that becomes really distracting after even a few seconds. I understand why they did it an all – 3D is much smoother to animate, especially with dancing – but man, some of these transitions are pretty rough.

And while I’m hitting the dance scenes, I’d also like to point out that for a “music anime,” the songs weren’t that catchy or memorable. Perhaps that was just the idol music to my ears, but it was all just too bland for me. Happy, sure, but bland. Between both seasons, the only songs that I really liked were “Bokura no LIVE Kimi to no LIFE” performed in the anime by μ’s, Maki’s “Aishiteru Banzai!” and the anthem the song that started it all, “START:DASH!!” sung by the original three members in episode three and in episode 13 with all of the members. Now, my favorite song award goes to “Susume→Tomorrow,” initiated by Honoka in episode one – the first thing we hear, might I add. I absolutely fell in love with this sweet, delicate melody!

Love Live!‘s most enjoyable moments come from the enduring, harsh beginnings of the idol group. Their first concert in episode three in particular left me on the verge of tears. But once μ’s is up and off the ground, the lovable girls carry the story home. What I liked most about this show overall was that no matter how desperate situations seemed, the girls, primarily Honoka, endured it all.

Love Live! radiates POSITIVITY, and is UNEXPECTEDLY a stand-out anime! While the first season has a couple of plot issues, the second season makes up for that with great character development. Just know that all good things eventually come to an end, though . . . If you’re new to this idol business, I full-heartedly recommend this show – it’ll cheer you up no matter what and make you feel dem feels as well! “Nico Nico Ni :3”

“All we can ask for is just a tiny bit of support from you. We truly believe that with your help, we can change the world around us. We will make our dreams come true!”

+ Amazing, well-developed, fun main cast

+ Positive vibe is irresistible

+ Harsh reality of the idol business approached step by step

– 2D to 3D shifts jarring

– Plot cuts back stories short and forces the group over personal conflicts

– Music could have been better

Thanks so much for reading – hit the like if you enjoyed it! You can watch both seasons of Love Live! over on Crunchyroll for free. I can’t wait for NIS America to dub it all in English! Woot! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

selector infected WIXOSS Review

Black*Rock Shooter + Yu-Gi-Oh + Puella Magi Madoka Magica. That’s all I’m gonna say.

A popular teen card game called WIXOSS carries a dark secret. LRIG cards (girl backwards – honestly took me a while) are rumored cards that contain the live consciousness of girls, and those females who obtain an LRIG are known as Selectors. When drawn into battle, Selectors face off against each other in another land, aggressively trying to win enough victories to have their wishes invoked by their LRIG. When Ruko Kominato gets infected by “Tama,” a cute yet battle-driven LRIG, she is tossed into the dark and twisted lies of the Selectors’ game. She’s good at first, but what happens when you lose . . .

Do not be dismayed by the fact that the show is based on a card game. I feel that that was the turnoff that makes this show less well-liked or popular. The rules to the game occur in a simple pattern that needs no explanation, so you can sit back and relax, that is to say, on the edge of your seat >.< Instead of trying to grasp the workings of the game, just watch the show – the game is just a way to convey the dark plot (not gonna spoil), making the kids think it’s just a harmless teen card battle. That aside, the plot of selector infected WIXOSS is somewhat to understand, gripping, and tragic. Heads up on Hitoe, though, as she makes the whole thing confusing by the end.

Pick a color of the basic rainbow and that’s how many characters there are. Literally, each character has that one attribute that makes them so generic. Sure, they all have their quirks that make me feel bad for them, and it sure sucks to be them, but I feel it was done better in other anime (see top). Ruko, however, acts as a white sheet of paper, being drawn on by the other characters until it’s hard to make out who she is. At the beginning, she has one mindset, but by the end, boy, she rounded out very nicely! The only other character I thoroughly enjoyed was Akira. I LOVE CRAZY characters! They are unpredictably creepy and enforce amazing plot twists. Akira was no exception to my standards.

The animation, done by J.C.Staff (A Certain Scientific Railgun and many others) was, well, bland. I know the atmosphere that they were going for was dreary like a rainy day, but did it need to be like that all the time? The only interesting scenes were when battles went down. I love the darkness that swells around the girls in the mysterious world.

Sound-wise was also kinda dim. The OST had no stunning tracks whatsoever, but the mood was never lost. The opening, “killy killy JOKER” by Kanon Wakeshima is amazing though! I play the cello, so I definitely know quality tone when I hear it, and man, I heard it. Give it a listen; it is the essence of the show. Also noteworthy is the ending, “REALIZE – Yume no Matsu Basho” by Cyua. Really amazing OP and ED this time around.

So with so-so animation, soundtrack, and characters, is the anime worth watching? Actually, yes. Pacing is well thought out, so getting bored doesn’t happen often. If you want to see what happens when dreams turn corrupt or want a thought-provoking battle of emotions and desires, then this is the show. It’s sorrowful, tragic, and sweet. The thing is, this core idea is not new. Watch Puella Magi Madoka Magica and you’ll see the many similarities the shows have (PMMM is much better). Finally, the ending is like really really  awesome for a first season. A real game changer. I had a decent good time watching it. “Tama, GROWWW!!”

I hope this review sparked any interest in watching selector infected WIXOSS. You can watch the full series over at If you enjoyed this review, give it a like! I’d appreciate it :3 Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host