Welcome to the Idol Hell, blessed with rainbows and attractive waifu.
I had initially planned on using Love Live! series as the topic for OWLS March blog tour—Squad—because frankly, no matter how you see it, these lovely girls from both μ’s and Aqours are stuck together like glue.
They however, will never match the power of friendship featured in Yorimoi — too bad.
Okay so apparently I’ve been told that even monks can use mobile phones (after all duties finished) so here I am, making more posts on my phone because I feel like I haven’t been really active as of recent.
I’d broken my own rule regarding leaving an anime season with at least one full season review for a show. That kind of quality post actually needs to be researched and written on my PC so it will not appear until a few days after I am done with meditation.
P.S. Happy birthday, mom! Here is an idol anime post for you~
(She does not read my blog, by the way)
You may ask why did I voluntarily fall into the pits of Idol Hell, I, among nearly every fans of Love Live!, will just tell you a few obvious things that have been said millions of times:
- The genre — this one is basically the gatekeeper of all things Idol. Nobody would ever set foot in the series if they know outright they wouldn’t last against a bunch of girls singing in synchronized style. This part has been improved vastly as there are now so many solo’s and duets which actually mirror the times of High School Musical; in other words dope. The idol genre is full of senseless drama and over the top self-serving plots in Hollywood media, so unless I already like watching AKB48 girls off stage, Love Live! is legit the first ‘original’ IP to have done this as a transition between an anime show and real life events. AKB0048 and Idolm@ster don’t count since they are ‘based’ on existing real life platform.
- The upbeat, crazy squad of happy-go-lucky girls — once I know full well that I am about to see something I might have already seen in real life and accept it fully. The girls are meme machines which should in theory make my life full of laughter and happiness!
- The girls themselves — individually, each and everyone of them guarantee a certain degree of love from the fans. The whole thing is mirrored from real idols where some characters are almost unnoticeable, thus no love for them; some others are at the popular end of the stick and will be seen in every type of social media platforms. Behind the characters are…
- The seiyuu — this is frankly what makes Love Live! feel absolutely idolish. They are where fans look to when the show is off the air. If anything, just searching for them in YouTube would do more explanation than I ever could in a few minutes time. Love Live! seiyuu are easily becoming the epitome of what I wished to have happened in high school; serious when at work but always having endless moments of fun when not. Good characters make happy seiyuu and vice versa. They would then, be more than proud of having been involved with such roles in long-term to the point that no matter the number of other roles they have under their belt — they will always remind you that they have voiced a certain character from Love Live! It may be because of the fact that, for most seiyuu in the roster, those characters are mostly first-ever roles for them.
- The music — of course! This is legit just another floodgate of Idol pop music pieces for those who are either looking to connect themselves to the Japanese idol industry but not knowing where to start; that or you are just simply bored of mainstream idol groups. Just like them however, music from Love Live! franchises consist of synchronized singing, solo’s (rare), duets and triplets (usually from sub groups broken off the main group). They can (and have) leave me surprised a number of times with songs far off from the usual idol vibes and melodies — stuff highly inspired from Hollywood, Bollywood, Spain and even K-Pop.
And then there are many other lesser reasons such as the best girl contest. Yeah. There HAS to be the best girl contest even for an anime show with all-female cast. I didn’t forget about the lovely dads out there!
TV Animation Series
Love Live! School Idol Project came in like a storm, smashing most of the expectations which have been laid onto every other idol type shows before it. It borrowed the three episode rule convention first fully succeeded by Madoka to leave viewers in the early suspense and continue the melodrama route to show that “school idols” don’t come by easily; it is a group activity that has to be achieved individually among all. What this meant is how everybody needs to be clear of personal issues to healthily participate in group activities. It reminded me a lot (and still do) of online gaming where you would need to have “free time” to play with others, and by free time I mean free of other chores/duties.
This brings the story to the next level; μ’s is not going to become idols as past time — the girls are going to invest their time, sweat, blood and tears into the idea. This would eventually mean no time to do ‘normal’ things like being heavily involved in other clubs (RIP Umi). They would also have no time to make friends outside of the unit since all of the free time they have would be spent on training and seeing the same faces every day. This is actually a very important point of the show which can easily reflect to reality where you are unlikely going to see more faces than your co-workers. I think I’ll consider you to be lucky if you have more than five people who you can wholeheartedly call friends and rely on them even after university graduation.
All of this beating around the bush just to reveal what makes me looking forward to new episodes each week…
It is in the ending sequence!
I am most definitely not saying that I wanted the episode to quickly rush to the ending credits so I can get it over with each week. Let us look at it again…
Say that I am Honoka (the OG protagonist). Because I claim myself to be a school idol, until the day I graduate, I will ride or die with 8 of the unit members. They are also my friends who I will not trade for the world.
If you are stuck with 8 other people in the most important part of your life, might as well have a blast before any bond-shattering issues come about, right?
Both School Idol Project and Sunshine!! have put μ’s and Aqours through highs and lows of friendship — moments of uplifting and conflict.
But in the end of each episode, I am somehow reminded that everything would be just fine. The girls would fly high and happily do their antics like every other day of the week. All of this is fit into the choreography for the ending theme sequences.
Currently there are only two TV series, each with two seasons so that makes four ending themes. All of them have a few things in common when looked at mindfully; they are not just there for you to call ‘another idol song’ or just ‘another anime ending’.
The part after the actual song (1:30) in the last video is very spoilery for those who actually care about Sunshine!! story but have yet to watch it.
None of these sequences actually feel like endings to me; if anything, they feel like continuations or replacements to the actual opening songs. What is to be noticed by any fans is the first thing they have in common — how there is absolutely no CGI used on the characters as opposed to the opening sequences. They really do not want you to discard them as another idol music video and have gone to prove it otherwise.
Let’s start with the beginning of the song (just any one of the four you pick). It will be a reintroduction to the girls which you love and hate to bits, all of which is coupled with their antics. Leading up to the chorus and that is frankly where the best bit of the song sits in my humble opinion.
At the chorus of any of the four songs you pick, the girls are together to revel in the friendships they have earned. The choreography idea is less coincidental since it came out about less than a month before the Harlem Shake meme. Yes, this is for real. Though, unlike the meme which is probably dead by now, this choreography continued to be the very essence of the choruses in Love Live! ending sequences, all the way up to the most recent, Sunshine!! Second Season.
Because anime ending themes cannot have full version songs for the most part, it is all over by the end of the first chorus. The third common trait found in all four ending sequences are symbolic memoirs of the unit. The OG will have you see μ’s symbol somewhere while Sunshine!! will have you see Aqours. If I am only to talk about directional wits regarding ending sequences then Sunshine!! definitely has the upper hand. While the amount of symbols and metaphors used are minimal, they do carry great weights in meaning.
Aqours is a portmanteau of the words “aqua” and “ours”. The unit is born by the waters on the beach so it is most fitting that we see the unit’s name right on the beach sands. It represents all of the girls who live in the countryside. The name was actually public voted by fans, beating out 14 other candidates.
I am not ignoring the OG either; seeing μ’s sign on the rooftop where the girls trained and practiced everyday gives sense of nostalgia. It becomes a venue of inspiration for future generations — just look at Chika geeking out at UTX High.
It has really been a long while since I have been most looking forward to an anime ending. While it is not an excuse for me to skip episodes, the endings are actually a reason for me to follow a rollercoaster of memes story Love Live! has to offer.
Meanwhile, everyone else swoons over the seiyuu.