As I mentioned last week, here is a review of Love Live! Sunshine!! This is the first girl idol only series that I’ve ever watched. There are no idols and science fiction nonsense to go along with it. No singing to save the universe from alien invasion with transformation mecha, no singing magical girl idols that punch, no robots that want to be idols, just idols that sing. I was pretty excited about this when I set out to watch it. I originally intended to watch the first Love Live! series for my non-seasonal seasonal thing last year, but that wasn’t completely available anywhere. The result was me going with Sunshine! Maybe that was a mistake, but I wanted to try it out regardless.
I think it’s very obvious to everyone that Sunshine!! is a sequel spin off to the School Idol Project which focused on the formation of the Muse. It makes sense considering Chika, our main protagonist, wants to be an idol based off of the wind she felt from the sea breeze. She comes small town of Uchuira near the the ocean and shegoes to Uranohoshi High School as a second year. There is some cool, metaphorical wind imagery going on that pushes this usually unmotivated girl to being motivated into doing something for once. Something which I enjoy myself because when unmotivated people motivated, they always dive full into their next project. That’s a very valuable thing as long as the fire keeps going.
By doing this and being her open-hearted self, Chika slowly gains eight more followers (two more second years named Yuu who is a swimmer and loves uniforms and Riko the pianist genius, three first years with Ruby the sweet one, Hanamura the un-athletic one, and Yoshiko with the soul of satan, and three third years by the name of Kanan who is the most athletic one, Mari is half italian and the school’s chairman, and Dia who is the school president and loves idols) to become the Aqours. Their goal? To get some attention to their school in order to get enough attendance by winning Love Live. Also, lots of shipping and gay between the girls. That is a natural feature and its good!
This is a simple show that runs on a lot of musical logic and I think that’s great for the most part. This is a show where people sing and dance, why not dive into it full heartedly? Live without fear and without cynicism of course. Something that people can find not genuine, but Love Live lives in the zone of positivity and its nice. Still, this also plays against the show a little bit too. There is a little bit of one noted-ness to a lot of the characters. If looked at by age group, the first years provide comedy with their personalities, the third years are the most interesting in that they tried this before and are full of drama, yet the second years are in between and don’t feel like they are as well defined by themselves until joining with the others. Still, that sort of age break up is normal in most high school groups.
Another weakness that I feel throughout the show’s first half, even if I haven’t watched the original show, is that the original Love Live! Carries a lot of weight in this one. I know it’s on purpose because the show knows it too. The Muse left a lot of influence in their wake due to the high school idol groups that popped up all over the place. Same with the first half with the Aqours just following the path that the Muse did to their school against that competitive market and failing to do so. Even if there is a point to it, directly comparing themselves lessens themselves. It’s the same thing for every sequel series that wants to compare themselves to the original. Then again, that might be the point too. The Aqours failed at achieving anything and only get a small number of votes. They failed by trying to be the Muse.
The second half is where Sunshine!! truly takes off for me because it dives a little more in approached territories with different goals. Yes, they pursue Love Live after their failure despite their school closing and not getting enough applicants for the future. It’s really nice to see the Aqours aim for the time and get their school’s name in the Love Live hall of winners despite it all. A lot of build up from last season, including spending time with Saint Snow and them working together and Saint Snow giving the Aqours a training schedule, was so good. Plus, Ruby with the youngest member of Saint Snow was incredible.
I really love Sunshine’s ending! It just felt right. The fact that they just won Love Live was so off handed and it’s perfect for this show. The Aqour’s life was about the journey and what a journey it was. So many small moments between each character, lots of hard work, lots of good relationships, and things like that. There is a lot of stiffness in it all, but it’s very enduring stiffness that I enjoyed a lot. There is a lot of heart here and you can feel that throughout the journey. Same for when the Aqour’s reunite after it is all over on top of the school where they used to practice. Man, that scene hurt a lot.
Sunshine’s visuals have a very bright and colorful color pallet like the ocean on a sunny day. So yeah, Sunrise knew what they were doing. I do think that the show faced a lot of same face and same body syndrome (for the most part) despite some jokes. The hair design, casual outfits, and hair color are how you tell each girl from each other, and it works ok. It allows for some very good cartoony antics which I liked so much. Same with the cg song and dance sequences. I wonder if the characters had to have similar character designs for Sunrise to use their cg program. I wonder what the next Love Live is like. Hmmm, soon.
Love Live! Sunshine!! was a lot of fun. A little predictable, a little too leaning onto the previous show, and a little one note in some ways, but it’s very honest with its feelings, very entertaining, very happy, and very enduring as well. Also, the tone is very well done too and gets dramatic at that right moments with a good cast that can resolve that drama themselves. That is why I will give Love Live! Sunshine!! a good! Not bad for my first foray into idol series. I think I am going to try the Sunshine!! movie soon and even check out the latest love live too!