So, Love Live is slowly becoming another thing that I get addicted to in some way. At least in anime form. As far as I’m concerned and, since I started from Sunshine, nothing really has missed for me yet. That could be because I am still new to it and haven’t seen any weight holding it down on any level yet. I think the peak times that I’ve enjoyed this franchise are the Sunshine movie and some parts of Nijigasaki (which will have more soon). So yeah, obviously I was going to check out Superstar as it aired and I am going to watch its season 2 when it comes out too. I suppose I should watch other idol series at some point and just take the plunge, but for now this is where I stay and enjoy everything. Please let me watch the complete OG series please.
The show starts with Kanon Shibuya and Keke Tang working together to form a club. Kanon, who loves to sing, has stage freight and she joined with Keke, the foreign exchange student from China, to try and conquer it. That is her very soft but relatable story. Late on, Sumire Heanna who is all show business but has never had a main role joins this group to set more social media attention. Her dynamic with Keke is hilarious. Chisato Arashi, Kanon’s friend joins in after she discovers that its ok for her and Kanon to work together instead of doing by themselves. Lastly, Hazuki as the class president after figuring out a misunderstanding is cleared up. Together, they are Leilla and they want to win Love Live!
From everything that I’ve seen from Love Live, Superstar is the unique one where it focuses on 5 girls instead of 9 or 10 in Nijigasaki’s case. I think it really helps this show stand quite a bit. I feel like I really do know these characters more then just a trope or a face that stands out before the show moves to the next character. The plot is about the same as usual, with some hints at the art school they are apart of, Yuigaoka, possibly closing down soon due to funding and lack of attendance maybe, but that was apart of Hazuki Ren’s backstory. In general, these are five girls joining together to sing and dance in places that they haven’t before because they don’t belong in one club or another. Idols was there calling.
I love that this has the right episode count and number count in for characters to have their own center spot for their set song. I don’t just mean that the episode will just feature the focused character’s story and that’s it. Leilla is flexible enough that the focus girl will lead the group herself for her own special style that helps her stand out more then they did. It’s something unique that takes some of what happened in Nijigasaki and other Love Lives and make them work together. This show is the good hybrid of what experimentation has come from this franchise in a really interesting way. Superstar really stands out despite being like that in a great way here.
If there is something about tone in this show, I like how it’s not very up and down. Like, the jokes don’t automatically feed into character sadness. There is a very naturalness that allows what characters mess around or have their hilarious fun in the first part of an episode or just an episode in general play out later or connect in a way that just naturally fits? For instance, Sumire’s desire to be the center of this idol group is an early plot but once she gets the opportunity, she shys completely away from it that makes sense. For a while, Sumire was all talk and no game until the right episode shows up for her to become more then usual. Alongside its hilarious hijinks, there are good arcs like that through out.
Visually, I don’t think that Superstar looks as good as Nijigasaki but it’s close. It helps that Nijigasaki was probably produced when there wasn’t a pandemic compared to now where production on anime is probably a bit slower or less focused than it would be otherwise. But in general, there are some very good stand out moments in animation that are mind blowingly good. Lots of good idol and dance sequences that are unique and amazing for their own rights. I really dig this show’s character designs too because they look like they belong in the franchise while being unique and allowing each girl to be their own person through their designs. Love Live! Superstar!! Is a solid anime and I can’t wait for more.
You really do have to see the OG… it’s the best of the lot. OG > Superstar > Sunshine > Nijigasaki. (IMO, YMMV.)
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I’m hoping it’ll be available somewhere at some point because it’s strange to have a thriving franchise and then not have the first one available anywhere.
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Streaming services do weird shit sometimes… Crunchy has the 1st and 3rd seasons of Yama No Susume – but nobody has the 2nd.
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