Anime tie in films. Man, remember that time period where a season or two of an anime series was produced and then was tied together by a movie? It used to be such a trend back in the day and that has changed so much. The anime landscape has changed so much since ten years ago. I mean, shonen jump films still exist and some original films exist too, but they weren’t as huge now then too. In that way, I feel like this Love Live! Film is such a time capsule of times past even if it came out less than a decade ago. That time before streaming service shook the landscape and became such a factor there. So yeah, time to talk about this film where I can ruminate more about that instead.
So, this School Idol Movie. The series itself was going to end on a climatic moment. A moment where the nine Muse girls (Honoka, Kotori, Umi, Rin, Hanayo, Maki, Nozomi, Eli, and Nico) were going to break up their group for the last time after graduation. Of course, that didn’t happen because they were called into the idol club room again. That cliffhanger led to this movie. Love Live! Is now even bigger than before. It could take place at the Tokyo Dome if it got enough attention towards it. So of course they can’t break up yet AND they are being sent to New York City to make a performance so large that Love Live could become even more popular.
That is the first part of this film, our girls and their shenanigans in New York until their cool concert that makes waves in Japan and maybe the rest of the world. Some wrong directions, language barrier things done mostly respectfully, some cool places to eat and run around, and even a lot of those cultural shocks. So it’s best seeing these girls just experience more time together in really short vignettes over the place that really could have been better, but they are pretty fun. Especially since these girls are so good until their concert which was excellent. All the while, the fact that they are going to end soon looms over some questionable future Honoka who is there for some reason. That is a spoiler, but it doesn’t matter to the movie itself.
For me though, the real movie starts after the Muse came home. Suddenly everyone wants their autograph. Yeah, right at the airport. Businesses that they live at suddenly flood in with customers, they have to hide in public, and so many things. All of that tension that is there while these girls are about to end their group. It does bring questions into what they can do in the future like their rival group, A-Rise, who are going professional. An angle that the Muse could do too if they wanted to, but they’ve made the decision already. So there is that tension of them thinking about that decision again because they like hanging out with each other.
Then there is that tension of having all of Love Live’s existence in the future lying on the girl’s shoulders. Maybe they can’t because they want the competition and school idols to be around forever. Seeing Honoka and the other girls ruminate and make the decisions they did was great because it is realistic tension. Which is great because even with that small amount of traits all of these characters are given, they are all believable characters. Their solution is some of the best and most positive energy in the franchise that I’ve seen so far. If you want to see literally ALL the school idols in Japan performing together for one song before the Muse retire, it’s great.
What gets me about this is how there are so many meta elements to this movie (and this series in general). There is a huge amount of text playing with the audience’s expectations because you can just naturally do that with characters that perform on stage. It is that classic double stage scenario that some plays pull off for fun. It comes off into the audience not wanting to see the Muse end either. Of course they wouldn’t, these characters are great. So much fun to hang around with in a way they are easy to identify with. But we could also see this film as the set up for the rest of the franchise going forward because it wouldn’t work otherwise.
So anyway, this film is good. Unlike Sunshine, the film is not better than the rest of the series, but it’s seeing these characters again in a way that finally concludes their story. That ending song where they just disappear after performing their last concert was a great way to sell that they would never appear again with only their clothes left behind after they disappeared. It’s really cool all around here. Some important things that will lead to more things coming forward. It really opened up the world to more idol groups in the future of 2015 at that point. I mean, we are still in Love Live land this year where Nijigasaki season 2 is airing now and season two of Superstars will air next season as far as we know. I guess it worked.