For bubbly second year student Honoka Kōsaka, high school is everything, and Otonokizaka Academy is the epicentre of her self-confessed ‘perfect life’. But the school is faced with closure in as little as three years. After gawping over provincial school idols A-RISE, Honoka convinces her friends Kotori, the daughter of the school director, and the anxious Umi (a dead ringer for K-On!’s Mio), to form their own group, rallying new students and keeping the school afloat.

Of course, petty setbacks make that goal far from achievable, whether it’s not having enough members to form a club, or trying to sidestep the politics of the student council altogether. Even picking a name proves difficult. They eventually pull μ’s (pronounced muse) out of a suggestion box. But the trio keeps growing, and writer Jukki Hanada (who also worked on K-On! and Idolmaster: Xenoglossia) seems unsure of how to juggle nine characters and their various opposing personalities. Obsessive Nico Yazawa is dedicated only to idol life while student vice-president Nozomi Tojo acts according to her tarot deck. And that’s just the kookiest two.

Being one part of the multimedia School Idol Project, studio Sunrise’s slice of life contribution isn’t wholly convincing (they always perform without mics or amplification), but the hard graft and long hours ring true for idol life. The animation is vibrant but often rigid, and despite the moé character designs their gigs lack any real pizazz. By turns affectionate, funny and forgettable, Love Live! keeps themes of self-doubt and friendship appealing between songs.

Last year saw the release of the Collector’s Edition of Love Live! while this series is the basic release. It’s a great excuse to catch up on our favourite school idol group, and gives newcomers the chance to find out what all fuss was all about.

For our review of Season 2, click here.


Extras:

Clean opening & closing; original TV spots and trailers.

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