“Come… let our dreams be fulfilled by our own courage. With our hearts (that do not yield), let us dash towards tomorrow…”
Hey guys today I wanted to do my full series review for Love Live Season 2. I really only watched the first season of Love Live a few months ago before season 2 came out during the slow-moving winter season. The vibrant animation, positive storytelling and the lively upbeat music drew me into the show. With all idol shows, it tells the story of a group of girls striving to be the next best idol group. In this case, the group, Muse (stylized in Greek as μ’s) initially forms as an idol group in hopes of attracting more students to their beloved school so it can avoid being shut down.
For this review of Love Live I wanted to talk about the larger themes in Love Live rather than the plot itself because to be honest, there isn’t THAT much of a plot if you think about it. The premise is simple and the story, straightforward. Love Live isn’t that realistic of a story by any means. In fact, there are more happy-go-lucky moments and feelings than I can count when it comes to certain points in the plot. However, it’s in the idealistic depiction of school life and the fairy tale style of storytelling in the presentation of idol life that attracts you to the show. As a big fan of anime soundtracks and JPOP in general, I really enjoyed μ’s not only as characters in an anime, but also as an actual idol singing group with a decent collection of inspiring songs.
The second season of Love Live picks up right after the first one. Since the first Love Live left the show at a standstill of sorts with the idol project, season 2 throws μ’s right back into the idol world where a second Love Live idol competition is being held. After some quick persuading by the other girls, Honoka is once again inspired to strive for her Love Live idol dreams. The entire second season basically follows the girls’ training and progression into the Love Live finals. Some people might find the story way too easy. The conflict is almost non-existent and often very fluffy in the plot but you’re really watching the show for the girls themselves and to see how they continuously interact with one another.
Themes like teamwork, togetherness, persistence, dreams, they’re all very prevalent in idol shows and Love Live takes it all to a new level when you pair these sorts of themes with characters like Honoka Kousaka, a naive and starry-eyed but kind and hardworking character. By no means is she a very unique character but there’s something about idealistic heroes that we are often drawn to. Unlike in the real world where life is often, as Sora and Shiro (from No Game No Life) would say, “…a shitty game,” a high school idol anime presents us with the dreamy circumstances where we can contemplate our idealistic selves often locked away in the backs of our minds.
When the last episode ended I honestly did not understand why I felt so sad to see the characters go. Love Live has simple plot, simple characters, almost non-existent conflict and protagonists. So why did I feel like I empathized with the characters so much?
Love Live isn’t the kind of anime you watch for the down to earth slice of life that writers and producers aim for in realism and drama. Rather, it’s the kind of show that lets you turn off your brain, relax and unwind to. We all have childhood dreams, some of them fall in the “one in a million” category and some of them fall in the “never happening in a million years” category. Often we are forced to give up our dreams when we grow up for something more practical and attainable within our cultural, societal, familial and financial spheres. While some may argue that Love Live is utterly unrealistic, it does give us a taste of what we all want when it comes to those fantastical and far-fetched dreams. The show embodies the belief that “If I work towards my dream, I can attain my dream. No matter what.” It’s a belief we would all like to believe is inherently true but we are often held back by circumstantial restrictions. Love Live is narrow-minded in this aspect as it does not take into account any outlying factors beyond the high school realm. It’s a show that fully depicts the fantasies of anime fans who watch anime in the interests of escapism. However I believe that it is this idealistic childlike wonder in the atmosphere of Love Live that keeps us watching the show and its characters.
I don’t see any reason why anyone would be adverse to a series like Love Live unless they are very strict shounen or horror fans. If you usually enjoy music, slice of life, shojo, high school anime, you’ll enjoy Love Live. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a light anime to de-stress and unwind from the difficulties of school, work or life in general. The idol culture in Japan is pretty popular which is why shows like Love Live would probably garner more popularity with Japanese viewers versus North American viewers. It definitely brings out the pure and innocent sentiments prevalent in the Japanese idol culture.
These are just my thoughts on Love Live in general. For all we know the producers were probably just aiming for an expansion of the franchise to cash in more money from fans. You might think I’m reading too much into the story but the reason I enjoyed Love Live so much was because it stimulated a lot of self-reflection in me as viewer. It reminded me that a lot of us who have become too jaded and too cynical should perhaps start chasing after what we truly want and where we dream of being. It sounds pretty cheesy to be honest, but I’d take persistent idealism over jaded listlessness any day. If you’re a dreamer like me, I hope you can empathize with a bit of what I’m feeling. I hope you’ll give Love Live a try and I hope you enjoy/enjoyed it. Thanks for reading =)
What are you pondering today?