ANIME & MANGA - Review
11:00 - 30th September 2015, by NEO Staff

Love Live!

For bubbly second year student Honoka Kosaka, high school is everything, and Otonokizaka Academy is the epicentre of her self-confessed ‘perfect life’. But, her perfect existence is almost over, as 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 from not having enough members to form a club, or trying to side step the politics of the student council altogether. Even picking a name proves difficult. (Never fear: they eventually pull μ’s –pronounced muse – out of a suggestion box.)

Despite all this, the group keeps growing, and writer Jukki Hanada (who also worked on K-On! and Idolmaster: Xenoglossia) seems unsure 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.

Hardly the definitive word on idol life, Love Live! is novel enough to hook you in, but doesn’t do enough to keep you entirely engrossed.
SCORE: 3/5
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