Love Live! School Idol Project – 03

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And so it begins …

Well, it’s episode 3 and finally time for the live! I’d say something about hoping for the idol group to attract more members, but after Hawt’s ‘nice boat’ reference the last post, I keep seeing Honoka as a secret yandere. She stalks because she cares. Er… anyways, your thoughts, Hawt?
I’m sorry for putting that mental image in your head Kara, but nothing is more fun than a bad-end gone worse! kukuku. Anyway, this week I’ll be keeping my thoughts brief, a new college semester has started and the first week is always very busy!

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They sure got the idol expressions down.

Karakuri // I don’t even know how they managed it, but I was somehow emotionally invested enough in this to cry a bit when no one showed up to the live. Maybe it was the fact that there was sad piano music or maybe it was because Honoka was close to tears herself. It was just so heartbreaking seeing all of the hard work that the girls put into this and having absolutely no recognition for that. Well, that and there was the fact that Honoka, the optimistic character who you’d expect to brush off the failure and sing anyways, was actually let down enough to be close to tears. She really, truly believed in everyone and her idea, only to have it fail completely. Of course, that all changed when the glasses girl showed up, but the part before that was still really depressing.

It’s still a bit sad that only the future group really turned up for the first live, but with the worst failure possible (at this point in the story at least) happening, µ’s can only go up from here. …Or at least they have to go up more before they fall again. I’m rather pleased that they found a makeshift production team in the nameless girls who support them and now we all know the story behind what brought those particular girls together (or to be more specific, what will bring them together in the future since most of them aren’t officially part of the group yet). I’m kind of impressed by how realistic the live turned out to be. Not just because it wasn’t a smash hit from the start, but it looks like they intentionally made it… how do I say this… less flashy? I mean, it obviously wasn’t a huge idol production that they spent tons of money on. The dance moves were something teenage girls could easily come up with and coordinate in a month or so. It was by no means a bad live, but it was modest and believable that they put it together in a short amount of time with minimal training. The singing was great though.

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Honoka is slowly building her idol harem.

Karakuri // µ’s is coming together and so is the character cast. I’m starting to recognize the other characters now (sadly, I still don’t remember most of their names) and they’re starting to differentiate themselves from one other for me. Like the short haired first year is energetic like Honoka, but she seems a bit more wild. The glasses girl is kind of shy, but she’s excited by the idea of µ’s. Niko (twintails) is a tsundere (or maybe just disagreeable) and to a degree, so is Maki. However, Maki also has the whole piano playing thing to set her apart. Vice president seems to be the character who knows exactly what’s going on and moves outside people’s expectations. Eri is there to contrast with Honoka’s optimism at this point, but I’m sure she’ll become a strong asset to the idol group later when she inevitably joins. Umi continues to have a strong personality, as does Honoka. …Kotori seems more like a background character since she seems to agree with everything Honoka says at this point, but like the other characters, I’m sure she’ll slowly start developing an identity of her own as things go on. µ’s has hit it’s low point. Now it’s time for teamwork and friendship to save the school. …After saying that last sentence, I can’t believe that I teared up over this show. OTL

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“I-I won’t kill all of you, I promise.”

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Well, it was a great live and a not so great live. I can’t say that having nobody show up was good, but at least the girl’s self-made concert didn’t fail because they put it together themselves. …Or I guess you could say it failed because it wasn’t flashy enough to attract attention, but at least it wasn’t a failure because the girls couldn’t dance or sing. They had that part down (though with room for improvement), they just need to get people to listen to them somehow. In other news, I’ve been watching/listening to the Love Live videos that came out before the anime, and it seems like the character relationships are a bit different between the anime and that. For one, I could have never guessed that Umi was childhood friends with Honoka and Kotori since she seemed to hang out with Eri all the time. I wonder if this is a sign of friendship to come, or if they changed the relationship dynamics for the anime. Niko was a bit different too in that she acted like your typical teenage girl instead of being distanced from people like she seems to be in the anime… Oh well, I guess we’ll see how the characters sort themselves out with time. They’ve done a good job with my complaints from the first episode (though considering it was that the characters all seemed the same, of course that problem would be fixed). Let’s see µ’s pick themselves up from here and sing their way to success!

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Kara, you’re not alone! At this point I’m 100% emotionally invested in Love Live. Sure, the first two episodes were great, but three has easily put this series on my list of favorites for the season. Emotionally unsettling at times, and undeniably exciting at others, Love Live has pulled me in and I don’t think I’ll ever let go. The performance had the perfect combination of energy and simplicity, highlighting the sheer amount of effort these three girls put in over the last couple weeks by focusing in on them, not on flashy backgrounds or lighting, and giving off a stronger sense of believability. Now it’s up to the six who witnessed the performance to take Muse to new heights, and I’m positive that is what the next few weeks will inevitably do. (Which I’m excited for!) So, I wonder now what endgame will be, perhaps a school-idol showdown against UTX?

Considering how entertaining this week’s episode was, I found myself looking past a lot of the show’s faults. That said, ignoring them won’t make them disappear and for someone not as attached to the series they might be a real turn-off. First of all, the Umi drama was a bit nonsensical at times. As much as I love her character, her resistance to wearing the idol outfit felt somewhat unbelievable. As far as I can tell, the idol uniform is not any less revealing than those outrageous school uniform skirts. Her apprehension towards performing was a great way to build characterization, but the skirt drama felt a little tacked on. If not for the stellar performance at the end, this probably would have gone down as one of the weaker episodes. Characterization seems to be one of the weak points of the show so far, lots of faces in the cast, but little behind them to make the characters any more than pretty cut-outs. I don’t want to jump the gun though, since we’re only three weeks in.

Another thing, once again, the CG. Though less apparent than some other performances (namely the ED in episode one), I really would have thought the entirety of the performance would have been CG-free. With only three girls (not the full group of nine) it would have been a perfect opportunity to go all out. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad, and the choreography/music more than made up for those few awkward moments. I can only imagine what the performances with nine girls will look like … I’m probably becoming a little too nit-picky now, but so far Love Live’s strengths overshadow any small complaints I have.

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See you next week!

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20 Responses to “Love Live! School Idol Project – 03”

  1. skylion says:

    I really love the trajectory of this show. I went from “meh” during it’s first outing, to “hey this has something” in the second engagment, to “where the heck is episode four” during the third time ’round.

    I honestly expected at least a few people in the audience. They would have been taken aback, but would have carried on. The way it was presented, it made glasses girl’s entrance that much more sweet. No matter who shows up, no matter how few, you play your heart out.

    I agree with the CG work. Needs more blending. If I was watching this a year ago on my old ten inch netbook with 480p resolution, I would not have balked. But, today, 1080p on a 48 inch HD screen, that CG really pops out at you.

    And how dare you guys pick on poor Umi. Girl has to have her standards. ;-P

    • Hawthorne says:

      I love Umi, she and Koizumi are my favorites!<3 It’s just, I don’t understand why that was such a hang up for her considering the (possibly even shorter) length of the school uniforms. Another side of me wants to think that her hang-up with the outfit was simply a semblance to hide the fact that she was still wary of performing in front of a crowd. Which was a none issue anyway, considering what happened …

    • Karakuri says:

      Well at least thanks to this, I’m finally figuring out and pin pointing what I don’t like about CG. Not only does the movement of the hair bug me, but there are no expression changes, nor does the clothing move naturally.

  2. Foshizzel says:

    woop woop dancing and singing cgi-ish scenes for the win and YES the epic team of moe idols is slowly assembling! Are you two watching Aikatsu? That has a similar style of CGI dancing scenes even though that is no were near the levels of Love Live or AKB0048!

    I guess if I had to rank CGI dancing it would be like

    1: Precure
    2: AKB0048
    3: Love Live
    4: Aikatsu

    I would have placed The Idolm@Ster as number one above precure, but that was last year xD

    • Hawthorne says:

      I was going to, but then I realized it was going to be like 50 episode long and decided to leave it on the backlog until the Summer. Is it any good?

      I agree with that ranking! Precure’s EDs are always stellar for CG standards.

      • Foshizzel says:

        Aikatsu is kind of slow, but imo it feels like AKB0048/precure cause they actually have transformation scenes when the girls change into their idol uniforms and p much every other episode has some “lesson” because of course this is aimed at young girls…yeah 50+ episode seems crazy!

        Yep I sort of wish they could squeeze out 3 openings and 3 endings? But I have no idea how big of a budget Precure has like the big studios like Shaft/KyoAni/Production IG and so on? Then said, with doki doki coming out it real soon I think it marks over 10 years of Precure.

  3. Metalsnakezero says:

    It was a good move from the director to have almost no one at their first performance and have the future members to be the only audience. It helps put in real emotion to the girl’s ambitious plan to save the school by being idols.

    Next week we got the fight for 4 eye chipmunk love between cat girl and piano girl :3

    • Hawthorne says:

      I really enjoyed that reveal as well, let’s just hope their second performance doesn’t go the same way. XD

      Shipping should hit new highs now that all the girls are getting closer! kukuku

  4. BlackBriar says:

    You can help but start to cheer with how these girls continue to move on even though the odds are heavily against them. Especially Honoka who’s a good motivational speaker.

    For someone is very Spartan in her training, Umi is self conscious. And she got a taste of her own medicine when Honoka grilled her about wanting to quit.

    I was expecting a handful of people at the live concert but the empty seats were a slap to the face. How cold can these students be? I got so riled up that I almost threw a fit. Strange. Kudos to the glasses girl for showing up as emotional support.

    • Hawthorne says:

      I got pretty emotional there too, sad and angry mostly that their efforts were in vain … at least at first. Honoka has definitely shown how strong of a character she really is!

      • BlackBriar says:

        For stirring up a bunch of emotions like this in one sitting, Love Live earns a spot next to AKB0048. Their dancing and singing have improved nicely.

        • Karakuri says:

          I’d say that I’m more drawn to this than AKB though. I don’t think the AKB have every really hit the low points quite as hard as Love Live has, even with all of the drama with actual battle.

  5. Highway says:

    The CG in the OP song sequence is better because there’s more girls to distract your eye. I actually didn’t think the CG in this one was bad at all. And the song was good, but we need more of Umi and Honoka singing and less of Kotori’s whiny singing. Bleh.

    It sucks to have that curtain go up and nobody’s there. Been there, done that (well, actually, ours was more ‘at the bar, supposed to start at 9, and the only people there are us and the SO’s we brought with us). But their routine was good, and fighting off the breakdown to do the song was good too.

    • Karakuri says:

      If you think Kotori is bad, then you probably won’t like Nico or Nozomi much better. …I want to like the vice president, I really do. Her character design and personality are great. I just can’t get over that voice though OTL

      • Hawthorne says:

        I have to agree about the Vice President. I thought maybe her singing voice would be better than her speaking voice, but it still just sounds … odd. I don’t know, I like her character, just not the seiyuu.

      • Highway says:

        Nah, neither Nico or Nozomi have the same excessively nasal sound that Kotori has. Her solo version of Snow Halation has that “niiiiiiiiiiiiiii” that drills into my brain! Make it stop!

        Nico and Nozomi both seem to have ‘ordinary’ Japanese pre-pubescent schoolgirl voices, of the type I’m plenty used to by now.

        It’s weird, I’m no stranger to weird high voices, and like quite a few of them. Aki Toyosaki can sing all hte time afaic, including “GO!GO! Maniac”. nano.RIPE I really like, her voice is used pretty brilliantly in those songs. The Darkness (for a guy with a weird high voice) is tons of fun, and I’m a huge fan of old Rush and Triumph. And last season’s Busou Shinki OP song “InstallxDream” only suffers a little from the mixing of the vocals. Seriously, they took Megumi Nakajima, Minori Chihara, Kana Asumi, and Kaori Mizuhashi and made them sound like Alice and the Chipmunkettes. “Put that low cut filter on, and set it at 700 Hz!” (the B-side to that is actually a great 80′s metal rock song… sung by the Chipmunkettes).

        But then there are the singing voices I just don’t like, like Yukari Tamura. Bleh.

        • Karakuri says:

          Really? You don’t like Tamura’s singing? Maybe not in whatever Higurashi put out there, but have you heard the OP to C3? …Or is it the nasal tone that throws you off?

          Overall, I’m not a huge fan of Kotori’s voice either. It sounds great in groups and adds an extra edge in there, but compared to the more mature voices like Honoka and Umi, it sounds odd in the solos.

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