Love Live! School Idol Project – 04

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Instead of turning you to stone, Honoka’s eyes turn you into an idol.

After last week’s stellar performance by Muse you’d think they’d have people begging to join them! Sadly, it doesn’t work that way, and now the girls must work towards recruiting more members. That said, please tell me I wasn’t the only one who teared up a little watching this week’s episode!?
Don’t worry, Hawt. I tear up over everything, this episode included. Things are moving slowly for the idols, and yet I’m not bored in the slightest. Other developments this week? Man, Honoka is NOT helping me overcome my vision of her as a yandere. (I love her more for it though.)

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THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP.

Hawthorne || And so, we now enter recruitment territory. In the back of my mind, I expected the concert from last week to have a more overwhelming effect on the seven girls who came to watch, possibly even leading to an almost instantaneous influx of new idols this week. Instead, it would seem Sunrise is only going to give us a little at a time starting with the first years: Hanayo, Rin, and Maki. The latter has already proven herself a necessary asset to the team, being able to compose music and sing incredibly well, so for Maki her biggest hurdle had nothing to do with talent, but rather personal reluctance. I think it’s safe to assume the conflict between family expectations and personal interest will play into the story down the line, but I’m enjoying these small bursts of characterization we’re getting. I have been sort of complaining the last few weeks about the lack of substantial characterization, never really digging deeper than external traits, but now that we’re four weeks in it’s to be expected that we’d get more of that internal development. Maki is not the only one of course!

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One should think twice about making a contract with the Kyubey of idols.

Hawthorne || Hanayo’s character is played pretty straight, and she’s about as predictable as any “shy girl” in this setting would be, but there’s no getting over how absolutely adorable she is! Her voice actress, Yurika Kubo, does an excellent job capturing Hanayo’s timidness and cuteness, and compared to Aya Uchida (who voices Kotori) it never crosses that border of  ‘annoying’. Hanayo strikes me as a sort of pseudo-lead character, and if Honoka wasn’t the star of Love Live I’d expect Hanayo to be the next in line. Both have very protagonist-like personalities, in differing ways of course, but I will say I prefer the forward-optimist much more than the “not good at anything particular”-girl. That said, I look forward to watching Hanayo overcome her hindrances.

To a much lesser degree we also got a little glimpse into Hanayo’s closest friend, Rin’s life. I was actually a bit surprised at the direction the writers decided to take her character, right into tomboy territory. A brief flashback reveals that she has obstacles of her own to overcome, and much like Hanayo, her issues seem to stem from internal conflict. Seeing her take out her skirt in front of the mirror towards the end of the episode made me all mushy with feelings, not helped by the sheer level of emotion Hanayo’s recruitment scene brought on. It’s a pleasant surprise to see that Love Live has much more than just superficial progression,  as the weeks go on we’re able to watch the characters overcome their problems through music and friendship. It doesn’t help that they’re, for the most part, all very likable characters as well! (My personal top three at the moment are Umi, Honoka, and Rin!)

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(Not so) shocking secrets revealed.

Karakuri || You can keep your top 3, Hawt. I’ve firmly established Maki as my favourite of the group. Normally, the resistant character who  pretends like they don’t want to be there annoys me since they slow the plot down. However, I have to admit that her voice won me over and she’s not nearly as negative as Eri is. I’m not sure how annoying she’s going to be plot wise now that she’s officially joined the team (it seemed like an awfully spur of the moment decision), but at least she has a purpose there being the song composer and all. As for the other two additions, I kind of pitied Hanayo this episode since she had Maki and Rin push her around a ton. She needed it, of course, but still I was kind of hoping for her to slap the other two away and walk up to Honoka by herself. Oh well, at least this way, there are 3 new additions as opposed to just 1. Hopefully we don’t have her hold up half an episode with stage fright like Umi did. Rin? I’m surprised at how nice her voice is (yes, I spent a lot of last week listening to the Love Live music and character albums, which is also why I have everyone’s name down now). He fears over being girly are a plus to the story too. I won’t say that the characters are as deep as the ocean or anything, but this episode did add a bit more to the kouhai trio than I expected. If they focus on them more in the future, great. With this episode though, I think I have enough on them to differentiate now.

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Something’s not right here …

Karakuri || Not much singing and dancing this episode, but I wonder what Love Live has in store for the future. They definitely have enough members to start a club, but when and where will they have another live? Plus they have to win the senpai over (Niko, Eri and Nozomi) sometime in the future as well and those three (minus Nozomi) seem even more resistant and unlikely to join than the kouhai. Honoka may have overcome an obstacle by doubling the member numbers, but I’d still say that they’re near the bottom of the incline that they’re trying to overcome. As for what I’d like to see in the future… well, character interaction should be more interesting now that there are more members. They still seem to be divided by the year they’re in (plus Honoka, Umi and Kotori are childhood friends, automatically making them closer), but I want to see what the new girls add to that and what kind of friendships that brings. I’m sure that would add more to the characters as well.

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Thanks to blogging this, I’m finally watching Idolmaster. I’m now kind of regretting not watching all of it in the summer after I did the first impressions, but it is a pretty great anime. Though one thing I will say is that I love Love Live’s music far more than any other idol anime I’ve ever heard. Idolmaster, Symphogear and AKB0048 have nothing on Love Live (…though if we go into a completely different territory, I’d have to say that the songs are on par with UtaPri). Love Live is also doing great emotionally, making me tear up for the second episode in a row with that sunset-piano-music-handshake they had at the end of the episode. Having Hanayo (and the other two) join really felt like an accomplishment for the school idol group, who started all the way at the very bottom. This episode kind of ignored the original trio (or had them set up as important background characters), but the strong plot setup and music is finally getting some support under it with making the characters more well rounded. It’s good that they can drop the focus off of Honoka like that and have it focus elsewhere. I hope they do more of that in the future since it adds so much more to the other characters.

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I didn’t want to mention this in the main bulk of my thoughts, but I’m starting to notice how similar Love Live is to Idolmaster (apart from the obvious music/idol themes!) to the point that I’m wondering what level of inspiration the writers actually had from iMAS going in. From a setting standpoint there are clear differences and I’m enjoying Love Live’s more focused storytelling (though, iMAS had an entire second cour at their disposal), but there are some very apparent character similarities. Umi could be Chihaya’s twin, with extremely similar hair color/style, eye color, and personality. I could go on to say Honoka is a clone of Haruka (even getting the creepy smile down), Hanayo is very reminiscent of Yukiho minus the androphobia, Rin is the tomboy who doesn’t necessarily want to be treated as such much like Makoto, and Nozomi is about as mysterious as the moon-angel Takane. I’m not saying Love Live is a carbon-copy or anything of that sort, but I do seem some possible inspiration there.

I’m straying way off topic though, so back on track. Episode four was a fantastic indication that the upcoming episodes (which will likely also focus on the recruitment of the final three members) won’t let up on comedy or emotion. That said, a little more music wouldn’t hurt! Love Live’s budget did start to show this week, with some … questionable art and off character models. That’s just the small stuff though! Anyway, in the near future, I’ll be throwing up a music-digest type post with a gathering of all the affiliated Love Live character albums, unit albums, and soundtracks with links to where to purchase them, if  you’re interested. So, until next time!~

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SOON.

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We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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37 Responses to “Love Live! School Idol Project – 04”

  1. Highway says:

    I like the realistic attitude they all have. “We’re *school* idols, we’re not going to be professional idols.” I also like that through the first live Honoka’s goal has changed from “I want to save the school” to “I want to enjoy doing this.” And now she’s recruiting people based on “We want to enjoy doing this.” That’s why you do stuff like that, because you enjoy it. And Maki-chan is especially sensitive to that, seeing the end of her musical days (I don’t think playing music would really be over if she went to medical school, but she would definitely not be performing anywhere). Everyone has different reasons for getting involved, but all of them have the same goal.

    I’ll also be honest, I don’t see what’s so bad about that distant screenshot of Hanayo. Looks like a typical wide shot.

    Maki and Rin both ended up using Hanayo as an excuse to get close to the rest of the group. Neither had the confidence to approach them on their own, but in the guise of ‘helping’ Hanayo make up her mind, they could put themselves in a position to also get into the group.

    And the real question that was left open this week: Who will Nozomi sexually harass next?

    • Hawthorne says:

      Maybe I’m wrong, but the perspective of that shot looks completely off. If you look at the fences and bushes on the right it looks more like a steep cliff than a hill, same with the building on the left. Overall, it just seems derpy.

      • Karakuri says:

        No, you’ve got it right, Hawt. It looks like they were going for a steep hill look, but on the right, there’s one building line there to suggest that the building continues straight onwards without any inclination there where it should at least point downwards if there was a hill. The same goes for the very top left of the screen cap with the windows of the building or whatever those are. Unless the buildings are unusual or floating, the scene is odd.

        • Highway says:

          I watched through it again, and that’s a pretty steep hill she’s walking down (it’s anime-ish exaggerated, but if I apply my roadway designer self, it’s a 20% hill, i.e. really steep). Thinking about the straight horizontal lines of the buildings, that’s the way they should be, cause who wants a slanted building. The thing that’s really off is the window on the left, where they’re making up the slope of the hill.

          Yeah, it’s a weird perspective, and it’s probably something they should have rethought about how they wanted to draw it, or whether they should even have had that location in the shot. But I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt that it’s not necessarily a cheapout, just a really difficult perspective to draw. :)

          • Hawthorne says:

            Difficult or not, it still looks … very strange. >_< Reminds me of another show (can’t quite remember which) where there was a shot of a hill much like this one, except it was basically a complete vertical drop.

          • Karakuri says:

            I drew over the screencap and the horizon lines are all weird for the perspective, but I was getting borderline obsessive, so I stopped OTL

            It didn’t take away my enjoyment of the scene at all either (hell I didn’t even notice it until Hawt put it in the post,) but that building is just… wrong.

      • Highway says:

        I didn’t think it was bad perspective, really. We don’t know what the length of the shot is supposed to be, so the foreshortening could be really severe. The giant sign in your face on the left is probably the worst part, in that it seems to indicate that the shot is shorter than it might be.

        Eh, I don’t know if it’s that bad. Didn’t break my immersion, but then I’m not an art guy too much. I thought you were talking more about Hanayo’s glasses. :)

  2. HannoX says:

    @Hawthorne: I don’t think they’re copying Idolmaster characters; they’re including standard anime characters when you have a number of girls in a show. Optomistic, super outgoing girl, check. Glasses girl, check. Painfully shy girl, check. Tomboy, check. Girl who really wants to join but pretends she doesn’t, check. And so on. Same for character designs. They’re giving fans the kinds of girls they expect and want to see.

    I was surprised, but also glad, that they added three more girls this episode. I was afraid they were going to take over half the show to get to the nine girls. I want them to add the girls quickly so more time can be spent on the girls working on their act, singing and dancing, and showing just how long and hard the road to even school idols is, much less to become professional. That will also enable them to spend more time on the girls interacting with one another and on character development.

    • Hawthorne says:

      Ah sorry, I didn’t mean for that comment to come across that way. Rather, I was simply wondering if Idolmaster was an inspiration for the characterization of Love Live (and possibly future idol shows to come) because of its sheer popularity and lovability. TL;DR I wonder if Idolmaster has a set a standard for the personalities expected to be in an idol unit like this.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    I admire how humble the girls are with themselves instead being arrogant by understanding they still have a long way to go. It’s quite a large number of members they got in a short amount of time. Umi has gotten over her self consciousness about her legs. Her skirt was shorter than usual when she was seen singing.

    Since Hanayo used her new found status as a school idol to change her appearance, hopefully she’ll also better her confidence. Having Rin and Maki dragging her around, trying to decide things in her place without so much as a say it in shows she’s very weak willed.

    Maki’s entry and training will pose a conflict of interest with her parents grooming her to continue their family tradition. I imagine, right off the bat, they’ll try to discourage her saying “being an idol has no real value”. It’s something we see frequently regarding female characters born into privilege like Girls und Panzer’s Isuzu and AKB0048’s Chieri.

    • Hawthorne says:

      Ah, nice comparisons! Now that I think about, she reminds me a lot of Chieri. Wealthy parents, family business, outwardly cold demeanor … I guess it will all come down to how her parents react to her new school-idol ambition. Wouldn’t it be something if it turned out that her parents support her from the very beginning? That would be unexpected!

    • HannoX says:

      Maki’s a first year, isn’t she? The way I understand the Japanese school system, while she’ll need good grades throughout, it’s not until her third year she REALLY needs to hit the books. And she’s only working to be a school idol now and not make it a career.

      Her parents could take a third track. “It’s fine for you to do this for a couple of years and get it out of your system, then it’s time for you to give it up for your medical studies.”

      And do Japanese universities look for well-rounded students like some American ones do? Having school idol on her resume, particularly if her group enjoys some popularity, could help her in what I assume is also a very competitive field to get into in Japan.

  4. Restia says:

    I personally think Hanayo’s voice is more annoying than Kotori’s (well, Kotori is on the border when she’s singing)

    My top 3 are Niko, Nozomi, and Kotori =w=
    Can’t wait for Niko’s assault next ep XD

    Also, Hawthorne & Karakuri I know how you feel~ ;A; I didn’t expect to cry in an Idol anime!

    • Hawthorne says:

      You should watch The Idolmaster (the new one, not Xenoglossia), if you’re looking for more idol anime with tears! It’s very lighthearted, but it builds up to some extremely emotional moments later in the season. (I’m a little biased here though since Idolmaster is one my favorite anime!)

    • skylion says:

      I’m calling Best Girl early for Niko-chan.

      • Karakuri says:

        Just look at her face! You can’t go wrong!

      • Highway says:

        Sorry, Umi-chan already locked that up.

        • skylion says:

          Highway…Highway….Highway! Wot am I going to do with you? The levels on which you are just so totally totally wrong is impressive. Never have I seen anyone fail so gloriously and titanically well. You’ve taken this to a rare for of art and science.

          But, I am a Skylion of infinite compassion. So let me allow you the wisdom that you seem to be lacking.

          Niko-chan. Best. Girl.

          We are at an understanding

          • Highway says:

            Well, like they say, if you’re gonna be wrong, you might as well go all the way wrong. So I’m glad to see you’re embracing this spirit with your selection of Niko.

            Just frees up Umi-chan for those of us with the correct outlook. :)

        • Hawthorne says:

          YOU’RE ALL WRONG. RIN FOR THE WIN. <3 kukuku

      • BlackBriar says:

        My vote’s on Umi.

  5. skylion says:

    I think my biggest enjoyment for this show, is how much I am enjoying it. I was ready to ditch it first try; thankfully these past two have given me all I need to see the ride unto the end.

    Oh, and DAT TSUNDERE! Can’t wait for the next episode…

    • Karakuri says:

      This does seem rather up your alley, skylion…

      • skylion says:

        As I said, the first episode didn’t give me an alley at all.

        It’s an Idol show. I don’t like all of them, but the ones I do like, I enjoy for good reasons.

        Idolmaster was terrific for pacing, character design, intensity, and how well all the character arcs could interweave and tell an immense story. I never once felt overwhelmed by over a dozen characters, and enjoyed all of them by degrees (With Ami, and Mami, Iori, Hibiki, and Makoto being my Top Five).

        AKB suffers from some underdeveloped setting points and background, but more than makes up for that with compelling characters and the over arching meta plot; mysterious and rather bold in some ways.

        Love Live excels at all the bits and pieces that it takes to get to your goal, and it underlines rather well each members take on that goal.

        • Highway says:

          That’s what I’m really enjoying. They’re very realistic about being in a club that’s a musical group that’s a performance group. And they’re totally realistic about their chances. Nice goals: “I want to play in this auditorium with it full.” Nice self-reflection: “I couldn’t be a professional idol, but we can be school idols.” It’s really feeling like an authentic (enough) depiction of this group (honestly, you don’t get newbies to write a song that good, but hey, can’t be TOO realistic about it).

  6. Foshizzel says:

    My god the Lamas~

    I love the expressions in this series so far like that final screenshot? LOL WHAT? Best face ever, but I am torn between Love Live and Kotoura-san for funny faces because both of them are good!

    The idol club is growing leaving me to ask who will have the most members at the end of the series I wonder? AKB0048, Love Live or the IdolM@ster? I guess AKB kind of wins right now xD

    • Highway says:

      Well, we know how many people will be in mu’s. I don’t know how many there are gonna be in the others.

    • HannoX says:

      I believe they’re alpacas. It was a fun touch seeing them, but I was wondering why a Japanese high school has them. Do they have a weaving club that makes cloth out of the fur?

      • Restia says:

        Maybe they’re just there as School pets. I remember there was school that got a PANDA to look after for 2 years.. I’m still jelly >_>

    • BlackBriar says:

      I haven’t seen the IdolM@ster so the contest for me will be between Love Live and AKB0048. I’m leaning more on the latter because looking at the series, they clearly have the upper hand where the number of members are concerned and more keep coming in. Look back at whenever they have their dance practices.

  7. Metalsnakezero says:

    This was a pretty solid episode with a nice arc for Hanayo and some insight in to Maki’s back story. Would had liked more development with Rin but it does make for the scene with her and Maki pulling Hanayo along makes a lot of sense.

    I have to say, I’m liking this more than Idolmaster since Idolmaster was more fun while Love Live has a good balance.

    Next week trolling Loli Niko!

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