First Impressions – Love Live! Sunshine!!

Love Live Sunshine - You need more practice

You needs to practice for Love Live! Sunshine!!

 To be totally honest, I wasn’t that into the original seasons of the Love Live! anime (I swear, Angelic Angel changed my life). Sure, I liked the mobile game a lot, watching the seiyuu interact in concerts and such was fun, and the anime was cute, but I always liked the anime characters characters individually as opposed to watching them interact together. However, now I’m excited about the franchise as a whole, and it’s nice to have another chance to watch a school idol club build up from the bottom. I feel like I can enjoy the process so much more now.
winter15-highw Unlike Kara, I’ve been a huge fan of Love Live since the end of the very first episode when they busted out Susume Tomorrow and danced down the road. I love musical shows, and through the first two seasons, following μ’s and all the girls. I felt like the second season was as close to a victory lap as a series is going to get, and the movie actually did well at wrapping up the story, even though I was sad there would be no more μ’s. But now we’ve got a new series using the Love Live! Idea, if not the same characters. So how will this new series be?

So What Is Aquors?

Love Live Sunshine - Yoshiko gets the whackaloon award

Yoshiko wins the Whackaloon Award from the start

Highway – Anyone who is anticipating watching this show probably already knows what Aquors is, as it’s going to be the new group formed in this new series. But before we get to that, we have to actually meet some new characters. This is the riskiest part of this new series: It’s not the first group. It’s barely even related to that. And like I said in the pre-season post, I think it’s the wrong idea to go into this show thinking that it will be the same, that there will be a “new Honoka” or “new Nico” or “New Umi”. Perhaps the best thing you can do is treat this as a completely new show, and not try to draw the parallels. But that’s going to be tough to do, I think…

Love Live Sunshine - Neither will back down

Two girls who aren’t going to back down

Karakuri – I was afraid that the characters were going to be not as fun or memorable as the original members. Luckily this doesn’t seem to be the case, and all of the characters seem like they’ll be interesting to watch as a group. Of course, a lot of them just seem like the same characters with different hair, years, and voices, so that may be part of it. Dia is what Eli would have been if she maybe had Umi’s personality. Ruby shares some similarities with Hanayo. Chika is kind of like Honoka 2.0. However, these are just initial impressions and surely the characters will have different traits and interactions to set them apart from the original cast. Yoshiko certainly seems different on her own, and will hopefully bring a new dynamic to Aqours that μ’s didn’t have. I imagine that the rest of the characters will do the same in time.

Normal Girls are from Earth,
not Planet Normal

Love Live Sunshine - Don't throw your life away!

Chika says “Don’t throw your life away!”

Karakuri – One thing I really like about the new anime is the part about how Chika acknowledges that she’s just a normal girl, but she’s inspired by μ’s and wants to shine like they did (I admit, I was tearing up when they started to slash to START:DASH!!). In a way, the new characters are kind of like the fans of Love Live in how everyone can admire what the original cast did. Sure, Honoka was inspired by A-RISE in the original. In this case though, the emphasis seems to be that Chika was inspired by how normal the girls in μ’s were, and how they ended up moving something in her to try and shine herself. As an opposite, A-RISE always had an air of being the elite. I guess I just like that in a way, Chika starting Aquors is like a passing of a torch to the next generation of school idols, showing how regular girls can make an impact too. …Though of course, it always seems to be an uphill battle at first trying to recruit the members.

Love Live Sunshine - Hey You Join Up

It might be tough, but she’s going for it

Highway – I think that you’re always going to have a central character that’s kind of like Honoka or Chika in a show like this. There is a character type that’s going to be the catalyst, the one that annoys the rest into doing what they all want to do, but are too full of inertia to actually get started. It will be interesting to see if Chika has as much talent as Honoka did, which was a point they really glossed over in the first Love Live: everyone can sing, even if some of them sing like Nozomi (through her nose) and Nico (with very little subtlety). I know they’re ‘just’ trying to be school idols, but that’s still a high bar for singing talent.

Love Live Sunshine - A familiar ribbon

That’s a familiar ribbon

I did like the call out to the previous series by having Riko come from Otonakizaka High, but I wonder what the reason for her hesitance to admit to knowing what school idols are is. She was a classmate of Maki, Rin, and Hanayo, and is interested in music, but I am guessing that we’ll have to wait to find out what her issue is with them, and why she rejects Chika’s invitation. And for her part, it’s obvious that Chika didn’t make the connection between μ’s and Otonakizaka High. She’s the type of girl who would go “WHAT? You’re from their school?!!?!?!” Maybe a little bit lacking in tact, I’m saying.


This was a lot of fun, and I really enjoy the new characters and setting. They seem to have enough to distinguish them from the original cast, and even though she isn’t fighting to save her school or anything, Chika’s motivations for building the club are really understandable. It really makes you want to cheer her on as she discovers something new about herself. I’ve been following character interviews online and such, and I feel drawn to Dia and Hanamaru personally, but Yoshiko also seems like she’s going to be really fun to watch. As I stated before, I was really on the fence about the switch from μ’s to Aqours. μ’s had such a popular and well established cast, but I think that Aqours is off to a good start. …Either that or I’ve fallen far enough into idol hell that I’ve become indiscriminate. Nah, that can’t be it.

Love Live Sunshine - wetsuit friend pauses

Their friend isn’t too happy about idols, it seems

As for some other elements of the series thus far though, Sunshine!! obviously has a big budget behind it based on the animation. Some of that hair movement is so pretty. Wahh. The OP song and the one they used in place of the ED are the usual upbeat Love Live ones, which isn’t bad of course, but I’m excited to see what other kinds of music this anime will have. Bring on another Snow Halation! I definitely think the CG has levelled up from the original season of Love Live too, which is nice. The models seem way more expressive now, even if it’s undeniably still CG. Overall, I really liked this new start and I’m excited for more!


Regarding the CG, I did see a short piece talking about the techniques that they were working on through the movie especially blending the CG and drawn animation in the dance sequences. Using CG as a camera move and then zooming in seamlessly to drawn without a cut. This was something I noticed in use in the musical number near the end. And another visual cue they used was that the girls weren’t exactly dancing in sync. This is actually one of the things I think is most clever about Love Live! They ‘keep it real’ with the idea of amateur school idols partly by making them not perfect. There’s always been uneven choreography, and instead of just copy-paste with the movements, each girl has distinctive movements at times, or the group is slightly out of time to each other.

Love Live Sunshine - Not really in sync, but better looking

Just a little out of sync, but much better looking

But they’ve really worked on one of the things I found was the biggest difference between the CG and the drawn parts: The way that their heads fit onto their necks. This has always been the giveaway for the CG parts of the numbers, and they’ve really worked on minimizing the differences. No more thin CG necks and Charlie Brown-round heads. It makes the whole thing a lot more pleasing, and since Love Live! has been my favorite idol choreography and dance numbers, it just makes it better to take away some of the distractions (yeah, I’m not nearly as much of an Idolm@ster guy. I find that they too often lose sight of the whole group, and cheat away from showing group movements in favor of serial closeups, which may be prettier, but doesn’t give that ensemble feel for me). If they can keep the same kind of musical variety that the forerunner group did, I’ll certainly be happy with this show.


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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10 Responses to “First Impressions – Love Live! Sunshine!!”

  1. Hoshi says:

    ~I started playing the llsif 6 months ago as a joke, but the jokes on me because now I’ve fallen deep into the pits of idol hell……

    Anyway, I’m glad Sunshine has really distinguished their characters even despite borrowing some elements from the original cast (like hair colors lol). Mainly I’m happy over the fact that Chika (so far) is actually a dependable and less annoying leader than Honoka (I…hate Honoka with a passion I’m sorry…).

    So far I’m interested to see the ~angsty~ third years and their backstories. I’m also excited to learn about Yohane, who’s already my fave. I’m not completely sold on the music for the anime yet (aside from the three songs they previewed on the ENG version of the game), but I’m sure I’ll like something eventually~

    • Highway says:

      I played llsif a little, but honestly I couldn’t really figure out how to do the non-music parts of the game very well. I’ve never even loaded it on the phone I got 8 months ago.

      I’m not completely sold on Aquors songs yet, either. They’re a lot more poppy and less rock than the μ’s songs were, at least the ones I’ve heard.

    • Karakuri says:

      I thought it was just me, but I also like Chika more than Honoka already. …Not that I had anything against Honoka, but Chika’s whole speech about wanting to do something special with her life really got to me.

      I’m not totally sold on the songs Aqours does as a group yet, but damn, Strawberry Trapper was good.

  2. Foshizzel says:

    Dat budget! I guess the Love Live movie made a bunch of money? The OP and ED seemed to have great CG for the dancing.

    For some reason these girls have way more personality than the original cast at least to me, but of course we haven’t met everyone yet.

    Great start so far.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t know if we’ve seen enough of them to figure out their personality. I do know that of the other group, it took me a while to get more interested in Kotori and Rin, but they ended up as the most interesting characters personality-wise, to me.

  3. Namaewoinai says:

    So this School Idol Project is back again well with the new face. will they ever going to surpass the other former group…we shall see,

    BTW…I heard that in the next episodes, some members of the μ’s would show up…so be alert people….

    also μ…hmm…something that bothers me for a long long time…they suppose to name…Micron instead of a name mu…bah maybe it’s just me.

    Show ▼

    • Highway says:

      It’s just you. The greek letter μ was coopted as a label for micro. The letter existed as ‘myuu’ for thousands of years before that.

    • Sumairii says:

      On its own, μ is just mu. A micron is represented by μm.

  4. skylion says:

    Very good, great characters from the very start. I’m looking forward to seeing Aquors chart they’re own course. I’m looking forward to the special talent that Whackaloon has to offer. We’ve seen a chuuni idol in Cinderella Girls, but not at this an amateurish level…

    …and I think they’ll probably develop Riko’s connection to her old school more?

  5. akagami says:

    For those of you who have listened to the Aquors music, how is it? While I wasn’t huge on the Love Live concept, I really liked their music (some member more than others due to their singing range). The OP and ED haven’t really impressed me if I’m just focusing on the singing talent.

    It’s not a bad first episode, but none of the 9 girls have caught my attention as opposed to the original (Maki is love).

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