Not too long ago I looked at Love Live. The anime portion of a multi-media project. It was an enjoyable series. The first series introduced us to µ‘s (pronounced Muse.) µ‘s formed with three members in order to gain interest in their school to prevent it shutting down. We saw the original three gradually grow into nine. We saw the nine girls coming together as friends & comrades, doing live shows and getting really, really, really homo-erotic with one another. So, our heroines managed to save their school in the end. Where are they going to go from there?
We open with Honoka giving a speech as the brand new student council President. Turns out Eri recommended her for the position. Hanayo is interrupted at practice by the news that they’re doing another Love Live competition. Most members of µ‘s are excited by the prospect and eager to enter but Honoka is strangely uninterested, saying that things are fine as they are. The girls are able to persuade her that µ‘s should enter by pointing out that this will be Nozomi, Eri & Nico’s last chance to compete in the competition since they’re graduating shortly after. They’re also able to ascertain why Honoka hesitated. The story follows µ‘s and their endeavour to win the competition, their coming to terms with the third years graduating and them just having fun and being yurirrific.
The biggest problem with the narrative in this series is that the main arc surrounding the competition is really predictable. You can pretty easily guess where it’s going to go just from the set up, without watching a single episode of the series. The series does do a lot well, though. The comedy in this is really effective. The first series was pretty entertaining and had some good comedic moments, but this one elevates it to a completely different level. There are also some really good moments in the main narrative, in spite of its general predictability and there is some effective tension surrounding the graduation and the question of where µ‘s is going to go from there. The ending is a bit bitter-sweet but it’s really effective.
The girls get to develop further as characters than they did in the first series. There are several episodes primarily dedicated to developing them as characters and adding depth to the archetypes. Rin and Nozomi both get really good ones. I will also give this series credit over the first, Nozomi’s bad touch habit is virtually non-existent in this one. She gropes another girl without permission once. Which is still completely not okay, but at least it’s not a regular thing like it was in the first series. I bet Eri threatened to break up with her if she kept groping other girls. Either way, the combination of that getting toned significantly down and her focus episode combine to transform Nozomi into a really good character. The characters are still a lot of fun and there are still really good interactions, including some with the rival idol group, A-Rise.
Much like the first series, this one has really good costumes and dance numbers. The characters are still basically missing their noses, though. I think this art style was designed by someone with rhinophobia. That would explain so much. In spite of that, the art and animation are good.
The cast is excellent. Love Live has singers who are also excellent in their roles. See, Ice, it is possible to have people who can do both. The music is superb. Both series of Love Live have really mazing soundtracks.
It’s easy to see why yuri fans gravitate towards this franchise. The les-yay levels are massive. Really, any potential pairing would make sense but there are some that come across more strongly than others. Rin and Hanyo continue to be really adorable. We’ve also got Nozomi and Eri, who also get quite a bit of les-yay with both Maki and Nico. Honoka, Umi and Kotori are all really homo-erotic with one another.
Love Live series 2 is a definite improvement over the first. The characters are strengthened. The comedy is more effective and the story, overall, has more going for it. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth watching. My final rating on it is going to be a 9/10. The first series was good. This one is excellent. Next week I’ll look at Solty Rei.