Love Live! Superstar!! Episodes 1 & 2 (First Impression)

EPISODE 1

So it’s been awhile since I’ve properly sat down to watch Love Live, and even blogged about it. I did watch about three episodes of Nijigasaki before I ended up falling behind on it and putting it on hold. I did enjoy the little I watched of it and I’m excited to get back to it, and I had actually planned to finish that first before I would start Superstar but curiosity got the best of me and here I am.

I swear, with each iteration of Love Live the animation just gets more and more beautiful, both 2D and CG. I thought Nijigasaki was beautiful but this show is breathtaking as well. The colors are vibrant but soft and the backgrounds are so detailed and gorgeous. I’m not an art person so I’m not sure how to properly describe it but it’s pleasing to the eyes.

So this episode was lovely, and it really surprised me. Whenever I see an orange haired character, my mind automatically thinks “genki”. We got that with Honoka, and with Chika, so I thought Kanon would be the same way and yet she’s the complete opposite and I love it. She’s straightforward and sort of cynical, while also being a dreamer. Except she can’t achieve her dream because of her debilitating stage fright. This is a great change to the main characters in Love Live since they were all super happy-go-lucky and ready to sing and dance, even if they weren’t that good at it. Kanon on the other hand loves to sing, and she’s very good at it and she’s loved to sing ever since she was a child. But she simply can’t because of her stage fright, which messed up her chances at getting into the music program of the school she’s going to now. This is a serious hurdle to get through and I think a more creative take on the regular Love Live formula. I’m sure there’s many people that can relate to Kanon with their love of music but also having the fear of performing in front of others. It’s sad, it’s frustrating, and demoralizing. And we really see that with Kanon as she wants to be school idols with Keke, but her fear holds her back.

Now, I know we had that huge musical number at the end and Kanon actually sang in front of everyone in Harajuku but I hope that wasn’t a magical fix to her stage fright. I hope she still struggles with it so we can slowly see her character grow both in stage fright and with her attitude. She’s really down on herself and she’s basically given up her dream, so it’ll be fun to see Kanon face her fears and see her live up to her dream of singing and performing. So far, I really like Kanon’s character a lot and she’s definitely a fresh air in the Love Live franchise with her personality. She’s strong willed, opinionated, and has a social anxiety issue that actually feels real. Her design is really great as well with the headphones, using it so she can tune out the world and be in her own zone. It says a lot about her. Hmm, reminds me of Neku from The World Ends with You, but less mean.

It looks like Keke is going to be our school idol enthusiast this time. And the foreign trope too. She loves school idols so much that she literally left China to become one in Japan. That basically beats Nico, Hanayo, and even Dia’s love for them. I don’t have too much to say about Keke but I do like her. She’s pretty persistent and she can see a lot of potential in Kanon as a school idol based on her singing voice. She’s an earnest and honest girl who wants to achieve her own dream at any cost, while also wanting to help Kanon achieve hers too because she cares so much. She’s really cute and I can at least say that I like her so far. I’d love to learn more about her too since she’s a little simple right now, but she has a good energy and has great interactions with the not-so-energetic Kanon. Of course, she kind of takes on the genki trope so I hope she doesn’t annoy me too much since she can get pushy. We’ll see/

I can’t say much about the other girls as well either since they didn’t appear much. Chisato has an adorable design, Sumire I’m not sure of, and Ren is…yet again, the no nonsense student council president that forbids idols but will also join the main group later on. We’ve had this every season, though now we’re back to the president not liking idols and looking down on them (sort of like Eli). This trope is really boring but damn it it’s not just Love Live, literally every idol/music show that’s set in a school always has the student council president character who’s strict. And I usually do end up really liking these characters a lot (love Eli and Dia, and I liked the little bit I saw of Setsuna) but this trope seriously has got to go.

Either way, another huge change in Superstar!! is the fact that the main cast has been shrunk down to 5, and not the usual 9 that we get. I’m very excited about this change because that gives me hope that every single girl will get enough spotlight and character development to where they will feel like actual characters and not just tropes. Love Live has that issue where some of the girls would get more screentime than others and those that were ignored had a disappointing story and just remained stagnant, or just as a character trope. With so many girls in the main cast, it’s hard to give each of them their own time to shine so with the cast this time only being 5, it gives me hope that the character writing will be strongest here.

Now I will admit that this episode was pretty fast. Kanon helping Keke find some potential school idols was fine, but the ending where Keke adamantly wants to be school idols with Kanon and Kanon suddenly changing her mind was preeeetty fast. And while I loved the performance at the end, why did they show the other girls when they haven’t even joined yet? Kind of kills the “”surprise”” if you know what I mean. Still, I hope that means that we’ll get the “make the club and find members” thing short lived because we’ve seen that plenty of times. Again, use this opportunity to give these characters more depth.

Anyway, this was a really great start and it’s fun getting back into Love Live again after giving it a break for awhile. I’ve actually missed it so I’m really hoping that Superstar!! will pull me back in. Though…I don’t really need to get into more gacha hell than I already am. Hehe…


EPISODE 2

Well, at least we won’t have to deal with the “no school idols!” business for very much longer thanks to the school’s Director. Still, the girls have a huge goal to hit with placing first in the local school idol competition. Considering they’ve never performed in front of people before (at least with Kanon), having to make a song, learn choreography, and all of that seems tough. At least they were able to get some help from Chisato with the choreography, and since this is a music school and they all have some sort of music talent, Kanon can compose and Keke can make the lyrics. How will it all come together in the end? We shall wait and see~

This episode was pretty funny. With Ren refusing to even accept their application as a school idol club, it was hilarious to see Keke go to the extremes like suggesting leaving their school for another one, and literally making a giant float and screaming at everyone with a megaphone while Kanon pulled her along. It was really silly but it got a big laugh out of me. Honestly, a lot of the humor came from Keke this time. She’s pushy, but she does have a lot of heart. That leads her into following her passions and going at it full force…even though in this case, she basically has no stamina and falls flat on her face after two seconds of exercise. Like, pathetically so. Having heart and passion can only get you so far, so it was nice that Chisato decided to give them her time and help them out with dancing and exercise. Also I love that Keke regularly plays mobile rhythm games and thinks her getting perfect combos is proof that she has what it takes to be an idol. I mean, at least she has rhythm? I get perfect combos too, I feel a connection with Keke. Do I have what it takes?! No.

So far I think Chisato is really sweet. She played a big role helping the girls out with their dancing, and she seems to have a really fun side as she randomly raps down the street. We still don’t really know too much about her, but I really like her easygoing attitude. I hope in the future they’ll explore Kanon and Chisato’s childhood friendship and how Chisato getting into the music program and leaving Kanon behind may have affected it. It doesn’t seem like it now but I get the feeling she may feel a little guilty from some of her reactions.

Sumire I thought would be the other serious girl, but it looks like she’s the type that’s screaming for attention. Such as going out of her way to yell about her crepe and hoping that people were watching her or something. I’m not entirely sure what her deal is, but at least she won’t be as stoic as Ren. Maybe she’ll be the Nico/Kasumi of the group. And speaking of Ren, she doesn’t make too much of an impression yet. Again, I’ve seen her character type too often so it gets a little boring so I hope they do something different with her. It sounds like she’s under a lot of pressure because of her mother donating to the school, and her emphasis of having their school beat the other schools when it comes to their music programs and all that might be because of her home. I can see her having a strict musical upbringing and being jealous of school idols because they don’t have to take themselves too seriously when they perform (like being more upbeat). That’s fine and all but I don’t want this show being too predictable. Still, we’ll see.

We have our rival group of this season I see: Sunny Pas. We’ve seen them multiple times now so of course they’re going to have to show up sooner or later. Possibly at the competition Kanon and Keke will be in? Maybe not as competitors (since they seem really famous) and just as judges? I’m looking forward to seeing them whenever they will appear since I’ve always enjoyed the rival groups.

What will happen at the competition? Will all their hard work be for nothing as Kanon falls apart on stage? Will that happen and will the director reject them? We still haven’t exactly seen Kanon sing in front of people again, and she was really hesistant when Keke asked her to. The episode cut off into the (gorgeous) ED as Kanon seemed like she was about to so we don’t really know whether she’s ready or not. She’s got what it takes when it comes to dancing, stamina, composing, and her actual singing voice. We still don’t know whether or not she’ll actually sing and perform in front of everyone and her reaction at the end wasn’t too sure either. I’m not sure what will happen, but like I said, it would be pretty disappointing if she got over her stage fright just like that. I think it would be a really great moment for growth if they did bomb their performance, as sad as that sounds. I enjoyed when that happened in Sunshine because it allowed for them to grow and really set realistic goals for themselves. Kanon and Keke bombing would be sad, but with how horrible Kanon’s stage fright is, it would be realistic. I’m really excited to see how everything plays out next time!

After the Olympics!

This delay kind of sucks, but at least it gave me time to catch up and get these reviews out. So far I’m really enjoying Superstar with how fun it is. The characters are great and have fun interactions, and I’ve like what little changes they did with the usual formula with bringing down the group size and giving us a different protagonist. I love Kanon a lot and it’s a little unusual for me to latch onto a character this early on. With shows like these I need a bit more time to get to know the characters before I get attached to anyone but I like how headstrong, but a little flawed, Kanon can be. She’s just really relateable and I want to see her improve. She also has an amazing singing voice (shoutout to her seiyuu) and she’s just funny too. So far, I’m enjoying this a lot and I look forward to watching this when it gets back on schedule. Love Live, it looks like I’m back.

Possibility of watching: Guaranteed

Possibility of blogging: Guaranteed

“Like, tap tap tap!”

Berry

Unfortunately still a weeb

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1 Response

  1. Firechick says:

    As someone who isn’t normally a fan of Love Live and only saw the Nijigasaki season, I really liked this one as well. I do agree that LL could use a change in formula once in a while, and it seems to be taking a lot of new steps to do that. Buuuuut I really can’t stand Keke’s voice. She sounds so shrill and squeaky and it literally grates on my ears, and at times I feel like her voice actress is trying too hard to sound cute to the point where she just phones it in. And oddly enough, she sounds fine when she’s singing! But this isn’t enough to make me stop watching Superstar, so I’m going to keep up with it, as I do like Kanon as a character.

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