Love Live is about a bunch of complete and utter morons trying to find ways to keep their school open. I can see why the school is closing too, since clearly their standard of teaching has left those attending a combined IQ in the single digits. One of the girls goes to another school and sees some teenage girls being exploited on a big TV screen as ear-piercingly terrible music causes her to stumble and grasp onto a railing. It is then that she decides, in a rare moment of genius, that blaring similar awful music at her school would scare away any bulldozers trying to knock it down. She then goes and runs around in traffic.
I’ll give this to Love Live before I start the usual bout of complaining: The creators clearly enjoyed making this. After watching stuff so bland you could feel the creators souls drain away via the screen, like Roman and Amnesia, Love Live is a real bundle of joy. Even though my cynicism beat me down and tried to keep my brow furiously furrowed, a piece of majestic operatic music would accompany a character’s reaction, or someone would pull a particularly dopey facial expression, and momentarily that frown would quiver and something resembling a grin would form across my face.
The character designs look like they all came off the same production belt. They all have the exact same face, with the only things changing being their eye colour, hair colour and hair design. It’s actually quite eerie when the girl has the same face as both her mother and her younger sister. The fruit pastel colour design does suit the tone of the anime though. It’s essentially just another ‘moe girls doing X’ show, but does that genre correctly. Minimal focus on melodrama, actual narrative structure, strong directing with musical cues and consistent tone. I’ve talked about the music already, but I really do love how they pull some grand operatic music when the female lead goes through her despair when she realises her school is shutting down.
Best of all, the characters break out into dance for the ending song naturally as the credits start to roll, seamlessly with what was happening in the episode at the time. I don’t know how long I’ve been saying this, but all anime is improved by impromptu dance and musical numbers. Thing is, the reason I like impromptu dance numbers is the inherent amusement in seeing characters break continuity when they start busting out the moves. It’s less exciting in something about idols. It was done great in this episode, but just having them appear on stage as actual idols is never as interesting.
I can totally understand why you might love this. The main reasons why I don’t are far more personal. One is that idol culture creeps me the fuck out. Particularly the more I read about AKB48, the more I get disturbed by the whole thing. Teenage girls dressed up as elementary school students trying to appeal to grown men as they adopt the mannerisms of young children as fetishistic objects before being thrown aside by their record company once they reach the ripe old age of 20. Yup, idol culture creeps me out.
But far more than that, and even more personally, is the songs are all jpop. I. Hate. Jpop. I don’t really like East Asian music in general, but I really dislike regular pop music anyway. Jpop is the worst of the worst. I’m pretty sure the only reason I can’t get into Macross as much as I should is because I hate that entire genre of music. Not only does idol music suck and the culture is creepy, it’s been done in anime so many times before. Japan, I genuinely love your cartoons, but your music is terrible. The best song from anime for the past few years has been by a 70’s band from Scotland. I’ve said this on twitter already, but you could improve Love Live by replacing jpop with absolutely any other genre of music. In fact, I would probably be all over it.
Think about it seriously for a second. Imagine Love Live but with bluegrass? Where the girls get their hands on some straw hats and a pair of banjos, sit on a three-legged stool in the middle of the road and start busting some yeehaww tunes? Or Bollywood music, complete with suitable costumes, with the bonus that you could probably make the dance routines about the same? Or they commandeer a set of bongos and start up a samba dance club to save the school? Or find some massive speakers hidden in a rabbit hutch and start up a club dedicated to dubstep? Or how about the fusion of two genres about feeling happy all the time, moe and reggae? Or they get painted up and start up a moe moe death metal club? Anything, anything, ANYTHING other than jpop.