Being the main character of Love Live! School Idol Project isn’t easy. Honoka Kosaka is presented as energetic and generally appealing, but this also means that she doesn’t engender hardcore devotion quite to the extent of the other characters. She’s the Naruto, Sailor Moon, John Cena, and Superman of her story. And like those figures she is routinely criticized for being bland and boring. But to criticize Honoka for filling her role as protagonist is a bit harsh in my opinion, and I believe it’s important to look at her character in a fairer light.
In the world of Love Live!, Honoka is the very person responsible for bringing together the nine girls that would become μ’s. She is a second-year student at Otonokizaka, and is the one who comes up with the idea to save their school from being shut down by founding a school idol group. Her main characteristics are positivity and a “never-give-up” attitude that are counterbalanced by a tendency to act before she thinks and a relative lack of discipline. She’s the shoujo heroine who’s always late for school, as well as the shounen hero with a burning spirit.
Rise Above Hate
While most people might feel that Honoka’s character archetype is vulnerable to being boring, in practice I find that to be far from the case. There’s a powerful charisma to Honoka that underlines her actions. Although her behavior can be cringe-worthy at times, she has a strange sort of charisma that not only creates energy in the other members, but in audiences as well. As soon as she sings the first line of the Love Live! School Idol Project anime’s Season 2 opening, there’s an immediate sense that she is here to take everyone on an adventure, and that we should trust her.
I’ve mentioned the singing in some of the previous Love Live! character reflections, but with Honoka in particular I find it to be a vital trait. That seems obvious given that they’re all supposed to be singers, but there’s a sense of both power and child-like exuberance to her voice that makes it extremely memorable. In this respect, her voice actress Nitta Emi is worthy of praise. This quality then carries over to her non-singing voice work and makes many of the scenes with Honoka just work out of a sheer sense of sincerity. Of course I know that these characters are fictional and that their personalities are finely honed from careful marketing. However, the fact that Honoka’s enthusiasm is so convincingly infectious even with that awareness makes it all the more impressive.
Like many protagonists, Honoka Kosaka carries the burden of being the character you’re “supposed” to like. Often this results in a backlash, and Honoka is no exception. However, when looking at her more closely, I find that she overcomes this limitation. Honoka ends up being a fine character to root for, believe in and devote your attention to. She’s strong in the right ways but is also so much more.