In the Love Live! School Idol Festival rhythm action game, characters are typically associated with one of the three main statistics: Pure, Cool, and Smile. Nozomi Tojo is a “Pure” girl, yet she is also clever and cunning. She frequently talks about punishing other girls by rubbing their breasts (her infamous “washi washi”). Even her physical appearance as the most voluptuous character pushes the association of purity away from her.
The word “Purity” as it pertains to idols is usually associated with their connection to sexuality and demeanor, but I think that it takes on a slightly different meaning when it comes to Nozomi.
At the beginning of Love Live! School Idol Project, Nozomi is the student council vice-president supporting her best friend, Eli. As the girls of Otonokizaka Academy come together to form a school idol group, it’s Nozomi who guides them behind the scenes and even grants their name: μ’s, in reference to the Greek Muses. Among her other notable characteristics are her physical maturity, her Kansai accent, and her spirituality.
This “spiritual power,” as Nozomi refers to it, comes in many forms. She works as a miko at Kanda Shrine near Akihabara. She frequently makes predictions using Tarot cards. Combined with her aggressive behavior, Nozomi embraces both the physical and the otherworldly to similar degrees.
Purity of Friendship
These physical and spiritual realms come together in the fact that Nozomi greatly values the bonds of friendship. This is best seen in Episode 8 of Love Live! School Idol Project Season 2, a Nozomi-centric story that gives an inside view into her way of thinking. It’s revealed over the course of the episode that Nozomi was unable to make friends until she first met Eli, and that this would be the eventual path she took to coming together with the rest of μ’s.
This is where the idea of Nozomi as “Pure” truly comes into play. Her simple yet powerful desire to have friends with whom you can connect emotionally carries a kind of innocence. It transcends and defies whatever other elements of Nozomi’s character might render her character in shadow, and speaks to those who have ever felt the dull, bludgeoning pain of loneliness. The magic of friendship (though frequently presented in pony form) is on full display with Nozomi.
Friendship is a general theme in Love Live! but it’s arguably most important when it comes to Nozomi. She is one of the guiding forces behind the formation of μ’s. She combines a sharp wit with a gentle soul, and this manifests in her deep valuing of friendship. Nozomi is at her best when surrounded by others, and while she teases the other girls, Nozomi is shown to be well aware of their importance to her. Her relationship with Eli and the rest strengthens the overall bond of μ’s. While her physical appearance is often what draws people to her first, it’s her personality and her spirituality that keep them as fans.