Anime & Manga — love live RSS



School Idols vs. Pro Idols: The Hints of Sobering Reality in Love Live!

The public face of the idol industry is far different from what lies within. Girls and guys meant to provide images of purity on the surface are often the products of years of intense training, potential exploitation, and an engine of capitalism that tries to extract untold amounts of money from fans in the name of loyalty. It’s hardly unusual that idol anime tend to shy away from that seedy underbelly, which is why it surprises me that the Love Live! anime hints—albeit very subtly—at the harsh difference between fantasy and reality.

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The Canon of Kanan: Love Live! Sunshine!! Character Controversy

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article concerning Love Live! Sunshine!! character Kanan Matsuura’s rise from being last place in the very first Center Election (a vote which determines who will be the main performer for the next song) to actually winning the most recent third election for their newest song, “Happy Party Train.” I chalked up a sizable portion of this change to her appearance in the anime, a portrayal that personally turned me into a fan. Since then, however, thanks to some helpful reader comments, I’ve learned that there were many more gears helping to drive the Kanan engine to victory (locomotive pun very much intended). It paints a complex image of how Love Live! fandom works whereby it...

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How Love Live! Sunshine!!’s Least Popular Character Rocketed to #1

In the beginning, the waters were rough for the character Kanan Matsuura in Love Live! Sunshine!! One of the nine new girls introduced as part of the school idol group Aqours, the deep-sea diver turned idol was among the least popular, even placing dead last in the very first center election—the process by which fans vote for the lead performer for the next album. A year later, however, Kanan’s fortunes have reversed dramatically, to the extent that she’s the center for Aqours’ newest single, “Happy Party Train.” While there are likely a number of factors that go into changing people’s opinions of a character, the Love Live! Sunshine!! anime undoubtedly played a major role.

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Good Idol/Wise Sister: Dia, Ruby, and Notions of Ideal Japanese Women in Love Live! Sunshine!!

There are two phrases in Japanese culture that are traditionally said to describe the “ideal Japanese woman.” The first is Yamato nadeshiko, which roughly translates to “Japanese carnation.” The second phrase is ryousai kenbo, or “good wife, wise mother.” The two terms collectively create a seemingly monolithic image of what it means to be the perfect Japanese women, one that is steeped heavily in cultural sexism. However, there is a significant amount of range within this general concept, and I find that the two characters who really demonstrate this plasticity are the sisters of Love Live! Sunshine!!, Dia Kurosawa and Ruby Kurosawa. This is not to claim that fans of either Dia or Ruby are sexist, or that their appeal...

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Passionate Whispers: Hanayo Koizumi is the Best Love Live! Character

Finally, we’ve arrived at the final character spotlight for the nine original girls of Love Live! School Idol Project, and I’ve saved the best for last. Hanayo Koizumi is my favorite character and I hope you’ll indulge me as I gush about why Hanayo is the best, and why I feel such a strong, personal connection with her character.

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From Russia with Love Live!: What Makes Eli Ayase Amazing

In my Love Live! School Idol Project character posts for Apartment 507, I’ve often touched upon the idea that many of the characters of Love Live! highlight a mix of innocence and maturity. Umi is disciplined yet prone to panic. Maki is cool on the surface but can get easily flustered. Nico performs the role of the naïve idol, but is in fact incredibly pragmatic. Out of all of the μ’s girls, it is Elichika Ayase (Eli to friends and family) who comes across as the most adult. I believe that this stems from her identity as a Half-Russian character.

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Unforgettable: Love Live! Kotori Minami Character Spotlight

Each Love Live! School Idol Project character has her supporters. Each girl’s quirks and habits are celebrated and repeated throughout the fandom, as ways to communicate with like-minded individuals and used as a beacon for expressing one’s love for both that character and Love Live! as a whole. However, out of all the characters, I feel that Kotori Minami has likely left the most lasting visual impression on not only the Love Live! fandom, but also Love Live!’s online presence as a whole. I find that there are three reasons why I think Kotori is such a memorable and visible part of Love Live!, which I’m going to elaborate on below.

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Beautiful Tomboy Idol: Love Live! Rin Hoshizora Character Spotlight

Whether her fans come to know her through the music, the anime, or the mobile game, one look at Rin Hoshizora establishes firmly her role in Love Live! as “the energetic tomboy.” Rin has the boyish looks and the athleticism, and her performance outfits often incorporate pants instead of skirts. Being a tomboy also means often getting addled with certain narratives. For example, characters of this archetype often have a moment where they discover or are able to indulge in their more feminine side, and in this respect Rin is no exception. Yet, I find her story to be something more special. When Rin embraces her feminine side, it's not so much about a girl rejecting masculinity as it is...

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