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.
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...
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.
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...
In my previous article, I showed you pictorial comparisons between places in Numazu that the girls of Aqours appeared in the Love Live Sunshine anime. Here, I will provide detailed instructions for pilgrims who intend to pay these places an actual visit.
Love Live! Sunshine!! started airing on 2nd of July 2016. It features the successors of u’s, Aqours. The story is set in the city of Numazu city in Shizuoka prefecture, a city which happens to be very near where I lived when I was in Japan. Here are some comparisons for those who wish to pay an anime pilgrimage to the places that appeared in the anime, with photos of the actual places all taken by myself.
The girls of Love Live! Sunshine!! have a lot to live up to. With the anime currently airing, their story is now known to a wider audience, and they draw inevitable comparison to their Love Live! senpai. While the members of Aqours are unique enough to not feel like carbon copies of μ’s, I find that it’s still worth looking at them relative to each other. In particular, given that Honoka and Chika are the central heroines of their respective Love Live! franchises, I thought it would be best to compare them as protagonists, to see what effect they have on their world. Title Image Source