love live!

Summer Stock: Love Live! Sunshine

lovelive!, love live! school idol project sunshine, love live! sunshine, chika takami love live sunshine, love live sunshine episode 1 chika aquors

“In this moment, I had the greatest epiphany!”

-Honoka Kousaka, Love Live!, Episode 1

Unlike The Idolm@ster, which already had a legion of fans from the original arcade game prior to the anime’s 2011 debut or the 2012 series AKB0048, which drew on the pre-existing AKB48 fanbase, Love Live! was still a relatively new multimedia project when the anime aired in early 2013.

Love Live! has always operated on a few different conceits than other idol series, even back in its first season when it was this weird and corny thing with janky computer generated animation. The Idolm@ster poked a bit at the exhausting lifestyle of an idol and AKB0048 prodded at the creepiness of it all while both sold their respective products and tie-ins, banking on the fact that audiences would resonate with one or two girls — or in the peculiar case of AKB0048, support them because of their real-life counterparts.

Meanwhile, Love Live! wants to charm you from the get-go, in the same vein of a hammy musical production. The latest iteration of the series, Love Live! Sunshine, is no different.

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Yoppi’s “Flu Game,” and the Emotional Narrative of Wake Up, Girls!

wake up girls!, wug, yoshino nanase, yoppi, kaya kikuma, minami katayama

“Matsuda, do you remember what I told you at the audition? About idols being a story? They’ve written tons of stories this past year, and today will become a new story. I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but these girls are idols.”

-Green Leaves President Junko Tange, Wake Up Girls!, episode 12

Where The Idolm@ster plays with traditional harem elements to captivate its audience, AKB0048 is the next evolution of Macross, and Love Live! is a high school musical, Wake Up, Girls! makes a compelling case for itself as more of a classic sports narrative. President Tange tells Matsuda – and by extension, frames the series for viewers – that idols are “a story.”

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Wake Up, Girl! How I Watch Idol Shows

wake up girls!, wug, mayu shimada, airi hayashida, minami katayama, yoshino nanase, nanami hisami, kaya kikuma, miyu okamoto

The story of Wake Up Girls! begins in a movie – one that I highly recommend you watch before beginning the television series – not in its first named episode. This sets a specific, cynical, framework through which to view the series, much like how The Idolm@ster‘s premiere episode was shot in the style of an idol interview, giving the show a specific tone. In spite of a harsh outlook on the idol industry, Wake Up Girls! doesn’t shine that same light on our would-be idols, similar to AKB0048‘s treatment of its progenies.

A few minutes in, our soon-to-be Producer of Green Leaves talent agency – who, in spite of bearing a striking resemblance to Producer from The Idolm@ster, is also graced with a name, Kouhei Matsuda – watches company president Junko Tange yell at her own client like a deranged Anna Wintour. From that moment on, I knew that I was going to love this movie.

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Leadership, Passion, and Idol Activities: Aikatsu Episode 32

Aikatsu!, Ichigo Hoshimiya, idol activities

“I just really like watching people have fun. Like when someone gobbles down a delicious meal I made for them, or when I just get to watch someone I’ve never met having a great time –– I really love that. Yeah, so when I watch Haru-nyan, it makes me really happy. It’s like, I don’t know, she’s just having so much fun, y’know?”

-Tsuruya, The Intrigues of Haruhi Suzumiya, page 94

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