|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Love Live! Superstar!! S1
(All episodes watched):|
I had not been thrilled by the last couple of Love Live incarnations, and had paid little attention to this show until I saw it at the top of the list of ANN's best Summer 2021 anime(!). The word was that after drifting off course the franchise was now back on its original track, thanks largely to the same production leader it once had having returned. I gave it a second look and had to admit that this show had something going for it. Kanon has an understandable problem, which makes her someone you can empathize with, and Keke is optimistic to the point of her being a joke. The discouragement the two get from Hazuki, one of the girls in the music program, only makes us want them to try harder (and it looks like Hazuki will be persuaded to join their group eventually). The jokes are modestly amusing and I notice that all of the five main character VAs are newcomers who I had to add to our library here at Mikomi. So, not radically original as idol anime go, but this show seems to know what works and what doesn't, and I'm curious where this story will go.
In episode two we learn that optimism is about the only thing Keke (pronounced more like 'Kookoo') has going for her. Hazuki sets a seemingly impossible goal for Kanon and Keke to accomplish in exchange for permission to form a School idol group. The plot isn't surprising me but the fact that this show is fairly amusing is. Stuff like the chemistry between Kanon and her family (she has two parents!) is fun. In episode three Kanon's habit of fainting when before an audience is addressed; what happens when she and Keke make their critical performance was handled well if not brilliantly. They earn a measure of respect from Hazuki and others and it is only to be expected that they will use it to pursue their dream. This could happen in countless different ways and I was eagerly curious which way they would go. Superstar seems to be moving at a good clip which keeps us from becoming bored (I had wondered if the entire series might be about them passing this initial test). This is seeming like an enjoyable show which I'm glad I didn't miss.
In episode four we meet the blonde Sumire (actually, she has made minor appearances earlier), who is officially the third member of the group. She has an ulterior motive to joining: she craves fame and popularity. Her less than perfect personality is much more fun than just another girl who enjoys singing for the sake of others or something like that (we already have at least one of those). The show in general is more about interesting characters than just practicing an act in order to win a competition, which was a wise choice. Sure enough, this has become the one anime I most look forward to watching this (lackluster) season.
In episode five Chi, the grey haired girl who has coached the others on dancing, begins to drift towards becoming an idol herself. In this show we meet all five eventual members of the group early on and watch as each of them becomes attracted to being a school idol for one reason or another. In episode seven Kanon and the others try to figure out why the upper class girl Ren has discouraged school idols at Yuigaoka, and discover that she's more humble than she seems. It looks like the ultimate purpose of the idols may be somewhat similar to what it was back in the original LL series. With the group finally complete (and finally given a name, Liella), the five girls can get serious about the upcoming Love Live school idol competition. The subtly goofy tone of this show (the girls are goofy without actively trying to be) was fun.
Though I was still enjoying the show and looking forward to new episodes, things seem to quiet down a bit as the group prepares for the Love Live finals. Perhaps assembling the group was more fun than than watching it compete. The girls wonder if Kanon's stage fright really is gone for good, and can't take any chances. Nevertheless, the climactic performance of Liella was powerful and cathartic. Still, the story seems distinctly incomplete at the end; while the girls have accomplished one goal, turning their school's fortunes around (as in the original Love Live), they still haven't gone all the way to the top of the LL competition. Sure enough, the day after I watched the final episode a second season was announced, though exactly when that will happen wasn't made clear. I will gladly watch it; Superstar was a fun show whose makers knew the tricks of making a good idol series.
Last updated Monday, October 25 2021. Created Saturday, August 07 2021.