Sunday, June 16, 2013

Anime Review: Love Live! School Idol Project

Yep I'm switching up these reviews too, I didn't realize until this morning that my viewing schedule had been thrown off just enough that I didn't have anything for today. Thankfully since I know that even a 13 episode anime series takes a me a while to get through I plan those out quite a while in advance so I can talk about that! And in case anyone is wondering if there is any methodology or reasoning about what, previous season shows I choose to review, no not really at this point. Initially I was actually going to watch Sankarea but since I needed something new to watch starting the day I got my wisdom teeth out and after that operation I wasn't in the mood for anything involving death/possible blood and gore so I went for something I knew was going to be sweet and safe. Besides, a friend and I had already checked out one episode of the show and I knew a lot of people who liked it so that meant I stood a good chance of liking it as well, right?

Love Live! School Idol Project

Summary: Honoka and her friends love their high school and are crushed to hear that starting next year it won't be accepting new students due to low application numbers and will shut down after three years. After brainstorming about ways to save the school Honoka takes an odd approach, why don't they become School Idols, a popular new fad, and use the popularity they generate to help attract people to the school so it wont' shut down!

The Good: Aside from the fact that one character has the rather out of place character quirk of grabbing other girl's chests (note to male writers, while girls may discuss boobs in real life we generally employ a "look don't touch" policy unless it escalates to something else and this is not a yuri show) this was a pretty squeaky clean show that I'd have no problem showing a middle schooler. I doubt many American middle school kids would have an interest in the show, these kinds of idols are pretty different from American Idol after all, but I wouldn't have any qualms about showing it to my little sister. And the show ended in a much better place than I expected it to, for a while it seemed like it was waffeling around about what to make into it's ending but I think in the end the show figured that out and ended well.

The Bad: This was a bit of a dull show, some of the side characters got more development than others but I think just about everyone needed more than they had (lead character Honoka certainly needed it, I know that the genki, upbeat female lead is to shojo as the hot blooded, gung-ho boy is to shonen but that doesn't mean there's no room for character development). I'll admit that with 13 episodes, a central cast of nine characters, some of whom don't even join the group until around the 9th episode (which was utterly frustrating considering how the OP and ED made it clear this was happening*), is going to be hard to develop but I'm sure they could have pulled it off and with a show that's more character driven than plot driven you have to do it. So with no characters I was especially invested in and a relatively uncomplicated plot there just wasn't much for me here other than the cute outfits I'm sure I'll see cosplayed at cons for several years.

The Production Values: My favorite parts of the show were by far the musical numbers and, while I don't feel the need to buy any of the singles, the songs were all competently sung and thankfully translated. I'll admit it, the main reason my friend and I initially tried this show was because the outfits looked like they would be cute to cosplay, hey that's one of the main reasons I tried Revolutionary Girl Utena as well, being attracted to a show in a stylized, visual medium, is hardly as shallow as it first sounds. And the show looks good, it's funny to see people talking (read: complaining) about the CG used in the dance sequences after AKB0048 since it's much subtler and less-often used here. Here the CG shots are of no more than three girls at a time, short, and interspersed among the traditionally animated shots so while noticeable that really shouldn't be a deal breaker for anyone.

With all of that in mind I'm giving the show a 2.5 out of 5 and will not be either buying NISA's wonderful box set or trying out the second season which was announced today. However, if anyone does want to try the show it's streaming on crunchyroll and as I mentioned earlier they were even able to translate all of the songs which was fantastic. 

*as I've said before, mostly in book reviews, but I adhere to the school of thought that your readers/viewers are going to figure out the plot "twists" and therefore you should try to delay revealing them as little as possible after that moment or else there's little point in having a "twist".