It has been a few years since I shared my thoughts on idol anime and why they are popular. While looking at some discussions on Love Live! Sunshine!! on anime forums, I realized how similar idol anime is to sports anime. With that, I will share some thoughts on what aspects makes these genres feel similar.
So, what is an idol singer? An idol or idol singer is usually a young female performer that is usually in her teens (but can be older) that sings Japanese pop music while dancing. However, it does not necessarily mean that they mostly sing as they usually do other activities. These activities range from live action, promotions, interviews, radio drama, etc.
In general, Idols focus more on their cute looks and their personalities. Moreover, the music in most cases are formulaic, although this is not always the case. Even so, it’s easy to see why to see why idols anime are popular. People enjoy them for the character development, performances and even the music.
On the other hand, being an idol singer is hard work. While idols can have a degree of talent in singing and dancing, it takes a lot of practice and training. This is probably why idol anime has similarities to sports anime. Perfecting dance routines and singing takes time and effort along with working with instructors. After all, the amount of preparation will determine how well the performance will go. This will affect how popular an idol will become.
This is the same with any sport or competitive activity. An athlete needs to train to become better at their sport they are doing so they can win. For instance, in Free, the Iwatobi Swim Team went on a training camp on a deserted island to prepare for their first tournament. Meanwhile, their rivaling school did their own training as well. Their efforts eventually paid off although they got disqualified for breaking the rules.
In addition to training and practice, team building is also important. Unless it’s an individual event, team work is essential as other members have to work together to win a game or competition. This is probably why Minami had other girls to do various team building exercises in addition to practice in Idolmaster Cinderella Girls. After all, the girls in the unit have to coordinate with each other so their peroformance will be in sync. Likewise, with Free, the Iwatobi Swim Team wouldn’t be so successful in the relay race if they didn’t have good teamwork.
At a glance, while idol anime like The Idolmaster has a lot of similarities to sports anime, this is more apparent in the Love Live franchise. In fact, both the original Love Live School Idol Project and Sunshine has similarities to sports anime like Free. This is mostly because Muse and Aqours are competing against their rival groups (A-RISE and Saint Snow respectively). This sounds very similar to how the Iwatobi swim team competition against the swim team from Rin’s school, the Samezuka swim team. Not only that, Muse won the competition the second time and surpassing their rival team. In comparison, the Iwatobi Swim Team eventually beats the Samezuka Swim Team in the second season. Even after their defeat, the rivals are supportive of the team that won.
Given the comparisons of Love Live and Free, it’s understandable why idol anime can have a lot of similarities to sports anime. There is a competitive nature with idols as they work hard to become more popular and gain more fans. I think Love Live compared to other idol anime can be considered a sports anime given the competitive nature of the tournament.
To win Love Live and get the number one spot, each school have to win each round of the competition. This is in addition to improving their rankings based on popularity. While training and practice is important, they won’t be able to get far without working together as a team as mentioned earlier.
Lastly, learning from defeat is also important as there will always be someone better than you. Losing and defeat allows one to find out what they did wrong and improve. Aqours faced a loss when they are ranked last with zero votes. Sure, it’s frustrating for them, but they were able to bounce back with help from the third year students. In addition, Chika learned that she has to find her own way to save the school instead of copying Muse’s strategy.
In the end, I feel that idol and sports anime have a lot in common. Sure, people enjoy the songs, their dance routines, the costumes the girls wear and the girls’ personality, it’s still hard work. Their success won’t happen without the girls working together while strengthening their bonds. This is probably another reason idol anime is enjoyable to watch given how the girls interact with each other.
What is your thoughts? Do you think that Idol anime have similarities to sports anime?