Since its inception, Love Live School Idol Project have grown into a very popular idol-genre franchise. It garnered a lot of fans around the world with its story of a group of girls banding together to save their school through singing. Love Live Sunshine focuses on the successors of Muse, Aqours. Does it live up to the original series? Let’s find out.
The story focuses on a high school girl named Takami Chika. She attends Uranohoshi Girl’s School, which is in a seaside town in Japan. After watching and becoming inspired by Muse’s performance, she wants to start an idol group with her friend, Watanabe You . She eventually convinces Riko to join who plays the piano, but don’t believe she can do both. She eventually does the lyrics and music composition for the group. Later, she recruits Hanamaru, Ruby and Yoshiko and eventually Dia, Mari and Kanan.
However, Chika soon realizes that the road of becoming a school idol is not easy. Aside from strong opposition from Dia, the student council president, she faces other problems. This includes a rough first performance with the power going out to receiving no votes from the audience. Eventually, Sarah from St. Snow calls Chika out because her idol group is imitating Muse. With Chika hearing rumors that her school might merge with another, the stakes are now high. They have to win the Love Live competition to save the school. Will Chika and her friends make it?
From watching Sunshine, the story feels a bit familiar. Sure, Chika had an easier time since Love Live is now an established competition. On the other hand, the constant references to Muse and Chika’s desire to imitate them kind of bothered me. Aside from giving Chika an impression that her group can win if they imitated them, it makes Aqours feel like a cheap copy of Muse. Of course, this is probably not what Chika intended to do. Even so, the story feeling too familiar to the original doesn’t help either.
On the other hand, I find the characters mostly enjoyable. Sure, they share some of the traits of the girls from Muse, but they are unique for the most part. I don’t find any of them annoying unlike the original nine girls, namely Hanayo and Nico (no offense). While subjective, I think that this is probably one of the strengths of Sunshine.
In the end, while Love Live Sunshine is enjoyable, it’s simply didn’t reach the greatness of the original just yet. The first half in my opinion was pretty weak, mostly because Chika’s desire to copy Muse. Also, the weak conclusion just adds to my mixed feelings. Once she realized her failures and understanding that copying Muse will not work, things got better. Hopefully with the Muse thing out of the way, I think Aqours will finally shine in the second season in their own way.
With that, if you enjoy shows about idols, you will probably enjoy Love Live Sunshine. If you are a diehard Muse fan, you should probably skip it.
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