Under Your Radar: Love Live! School Idol Project (2nd Season)

That Is Our Miracle (Sore wa Bokutachi no Kiseki) by μ’s

Come on… Our courage makes our dreams come true
Let’s run toward tomorrow with unbeaten (hearts)

A strong, strong wish led us along
We can’t give up the next one
We’ll hold on tightly to the time we have remaining

We don’t want only a memory
We’ll run as hard as we can
(Chance for me! Chance for you!)

Come on… Embrace your dreams and look up
Your world will change dramatically
Come on… Our courage makes our dreams come true
Let’s run toward tomorrow with unbeaten (hearts)

It’s a miracle that we met here and now
Don’t forget our season

Radar Logo 2

Love Live 2 Key VisualWell well. It’s time for me to cover season 2 of Love Live! School Idol Project. This is, of course, a sequel to season 1, so read up on it in my review of that first.

Since then, a few Vita games and a mobile game (School Idol Festival, which was surprisingly localized and is on iOS and Android right now) were released. Additionally, the first few chapters of the manga were released online in English via the Comic Walker service, and the localized blu-rays for season 1 are currently up for pre-order. But I will simply be covering season 2 of the anime here. This season has been picked up for localization by NIS America, like the first one, and it’s up for streaming on Crunchyroll as well.

It is also worth noting this second season’s first blu-rays shattered records. It has the strongest week 1 sales of all TV anime in Japan ever. I’m sure not complaining.

Love Live 2 Screenshot 2

You may be wondering just how they managed to continue the story after what they did at the end of season 1 (necessary spoiler: they had to drop out of Love Live in season 1 for various reasons, so the group A-RISE won off-screen). Quite simple, really: Hold another Love Live. To up the ante, since the school was already saved at the end of season 1, they set this particular Love Live for just before the end of the school year. Yes, that means that this is the last hurrah for a third of the group, as they can’t be school idols after graduating from high school.

Love Live 2 Screenshot 4

This ultimately gives this season a different feel from season 1. The openings even make it clear if you don’t get it. While season 1 is about the girls becoming something big, season 2 is about them making the most of the time they have left together. With the school already saved and the group together from episode 1 (as opposed to a full 8 episodes before they group up in season 1), the focus is taken away from the school and more on the idol side of things, and we get more character interaction. This also led to a stronger focus on rival idol groups, who barely got mentioned at all and just about never appeared in person in season 1.

Love Live 2 Screenshot 1

I have to say, however, that the first few episodes are somewhat weak. Unlike season 1 having something going on at all times, things take a slower pace here with various character focus episodes. This is all well and good, and it resolved a few things, but it feels like some parts were repeating. For example, they explain Rin’s aversion to dresses and Nico’s two years of failure again when they really didn’t need to, though these things do get resolved quite nicely here while they’re not really fixed in season 1. Ultimately, however, I don’t think they could have arranged these episodes any better, to be honest. We also finally get some background on Nozomi, which is much appreciated.

Love Live 2 Screenshot 5

What is notably commendable here is that the writers seem to have learned their lesson. Instead of cheap drama like at the end of season 1, a more somber tone is weaved into things from the very beginning. As I said, a third of the group is graduating. How they enjoy things to the end and decide how things will move from there made for a quite satisfying experience, especially when coupled with the series’ general lack of malice.

Love Live 2 Screenshot 3

Most other details about production values and the like are about the same, but they’re very slightly better about the switching between CGs and regular art. Also, while the final episode was suitably emotional, the interruption at the end to announce a movie killed the mood somewhat. If I were to take a guess, however, I’d say that the protagonists received an offer from a talent agency or recording label at the end. I’ll have to wait for the movie to see if I’m right.

Verdict

I’ve seen people call this anime a masterpiece. I’ve seen people hate the first half of season 2 while loving the second half.

What I think is that this anime is expertly handled, definitely not a cheap cash-in. Love Live! will have a special place in my heart for many years to come.

Now, that movie’d better not ruin it!

Unjust

We did it! We saw it through to the end.

HNPP

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