The third generation of school idols anime is in the books. After the excellence left behind by their predecessors would the latest group of school idols be able to carve their own path to greatness? Let us find out as we take a look at Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, aka Love Live! 3.
- Love Live! Nijigasaki
- Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Dōkōkai (Japanese)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Idols, School Life, Slice of Life
Themes: Music, Yuri
Number of Episodes: 13
Plot Summary: Yu and Ayumu are childhood friends who were very close. One day they came across a performance by a school idol named Setsuna. Both girls, especially Yu, were blown away by the show. So much so Yu wanted to learn more about school idols. She dragged Ayumu along for the ride. However, upon hearing about the “Nijigasaki High School Idol Club” they were shocked to find out Setsuna’s show was the last before the club disbanded. Yu and Ayumu agreed to form their own SIC. Thus begins the journey of the Nijigasaki School Idols.
Main protagonists Yu and Ayumu.
So μ’s started it all and created a legacy for future generations to follow…and save their school. Aqours aimed to be the next μ’s until realizing their true goal was to become the first Aqours…and try to save their school. What road to greatness did the SIC follow? Individualism, specifically “Solo Idols”. Biggest change? No school saving this time! Once viewers see their school they will understand. Moving on, each SIC member had their own goals and ideas about what a school idol should be and why they perform. Some fans worried that because Yu was the one to get the iconic “life changing stare”…
…that she would take the spotlight away from the other SIC members. That she would be the one to get the most attention of them all. That was quickly proven to not be the case.
Yes. Yu used her yuri harem powers to show some members the light at first but she the rest of the show she played second fiddle to other members’ soul mates, meaning she played a role but it was the respective soul mates who showed their troubled sweeties the way. More on the yuri later. Back to Yu. Her role was a rare one in idol anime, mainly the female Manager/Supervisor/Producer or in her case Supporter. While she had her own character progression that played out little by little throughout the show with the payoff near the end her main role, besides yuri harem protagonist, was to help the girls “set up shop” so to speak, which she did well.
One last thing about Yu before moving on. For readers wondering who Yu Takasaki is, she is the invisible avatar from “Love Live! School Idol Festival All-Stars” mobile game. She was previously unnamed and had no physical appearance yet but as soon as the Nijigasaki anime was announced she was given form and a name. There her role was Ayumu’s childhood friend too, hence why she shares top billing with her.
As mentioned the main theme of Nijigasaki was Solo Idols. Each club member got an episode to introduce themselves: Who they were, where they came from, their hopes and dreams/discovering them, facing personal obstacles that usually had to do with their interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships, and their feelings about the other girls (especially their soul mate in the group or outside for some).
The climax of their episode was a special vintage Love Live! performance featuring lyrics expressing everything mentioned and their aspirations complete with their own themes and motifs such as lots of fire and badass high kicks for Setsuna. For viewers wondering “are the only featured songs solos?” I say keep watching. Do not stop.
This brings us to the presentation. Love Live! has always had a great blend of in your face rainbow goodness and CG usage so it comes as no surprise that Nijigasaki has the best animation in the franchise thus far. Bold claim, I know but I stand by it. The soundtrack is excellent as always. This IS Love Live! after all so unless the reader is an uber idol media critic expect quality songs and performances as is the norm for the franchise.
Rina, unlike her franchise debut, is introduced “unmasked” from the start. I was surprised too at first but trust me when I say the introduction of her signature “mask” is one of the best episodes on the show.
I mentioned soul mates a lot throughout the G-View. That is because this is possibly the gayest entry in the Love Live! anime universe by far. My eyes may have deceived me but unlike past generations there were no men in sight all season. They were already an endangered species in the Love Live! Universe. Now it feels like they are hardly necessary there, which is fine by me. Beyond that most SIC members, had another club member they were very close to such as Ai X Rina above. Like I said in the Yu part she played a secondary role while the special girl saved the day for their respective sweetheart, thus growing their love power throughout the show. However, this IS Love Live! so do not expect any attempts at “second base” but by Godoka and Kumaria-Sama they came close to breaking the boundary this time. Do not get me started on the Yu X Ayumu build all the way to the 4th quarter of the show. My goodness was that ever a roller coaster of emotions. I will not spoil what happened but their story made me feel things. SO. MANY. THINGS. It is one of the reasons why Love Live! is my favorite all-time favorite anime idol franchise.
Speaking of “no men allowed” fans of a certain mobile game of the past will be surprised to see some familiar faces get their time to shine and play important side-character roles. Heck, some Nijigasaki members were first introduced in this past game.
Overall Love Live! Nijigasaki continues the trend of school idol awesomeness. Our new cast of idols are awesome, Yu is a great female Manager/Supervisor/Producer/Supporter with harem protagonist powers, the presentation is excellent as expected from the franchise and the yuri is the strongest it has ever been…though it is still not 2nd base strong it comes quite close. Highly recommended to fans of the franchise who love all generations and are not super loyal to one in particular.
The conclusion hinted at a 2nd season and let us be real. It would be an injustice for the SIC to be denied what their predecessors got, a 2nd season and movie. Plus there are three more Nijigasaki members left to join the club and it would be a shame if their fans were denied seeing them animated.