I watched the Love Live School Idol Movie this past weekend, and it was a pleasant experience. It serves as a nice sendoff for the members of μ’s as they transition to the new generation with Love Live Sunshine and the introduction of Aquors. I’m not going to do a full review of this movie, as I would be too biased to do so., but I do have some thoughts about the movie as a whole. There may be some spoilers for the anime series in my thoughts.
- The initial trailer for the movie was a lie! Well, it was a half truth, as μ’s trip to New York covered only about half of the movie. The adventures that the members have in New York were limited to visiting tourist attractions and training, leading up to the performance in Times Square. The purpose of this trip was to spread the popularity of school idols around the world, but we never see μ’s interacting with people in charge of spreading the word. This leads to some weird pacing where it cuts to the performance immediately without any introduction.
- The second half of the movie covers the dilemma where Honoka was having trouble deciding whether μ’s should continue or disband. At the end of the second season, the first- and second-years members of μ’s decided to disband because it wouldn’t be the same without the third-years, but the movie rehashes that plot point. Honoka’s decision is made even tougher because of the increase in popularity of μ’s in Japan. Of course, with the announcement of Love Live Sunshine, it’s pretty much a given that μ’s will disband at the end of the movie.
- The songs featured in the movie were pretty fantastic. The song Angelic Angel, featured in the trailer, is wonderful with a melancholic feel to it. The insert songs, sung by each of the years, were pretty good, though their transition into these bits can feel pretty out of place. Hello, Hoshi o Kazoete, sung by the first years, had a drive behind while feeling very light. ？←HEARTBEAT, sung by the third years, had a big band feel to it with lots of energy. Future Style, sung by the second years, is pretty nice and energetic. The movie culminates into two live performances, one with the song Sunny Day Song where school idols from all over Japan performed with the girls from μ’s and A-Rise featured prominently and the other song Bokutachi wa Hitotsu no Hikari presumably the final performance of μ’s ever. This final song is very bittersweet because of the implications of the franchise as a whole. We, as the audience, know it’s the swan song of the members of μ’s, and are sad to see them perform for one last time. If you pay attention to the subtitles, you noticed that the names of each member appear in the lyrics, which is a nice nod to each member. For all of the songs, I really noticed how much better looking the CGI and art was compared to the TV series.
- The audience reaction to certain scenes were definitely appropriate, given the knowledge of the fanbase as a while. The most notable scene was during the leadup to the Sunny Day Song performance where Tsubasa and Maki were having a “yuri moment” and Nico was looking from outside with a shocked expression, teasing us so badly. Rin certainly had her cute moments in the movie whether she was featured or in the background. Cat hoodie. Statue of Liberty with the ice cream cone. Sleeping with a blindfold with eyes on it. She certainly stole some parts of the movie.
- One thing I would like to address was the addition of another character that Honoka met in New York. She was an older woman who was singing in the streets for passerbyers. The first thing I noticed was that her first speaking words were Engrish, which means she’s Japanese. The second thing I noticed was how similar her facial features were to Honoka’s, which implies, as many speculated, that she’s Honoka in the future of a certain timeline. The fact that Honoka accidentally took her mic case and suddenly, in a later scene, future Honoka has it back introduces a sense of magic realism into the series, which pushes present Honoka to make the decision to disband μ’s after their performance. Although this plot point serves as a catalyst for the second half of the movie, I thought it was kind of dumb. It added unnecessary drama where it wasn’t really needed.
If I had to give a score to this movie, it would be 7/10. The story of the movie was pretty weak, and the pacing was weird at times, but in the end, it was nice to spend some time with these characters before they move to bigger and better things. They’re lovable, cute, and a joy to watch. It’s bittersweet, but like how Idolm@ster transitioned to Cinderella Girls, Love Live will do the same for Sunshine, and it will be great.
Bonus: At the theater, they were giving out autograph plates signed by the voice actresses of their characters and I managed to trade for my best girl, Nozomi. It was wonderful!
Songs featured in the movie:
Hello, Hoshi o Kazoete
Bokutachi wa Hitotsu no Hikari