As the first Love Live! series to get a third season, Love Live! Superstar!! continues to keep things fresh my reinventing the previous series’ formula while making more room for its characters to grow.
This series is streaming on Crunchyroll
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network.
Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.
Steve, the spooky month of October is already well under way, with airing anime serving up some appropriately creepy creatures. We’ve got all the devils of the just-premiered Chainsaw Man, the returning ghostly spirits of a resurrected Bleach, and even some witches (From Mercury). And the just-wrapped second season of Love Live! Superstar!! has presented us that most frightening being of all:
Truly nothing more demonic than an influencer who happens to have the kanji for demon in her name. But in the cutthroat world of school idols, one needs all the sharp edges they can muster. That’s why Superstar had to come back with a second season. To pound into us the lesson that idoling is no joke.
Except when it is.
And what an absolute delight it has been! Love Live!, at this point, is an institution, so you’re going into it knowing what you’re going to get out of it. That’s part of the appeal. But as a mild experiment in mixing, stretching, and refining the usual Love Live! formula, Superstar has emerged as probably my favorite iteration of the now-classic quest for school idol supremacy. I think paring the cast in the first season was super smart, and the extra space it allowed the first years this season was very much appreciated.
I like, too, that the Liella’s first real conflict this season is them suffering from success. They did so well at the school idol thing last year that all the new students are too intimidated to keep up with them. They have to resort to conning naive out-of-towners into joining their cult—I mean club.
Though I should stress that Kanon herself also stays relatively devoted to sensibility amongst all this idol idiocy, to the point that we find out later that one of her main reactions to Kinako was a relieved “Oh thank god, someone else who’s actually normal!”
Though it’s also worth noting we meet a mad scientist with heelies, so Kinako really has her work cut out for her being the normal one.
Again, it’s a classic Love Live! tradeoff. Yes, you need to do regular cardio, but you get a cute workout outfit in exchange. Balance.
Like sure, previous Love Lives can have a bit where one character gives another character a training regimen. But this one lands way more effectively because we’ve seen the difference it’s made between seasons for Keke.
We can also think about it this way: Natsumi is going to be somebody’s senpai, and that’s terrifying.
*Void where prohibited. Price and participation may vary. Money back may not be guaranteed if proprietor of influencer course takes funds and runs away to Mexico.
And I guess it’s no secret that Natsumi is by far the most fun of the new bunch, purely by virtue of how much she absolutely sucks.
It may have cost them a fortune in research funds, but they at long last have their answer.
…it’s a work in progress. Despite being endemically online, Natsumi didn’t get the memo about the pink sauce yet.
The skeleton, sadly, is not one of those new recruits.
For now, though, both Shiki and Mei are very good additions on their own. Shiki for her coolheaded nature and curious collection of concoctions, and Mei for her tendency to make this face.
It is also, insanely, the first place where Love Live! broaches the subject of actual-factual dating. Though in this case, it’s on account of the other members mistakenly thinking that Ren and Mei are in a relationship, as opposed to the former reaching out to the latter for rescue from being dragged into gaming hell.
Or, to put my thoughts in fewer words: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
I’m surprised she only goes as far as grabbing the mic to interrupt the announcement of Liella beating her, as opposed to just stealing the whole trophy like Shooter McGavin running off with the jacket at the end of Happy Gilmore.
Compared to the likes of the aforementioned Natsumi, Margarete does have something of a sincere backstory reason for her attitude, and it’s one that ties into that expanding of Love Live! ideas that Superstar is so interested in: What happens to the performers who don’t succeed at their dreams using the competition as a Hail Mary? How are they expected to feel about these protagonists for whom events line up perfectly, for which the rain itself stops and clouds part?
I mean, rug-pull aside, they took the coward’s way out not letting Kanon study abroad—that would’ve been a novel development to build the third season on—but the prospect of Margarete being a little piece of shit freshman at Yuigaoka is tantalizing enough to soothe the sting of betrayal.
So while it would have been extremely neat to see the third season actually ship her off for a portion, I can also admit that I’d have missed her a bit.
For sure! And going back to my first point, part of the appeal of Love Live! is its familiarity. It’s become a big time comfort franchise for me. But Superstar’s grasp of school idol craft—from the concerts to the comedy—puts it on the pedestal, and I can’t wait to see more of these girls and gremlins and gremlin girls.