When you are young and full of vigor, one of the goals you will most likely set for yourself will be to have a succesful love life before you reach past thirty – unless you are a prude or have strict parents or any other similar cases. And of course, that would include having a girlfriend, taking her out on a date, solving your problems together, and finding her catchphrase “Nico Nico Nii!” to be funny. That last example is actually from a recent franchise featuring animated high school girls who become school idols known as LoveLive!.
The LoveLive! project was co-developed by Studio Sunrise, Dengeki G’s Magazine, and music label Lantis. Currently, the franchise has exhibited itself in various music albums, a two-season anime series, and also on its original movie that had just debuted last 2015. A few concerts have also been held with the voice actresses of the school idol group members as the singers in these performances. (Love Live!) The characters of the series have also been seen in food packages such as noodles and finger food snacks (Phro) (Tokyo Treat).
Fans of LoveLive!, also known as Love Livers, have also been known for a few things. Apart from being skilled in playing the LoveLive! rhythm game, School Idol Festival, they have shown a strong opinion towards the author of One Piece, Eiichiro Oda’s sentiments on LoveLive! merchandise being sold at Kanda Myojin shrine, displaying anger about the author’s open question about how the marketing of merchandise in a shrine came to be. This incited unsavory comments about the Love Livers, calling them “worse than the garbage of society” (Baseel).
In fact it is not only in that circumstance, but in many cases do many fans of the Japanese culture find Love Livers leaving a bad taste in their mouths. One instance notes the use of the railway trains in China to promote the franchise. This resulted in more than a few “worshipers” of the school idols to literally kneel and prostrate themselves in front of the trains when they are stopped (Murphy). In America, a Hoshizora Rin banner was able to make its way in a photograph of a striker holding a soccer trophy (Toole).
Love Livers are sterotypically seen as very fanatical towards their school idols, sometimes even comparable to how people who are -and maybe proud to be- called weaboos and otakus are treated. Toole even states that the main reason he got into it was because it was so hard to ignore, and much less ever since the School Idol Festival game came out. Actually, I also had the same experience of introduction. Saw it on tumblr, got curious about the game, then watched the anime, and became a Sonodo Umi fan.
It is also very easy to pull an anime or manga fan into LoveLive! since each character from the school idol group belongs to a certain anime stereotype: Nishikino Maki is a tsundere; Hoshizora Rin is the genki girl; Yazawa Nico tries to act kawaii, but honestly, she tries a tad too hard. Most Love Livers even consider a single character as their best girl, putting her as a prime when obtaining merchandise from the franchise, much like picking a “waifu“. Let us just say that fans fighting over the better of two girls is bad enough. Imagine nine.
This does not mean that the franchise in itself is very bad though. I watched the anime, and its second season. The main plot was about the relationship of the girls and how they face their challenges to become the best school idols of the country, and they each most definitely had character flaws and perspectives that were acceptable as high school students. There are lessons and themes that are very relevant to the present generation. The fans who take in too much of the moe feeling though, some of them do not exactly exhibit the best characteristics of the franchise. Hopefully, if they happen to be in a relationship, their love life would matter more to them than their LoveLive!.
“Love Live!” Wiki. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
Baseel, Casey. “It’s Anime Pirates vs. Idols as Love Live! Fans Spit Fire at One Piece Creator’s Perceived Slight.” RocketNews24 RSS. 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 Sept. 2015.
Melegrito, JM. “Love Live! The School Idol Movie to Premiere in the Philippines This October.” Anime Pilipinas. 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 12 Sept. 2015.
Murphy, Meg. “Man Fed up with Love Live Fans at Subway Station in China, Pours Water on Them.” RocketNews24 RSS. 31 Mar. 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
Phro, Preston. “Anime Store Cancels Plans to Sell Love Live! Noodles at Midnight Because of “safety” Concerns.” RocketNews24 RSS. 2 June 2015. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
Tokyo Treat. “Any Love Live! Fans Here? 🙂 A Special Love Live! Themes Caramel Corn Snacks Has Hit the Store Shelves since May!” Twitter. Twitter. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
Toole, Mike. “The Mike Toole Show – Love Live! The School Idol Column.” Anime News Network. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.