Love Live! School Idol Project

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Fandom
Name: Love Live!, Love Live! Series, ラブライブ!
Abbreviation(s): LL!, LLSIP, LLSIF
Creator: Dengeki G's Magazine, Lantis, Sunrise
Date(s): January 2010 – present
Medium: Anime, Manga, Video Game
Country of Origin: Japan
External Links: official site
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Love Live! Series is a Japanese multimedia project co-developed by ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's Magazine, music label Lantis, and animation studio Sunrise. The project revolves several groups of fictional schoolgirls who form idol units in order to support their schools. It launched in the August 2010 issue of Dengeki G's Magazine, and has gone on to produce music CDs, anime music videos, manga adaptations, live concert performances featuring the voice actresses, anime adaptations, and video games.

The original series (commonly referred to as School Idol Project) focuses on a group named μ's, and has a two season anime that ran from 2013 to 2014 as well as a feature film. A follow up project titled Love Live! Sunshine!! debuted in 2015, and also has a two season anime that ran from 2016 to 2017 along with a feature film. Sunshine!! is a direct sequel to School Idol Project that features a new group named Aqours. Another follow up project titled Love Live! Superstar!! debuted in 2020, and an anime series premiered in 2021. Superstar focuses on a group named Liella!, and is notable for having an open audition to select voice actresses for two of its main characters.

The franchise is also known for its mobile games, the most well known of those being Love Live! School Idol Festival (LLSIF or SukuFesu in Japanese fan circles) is a rhythm gacha game that primarily focuses on μ's and Aqours and Liella!. A second mobile game named Love Live! School Idol Festival: ALL STARS (SIFAS or SukuSta in Japanese fan circles) is a rhythm RPG hybrid which heavily emphasizes teambuilding. The main story primarily focuses on the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, though the members of Aqours and μ's are also present. An anime adaptation based on the game featuring the characters from the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club premiered in 2020, and currently has a second season in production scheduled for release in 2022.

Characters

μ's

  • Honoka Kousaka
  • Eli Ayase
  • Kotori Minami
  • Umi Sonoda
  • Rin Hoshizora
  • Maki Nishikino
  • Nozomi Tojo
  • Hanayo Koizumi
  • Nico Yazawa

Aqours

  • Chika Takami
  • Riko Sakurauchi
  • Kanan Matsuura
  • Dia Kurosawa
  • You Watanabe
  • Yoshiko Tsushima (also known as Yohane)
  • Hanamaru Kunikida
  • Mari Ohara
  • Ruby Kurosawa

Saint Snow

  • Sarah Kazuno
  • Leah Kazuno

Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (also known as Nijigaku)

  • Yuu Takasaki
  • Ayumu Uehara
  • Kasumi Nakasu
  • Shizuku Osaka
  • Karin Asaka
  • Ai Miyashita
  • Kanata Konoe
  • Setsuna Yuki
  • Emma Verde
  • Rina Tennoji
  • Shioriko Mifune
  • Mia Taylor
  • Lanzhu Zhong

Liella!

  • Kanon Shibuya
  • Keke Tang
  • Chisato Arashi
  • Sumire Heanna
  • Ren Hazuki

Fandom

The franchise comes from humble beginnings, when it launched in 2010. μ's first single Bokura no LIFE Kimi to no LIFE only sold 434 copies in its initial run, 10 copies of which were purchased by Emi Nitta's (Honoka's voice actress) father in support. μ's first live concert event was attended by 1000 people in a small arena in 2012. Shortly after the debut of the anime series in 2013, the franchise slowly developed a loyal following of fans due to increased exposure from the television series, but didn't truly take off until the release of the wildly successful tie in mobile game Love Live! School Idol Festival, which brought the series to the mainstream. In response to this newfound success, the series was immediately renewed for a second season and production quickly began on a theatrical film that was released in 2015. The sequel series Love Live! Sunshine!! launched in 2015 as well, with a television series premiering the following year. The fandom rapidly grew after 2014, and although it isn't as prevalent as it once was during μ's heyday, the series is still going strong with over 4 different groups of idols as of 2021. Music from the franchise frequently charts on Japanese record charts, and has maintained a consistent streak of being one of the most profitable Japanese media franchises since 2016, where it ranked as the number 1 best seller during that year.

Controversies

Homophobia Accusations

Fans of the English version of the Love Live! School Idol Festival game discovered that most of the homosexual subtext between the various girls depicted in the Japanese version of the game were removed. In some instances, overt references to relationships between girls were changed to imply a relationship between a girl and a boy. An update released on June 30, 2015 made adjustments to the translated text to retain their original meanings.

Reactions to μ's Disbanding

In December of 2015, it was announced that the voice actresses of μ's, the original group, would be holding their final live solo concert for two days on March 31st and April 1st of 2016. They would also be releasing one final single in commemoration of the concert titled Moment Ring. This announcement also came out around the time the (at the time) new group Aqours released their first single. Many diehard fans were very unhappy at this development, believing Aqours would be replacing μ's entirely and saw certain characters from Aqours as poorly disguised knockoffs of specific μ's members. Nevertheless, the concert was successfully held in front of an audience of 60,000 people on both days and was livestreamed in movie theaters within Japan and overseas. It was very emotional for the members of μ's and fans, with multiple instances of the idols crying on stage and during songs. All 9 voice actresses of Aqours were in the crowd, also somewhat emotional but still taking notes as to how they could improve and be on the level of μ's when it came to performing. Several fans never truly recovered from this and left the fandom due to μ's departure. Eventually it came to light that μ's didn't actually disband and simply went on hiatus due to several health concerns for certain members, and their final solo concert was not their final time performing. In 2019 it was announced that not only would they be present at Love Live's first music festival Love Live! Fest, but they would also be returning with a new single that was released in 2020 titled A Song for You! You? You!!!. The members felt no ill will or hard feelings towards Aqours or any of the newer groups, and have since gone on to stand on the same stage as them as well as collaborate with them on several Love Live! projects. Possibly in an attempt to not repeat the backlash, Love Live! staff have since went on to introduce new groups without sacrificing Aqours, Liella! in particular being a prime example. Aqours continue to release new music alongside both Nijigasaki High School Idol Club and Liella! as of 2021, even releasing a crossover song between the three units titled Live with a Smile! in November of 2021.

The Aqours Fanmeeting Tour Shanghai Incident

Love Live voice actress groups have held multiple events throughout the franchise history, some of them being held in foreign countries like The United States of America and China. In January of 2018, an Aqours meet and greet/mini concert was held in Shanghai during their first fanmeeting tour, and there was already controversy before the event even began. Tickets sold out within 2 minutes and many of them were resold by scalpers for outrageous prices, upsetting those who weren't able to secure seats and people who were not aware of when tickets would go on sale. When the show started, there were multiple instances of rowdy fan behavior (chanting loudly during quiet songs, ruining fan lightstick projects, throwing around merchandise) that made others uncomfortable. There were also unconfirmed reports of harassment/stalking of Aqours members and fans leaving disturbing items in gift boxes intended to reach Aqours members, such as bottles containing unknown fluids and cards with phone numbers to various sex work agencies printed onto them. This culminated in a revised guideline rulebook for Love Live! events to be implemented and a statement was posted onto the official Love Live! website stating that if behavior like this continued, future events in foreign countries would be cancelled and privileges would be taken away. Aqours went on to return to Shanghai in 2019 during their Asia tour and the concert was held without any serious incident.

Shipping

The fandom is almost entirely femslash/yuri focused as the series has an all female cast, through there are also gen and Character/Reader fanworks as well.

μ's

  • Eli Ayase/Nozomi Tojo (NozoEli)
  • Nico Yazawa/Maki Nishikino (NicoMaki)
  • Kotori Minami/Umi Sonoda (KotoUmi)
  • Rin Hoshizora/Hanayo Koizumi (RinPana)
  • Honoka Kousaka/Kotori Minami (KotoHono)
  • Honoka Kousaka/Umi Sonoda (HonoUmi)
  • Honoka Kousaka/Kotori Minami/Umi Sonoda (KotoHonoUmi)
  • Nico Yazawa/Nozomi Tojo (NozoNico)
  • Umi Sonoda/Eli Ayase (UmiEli)

Aqours

  • Chika Takami/Riko Sakurauchi (ChikaRiko)
  • Kanan Matsuura/Mari Ohara (KanaMari)
  • Ruby Kurosawa/Hanamaru Kunikida (RubyMaru)
  • Chika Takami/You Watanabe (ChikaYou)
  • Riko Sakurauchi/Yoshiko Tsushima (YohaRiko)
  • Yoshiko Tsushima/You Watanabe (YouHane/Jimo Ai)
  • Riko Sakurauchi/You Watanabe (RikoYou/Misty Frosty Love)
  • Mari Ohara/Dia Kurosawa (DiaMari)
  • Chika Takami/Kanan Matsuura (ChiKanan)

Nijigasaki High School Idol Club

  • Yuu Takasaki/Ayumu Uehara (YuuPomu)
  • Ayumu Uehara/Shioriko Mifune (ShioPomu)
  • Setsuna Yuki/Ayumu Uehara (SetsuPomu)
  • Rina Tennoji/Ai Miyashita (RinAi)
  • Rina Tennoji/Mia Taylor (MiaRina)
  • Yuu Takasaki/Setsuna Yuki (YuuSetsu)
  • Karin Asaka/Emma Verde (KarinEmma)
  • Kanata Konoe/Emma Verde (KanaEmma)
  • Shizuku Osaka/Kasumi Nakasu (ShizuKasu)
  • Karin Asaka/Ai Miyashita (DiverDiva)

Liella!

  • Kanon Shibuya/Keke Tang (KeKa!)
  • Keke Tang/Sumire Heanna (KeMire)
  • Kanon Shibuya/Ren Hazuki (KaRen)
  • Chisato Arashi/Kanon Shibuya (ChisaKanon)
  • Sumire Heanna/Ren Hazuki (SumiRen)

Notable Fanworks

Examples Wanted: Editors are encouraged to add more examples or a wider variety of examples.

Doujin

Love Live! has a large doujin community surrounding it and continues to have new doujin's created each year. doujinshi.org lists over 3300 titles[1], however this number does not truly reflect amount of works created as many more are still unlisted.

Archives & Fannish Links

Resources

References

  1. ^ doujinshi.org - Parodies: Love Live!