Love Live is about a group of girls who find out that their school is due to close. The school can be saved if attendance numbers raise enough to justify its existence. The girls plan to cash in on a recent trend of popular school based girl bands in Japan to bring attention to the school and drive up applications. The group (known as "Muse") starts off with only three members but as the series progresses; more characters are introduced until Muse has nine members.
The characters are fun and energetic as a group but sadly not all of the characters really get the time they need in order to be fleshed out. All the girls to join, past the first episode, do get an episode on why they want to join but afterwards a couple of the characters more or less fade into the background. This is a shame because the characters that do receive the attention in terms of episode time and plot are all the better for it. We see the motivations behind their actions as the series proceeds and we get a sense of who they are as people, and what it is that they hope to get out of the group. These characters are strong enough that we find ourselves really rooting for Muse to succeed.
To its credit, the show doesn't shy away from depicting what they have to go through in order to succeed. The characters are all shown to work very hard for their success, to the extent that we see the toll it is having on one of them, and none of their victories ever feel like they have been handed to them for the sake of a happy ending. This means that when the characters do succeed, we know that they have earned it and we know what we took to get there. The mood of the show never feels forced, so we are able to enjoy the few sad moments just as much as the more frequent, uplifting moments. Love Live is never sickly sweet; it is touching in its sincerity. Equally Love Live has moments of genuine sadness, not cheap melodrama. Love Live is the anime equivalent of a really good piece of chocolate cake. It is sweet, fun to consume and while it is still just cake, it does have more substance to it than other desserts.
It doesn't manage to work on all of its characters as it should but they are all entertaining, be it individually or as a group, and the plot never fails to find them interesting stuff to do. Viewers will find themselves glad that they watched it. On a side note; if you are looking for a lot of DVD extras you will be disappointed. If you aren't worried however, you will find a lot to like in the series itself.
LOVE LIVE SEASON 1 / CERT: PG / DIRECTORS: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: KIRA BUCKLAND, CAITLIN GLASS, ERICA HARLACHER, MARIEVE HERINGTON, XANTHE HUYNH, ERICA LINDBECK, FAYE MATA, ERICA MENDEZ, LAURA POST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW