After nine years of record-breaking sales in anime, music, and video games, it's safe to say the Love Live franchise is here to stay. It's not even Love Live: School Idol Project anymore. The franchise received an official name changed to Love Live: School Idol Series, signaling there's more to come from µ's, Aqours, and the girls of Nijigasaki High School from Love Live! School Idol Festival All Stars. However, when you compare the original Love Live idol group µ's with their successor Aqours, which one comes out on top? After comparing the Love Live: School Idol Project anime to Love Live Sunshine, it became clear that Aqours surpassed their idol heroes.
Not convinced? Here are 13 reasons why Love Live Sunshine is better than the original Love Live anime. Caution: There are spoilers for the TV series and movies.
While µ's Said Goodbye, Aqours Continues To Shine
Nothing can last forever, but the way μ's said goodbye in Love Live! School Idol Project made it seem like they dropped off the face of the Earth. Following the disbandment of μ's, the girls are nowhere to be seen in the post-time skip ending. Furthermore, Love Live! Sunshine!! treated μ's as mythical figures that once roamed the Earth, instead of former high school idols that went on to college. It gave off a discouraging message that their lives were officially over the minute they moved on from school idols.
In Love Live! Sunshine, Aqours' sign off was more "until we meet again" than "goodbye forever." It fit with Sunshine's theme of embracing the unknown road ahead. Even though Chika's version of Aqours was over because the first and second years were transferring to a new school and the third-years were going their own separate ways, the bond they shared kept them forever connected. This was shown beautifully in the final scene of season two, where Chika is greeted by the surprise arrival of all her friends in the now closed-down Uranohoshi Girls' Academy. Love Live! Sunshine The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow takes it even further by showing Aqours will continue following the graduation of the third-years and will live on even further with a new idol group inheriting the name and so on and so forth.9694Is this a good reason?
Meta-Commentary On The Anime Idol Industry
In today's age of overpopulated multimedia franchises of anime idols, it's easy to forget how special the insane popularity of µ's was for its time. That's not to say other anime idol franchises didn't exist before Love Live (The Idolmaster), but the Japanese sales domination of µ's clearly inspired more studios to take a ride on the idol wave. Some franchises took off; others crashed and burned.
It's hard to say if µ's could have maintained their huge popularity in today's competitive climate, but Love Live Sunshine doesn't shy away from asking that very question for Aqours. In the eighth episode of season one, "Isn't It Frustrating?," Chika and her initial six-girl Aqours group suffered a humiliating defeat when they competed at a professional idol event in Tokyo and received a "0" for their efforts. They are later comforted by Dia, who explains to them how competitive the idol scene has gotten since µ's won Love Live. While Aqours' Tokyo performance was competent, it was forgettable. The entire episode taught Aqours that they can't just do what µ's did; they have to offer more and do it in their own signature way.7674Is this a good reason?
The Characters Are More Appealing
Making a new anime idol group as beloved as µ's is like asking someone to catch another lightning in a bottle. The original members of µ's - Honoka, Kotori, Umi, Rin, Hanayo, Maki, Nico, Eli, and Nozomi - were all admired for their fantastic designs, fun personalities, and amazing vocals. However, Aqours brilliantly followed through with the introduction of Chika, Riko, You, Hanamaru, Ruby, Yoshiko (or Yohane, as she likes to be called), Mari, Dia, and Kanan.
One thing that definitely played into Aqours' favor was Yuhei Murota, the Love Live character designer for µ's, delivering a new set of cute idols for Love Live Sunshine. Another wise decision was not repeating any archetypes from the previous series; resulting in new and entertaining personalities like the cosplay-obsessed tomboy You, the unlucky "Fallen Angel" Yohane, and the louder-than-life rich girl Mari. Aqours offered a more refreshing and diverse batch of characters than what µ's did by doubling down on two tsundere idols. However, it's the highs and lows that Aqours endured on their road to stardom that made their relationship with each other more compelling to watch than µ's.106119Is this a good reason?
The April Fools Day Puppet Show
Outside of gags in Love Live! School Idol Festival, µ's never got the chance to pull off any crazy pranks for April Fools. Aqours, on the other hand, released a hilariously zany puppet show in 2017 that placed the entire cast in an outlandish Japanese folktale. It was a wonderful (and trippy) April Fools gift for longtime Aqours fans. To this day Love Live fans are still clamoring for more puppet shenanigans, but there's been nothing new so far. It was a great Aprils Fools prank that can't be topped, but the giant inflatable Chika nesoberi in Uchiura came dangerously close.8299Is this a good reason?