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Love Live! is a multimedia project co-developed by ASCII Media Works, Dengeki G’s Magazine, music label Lantis, and animation studio Sunrise. The project tells the story of fictional high school girls who start an idol group in order to save their school from closing down. The series launched in the August 2010 issue of Dengeki G’s Magazine and has gone on to encompass anime adaptations, manga adaptations, music releases, video games, and more. To date, the franchise has received two anime adaptations and a movie directed by Takahiko Kyogoku, written by Jukki Hanada, and produced by studio Sunrise: Love Live! School Idol Project, Love Live! Sunshine!!, and Love Live! The School Idol Movie.
The Love Live! School Idol Project anime is the first in the franchise and its two seasons aired on Tokyo MX, TVA, and BS11 from Jan. 6, 2013 to June 29, 2014. Its story follows main character Honoka and members of the newly formed idol group μ's as they try to save their school, Otonokizaka Academy, from shutting down and follow their dreams of winning the Love Live idol competition and becoming full fledged idols. The anime spans 26 episodes total.
μ's Members: Honoka Kosaka (CV: Emi Nitta) - The main character of Love Live! School Idol Project. She has a bubbly, cheerful personality and is the leader of μ's. Kotori Minami (CV: Aya Uchida) - Honoka’s childhood friend who’s a bit airheaded. She is the wardrobe designer and choreographer of μ's. Eli Ayase (CV: Yoshino Nanjo) - The Otonokizaka Academy student council president who is friends with Nozomi. She excels at sports and academics and is the choreographer of μ's along with Kotori. Hanayo Koizumi (CV: Yurika Kubo) - A shy and quiet girl with poor self-esteem prior to joining μ's who later becomes president of the Idol Research Club. Umi Sonoda (CV: Suzuko Mimori) - Honoka’s childhood friend who has expertise in kendo, koto, nagauta, shodo, and nichibu, and is the lyricist of μ's. Rin Hoshizora (CV: Riho Iida) - A tomboy with an athletic and cheerful personality who is best friends with Hanayo. Nico Yazawa (CV: Sora Tokui) - An idol superfan and founder of the Idol Research Club. She is the wardrobe designer of μ's along with Kotori. Her catchphrase is “Nico Nico Nii!” Maki Nishikino (CV: Pile) - A talented singer and pianist, Maki is the main composer and vocal coach of the group. Nozomi Tojo (CV: Aina Kusuda) - The big sister of the group who is demure with a mischievous side and acts as the group’s spiritual leader. Her hobby is fortune-telling.
The members of μ's are also divided into three mini groups. BiBi is comprised of Eli, Maki, and Nico, and their singles include "Diamond Princess no Yuutsu" and "Cutie Panther." Printemps is comprised of Honoka, Kotori, and Hanayo, and their singles include "Love Marginal" and "Pure Girls Project." The third group, Lily White, is comprised of Umi, Rin, and Nozomi, and their singles include "Shiranai Love*Oshiete Love" and "Binetsu kara Mystery."
The second anime, Love Live! Sunshine!! began airing on Tokyo MX, Sun TV, KBS, BS11, TVA, SBS, TVQ, and TVh on July 2, 2016. It tells a very similar story to Love Live! School Idol Project - girls banding together and forming an idol unit to save their school from closing - but its setting shifts to Uranohoshi Girls' Academy with a new lineup of characters who form the idol group Aqours. Its opening and ending themes are "Aozora Jumping Heart" and "Yume Kataru yori Yume Utao." Thirteen episodes of the anime are planned.
Aqours Members: Chika Takami (CV: Anju Inami) - The main character of Love Live! Sunshine!! who has a complex about being too ordinary and looks up to μ's which leads her to form a school idol group of her own. Riko Sakurauchi (CV: Riakko Aida) - A modest, down to earth transfer student and the group’s composer. Kanan Matsuura (CV: Nanaka Suwa) - Chika’s childhood friend who takes care of her injured grandfather and has a hard time attending class. Dia Kurosawa (CV: Arisa Komiya) - The Uranohoshi Girls' Academy student council president, Dia is prideful and joins the group after losing a bet to Chika. She is also a diehard fan of μ's. You Watanabe (CV: Shuka Saito) - Chika’s childhood friend who has an energetic, positive personality. Her catchphrase is “Keep her steady!” Yoshiko Tsushima (CV: Aika Kobayashi) - Yoshiko joins the group in an attempt to try and overcome her chunibyo. She refers to herself as Yohane, a fallen angel. Hanamaru Kunikida (CV: Kanako Takatsuki) - A ditzy, talented singer whose family runs a local temple. Mari Ohara (CV: Aina Suzuki) - A bright go-getter whose favorite music is industrial metal. Ruby Kurosawa (CV: Ai Furihata) - Dia’s timid crybaby sister who has long dreamed of becoming an idol and has androphobia (the fear of men).
Just like μ's, the members of Aqours are also divided into three mini groups. The first, CYaRon!, is comprised of You, Ruby, and Chika, and their first single is "Genki Zenkai Day! Day! Day!" Azalea is comprised of Dia, Kanan, and Hanamaru and their first single is "Torikoriko Please!!" Yoshiko, Riko and Mari make up the third group, Guilty Kiss, whose first single is "Strawberry Trapper."
Being an idol franchise, there is a main focus on music. A total of 46 singles have been released for Love Live! School Idol Project including the first season opening and ending themes "Bokura wa Ima no Naka de" and "Kitto Seishun ga Kikoeru," the second season opening and ending themes "Sore wa Bokutachi no Kiseki" and "Donna Toki mo Zutto," and μ's final single “Moment Ring.” Other notable μ's singles include "KiRa-KiRa Sensation! / Happy Maker!," "Korekara no Someday / Wonder Zone,” "Susume→Tomorrow / Start:Dash!!," and “Snow Halation.” There have also been 14 original song CDs including those released with the Blu-ray volumes, 20 character albums, and 7 video albums of concerts including μ's final concert “μ's FinalLoveLive! 2016: μ'sic Forever.” Nine singles have also been released for Aquors, the idol group from Love Live! Sunshine!!, including "Kimi no Kokoro wa Kagayaiteru Kai?" and "Koi ni Naritai Aquarium" with their latest being "Yume de Yozora o Terashitai/Mijuku Dreamer," two insert songs used in the anime.
Aside from anime and music, the franchise also spans a wide range of other media. Three manga written by Sakurako Kimino have been published so far by ASCII Media Works in Dengeki G’s Magazine and Dengeki G’s Comic - these include Love Live! School Idol Project, Love Live! Anthology, and Love Live! School Idol Diary. A novel also titled Love Live! School Idol Diary written by Sakurako Kimino that remixes the anime series and is told from the perspective of different μ's members is published by ASCII Media Works and includes 11 volumes to date. Love Live! School Idol Festival, a collectable card and rhythm action game for the iOS and Android, was released by Bushiroad in Japan on April 16, 2013 and worldwide May 11, 2014. The game has since spawned the School Idol Festival Thanksgiving Festival, a competition held yearly in Japan since 2015 looking for the best School Idol Festival player. There have also been three rhythm action video games released on the PS Vita under the title Love Live! School Idol Paradise on Aug. 28, 2014, developed by Dingo Inc. These include: Vol. 1 Printemps, Vol. 2 BiBi, and Vol. 3 Lily White. There is also a board game called Love Live! Board Game: Fan Acquisition, School Idol Great Operation!, and radio web shows that include Love Live! µ's Public Relations Department ~NicoRinPana~ and RADIO Animelo Mix Love Live! ~NozoEri Radio Garden~.Love Live! characters have also appeared in four Bushiroad trading card games: Victory Spark Booster Pack "Baby Princess & Love Live!", Weiss Schwarz Love Live! School Idol Project, Fiveqross, and Love Live! School Idol Collection.