Since February 26th 2015 we’ve been waiting for this day and now it’s finally upon us. It’s time for the next chapter in the Love Live series to begin!

Here’s my review!

By far this is the most anticipated anime of the summer season for me. I’m a huge Love Live fan and I was super hyped to watch this, so when it finally came time to I was overcome with joy. Honestly it’s so great to be watching a Love Live anime once again and this first ep really started off on the right foot. So let’s jump into this and really take a look at what the first ep had to offer.

For starters as most opening eps are, we spend a good amount of the ep being introduced to the characters and getting to know them. As far as first eps go this followed that usual format and we get to know some of the 9 girls who form Aqours. While we don’t meet all of them, Chika, Riko, You, and Dia are the 4 that we see the most in this ep. Hanamaru, Ruby, Yohane, Mari and Kanan are also present but they weren’t really the focus of this ep. Hell, Mari had just 1 line in the whole ep!

So sticking with the 4 we do meet in this ep, they’re not some exact cut and paste versions of the Muse girls. Chika was extremely proactive about recruiting people to join the club, a different approach than Honoka took by leaving flyers out in a box in the hallway. Not to say Honoka didn’t try hard though because she worked extremely hard to get the group together.  Likewise, Chika was brimming with passion and energy to get people to join her on the quest to become school idols despite the set backs along the way. Chika also didn’t back down when confronting Dia, especially the second time. She matched Dia stride for stride and really pushed Dia probably farther than she was expecting her to. I’ll talk a little more about this in a bit. Much like Honoka, Chika showed lots of determination and isn’t going to give up on her dream just yet.

You is one of Chika’s childhood friends, they’ve known each other forever and they’re pretty much always hanging out. Even though You is on the Diving Team, she still agrees to help out Chika in this journey to become school idols because she’s always wanted to do something with Chika that they were both crazy about. So while her time will be split between diving and being a school idol, You still wants to join Chika on this exciting journey. You mainly had a supporting role in this ep, helping Chika along the way, but like everyone else she’s an essential part to Aqours and they just wouldn’t be complete without her.

Dia was by far a big surprise for me. From what the PVs had shown I was expecting her to be more Eli like, cold, serious and mature, but then Dia did something that really caught me off guard. When talking with Chika about the club application form, Dia slams her hand down on the desk to make a point, but in the process she ends up hurting her hard and at the same time, her serious, mature, Eli-like personality that I assumed she had. We see this hidden cute side to her for a brief moment and I must say I really liked that side of her. Unlike Eli was before she joined Muse, Dia struggled to keep her composure and it’s really evident during the second meeting between her and Chika. Eli would never climb up on the desk to argue with anyone yet Dia got right up there, raising her voice and trying to seem as intimidating as possible to get Chika to back down.

Dia also showed off a small bit of knowledge about the Love Live competition, mentioning that each group needs to write their own songs to enter, but no one around the school is really into that sort of thing. Not that it’s really a spoiler because it’s been available for months, but Ruby and Dia are sisters and Ruby really loves idols. It’s probably not too far out to assume that when Dia was younger she and Ruby were into idols but somewhere along the way that must have changed and Dia moved out of that phase, or at least she thinks she has. She’ll come around eventually but I’m thinking that might be how her story plays out. We’ll have to wait and see though.

And lastly Riko, my best girl. Riko had a very nice scene in the back half of this ep when she and Chika first meet. Honestly I was just expecting them to first meet at school when Riko transferred in, but no they meet the day before. Also not a spoiler but Riko has transferred from Otonokizaka High School, which we all know is the home of Muse. Even though Riko says she spends all her time working on playing the piano, I did have a hard time accepting the fact she didn’t know who Muse were, especially after Chika showed her a picture of them. They’re wearing the same uniform as Riko, it’s clear as day that they attend the same school. If I were to point out any main issues with this ep, this probably has to be the biggest one.

It just doesn’t make sense that Riko couldn’t know who Muse are, they won Love Live, they sang that emotional farewell song for Eli, Nozomi and Nico during the closing assembly, it just seems hard to believe she doesn’t know who they are. I mean even if they attended at different times, surely somewhere around the school there would be signs that the great Muse attended the school, or even Yukiho and Alisa’s idol group would be around at the time. All in all it just doesn’t sit well with me that Riko couldn’t know who Muse is. Aside from that minor point, Riko made a great first impression (right up there with Yohane) and I really do feel like she’ll be my best girl from start to finish.

As far as the story goes so far, from what I’ve read it’s very similar to Love Live, where the school is facing closure and to save it they create an idol group. On paper it’s too similar but if they can somehow execute this all in a different way and make it work then I’ll be impressed. So far we haven’t learned the details about the school closing at all but I’m sure this will be brought out in the coming eps. Like I mentioned above, the first eps are usually intro eps so the focus was getting to know the girls and the framework of the story, setting it up for the details in the following eps.

Finally the last part I want to mention is the music. Love Live is all about music and in this ep alone we’ve got 2 great songs. The first being the OP ‘Aozora Jumping Heart‘ (Blue Sky Jumping Heart) which is a very nice song. Take a look.

The second song we have is an insert song at the end sung by Chika, You and Riko and it’s called ‘Kimeta yo Hand in Hand‘ (We’ve Decided Hand in Hand). Here’s a look at that song.

And finally the OST is something I really noticed and liked too. This time Tatsuya Kato is at the helm for the music, you might know his work from shows such as: the Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya series, Free!, Mirai Nikki and even Shokugeki no Souma. All in all the OST was really good after 1 ep and I liked that Dia, Mari and Riko all had a kind of theme song that played when we first meet them. It was another nice touch that made the overall experience that much better.

So looking at this opening ep as a whole, wow am I hyped for more. The exact feeling I had when watching it is something I can’t really put into words, it’s like a mix of so many emotions and it just left me grinning like an idiot. If I had any doubts that Love Live Sunshine might not live up to the hype, I think they’re all but gone now. True this is by far one of the toughest acts to follow, but if they can execute this properly and bring something new to that table then I think we’re in for something completely amazing here.

So with that the dream begins, Chika has set her heart on becoming a school idol and she’s going to do whatever it takes to make this dream come true. It won’t be an easy feat to accomplish but with all of her passion and determination, and a group of friends that wants this as much as she does, they too will be able to shine brightly just like Muse did.

That’s gonna wrap up my opening thoughts of this ep, just an amazing experience and I can’t wait to feel these emotions again next Saturday. If you also are watching Love Live Sunshine this season, let me know your thoughts on this opening ep in the comments below!

As it stands now I’ll probably be using the HorribleSubs release for this as it’s not FUNi and for archiving I’ll get the FFF release. Seeing that HS releases around 7:30am (Pacific Standard Time) by the time I’m awake I can download, watch it, review it and post it, all on the same day. Next week however, Qualidea Code begins I don’t think I’ll be able to get 2 reviews out in a day so I’ll most likely leave that for Sunday. Finally New Game is a Tuesday show but I think I’ll be going with the Doki release for that seeing how I’ve read the manga from them since the beginning. Of course all this is subject to change so I’ll try to keep you updated via my personal Twitter or the Anime Corps Twitter. It would be a good time to go follow each now.

Alright then, I’m finally finished talking and this post can end. Thanks for reading, see you back here next week!


Bonus Pic!

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