Otaku USA Magazine
Three Times Love Live! Reminded Us It’s Awesome to Be Ourselves

The idols of Love Live! rule because they're all unique

The ever-expanding world of Love Live! is full of stories. Whether you watch the anime, play the mobile game(s), or some mixture of the two, you have plenty of opportunities to get to know the characters. The aspiring stars of μ’s, Aqours, Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, and Liella! all have their own struggles, successes, and story arcs. But there are a few commonalities across them — with a big one being identity.

The project’s many school idols are always asking who they are: as teens, rising stars, and as a group. What does it mean to be an idol? What does it mean to be their specific type of idol? You’ll see the question raised in a variety of ways. And the answer is always the same, and always good: first, be true to yourself.


Maki finds her own appeal.

Nico and Maki

Nico and Maki were two of the first Love Live! idols, hailing from nine-member μ’s. And the two couldn’t be more different. Nico hones her cuteness in earnest, from her extensive idol knowledge to her own catch phrase. But while the energetic third year is always ready with a “Nico Nico ni,” first-year Maki would prefer to Nico Nico not.

While Maki does admire and somewhat envy Nico’s vibe, she’s also aware it doesn’t work on her. (Confirmed after Nico’s helpful suggestion of “Maki Maki ma!” just… doesn’t hit the same.) But Nico also points out that Maki has her own appeal, and that’s just fine. She doesn’t have to be stereotypically cute to be a likable idol.




Love Live! Sunshine!! introduced Aqours: nine new idol hopefuls inspired by μ’s. Among them is Hanamaru Kunikida, raised in a temple and somewhat out of touch with modern culture and tech. This manifests in a lot of ways — the most notable being her dialect. She’ll often end her sentences with -zura and mix in other uncommon linguistics. And, at least once, she notes that there aren’t a lot of idols like her out there.

For a time, she attempts to suppress her dialect. But despite wanting to support her, the rest of Aqours feels she just isn’t the same without her trademark style of speaking. And, as her fellow school idols note, it’s good that she’s an unusual idol. That just means she’ll stand out more in her fiend.


Finding Your Idol Way

The girls of Nijigasaki High School Idol Club are unique as compared to the other three groups in the franchise. Rather than focusing primarily on working as a unit, they celebrate and accentuate their unique styles. Setsuna Yuki is the focal point of this — as her obsession with idol greatness caused the original club to crash and burn.

When the new club forms, they decide to support each other as a group, but cultivate their own solo images at the same time. This is freeing for Setsuna: now she can live her idol dreams without quashing anyone else’s. And she gets the community and friendship she wanted.

Still need more motivation? Let these anime give you a positive boost.

Kara Dennison

Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and presenter with bylines at Crunchyroll, Sci-Fi Magazine, Sartorial Geek, and many others. She is a contributor to the celebrated Black Archive line, with many other books, short stories, and critical works to her name.