I have stated before that I, generally, dislike movie adaptations derived from anime series. This is because many shows do it simply as a money grab. The downside to this is that most anime-movies with anime counter-parts is that they really can’t do anything in the way of progress in said movie. Naruto is a prime example of this, that show has a bunch of movies out, some were even theatrically released. Most of them, however, feel more like filler episodes because..well.. they are. You get some random ass story about characters you care nothing about– it feels mostly like a side adventure. Naruto isn’t the only one to do this, Bleach, Fairy Tail and tons more shows have done the same thing and the end results are the same: the movies are pointless and often boring. So, naturally I was a bit hesitant to watch the Love Live film as I was afraid of it falling into the same trap. I loved the original series and didn’t want my view of it tarnished by a lame ass story. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when I was treated to a continuation of the story rather than a pointless adventure– I mean some adventuring is definitely there, but by the end of the movie there is some definitive ground made by the series as a whole!
Synopsis (Thanks Love Live Wikia)
The story of the film begins after the events of the second season, at the graduation ceremony of the third-year students. Knowing that the graduation of the third-year members means the end of μ’s, the nine girls take a walk around the school filled with memories. However, when the students attempt to leave the school gates, a single email is sent to them, and the curtain on a new story for μ’s is raised.
I do want to say in advance that this review will most likely contain spoilers… so If you haven’t watched the film and are not okay with know details of the story LEAVE NOW. Still here? Good, moving on!
The overarching story told in this film is the struggle and sadness that looms over the girls of μ’s as they are forced to decide whether or not to disband once the third year students, that make up a third of their group, graduate. Kousaka Honoka, the group’s leader, feels the weight of this decision over the course of the film as alternatives are presented to her. They don’t necessarily need to disband, the could continue on and gain new members in the future. After all, they are popular enough! They could also stay together after high school and try to become full-fledged idols as their rivals, A-Rise, are doing. They have other options, but it is interesting to see her struggle with these ideas as well as see the other members struggle with them as well. Honoka never wanted to be a famous school idol, she just wanted to save her school, and with that accomplished, what else is there for the μ’s to do? Personally, I was rooting for them to stay together, but as my viewing of the show is hinged on the fact that I love the μ’s as a whole I do feel a bit bias? In any case, the feeling and thoughts that come from these internal struggles is really what makes up the core of the film and makes it feel special. Especially after watching the μ’s come together and succeed over the course of two seasons, you don’t want it to end but know that it has to at least at some level.
But the film is not overly heavy, so please do not get scared off by this. Another subplot in the film is that the people who run Love Live want their next competition to be held in this sort of Uber-dome but are unsure of the popularity of idols and don’t think they could fill up such a huge space. So the enlist the help of the μ’s to do a concert in America on television to bolster the events popularity. So you get to see the μ’s have an awesome and interesting time in New York City and Honoka even has a whole “lost in New York” situation that happens (and possibly meets future-Honoka?). Much of the films adorable and fun factor come from their scenes in New York and it was able to bring back a lot of the awesome and hilarity that draws you in from the series. Also, there are bunch of moments in the film where a few of the girls will start dancing and singing almost entirely unprompted and it gives the whole movie a musical-feel that wasn’t in the show. I appreciated that very much, actually and would have actually liked it if the show had utilized that more. Or not, it DID make the movie feel special after all so…
Without giving any more of the plot away, I will say that this film also results in a spectacular ending for the series as a whole. granted, I know that they are working on a Love Live show for the future and stuff, but Love Live, as we know it is over by the end of the film. And the way they do it does a great job of paying homage to the show while giving us a great send-off. Her sister, while talking to future school-idol hopefuls talks about the great legacy that the μ’s had left them and you get the whole feeling that, together, they were accomplished something truly great and that their legacy created a dynasty of sorts that endured. Additionally, the massive idol-concert was very well done and entertaining. A perfect emotional send off for a show that, quite honestly, I thought was lame and girl when I started watching it– and now I am sad to see it ending… dammit… damn those feels!
The animation is also super clean and crisp in the movie. But if you did watch the original series I doubt you would be surprised. The entire show has always felt fairly high budget to me and that continues on pretty effortlessly in the movie. They do a great job of mixing in pretty scenery and color into what could be otherwise boring scenes. I’ve always been thrown off by every girl in this series having pink knees, but whatever, at this point I have gotten used to that and it’s a minor quirk in otherwise flawless animation. Additionally, the animation shines best when the girls are doing a song and dance number and it plays really well with the musical feel of the movie. Part of the reason that I said I wanted to see more of it in the show was because, for the most part, when the μ’s are singing, they are on stage, but it was pretty fun to see that same animation style employed in other scenery as well.
If you are a fan of Love Live you really need to see this movie. Trust me, it will be worth it! It has everything the show had to offer and more. And it gave a definitive end to a great story. And it did that while getting you pumped for the next iteration of the show! That is pretty darn classy if you ask me. I will miss the μ’s but I do look forward to seeing the next phase, which is something I really didn’t care too much about before.