Few of our listeners/readers know this, but Anime Arcade might not have started without the Love Live franchise. The three of us who founded this site/podcast found each other on the Otaku Spirit forums, and found a mutual interest in the idol anime series. Through discussions about favorite songs, favorite moments in the show, SIF events, and (of course) the inevitable discussion of best girl (Nico) we began a friendship that lead us to where we are now. The girls of µ’s said their farewells last year, but the remnants of their idol careers resonate through many in the fandom and we at Anime Arcade are no different. With the recent announcement of the 2nd Love Live group (Aqours) coming to Anime Expo, I thought I’d share some live performances from the past to show the people who might be unfamiliar with the “3D Love Live girls” see what the Love Live franchise has done thus far.
Disclaimer: These aren’t necessarily my favorites, but many of them are quintessential when speaking about µ’s. I own a couple of the Live Blu-Rays, but not every performance is up on the internet. Still they’re fun, and if you already liked the Love Live music then you might enjoy them.
Fans of the show will immediately recognize this performance as the pivotal first live song played in the Love Live anime. START:DASH is where the story of µ’s begins, and the lyrics portray the feeling of overcoming adversity that foreshadows the obstacles to come in the anime. It’s a fantastic start for anyone interested in the live Love Live shows, and hopefully serves to increase your interest. While it is certainly one of the most iconic songs in the µ’s repertoire it pales in comparison to the next song.
Snow Halation is THE quintessential µ’s song. The melancholic melody alone is recognizable instantly to the fanbase, and you notice this as soon as the glowsticks go white in the stadium. The song comes at a big moment in the second season of the anime, and the animators did a fantastic job revitalizing the art from the old music video. For their part the seiyuu idols perform the live rendition of the iconic winter song perfectly. My favorite part of the live version of Snow Halation is Nitta Emi’s (Emitsun/Honoka) amazing sol0, that prompts the audience to change from white glowsticks to a sea of orange (Honoka’s color).
No Brand Girls
Going from a slower song to a much more high tempo one, No Brand Girls is one of the most energetic performances given by the girls of µ’s. Though it’s tied to a low point in the 1st season, it remains a favorite of mine for its strong opening and its ability to pump-up the crowd. You can tell from the onset that both the girls and the crowd are hyped, and µ’s keeps this going by getting the crowd involved later in the song. Outside of Bibi (a µ’s subgroup for those unaware), this is probably my favorite hype song from µ’s!
The Love Live Movie offered us 6 music videos in one amazing story, and among the best of those songs were the next two live performances. Angelic Angel was the first of these music scenes, and it was incredible to watch µ’s dance in idolized kimonos in Time Square. The live version is just as amazing (even if it’s not in Time Square), and their fan-dance is spot on with their animated counterparts. Adding to the enjoyment is being able to see Nanjou Yoshino (Nanchan/Eli) sing the opening/solo parts in person, as I believe she is one of the top 3 singers in µ’s hands down. Eli’s center stage appearance in the movie is second only to the next song in terms of the movie’s songs, but only due to the next song’s gravity.
Bokutachi wa Hitotsu no Hikari
Bokutachi wa Hitotsu no Hikari is µ’s’ heartfelt goodbye after 6 or so years of entertaining fans the world over. Every verse in this song is a farewell, and some are even references to lyrics from their past songs. Probably my favorite part of the song is the way they incorporate the character’s names into the lyrics as well. It’s honestly the hardest performance for me to watch, especially after the song is over (it’s worse on the blu-rays, trust me). Despite the sadness at the end, it is heartening to hear the fans send µ’s off by singing during the farewell. Though I hope that Aqours doesn’t have to say goodbye for a VERY long time, I hope that when they do we are able to give them a similarly awesome sendoff.
What do you think of the µ’s Live performances? Do you think you’d be interested in seeing more “3D Idols”? Any Love Live anime fans out there interested in rediscovering the music they came to love through anime/SIF? Let us know here, on our various social media pages, or ask us for an invite to our discord server to discuss it! We’d love to hear your thoughts on idols, because it was idols that started our first conversations at Anime Arcade! Also please let us know if you plan to see Aqours in concert this July at Anime Expo! Well that’s all the Love Live you get for now… okay ONE more. Please enjoy a bonus Live performance of Aishiteru Banzai, and look forward to a post like this one on the sub-groups of µ’s! Till next time, cheers my fellow idol fans!