If you read my previous article on Love Live! School Idol Project, then you may be expecting another overly long love letter to its follow up series, Love Live! Sunshine!! If you were, unfortunately, I must disappoint. While Sunshine is fine in a vacuum, unfortunately I have something to compare it to, and as a result, there’s not much to say. Ironically, Sunshine is a cautionary tale about the importance of being yourself. Just too bad it didn’t seem to learn that lesson itself nearly fast enough. A shadow of greatness is still just that, a shadow.
The Characters – Imperfect Clones
The first place you can see this problem is with the characters. The cast of School Idol Project was apparently so great, why not do that exact same thing again? Thus, Sunshine spoke and so it came to be. While there are some differences if you are being a little generous, the overall composition of the group of nine featured in this series are nearly a 1:1 in terms of typing. Our main character Chika is essentially Honoka, You is the group’s Kitori, and so on. This isn’t to say that these characters aren’t enjoyable in their own right, they have their own slightly adjusted quirks and chemistry, but the big picture remains unchanged. It’s disappointing to see that.
Part 1 – School Idol Project Speed Run
In my prior look at School Idol Project I had suspected that Sunshine would see a reprisal of the material in some way but my hope for the future was that the message would ultimately be that this way of thinking for the girls was a mistake. That’s what we see in the first half of the series where we see the girls speed run the plot of the first series only to fall short in the end. Their downfall being that they don’t learn to be themselves, trying too hard to emulate Honoka’s crew, so that they can shine as well.
The result of this half is two-fold. The first being that this half ends up being nothing more than fine because we are just retreading past material without really adding anything new. Ironically, this is the same pitfall the character’s fall into. By sticking too closely to the past, and the path to success that they followed, they failed to bring their own uniqueness to the table. In short, it failed to shine. The second issue is that it leaves little room for the second half which has to carry all the weight when it comes to making Sunshine deliver, but in this case the load was clearly too much.
Part 2 – One of The Conclusions of All Time
Remember how School Idol Project went out of its way to give not one, but multiple show-stopping moments with its conclusion? Yeah, well Sunshine doesn’t do that. Instead it simply ends in the way you likely expect it will. Again, it isn’t as if the show is bad, but it is bland. There is only one stand out moment in this second half, the plot concerning Ruby and Saint Snow, but one fleeting moment where the show shines isn’t enough.
As a result it is hard to be excited about this one. If you haven’t seen any other Love Live series before, then I suspect you would have a good time with Sunshine as it does hit all the right notes. The story is there, and again, it is fine on its own. I didn’t dislike Sunshine either, but I am disappointed that it fell for the same trap the story is warning against. By time it started to be its own thing and figure itself out, it was too late. The show was over and it was time to go home, so that’s exactly what I did.
Not a very long article here, but the verdict is that Sunshine is just okay. While I don’t recommend against it per se, it doesn’t exactly strike me as particularly memorable either. I felt the right things at the right time, I like this, but there’s just no enthusiasm. Personally, it is a letdown considering how much I enjoyed School Idol Project. Maybe the the film holds some secret key that ties this all together, but for this series I sadly can’t watch it so the world may never know my thoughts here, but at the same time… I’d much rather just move on to Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club, which is exactly what I’ll do. Until next time folks.
That’s it for this one, sadly very little to say. If you like these franchise deep dives (even if we were a bit shallow on this one), be sure to leave a like and maybe even a comment. Also, consider a donation via the buttons below as it helps out. See you for the next one!