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24 July 2017: The top 10 best Love Live! School Idol Project girls

The round eyes aren't as bad in long shots.

I first tried watching Love Live! School Idol Project as it aired winter 2013, but I gave up after five episodes because I just never got into it. I finally gave it another try and watched all 13 episodes of the first cours this month. My recollection regarding the popularity of Love Live! is that the first cours was a mild success, producing some avid fans, but it wasn't until the second cours (Love Live! School Idol Project 2nd Season) started airing spring 2014 that it exploded into a real phenomenon, peaking in the American market when its 2015 movie received a U.S. theater release. This is an outsider's perspective, to be sure, and actual fans of the franchise will likely disagree with me on a number of points, but this how it seemed to me.

Kotori, Umi, and Honoka

Now that I've actually watched the first 13 episodes, the reasons for the show's 2014 burst in popularity remain a mystery. I have to presume the second season must have been really great, and that I'm in for a treat when I eventually get around to watching it. However, I have a nagging suspicious that—ardent fans aside—the majority of Love Live! fans are into the show for the memes and to be part of the fandom itself rather than because they enjoy the anime or the music. Anyway, on to the ranking! (Contains spoilers, I guess.)

Number 10: Rin

I also don't like catmouth.

  • I am unable to identify any redeeming qualities.
  • I've made jokes in the past about "Rin Tier," but I underestimated how poorly I would regard her.
  • Rin fans should be happy at her last place ranking, because surely one reason they like her is a sense of satisfaction that only they "get" Rin, so other people putting her down reinforces the uniqueness of their insights.

Number 9: Nozomi

Double standard.

  • I am convinced that people who pick Nozomi as the best Love Live are mostly just afraid of being labeled as pedophiles for saying anything even vaguely positive about an anime character who is not a 29-year-old man, so they pick the girl with the biggest breasts and widest hips out of general principle.
  • Alternatively, they are people who just really like lesbians. Moreover, they believe sexual assault is not really wrong as long as it is girl-on-girl.

Number 8: Honoka


  • Honoka would have fared better if she hadn't TRIED SO HARD she made things worse.
  • And then got sick because she touched rain.
  • I loathe both of these anime cliches. For crying out loud.
  • Tangentially related to an argument I saw a couple folks have on the IRC two years ago as to whether the music at the end of the first episode is diegetic or not, I subscribe to the theory that Honoka was struck by a car when she ran out into traffic, and every subsequent event in Love Live! is part of an isekai resurrection-type show.

Number 7: Eli

YOU hat > Я shirt.

  • This is a bit of a surprise. I was expecting to like Eli, but she's a huge sourpuss for most of the show. Like, for way too long, especially given the reason for her hangup.
  • She also appears to only know one Russian word. The same goes for her kid sister, but her kid sister doesn't seem quite right in the head, so she has an excuse.

Number 6: Hanayo

A body built by carbs.

  • I initially expected to have Hanayo ranked way worse. Like, "Rin Tier" worse, since all I knew about her is that she loves white rice.
  • She still ain't good, but I guess she's okay. Way better than Rin Tier, at least.

Number 5: FREE SPACE

A-RISE is too good to be bad, but did not appear enough in the show to be good.

  • I am putting this here because there is a clear divide between the bad characters and the good characters.
  • Also, because there are only nine girls in μ's.

Number 4: Kotori

I like Kotori even though she is really bendy.

  • Kotori is another surprise, given that everything I knew about her was related to the "bird" meme.
  • But she was riding high until the end when her particular bit of drama went a bit long and got a bit silly.
  • Still, Kotori is at least not as neurotic as the rest of them.
  • Kotori would have been Best Girl if the show had ended after episode 11.

Number 3: Umi


  • Umi would probably place higher, but (in contrast with Kotori, for example), she is totally neurotic.
  • Still, she does do a lot of cardio. I can respect that.
  • I also enjoyed watching her bitch people out.

Number 2: Nico

Maki and Nico
Nico Maki knee

  • Nico is another surprise for me because I mostly associated her with the "trash" meme. Nico totally is trash, but she's not trash the way, say, frickin' Kirino from Oreimo is complete rubbish. Nico is, like, Queen of Trash.
  • Nico also spends a lot of the show sassing people, so that's a huge point in her favor.

Number 1: Maki

It's not easy being better than everyone else.

  • I basically knew Maki was going to be near the top because she's the only one not to have those disturbingly round eyes. (Seriously, the round eyes in the 3DCG dance numbers are deep in that uncanny valley. They majorly give me the wig. Nozomi's bit in the OP is particularly bad.)
  • Maki is also the most talented and capable one of the group.
  • Toss in a personal bias in favor of red hair, and this was a no-brainer.

These rankings will probably change after I get around to watching the second cours, so save your angry letter bombs until you've had an opportunity to get mad at the subsequent follow-up post.

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