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Dated 6 September 2022: Love Live! Superstar!! is still Kanon's show

Kanon
Come with me if you want to love live.

I had a lot of reservations when I learned Love Live! Superstar!! was adding new characters for its second season. Superstar!! was the only Love Live! iteration I regarded as actually being a good anime. Its much smaller cast was a big part of that. Through seven episodes so far, the second season has at least not ruined the good thing it had going, and remains pretty all right in and of itself. Kanon is still the character I like the most, though, and by a significant margin.

Keke
At least I like Cuckoo a lot more now than I did originally.

Fortunately, the second season continues to present Kanon as the Love Live! Superstar!! center point rather than taking a more chaotic or uncommitted ensemble-cast approach. For example, it sensibly found an excuse for Kanon to exhibit her preternatural ability to basically "fast travel" once again in order to personally set one of the newbies straight. It resulted in a scene that advanced both characters.

Shiki
She's weird.

Don't get me wrong. The rest of the cast is pretty good, too, and none of them actually suck. The supporting cast does suffer a bit from being relegated to various gimmicks at times, but they are being fleshed out more and more over time. It's not at all like, for example, Cure Honey from HappinessCharge Precure!, about whom I could tell you absolutely nothing that doesn't involve rice. Even Natsumi—the unpopular would-be video streamer who is obsessed with money—has more going on already than I initially feared.

Margarethe
I believe this is what the kids used to call being "extra."

This is not to say it's all been a huge success, though. MARGARETHE WIEN, or whatever her name actually is, disappeared basically immediately and looks to be another Lanzhu (from Love Live! Nijigasaki). I.e., someone contending for rival status who ultimately turns out to be mostly irrelevant. I'm also not particularly impressed with the character development for Shiki thus far, but I guess there is still nearly half a cours remaining. Maybe there will be something surprising to learn about her. Personally, I'm hoping she's secretly an android sent back in time from the future by Honoka to keep the idol wars from destroying humanity. It could happen.

Dated 10 August 2022: Here we go again (Umimi 2022)

Million Live! CD, front
The Million Live! anime sure is taking its sweet time.

Dated 2 August 2022: Luminous Witches doesn't have any nudity

Ginny
They're like magic headphones.

Renmei Kuugun Koukuu Mahou Ongakutai: Luminous Witches (League of Nations Air Force Aviation Magic Band Luminous Witches) is a Strike Witches spinoff set in the greater World Witches universe with a key difference: Instead of fighting Neuroi invaders, they sing and dance to raise the spirits of the populace. At least that's the way it has been through the first five episodes. Maybe later on they will also fight along with and/or perform for combat units.

Mana, Milasha, Inori, Ginny, and Elly
They're almost dressed normally.

We've come a long way from the original Strike Witches anime with its copious amounts of fan service and casual nudity. True, the Luminous Witches are still engaged in the War on Pants, but the series also relies on technicalities by cladding its characters in leggings, skirts, dresses, and shorts. In fact, some characters DO wear trousers, if you can believe it. Like I said, we've come a long way from the days when even the civilian girls in the franchise ran around without pants on for no clear reason. Actually, there was a reason: Because Fuck Pants. No peace in our time.

Jo, Sylvie, Maria, Milasha, Aila, Elly, Mana, Ginny, and Inori.
The original Strike Witches OVA also features animal familiars.

As far as the Luminous Witches anime itself goes, it's fine. I'm not exactly invested in any of the events or the characters. In fact, I definitely could not tell you all of their names or match most of the individual witches with their familiars. For that matter, I couldn't tell you the names of all the Brave Witches, either. (This might have more to do with the fact that Brave Witches ended more than five years ago.) I can still name all the characters from the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, though, even though they sometimes paraded around in the nude. I'm just saying.

Dated 19 July 2022: Kami Kuzu☆Idol reveals not all idols do their best

Asahi and Yuuya
She may be dead, but she still has feet.

I mostly started watching Kami Kuzu☆Idol (Phantom of the Idol) as an excuse to pad my Ghost Girlfriends tag. The series is about an unmotivated (read: total deadbeat) male idol who gets possessed by the ghost of a recently deceased female idol. Combined, they—I dunno—do idol-type things better, I guess. I enjoyed Ginban Kaleidoscope, which also involved being possessed by a ghost, so I figured I could make space for Kami Kuzu☆Idol in my Summer 2022 anime queue.

Yuuya and Asahi
I like how she hijacked his body without consent to indulge in physical pleasure.

Through three episodes, it's fine. So far, it's about what I expected. I don't have any complaints about Kami Kuzu☆Idol, but it also hasn't done anything particularly remarkable or memorable yet. Touyama Nao as the ghost is doing a very Touyama Nao voice, if you like that sort of thing. Honestly, I think the show would be more interesting with the premise reversed. Like, instead, make it about highly motivated TOP FUEL GENKI idol who gets possessed by the ghost of a disgruntled dead idol who is a constant downer. I'd watch that too.

Dated 10 May 2022: Paripi Koumei is not an idol anime, but I'm pairing it with Love Live! Nijigasaki anyway

Eiko and Kongming
It must be inconvenient carrying that thing around all the time.

I initially passed on Paripi Koumei (a contraction of Party People Koumei, but officially localized as Ya Boy Kongming!) because a show about Zhuge Liang (a Chinese strategist from the Three Kingdoms era) reincarnating in modern Japan and adapting his expertise for use within the music industry didn't really appeal to me. However, I kept hearing good things about it, and the OP is really catchy, so here we are.

Eiko
I enjoyed Eiko's bewilderment at her sudden spike in popularity.

It turns out the series really is good. It's also worth pointing out Paripi Koumei is much more about Eiko, a singer who Kongming decides to support, than I had realized before I started watching it. Or, at least it was for its first four episodes. The latest two have been about a rapper who Kongming pursues, and there are more characters from the OP who I still don't recognize, so I don't actually know if Eiko's role will remain as prominent.

Yuu and Kaoruko
Somehow, questions about their hair never come up, though.

Questions about who the series is going to focus on also appear in Love Live! Nijigasaki Gakuen School Idol Doukoukai 2. Besides the already sizable cast, the second cours of Nijigasaki adds new characters who, through six episodes already, haven't honestly appeared very much. From the looks of it, this season is probably going suffer from having too many characters to juggle, just as its first season did.

Setsuna
It's not as if she was stealing recipes from restaurants and fighting Pretty Cure.

I did enjoy the resolution of the whole Setsuna v. Nana secret identity thing, despite never genuinely believing this double life was truly necessary in the first place. Actually, maybe that was its appeal. The absurdity of it all amused me, as did the student body's baffling inability to penetrate her flimsy disguise. It's at least a contributing factor as to why Setsuna (and Nana) have rocketed towards the top of my Love Live! character rankings. (Meanwhile, fellow student council presidents Eli, Ren, and Dia are mired deep in the bottom half of the list.)

Lanzhu
I was expecting you to have done more stuff by now.

I'll probably still enjoy whatever Love Live! Nijigasaki decides to do going forward, but I expect it will be a far cry from Love Live! Superstar!! and its successes. Speaking of which, I hope adding those four new idols doesn't end up ruining the second cours of Superstar!! for me, but that's a whole 'nother topic.

Dated 3 May 2022: I'm watching two sports anime: Birdie Wing and Gunjou no Fanfare

Eve and Viper
Underground golf does not have to take place underground.

BIRDIE WING -Golf Girls' Story- has the misfortune of coming right on the heels of Sorairo Utility, giving it a sort of distasteful corporate flavor in comparison. I don't know if that's actually justified, but it sure is odd that we got two girls-playing-golf shows in back-to-back seasons after years of no golf anime at all. Still, Birdie Wing isn't nearly as wacky as it needs to be, although episode four was progress. It is set in Nafrece, so it potentially takes place in the same universe as Madlax (and Valkyrie Drive, of all things), but Eve hasn't started golfing in a white cocktail dress within the first four episodes.

Aki
Some of these dudes are dicks to each other, but they're also sort of tsundere.

Gunjou no Fanfare (Fanfare of Adolescence), on the other hand, is too wacky. Or at least its first episode was. It's toned it down since then. I'm mostly thinking of utterly implausible and entirely unnecessary contrivances such as a truck blowing over in the wind (?!) and the genki kid being a natural despite never having ridden a horse before. None of that was necessary. What is necessary is a substantial increase in screen time for the token girl. I was really hoping prior to the start of the series that the token girl was actually a secret girl who was busting through sexist horse-racing-school conventions, but that turned out to not be the case.

Aki, Hayato, Soujirou, Eri, Shun, Kouta, and Yuu
Eri's thighs don't touch.

Really, Gunjou no Fanfare is just about boys on horses doing boys-on-horses things. I suspect the show is meant to also sort of be fujoshi bait, but I don't exactly have my finger on the pulse of what that entails. That's a question for Ogiue Maniax. In terms of the anime themselves, both Birdie Wing and Fanfare of Adolescence are "fine," but I wouldn't characterize either as must-see shows of the Spring 2022 anime season by any stretch of the imagination.

Dated 14 December 2021: SELECTION PROJECT is not as good as IDOLY PRIDE

Rena
I'm so disappointed you did not turn out to be a total cunt.

I would not still be watching SELECTION PROJECT if it did not share so many similarities with IDOLY PRIDE. (Spoilers throughout. Avert your eyes if you care.) Straight away, both shows feature troupes of newbie idols trying to make it big. Both shows have ALL CAPS titles. Both shows feature idols who die in a car accidents. Both shows feature idols who turn out to be the younger sisters of the dead idols. Both shows feature plot points about the sisters' complicated feelings of inferiority, guilt, and grief. Both shows feature idols who were transplant recipients of hearts donated from the dead idols. It's a whole thing. One notable difference: The dead idol from IDOLY PRIDE continues to hang around as a ghost, while the Hayamin-voiced idol from SELECTION PROJECT fucks off entirely after dying.

Shiori, Rena, and Suzune
The OP is easily the best part of SELECTION PROJECT.

The big difference between the two shows, though, is that IDOLY PRIDE is surprisingly good, while SELECTION PROJECT sort of sucks. It is just not a good series, mostly because it is neither upbeat enough to enjoy for wacky idol activities nor downbeat enough to take seriously. It has camp elements, but none of them are amusing. It probably should have pared down its cast by at least half instead of filling the series with a lot of entirely undeveloped placeholders. The idol from Hokkaido is the worst offender. The poor girl literally has no scenes that do not involve food in some way.

Suzune
Episode 11's epilogue ends on a mildly ominous note.

A smaller cast would have given SELECTION PROJECT more opportunities to develop the characters critical to its dramatic sequences. That it failed to do so stands in stark contrast to Love Live! Superstar!! which benefited significantly from its tighter-knit group. There is still one episode left in SELECTION PROJECT, so I suppose it might still manage to turn it around, but it seems almost certain SELECTION PROJECT will end up as just another uninspired, lackluster, below-average series that I'm not going to remember well later except for curiously sharing a lot of plot points with IDOLY PRIDE.

Dated 30 November 2021: Love Live! Superstar!! is the best Love Live! anime

Kanon
Despite appearances, Kanon is good at waking up in the morning.

Love Live! Superstar!! only had 12 episodes, but they spanned both the Summer 2021 and Autumn 2021 anime seasons in order to accommodate the Tokyo Olympics. It was also the best Love Live! anime of the franchise, for basically all the reasons SDS already covered at Ogiue Maniax. I presume others have also expressed the same view for similar reasons, and maybe I'd even know about them if anime blogging weren't dead.

Kanon and Kanon
This child is full of lies.

Notably, its lead, Shibuya Kanon, felt most like a genuine person among all the various characters of the Love Live! cinematic universe galaxy. I understand there are Honoka fans with a great deal of fondness for that character's development, but I've always regarded her as a casualty of a franchise that I find (as a whole) sort of off-putting in myriad minor ways that clearly don't bother real fans. Still, this is why I can't consider myself an actual Love Live! fan, and it's why I'm ambivalent about the show most of the time.

Kanon, Chisato, Sumire, Keke, and Ren
The all-singing, all-dancing 3DCG has come a long way.

However, Love Live! Superstar!! really got it right by keeping its cast of idols smaller than those of its predecessors. Devoting more time to them individually gave me, as a viewer, more opportunities to find reasons to care about them. True, Keke and Sumiere seem more like "wacky characters" than "actual characters." Likewise, Ren and Chisato seem more like capital-S, capital-C Supporting Characters to me than members of an ensemble cast.

Kanon
I still like Kanon best even though she has fucked-up hair.

In that sense, Kanon is the only True Character of the series, which I guess is why I regard Love Live! Superstar!! as being her show. Consequently, I guess she's also the titular superstar by default. I mean, she's not a superstar in the way that Sheryl Fuckin' Nome is a God damn superstar, but I've got no problem naming her as the overall Love Live! BEST GIRL. That she achieves this by tackling relatable problems and without the benefit (benefit?) of high-tension melodrama is a testament to what the franchise finally got right.