I grew up on anime. I watched Robotech at 5am on Saturday mornings as a kid, caught Ronin Warriors (also known as Samurai Troopers) during it’s brief run on American television, and even have an appreciation for the classics like Bubblegum Crisis, Patlabor, and Cowboy Bebop, not to mention Dragonball and Fullmetal Alchemist. I know anime is like ice cream; chances are there’s a flavor that’s right for you, even though some might not be to your taste. In keeping with that analogy, if my favorite flavor is butterscotch, Love Live: The School Idol Movie is peach mango, meaning I’ll eat it, but it wouldn’t be my first choice. Please let me stress that the assessment is based off my preferences, and Love Live is actually a pretty good film once you grant it some concessions.
Now, I’m not 100% certain what a “School Idol” is, but near as I can tell from the film there are groups of singing and dancing girls competing for the title, sort of like a Japanese version of Pitch Perfect, without the pretension of the latter franchise. The girls in Love Live have either graduated, or are about to, and the film represents their last show as a group before they can’t compete any longer and must go their separate ways. For their last hurrah, the girls have to find a venue in New York to perform because there’s a story being done about them, and since they’re the best they’ve got to find the perfect place to show the world what they’ve got.
Love Live is a film that takes place after two seasons of a show so there’s already a lot of established backstory and characterization I missed out on, but I didn’t feel totally adrift (aside from not knowing any of the character’s names) by the end of the film. Having nine leads and trying keep each of their personalities unique is a daunting task, and the film did a very good job of making sure no one faded into the background. It’s actually a charming movie with themes of friendship and cooperation that had me chuckling at a few parts.
Going against all the rules of being a hardcore anime watcher, I watched the dub of the film. I realize that to get the most “pure” experience I should watch the subtitled version with the Japanese dialogue, but I do what I want and I enjoyed the movie dubbed. There were a few parts where the girls are confused by American culture in New York, and while they don’t feel terribly awkward, I do wonder if they’d make more sense in the subbed version. Sometimes American localization doesn’t quite line up with the original script like it should. It didn’t do anything to detract from my enjoyment of the film, however.
The remainder of the special features are a clean ending and original Japanese promos, along with several trailers for other releases. The original Japanese audio is available along with an English dub. Overall it’s a nice package and if you’re a fan of the series, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you’ll enjoy it.
Even though I’m not the target audience of a film like this I did find enjoyment in it. Honestly, it’s rather refreshing to watch an anime that didn’t begin to venture into strange territory or didn’t sexualize the characters. If singing schoolgirls or Pitch Perfect is your thing, check it out.
We were pleased to be able to acquire a copy of the Premium Edition to unbox and review. Peep the video below.
Note: This Blu Ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.