Ah, I still remember when I first started watching Love Live. It was in the middle of the Winter 2013 season, I was new to anime and had it not been recommended by someone else(maybe on Reddit or somewhere else), I probably wouldn’t have picked up Love Live. I don’t remember much of the experience of watching it itself, but I do remember thinking that Love Live was all around a solid show. I enjoyed watching it, and – because this is mandatory I think – my favourite in Season 1 was Maki.
Looking back at the first season, well, the last arc was not the best, and the CG was never impressive (even to me who hadn’t really seen better CG at the time either), but the experience as a whole was good. And then it blew up. Everyone started talking about Love Live, everyone started cosplaying as the characters, and everyone started doing fan art of it. Later on I realised that it had already had a following in Japan since the original start of the project in 2010, but the post-anime explosion was still tangibly real. And at that point I was very happy that I had watched the show, because suddenly everyone who hadn’t seen it also wanted to know about it and I actually knew stuff about it! For the first time since I started watching anime, I felt like I could actually contribute something to the discussion! That was a great feeling.
Around the time that Season 2 started airing (in Spring 2014), however, the feeling had passed, probably because I wasn’t quite as devoted to the series as many others. But while Season 2 didn’t give me that same feeling of worth, it did do something else: Be better than the first season (at least in my opinion). I particularly loved the last 5 episodes, but there was nothing wrong with the first 8 episodes either. I also had a change of heart when it came to my favourite character. This time, my choice was Hanayo – and don’t you dare joke about the rice fixation! – who remains my favourite to this day. It’s not just that I think she’s cute, and it’s not like I dislike any of the other characters, it just sort of happened. I dunno, maybe I like rooting for the underdog.
In any case, a lot has happened since Season 2 ended. My life has changed, my personality has changed, and I have watched other (gasp!) idol shows, The Idolm@ster and AKB0048 to be specific. Love Live is no longer necessarily my favourite idol show, but that doesn’t diminish its value to me in any way. Up until Christmas 2015 I thought I’d stopped caring about it, but then I watched the movie and all the memories came flooding back, so all is well. And, well, the fandom also keeps me afloat by somehow perpetually going and going and never stopping. Seriously, how do you guys keep going? I’m not judging, I’m just genuinely happy that so many people are still posting fan art and/or retweeting it.
Looking back at the whole thing, I’m kind of sad that the story of µ’s has concluded. Even though I was never the most enthusiastic fan of the franchise, the characters or their music (I have thought about getting back to listening to the music, though, because I feel I haven’t heard enough of it), it really does feel like the end of an era. Sure, Love Live Sunshine is coming soon, but I have a feeling Aqours won’t be as successful or memorable as µ’s. But hey, what do I know, before Love Live I thought I’d never like idol shows in the first place. I’m probably going to love Sunshine. After all, I know next to nothing about it and yet I already have a favourite character (it’s You).