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Love Live! (ラブライブ!) School Idol Project is a Japanese multimedia project co-developed by ASCII Media Works' Dengeki G's magazine, music label Lantis and anime studio Sunrise that started in 2010.

The franchise revolves around the concept of "school idols" note , ordinary schoolgirls in Japan who become amateur Idol Singers and bond together to make their hopes and dreams come true through heart, friendship, and music. Each series follows a different group of school idols at various fictional high schools across the country, with each group starring a unique and colorful cast of girls. Originally starting out through animated music videos and fictional biographies in Dengeki G's magazine, the series initially failed to garner popularity, but has since blossomed into a massive multimedia franchise with short stories, music videos, music CDs, actual live performances by the voice actresses behind the main characters, anime, manga, light novels, and video games.

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Due to its heavy focus on the multimedia aspect, the franchise carries some multiple unique traits distinguishing it from standard idol anime. Most notably, many portions of the franchise involve heavy Audience Participation through reader voting games held in Dengeki G's magazine, such as the names of schools and groups, subunit members, centers for upcoming singles, and more. The voice actresses for the characters are also a visible and prominent part of the franchise, being marketed as somewhat real life versions of their respective characters. They function the same way other idol groups do, by doing things like informational livestreams, meet and greet events and perform at their own concerts. The franchise is also known for appealing to a wide audience unlike similar anime in the genre, including children. The series aired on Disney Channel in Japan, and there are children's books featuring the characters. Several voice actresses from later incarnations of the series have been fans of the earlier incarnations in the series. Some have been fans since their childhood, no doubt due to the family friendly nature of the series reaching audiences far beyond the adult male target demographic.

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The first series, Love Live! School idol project, follows the adventures of "µ's" (pronounced "muse"), a fledgling school idol group in Tokyo, as they try to save their school from closing due to lack of students. In 2016, µ's performed their Final Live and is now on "indefinite hiatus."note  In 2020, the group briefly became active performers again for the franchise's 9th anniversary, with a new animated music video being released and the voice actresses taking the stage yet again at Love Live! Fest in January of that year.

A second series called Love Live! Sunshine!! (ラブライブ! サンシャイン!!) started in 2015. It focuses on "Aqours" (pronounced "aqua"), a new school idol group from the remote seaside town of Uchiura, as they try to find their own radiance.

In 2017, Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (ラブライブ!虹ヶ咲学園スクールアイドル同好会)note  was introduced, which follows another school idol club in Odaiba. Unlike their predecessors, the club focuses more on solo acts with the members acting as both friends and rivals to each other.

In 2020, a fourth series was announced called Love Live! Superstar!! (ラブライブ!スーパースター!!). Set in the areas of Omotesando, Harajuku and Aoyama, it features "Liella!", a school idol group composed of first year students, as they attend a newly reopened school. This spin-off is notable for having an open audition to voice its lead heroine, Kanon Shibuya.

The works in this franchise so far are:

    open/close all folders 

    Music Videos 

    Anime 

  • Love Live! School Idol Project (January 2013 - June 2014): Composed of 26 episodes divided into 2 seasons. With Otonokizaka High (an aging school located between Tokyo's neighborhoods of Akihabara, Kanda, and Jinbouchou) on the brink of closure, 2nd year student Honoka Kousaka is inspired to create a school idol group to save the school she loves.
  • Love Live! School Idol Project OVA (November 2013): Bundled with µ's 6th single, Music S.T.A.R.T!!
  • Love Live! The School Idol Movie (June 2015): The Finale Movie for School idol project!. µ's is invited to New York to perform, but the impending graduation of Eli, Nozomi, and Nico has put the future of µ's in jeopardy, and the group must decide if it is worth continuing without them.
  • Love Live! Sunshine!! (July 2016 - December 2017): Composed of 26 episodes divided into 2 seasons. Chika Takami, a 2nd year student at Uranohoshi High in rural Uchiura, is inspired by µ's to form her own school idol group, but through hardship and perseverance must learn to find her own radiance.
  • Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow (January 2019): The Finale Movie for Sunshine!!. After Mari, Kanan, and Dia mysteriously disappear during their graduation trip to Italy, the remaining Aqours members are recruited to find them but must also come to terms with the future of Aqours.
  • Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (October 2020 - ): Composed of one 13-episode season and an upcoming second season. Yu Takasaki and Ayumu Uehara become enamored with school idols after witnessing a magical performance by legendary idol Setsuna Yuki. However, with Nijigasaki's School Idol Club being seemingly disbanded, Yu must step forward to make her dream of supporting a school idol group a reality.
  • Love Live! Superstar!! (July 2021): An upcoming anime set around the areas of Omotesando, Harajuku and Aoyama featuring "Liella!", the school idol group of Yuigaoka Girls' High School.

    Video Games 

  • Love Live! School Idol Festival (April 2013 - present): A Rhythm Game developed by KLab and released on Android and iOS in Japan in 2013 and overseas with an English localization in 2014. The game focuses on assembling a team of 9 members of varying stats to create an optimal high-scoring team.
  • Love Live! School Idol Paradise (August 2014): A series of Rhythm Games developed by Dingo and released on the PlayStation Vita in Japan. Starring µ's, School idol paradise was the series' first 3D rhythm game and primarily features songs from the anime and animated singles. The game was produced in three versions representing each subunit, with each version featuring unique songs, and the game also debuted the original song "Shangri-la Shower".
  • Love Live! School idol festival ~after school ACTIVITY~ (December 2016 - present): An arcade spin-off of Love Live! School Idol Festival. The game takes the gameplay of School idol festival and adapts it to a full arcade unit while also introducing 3D performances where players can watch the girls perform the songs during gameplay. Players can also collect physical cards by playing the game and scan them into the arcade machine to customize the performances and gameplay.
    • Love Live! School idol festival ~after school ACTIVITY~ Next Stage: The update which adds Aqours to the game, released in December 2018. Saint Snow would later be added in September 2019.
    • Love Live! School idol festival ~after school ACTIVITY~ Wai Wai! Home Meeting!! (March 2021 - present): A console port of Next Stage releasing on the Playstation 4. This is the first iteration of SIFAC to release outside Japan, with an English localization launching alongside the Japanese version. This game uses a "free to start" system not unlike Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone where players can download the base game with a small amount of songs for free and buy the remainder of the game's tracklist through Downloadable Content.
  • Puchiguru! Love Live! (April 2018 - May 2019): Developed by Pokelabo and released on Android and iOS in Japan in 2018, Puchiguru! is a puzzle game starring the adorable nesoberi plushies in digital form, tapping and matching them for the highest score possible.
  • Love Live! School idol festival ALL STARS (September 2019 - present): A mobile rhythm RPG game released in Japan on September 26, 2019 and released globally on February 25, 2020. The game follows the adventures of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club as they team up with µ's and Aqours to create the greatest celebration of school idols in the world: the School Idol Festival.

    Printed Media (Manga, Light Novel, Comic Anthology) 
Manga

  • Maru's 4-Koma (May 2017): A Hanamaru-centric Yonkoma that started in Dengeki G's and was later turned into a full manga.

Light Novel

  • Love Live! School Idol Diary (May 2013 – present): A series of light novels that expands on the characters featured in the anime. Later adapted to an ongoing manga.
  • Love Live! Sunshine!! School idol diary (September 2016 - present): A collection of short stories packaged with the anime Blu-Rays that expands on the characters featured in the manga. Later adapted to an ongoing manga.
  • Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club Real Face Photo Essay Series (November 2020 - present): A series of short stories that expands on the cast of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club as they appear in the anime, with a similar style to the School idol diary series.

Anthology

  • Love Live! Anthology: A manga anthology drawn by a variety of illustrators, different for each chapter.
  • Love Live! Sunshine!! Comic Anthology: A series of anthologies, official compilations of manga by various artists.

Others

  • Dengeki's G's magazine: Short stories are still being published in the magazine.
  • Love Live! Days: The Love Live! General Magazine. An offshoot from Dengeki G's as the series continues to expand.
  • Love Live! Booklet Stories: A series of short stories from the Love Live! School Idol Project Blu-Ray Discs.
  • Official fan books and guide books.

    Web Comics 
  • Nijiyon (December 2018 - present): A Yonkoma Webcomic series centered around the lives of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. After two seasons, the series changed to a Motion Comic format for its third season and released weekly on the official YouTube channel. A fourth season is set to premiere in July 2021 and will add Shiroiko Mifune.
  • The various Yonkoma webcomic series focusing on the original divisions of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. (July 2017 - December 2018)
    • The Dengeki webcomic focuses on Karin Asaka, Kasumi Nakasu and Setsuna Yuki. The structure for this series is closer to the current series, NijiYon.
    • The Famitsu webcomic focuses on the Famitsu App Group, consisting of Ayumu Uehara, Ai Miyashita and Rina Tennoji. The most popular of the three due to invokedAlternative Character Interpretation and Early Installment Weirdness.
    • The Bushiroad webcomic focuses on the School Idol Festival Group, consisting of Shizuku Osaka, Kanata Konoe and Emma Verde. It has a similar feel with the Transfer Student Festival series.

Other Media

  • Radio dramas included in the singles and albums.
  • Radio shows by the voice actresses of the characters.
  • Live streams by the voice actresses of the characters.
  • Promotional campaign events hosted by the voice actresses of the characters.
  • Concert tours featuring the voice actresses of the characters.


Tropes related to the franchise as a whole:

  • 12-Episode Anime: The anime commonly deals in 13-episode seasons, with two seasons given to µ's and Aqours each.
  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: This is present in most music videos and any scenes in the anime where the characters are performing; while the anime and PVs are primarily animated in 2D, performances will typically have a lot of shots rendered in 3D since that makes dancing easier to animate. The integration of CG has improved over the years, especially by the time the Sunshine!! anime aired.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Typically averted. While the student councils in the series hold great authority and are usually the first and most immediate threat to the protagonists, they usually co-exist alongside a higher power who have the ability to override their decisions. Most obviously are the school directors, including Director Minami and Mari, but there's also Lanzhu who is the daughter of the director and exploits Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! to her full advantage.
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • Most people (especially in the west) don't know that the franchise originated from a series of music videos with short stories that accompanied them.
    • The pre-Anime Manga adaptation (School Idol Diary counts too) is also this in the Western fanbase. Unfortunately, several fans occasionally mistook them as doujins. (And again, not helped to the fact that Anthology manga (officially released manga with chapters contributed by doujin artists) exists as well.)
  • Adults Are Useless: At best, the adults are there for emotional support, but pretty much everything important in the series gets done by the teenaged cast. There's also instances such as Mari's parents who work against the main girls, be it intentionally or otherwise.
  • Aerith and Bob: Of the predominantly Japanese main cast, the most blatantly foreign names are Emma Verde, whose name is wholly European in nature, and Keke Tang, whose name is explicitly spelled in its Chinese format despite having a Japanese equivalent. Dia and Ruby Kurosawa also have English given names despite being fully Japanese, which was apparently their father's decision.
  • All Animation Is Disney: As mentioned in the Adaptation Displacement above, this happens occasionally for Anime-only watchers, mistaking the official manga adaptations for doujins.
  • Alternate Continuity: Bizarrely for a franchise of its type, the canon of Love Live! is splintered into several different routes; while the different continuities do reference each other heavily and they more or less share the same characterizations, specific events within each continuity differ heavily.
    • The first and original continuity is commonly referred to as "Dengeki" canon, which refers to the short stories and biographies provided in the Dengeki G's magazine and mostly consists of characterization and little actual story. Almost all aspects of each character in the anime, games, and manga stem from their depictions in the magazines, although minor details are subject to change to fit the story or for comedic effect.
    • By far the most popular continuity is referred to as "anime" canon, which encompasses the events of School idol project, Sunshine!!, their respective movies (but excluding the "Music S.T.A.R.T.!!" OVA), and the Love Live! School idol diary novels/manga. Voice dramas are also commonly considered part of anime canon, and while MVs have no concrete basis in any canon, they are heavily associated with the anime.
    • Uniquely, there is also ALL STARS canon, which consists solely of the School idol festival ALL STARS video game, and is the primary canon within which the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club exists. There is heavy overlap with the events of anime canon, although some liberties are taken for continuity reasons.
    • Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is an anime that stars the titular group. It's an entirely separate canon from Nijigasaki's source material that heavily rewrites the characters and the plot, but there is no clear connection to the other anime series.
    • There is also "manga" canon, which encompasses the School idol project and Sunshine!! manga adaptations as well as the Love Live! Sunshine!! School idol diary novels/manga. The manga are produced separately from other forms of media and thus differ in both continuity and characterizations compared to the anime and games. One of the lesser known continuities due to most of the manga not being released or translated outside of Asia, as well as the anime continuity typically taking precedence.
    • Beyond those, there are also miscellaneous minor canon, which includes School idol festival (basically an Excuse Plot), the various yonkoma, and the Anthology manga (which isn't canon to anything).
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Specific dates are never given anywhere, with the only indication of an actual time frame being the use of current technology, which can date the series anywhere during the 2010s.
  • Animated Music Video: The franchise started out as a series of these, which were accompanied by short stories in Dengeki G's magazine that fleshed out the characters. Though the franchise has since expanded into other mediums, music videos are still made alongside the releases of singles.
  • April Fools' Day: The franchise loves to celebrate April Fools' Day. Notable entries include:
    • "Love Live! Sunshine!! Live-action Film! Special Movie"note 
    • "Uranohoshi Girls’ High School Store: Online Shopping Program Special PV" with a poorly edited 10-meter high "Hyper Fabulous Ultimate Jumbo Nesoberi EX"note 
    • A special scout in SIF depicting the child versions of µ's and Aqours
    • Uranohoshi Girls’ High School Entrance Examnote 
    • "Love Live! Sunshine!! New Program Special Information Video"note 
    • SIF released a crossover banner on April 1st, 2020 featuring cards of µ's and Aqours in the style of The Powerpuff Girls in addition to Bubbles, Buttercup, and Blossom as Support Cards (based on an actual Powerpuff Girls collaboration from 2015).
    • In 2021, promotional material for "Nyangasaki" was posted to the series' official YouTube and Twitter accounts, featuring all of the performing Nijigasaki girls as cats. The Aqours CLUB official page was also "updated" to the space-themed "Aqours Club 2XXX", and the Sunshine!! official portal featured a "Cotton Candy Ei Ei Oh!"-style minigame called "Final Battle: Aqours VS Alien". School Idol Festival also released a surprise Crossover banner with Crayon Shin-chan, featuring cards of µ's and Aqours in the manga's signature style.
  • Arc Number: 9. All three main groups have nine (starting) members, and the franchise had a special celebration for its 9th anniversary.
  • Arc Symbol: A feather. µ's is represented by a white feather, Aqours is represented by a blue feather, and a magenta feather appears for Saint Snow towards the end of The Movie.
  • Arc Words: Though School Idol Project lacks one per se;
    • ""Radiance/Kagayaki"". Heavily used on Sunshine!!, with the meaning of "radiance" being tied closely to Chika's I Just Want to Be Special backstory and the ability to persevere no matter the odds.
    • ""Tokimekinote "". Used heavily through Nijigasaki High School Idol Club reflecting Yu's love for idols, the emotions that fill the club through their adventures, part of their first single, "Tokimeki Runners", and ultimately, what drives the club to come together.
  • Art Evolution:
    • The original designs for the µ's girls were significantly different, having less exaggerated and detailed eye designs and more "samey" faces between each of the characters, which made it easier to tell them apart through their hairstyles and hair colors than their faces. The overall art style changed over time, with their character designs in "Wonderful Rush" essentially solidifying how they would look from that point on.
    • The CGI animation in Sunshine!! is greatly improved and aesthetically meshes well with the traditional 2D animation. It eventually improved to the point where CGI was able to supplant traditional animation for most of the dancing scenes, which is especially evident in Over the Rainbow and the MVs for "A song for You! You? You!!", "Muteki-kyuu*Believer", and "Dazzling White Town".
    • There is a somewhat noticeable visual improvement (mostly shaders and more natural animation) between the "TOKIMEKI Runners" MV and later 3D music videos.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel:
    • While Nijigasaki itself maintains the art style used by μ's and Aqours, its respective anime looks significantly different, best exemplified by the PVs for "Mirai Harmony" and "Muteki-kyu Believer".
    • Superstar!! also has an altered art style that resembles a halfway point between the Nijigasaki anime and the traditional Love Live! art style.
  • Artifact Title: The original group of nine (characters and their respective voice actresses) was initially introduced by the name "Love Live" and the first single, "Bokura no LIVE Kimi to no LIFE", was also released under that name. Following an invitation in the November 2010 issue of Dengeki G's magazine for readers to submit suggestions for the name of the group, and a poll in the December 2010 issue, they became known as "µ's". After that point, "Love Live" appeared to have no particular significance aside from being the name of the franchise. However, the anime then re-introduced it as the name of the school idol competition which serves as a plot point for both seasons.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Kanata Konoe, Emma Verde and Shizuku Osaka were Normal rarity characters in School Idol Festival until they were voted into the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club by readers.
    • While Saint Snow had a pretty muted presence in Season 1 like their predecessor A-RISE, they eventually got Character Development in Season 2 and ended up becoming an additional unit to Aqours, with the opportunity to perform live in concert and have singles and MVs just like µ's and Aqours.
  • Bare Your Midriff: All 3 groups have at least one set of outfits that show their midriffs.
  • Beach Episode: One each in School Idol Project, Sunshine!! and Nijigasaki High School Idol Club (which is a given for Sunshine, being set in a seaside town), though for Nijigasaki it's more of a Pool Episode. Also the music video for "Natsuiro Egao de 1, 2, Jump!", which has an overall beach/summer theme.
  • The Bus Came Back: μ's, with the announcement of their 9th Anniversary single in 2019 which marks the end of their hiatus since 2016.
  • Breaking Old Trends:
    • Nijigasaki has several notable changes, including having 10 members (but 9 idols), having a focus on solo songs, and having 2-3-4 subunit composition. Nijigasaki High is so filthy rich that they avoid the usual Saving the Orphanage plot too. They're additionally the first group to debut in a game. It's also the first group to add a Sixth Ranger.
    • Magazine previews for Superstar!! show the main characters are all 1st years instead of being divided into different year groups. In addition, the group only has five cast members instead of the usual 9. They are also the first group to release two versions of the same single where the third track and voice dramas are different between versions.
  • Breakout Character: Funny enough, the entirety of the Nijigasaki School Idol Club. Unlike the other groups, the Nijigasaki cast was not originally intended to have an anime, as they had been created specifically for ALL STARS and were originally just going to be part of the game. However, they became much more popular than anyone expected, which resulted in, among other things, getting their own anime.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Eli is a quarter Russian, Mari is half Italian-American, Kanon is a quarter Spanish and Keke is half Chinese. Averted with Emma Verde, Nijigasaki's Token Minority, who is a Italian speaking Swiss with not a drop of Japanese blood in her (but, impressively, has perfect fluency unlike Keke).
  • Butt-Monkey: Each group has a designated comic relief character: Nico Yazawa, Yoshiko Tsushima, and Kasumi Nakasu respectively. Expect them to be the target of most jokes and almost never be taken seriously except during a Character Focus or a particularly dramatic moment.
  • Canon Discontinuity: As the Anthology manga are basically officially-sanctioned doujinshi, they are one of the few pieces of official material to not be considered canon to any of the series' multiple continuities.
  • Canon Immigrant: While most Nijigasaki material is content to pretend that any material from School idol festival doesn't exist, Kanata's sister Haruka does make infrequent appearances throughout the franchise, including in the Yonkoma, ALL STARS, and Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. The anime also features multiple references to SIF, including the appearance of Shinonome Academy, Touou Academy, and multiple Original Generation characters making cameos.
  • Cash Cow Franchise: The franchise had a very humble start in 2010 (its first single, "Bokura no LIVE, Kimi to no LIFE", sold only 434 copies) but has since expanded into various other media such as anime series, books, manga, mobile games, music albums, and even concerts. It wasn't until Love Live! School Idol Festival was released in Japan that the series really took off; the first Blu-Ray volume of the second season of School Idol Project sold over 90,000 copies in its first week, the highest of any anime at the time. The franchise continues to remain one of Oricon's highest grossing multimedia franchises in the country to this day, with spikes in sales generally coinciding with the release of a new anime.
  • Cast Herd:
    • Characters are commonly grouped up by year placement, and are referred to as such by fans: "1st years", "2nd years", and "3rd years", each with three characters. Another common grouping is by subunit; while the anime tends to not refer to subunits, they are often used as the subject of various subunit-specific audio dramas. That said, characters interacting with each other outside of their herd is quite natural, although to what extent depends on the characters involved.
    • Rival groups A-RISE and Saint Snow blur the line a bit more, since they require any member of the main cast to be onscreen to get any character development. They are still recognized as distinct groups, however.
  • Catchphrase: Very common with many characters having an identifying catchphrase if they don't have a Verbal Tic like Rin and Hanamaru. Nico's "Nico nico nii!" is the most famous of these.
  • Childhood Friends: A common dynamic in the franchise.
    • From School Idol Project: Hanayo and Rin. Honoka, Umi and Kotori. The manga version adds Eli to the Honoka-Umi-Kotori group.
    • From Sunshine: Chika, You and Kanan. Kanan herself has Mari and Dia. Hanamaru and Yoshiko were friends in kindergarten. The manga instead has Ruby as Hanamaru's friend, and neither of them know Yoshiko.
    • From ALL STARS: Ayumu and her childhood friend (the player character/Yu Takasaki). Shioriko and Lanzhu.
    • From Superstar!!: Kanon and Chisato.
  • Character Focus:
    • Used extensively in the anime to flesh out each of the nine cast members in each group, save for the main character. Getting a character arc is a special privilege saved for characters who have much greater plot relevance; Kotori in the original series and Riko and the 3rd years, but especially Mari in Sunshine!!. That being said, some characters do get skipped over, like Umi, You, and Hanamaru.
    • SIF and ALL STARS use the standard Relationship Values model where you can see character-specific stories when a Card or the character gets enough of said Relationship Values.
  • Chromosome Casting: Male characters in the franchise are extremely rare. The only male with any notable screentime is Cotaro, Nico's younger brother; any other male that appears is both The Voiceless and has their face obscured by the camera. There are no male cast members whatsoever as well.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • Each group gives each of its members an "image color" that their character is associated with to help identify them easily. Colors are commonly shared across groups; for example, the color orange is associated with Honoka Kosaka from µ's, Chika Takami from Aqours, Ai Miyashita from Nijigasaki and Kanon Shibuya from Liella!.
    • For the 9th anniversary, each school idol group is given their own group image color: µ's is pink, Aqours is light blue, Saint Snow is red, and Nijigasaki High is yellow. ALL STARS reuses these colors while adding purple for Liella!.
    • Yu, who is not a school idol, is identified by her unique black image color.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Each of the main schools' uniforms include ribbons that are color-coded to indicate which grade the student is in.
    • Otonokizaka: Light blue ribbons for first years, crimson ribbons for second years, and green ribbons for third years.
    • Uranohoshi: Yellow ribbons for first years, red ribbons for second years, green ties for third years.
    • Nijigasaki: The winter uniforms follow the same general color coding as Uranohoshi does, but third years also get ribbons. For their summer uniforms, the first years switch from yellow to light yellow ribbons, third years go from dark green to light green ribbons and the second years switch from red to pink ribbons.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment:
    • Nijigasaki used to have monthly popularity polls where the character in last place gets featured in a segment called the "Biristar Corner", where they are given Fanservice art.
    • Punishment games for the loser/s of parlor games during live streams are this, ranging from the mundane (pop a balloon) to the bizarre (getting dressed up for Halloween by your co-hosts).
  • Coordinated Clothes:
    • In general, stage outfits for µ's, Aqours and Liella! tend to match in color and style while still being individually tailored for each idol. Color-Coded Characters is also applied to make it easier to see each idol in group shots. There are some rare exceptions, however.
    • The Nijigasaki idols don't wear matching stage outfits nearly as often, leaning more towards outfits that suit the girls' individual personalities. This is due to their focusing more on being individual performers rather than performing as a group.
  • Crossover:
    • Rin, Hanamaru, and Rina were all voted by fans to become "SEGA Image Girls", where they were featured in merchandise alongside Sonic the Hedgehog.
    • Sunshine!! had one with virtual Collectible Card Game Shadowverse. In addition to the entire Aqours cast being featured as playable character skins, a special collaboration single called "Deep Resonance" was released alongside the Mitaiken HORIZON single, featuring Yoshiko as the center after she won a poll.
    • An unusual "meta-crossover" exists with Nippon Ichi SRPG The Guided Fate Paradox, where the entire cast of µ's was brought on to voice heroines in the game, with the cast being credited under the names of their Love Live! characters in addition to their own names. There was also an Image Song album released for the game that features µ's advertised on the cover and has Aki Hata writing the songs like the main discography, but has the girls performing as their Guided Fate Paradox characters as opposed to their Love Live! characters. There's a bit of a debate over whether the Guided Fate Paradox songs can be considered part of the Love Live! discography.
  • Day in the Limelight: Centers for full-unit singles help to give a specific girl more focus and attention, with the songs giving them more solo parts and their associated MVs putting them front and center. For this reason, center votes are considered some of the most important votes in the franchise, and the fans are courteous enough to ensure that girls who haven't won a center vote before get a chance over the girls that have already won one. Protagonist characters never win center votes for much the same reasons, as they already get many centers in anime inserts and the story already revolves around them.
  • Determinator:
    • A common archetype for the characters:
      • Honoka's approach to nearly any problem is throwing enthusiasm at it until it solves itself.
      • Nico will never give up on accomplishing her dreams of being an idol, regardless of circumstances.
      • Essentially Aqours itself. This is why their Arc Number is a zero: it represents their failure as a school idol group as well as their motivation to become better. This accompanies the overarching theme for the entire anime: overcoming failure. The biggest in the group is suprisingly Chika.
      • This is the reason why Ayumu is recruited in the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. Ayumu's determination to be a school idol will drive the other members to work as hard as she does.
      • Keke believes that a person has to be one to be a school idol.
    • The franchise itself. As the legend goes, the franchise's first single, "Bokura no LIVE, Kimi to no LIFE", sold a whole 434 copies on release, 10 of which were purchased by Emi Nitta's father to show support, and several of µ's early singles failed to garner any notable popularity. Everybody, even the voice actresses, believed that the project would be a failure. Fast forward a few years later, and Love Live! has transformed into what is essentially a phenomenon.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: As expected of being an idol show, both µ's and Aqours perform most of the songs in their respective anime. Nijigasaki High School Idol Club also performs the opening theme for Love Live! School idol festival ALL STARS and their respective anime.
  • Drama Bomb: A recurring trope for all the main works with at least one major subplot that is far more serious in tone compared to the rest of the anime and suddenly hits its climax with little warning.
    • In Love Live!, it's Kotori deciding to leave μ's to study overseas.
    • In Sunshine!! Season 1, it's the resolution to the 3rd years subplot that uncovers the truth of their Dark and Troubled Past.
    • In Sunshine!! Season 2, it's the school closing.
    • In ALL STARS, it's the protagonist fighting with Ayumu over the School Idol Festival.
    • In Nijigasaki, it's Ayumu's Anguished Declaration of Love to Yu, born out of her fear and jealousy. Less of a bomb in this one because elements of the conflict are hinted at throughout the entire season.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The original nine girls were initially referred to by the group name of "Love Live!", with their group name of "µ's" being given later following reader polls. "Love Live" would become an Artifact Title after that, until the anime where it was brought back as the name of the school idol competition the characters enter.
    • Early versions of the Otonokizaka uniform originally made no distinction between character year placement with bow colors; every character either had blue bows in summer or red bows in winter. The winter uniforms (from "Snow Halation") also used a black blazer and red plaid skirt instead of simply having a navy blazer over the summer uniform.
    • Some early material for Sunshine!! depicts the characters wearing a monochrome variant of the current winter uniform with white ties for all girls. This was supplanted by the current beige and gray winter uniform, but an issue of Dengeki G's handwaves it by stating that it's the old winter uniform and is still worn briefly between November and December out of tradition, and the girls are seen wearing it in Love Live! Sunshine!! School idol diary as the winter uniform.
    • The Uranohoshi uniform gave all girls the same red ties before the anime gave the uniforms differently colored bows to indicate year placement. The year placement of some of the girls were also different prior to the anime.
    • Whenever a group is introduced, the character dynamics between the cast tend to be inconsistent to their portrayal in the anime (which usually serves as the basis for their characterizations in the rest of the franchise thereafter).
      • In "Bokura no LIVE, Kimi to no LIFE", Nico is seen handling the costumes which she will continue to do so until "Natsuiro Egao de 1,2,Jump!"note . Nozomi is also pitched as the shy one, and Umi is depicted as being the closest to Eli instead of Nozomi.
      • In "Kimi no Kokoro wo Kagayaiteru Kai?", Kanan is part of the initial group with Chika and Younote , and Mari is shown as reluctant and reserved. The anime reverses their roles; Kanan wants nothing to do with school idols, and Mari is quirky, outgoing, and enthusiastic. Riko is also seen wearing the Otonokizaka uniform throughout the PV, while she only wears it briefly in the first episode of the anime and subsequently never wears it again.
      • The characterization of the Nijigasaki idols in the early 4-panel webcomics vary depending on the author.
    • Due to the use of character voices compared to natural singing voices, there are invariably some growing pains that persist through the first few songs for some of the girls. Compare the first singles for µ's, Aqours or Nijigasaki to any of their current songs.
  • Excited Show Title!: The franchise title comes with the exclamation mark on it. Both Sunshine!! and Superstar!! also come with the exclamation marks to have three per title.
  • Fandom Life Cycle: The franchise is quite well known in Japan, sitting at minimum a solid Stage 4. It's generally associated with the revitalization of the idol genre in anime, and during the peak of its popularity in the µ's era was almost big enough to be considered mainstream; even after the departure of µ's, Aqours and Nijigasaki maintain strong, dedicated and active fanbases. Outside of Japan, like most Japanese franchises, the franchise experiences considerably more limited exposure, roughly Stage 3 in scope. The fanbase is comparatively small but tight-knit, and it has enough exposure that many anime viewers are usually dimly aware of the series.
  • Fanservice:
    • Surprisingly, the franchise has a whole generally tends to avert this, taking care to avoid unnecessary fanservice outside of the requisite Beach Episode. The Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is notably less conservative in this department compared to μ's and Aqours, even designating Karin as the group's Ms. Fanservice.
    • As an extension of this, you will never, ever see a Panty Shot in any material. The anime even explicitly ignores the laws of gravity in improbable ways to avoid skirt flips.
  • Genre Roulette: In a broader sense, while the franchise has its roots in the idol genre, there is a large amount of music variety, especially with the use of subunits and solos, which are allowed to have their own styles unique to each group/character. Aqours is known for being unpredictable, while μ's has its own standout examples like "LOVELESS WORLD" despite sticking the closest to the idol music. Nijigasaki, being mostly made of soloists, also uses unique styles for every character.
  • Gratuitous English: Common enough in song titles and lyrics. Special mention goes to "Yuujou No Change" where the "No" part of the title is written in katakana, which means it is actually the English "No" instead of the hiragana "no" (の).
  • Gray Rain of Depression: A franchise constant, typically present during the Once a Season Drama Bomb.
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: If a girl's mother appears, you can bet that she has the exact same hairstyle as her daughter.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: Every single character has the same hairstyle as children as they do now with the exception of Nico and Riko. Amusingly, Nico and Riko have swapped hairstyles; Nico had long hair as a child (only on her SIF card) while Riko had pigtails. Nico currently has pigtails while Riko has her hair down.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: A driving motivation typically associated with the leaders; they jump into the world of school idols because they view themselves as normal girls and feel like they might become something more if they become a school idol, with a twist associated to each one.
    • Honoka is, for the most part driven to save her school and is thus willing to do basically anything.
    • Chika is inspired by µ's success, being ordinary girls able to save their school. She's also driven by an inferiority complex through the anime story, and finding their own "radiance" is the bulk of the main plot for Season 1.
    • Takasaki Yu feels that she's drifting aimlessly in life, and basically becomes the Nijigasaki Club's producer as a way to find the dream that actually drives her.
    • Ayumu initially ventures upon the school idol world as a way to share her true emotions, and perform exclusively for Yu, her dear childhood friend. Outgrowing this mindset is part of her mini-arc through the anime's 1st season.
    • Kanon thinks that she's too normal, and sets out to become a school idol to find something only her ordinary self can do.
  • Idol Genre: The Trope Codifier for the idol genre in anime during The New '10s. While obviously not the first, the massive success of School idol project paved the way for the idol genre becoming mainstream among anime.
  • Idol Singer: The basic premise is idol singers who are also high school girls, thus combining this trope with a Schoolgirl Series. Instead of being professional singers signed on to a company, the characters form school idol clubs that perform in the Love Live competition to promote their schools.
  • Image Song:
    • Commonly known as "solos", each main girl in the franchise has at least one song where they are the only singer. In most cases, the song is tailored to the respective singer's vocal strengths, such as "New winding road" (a rock ballad where Aina Suzuki uses her deeper, more powerful voice) and "In this unstable world" (where Aika Kobayashi uses both inflections of her Yoshiko voice).
    • Nijigasaki's main gimmick is that their entire discography consists almost exclusively of these, with far fewer full unit songs.
  • Informed Attribute: Official art makes it clear that the three measurements given for every girl are basically just suggestions and not a hard guideline as to how the characters are meant to look, with only bust width actually having a noticeable impact on character design. For example, Ai's measurements border on downright unrealistic, but all of her artwork portrays her with a very similar body type to every other girl.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The bulk of the plot in both anime series involves the leader and her friends recruiting other members into her school idol group. The full cast for each group is revealed long before the anime even premieres, meaning that following the franchise in any capacity will result in knowing every girl before they even appear on-screen in the anime. And if you didn't follow the series before, then the Spoiler Opening will provide the same effect.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is as of current the only group that has actual major discrepancies as to how the characters are portrayed in mediums other than magazines or manga. Both the anime and game versions of the cast are addressed separately in different ways, such as the Real Face Photo Essay Series being specifically based on the anime characters while the yonkoma are based on the game characters, as well as the option of addressing the protagonist as a nameless character or as Yu Takasaki varying based on what version of the club is being discussed.
  • The Leader:
    • Honoka and Chika are ones for their respective groups. Notably, they both fall into the same archetype (Headstrong/Charismatic) and have similar personalities at face value. Although Episode 8 of Sunshine!! shows the effect trying too hard to be positive can have on oneself.
    • Played With in the Nijigasaki part of the franchise, as while the ALL-STARS protagonist/Takasaki Yu is the official leader in-story, it's Ayumu who takes the bulk of focus through most media, and even the anime's merchandise gives her the role. The protagonist/Yu fits the Levelheaded/Charismatic types as she is more prone to step back and get a grip on the situation over Honoka and Chika's tendencies to just rush in with enthusiasm, while Ayumu fits the Charismatic archetype for the most part, being the figurehead for the club.
  • Letter Motif:
    • All three leader characters feature the kanji "高" somewhere in their family names: Honoka Kousaka, Chika Takami, and Yu Takasaki.
    • Kanon Shibuya shares the same "ka" sound as Honoka and Chika.
  • Licensed Game: School idol festival, a mobile Rhythm Game, School idol paradise, a Play Station Vita Rhythm Game, Puchiguru, a mobile puzzle game, and ALL STARS, a mobile Rhythm Game and RPG hybrid. While Puchiguru eventually closed, SIF was popular enough to spawn an arcade spin-off.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • The "Smile" subunits love this. Quite a few songs from them have very upbeat and cheery music but bittersweet or depressing lyrics.
    • SENTIMENTAL StepS stands out because the instrumentals are cheery and nostalgic but the lyrics are about close friends not even being able to recognize each other anymore after they grew up.
  • Modesty Shorts: Extremely common. Every single performance outfit with a skirt has one, and for obvious reasons any real-life concert always has them.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness:
    • Saint Snow, being an inherently metal-themed group, usually rates at around 6 or 7. "DROPOUT?!" cranks it to about an 8, however.
    • "Music S.T.A.R.T.!!"'s B-side, "LOVELESS WORLD", clocks in at about a 7 to 8. It's usually metal enough to warrant pyrotechnics in concert.
  • The Movie: Both anime have a movie that acts as the Grand Finale for their series: Love Live! The School Idol Movie for μ's, and Love Live! Sunshine!! The School Idol Movie: Over the Rainbow for Aqours.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: While the series is primarily aimed at a young adult male audience (being an idol genre series with heavy Les Yay Ship Tease), it's also at heart a Slice of Life with drama and genuinely heartfelt moments, and unlike most idol franchises with a male audience the franchise tries as much as possible to be family-friendly. This has succeeded in garnering a smaller but still-substantial appeal among women and young girls, with multiple cast members from later groups even being Promoted Fangirls. This is also commonly cited as a possible reason as to why the series always does teasing and no actual romance due to not wanting to alienate a portion of its fanbase.
  • No Antagonist: Most canons play this straight, as the girls are generally working for a cause than against another person, and even when another is involved it's out of their control and they don't usually mean harm. ALL STARS averts this, since it has girls who are antagonistic to the School Idol Club (Shioriko in Season 1, Lanzhu in Season 2), and overcoming them takes up a big portion of the story.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Maki, Mari, and Lanzhu have a large amount of wealth at their disposal for various reasons. How much they actually use or display their wealth varies as well, but that doesn't deviate from the fact that they all operate as school idols for fun:
    • Maki gets really uncomfortable when showing off her family's money and generally tries not to make it known that she's even wealthy at all. Her money and family's connections do end up being used throughout the franchise, although sparingly.
    • Mari, conversely, spends quite well as her family owns an international hotel chain. Her house is her very own hotel, and she has a tendency to throw money at weird things like buying her way to Uranohoshi's school director position and making her famous $10,000 Stewshine. She spends little on actual school idol-related affairs, however.
    • Lanzhu is a textbook Rich Bitch who can and is willing to spend as much money as she can to win over other girls and have staff and production values on par with and even exceeding professional idol groups. The Association's club room looks less like a club room and more like a penthouse suite.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: Some characters will wear their school uniform differently from everyone else:
    • Nico wears a long-sleeved pink cardigan under her blazer; she also wears it during the summer, unlike most of the other members of μ's who wear the standard cream-colored vest with their summer uniforms. Rin doesn't wear the vest at all with her summer uniform.
    • While most members of Aqours wear their uniforms normally, Hanamaru wears a yellow cardigan over her winter uniform, while Mari sports a pale green vest over her summer uniform.
    • Most of the Nijigasaki idols have a distinctive way to wear their uniform; of these, only Ayumu and Shizuku wear the uniform straight without any additional flairs, while Karin and Emma only have very minor changes to theirs (wearing tights and wearing the blazer open, respectively).
      • Yu is not seen wearing any blazer or vest whatsoever.
      • Ai wears a brown sweater over her winter uniform instead of the standard black blazer. In her summer uniform, she wears the sweater tied around her waist.
      • Kasumi wears her winter uniform partially buttoned with a yellow sweater underneath the blazer.
      • Kanata wears her winter uniform completely unbuttoned with a red sweater underneath. Her tie is also sloppily tied compared to the others. In her summer uniform, she wears a yellow cardigan over her uniform.
      • Rina wears an oversized blue hoodie in place of a blazer or vest. She also wears thigh-high socks instead of knee-high socks.
      • Lanzhu wears a Custom Uniform consisting of a gold-lined red cardigan marked with the Nijigasaki High insignia in place of the standard black blazer, and her winter uniform shirt is black instead of the standard white shirt.
      • Mia wears a navy and white letterman jacket in place of a blazer over her winter uniform.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: A running theme for the Student Council Presidents in the series, who all oppose the main characters' School Idol Club idea.
    • Eli rejects the idea on the basis that there's not enough members. Later on, she also rejects the formation of the club, citing that there's already an existing idol-related club at school. On Vice President Nozomi's suggestion, µ's ultimately joins the existing club, the Idol Research Club, instead.
    • Dia flatly denies Chika's request due to not having enough members and just not wanting her to form a School Idol Club. Mari, the school director, gives them the go ahead anyway after Aqours proves their merit. Ultimately, this is subverted as later events showed that Dia has been helping Chika's group all along.
    • Nana Nakagawa insists that the protagonist and Kasumi get 10 members to keep the School Idol Club open. While they ultimately end up finding only eight, Nakagawa herself rejoins as the 9th member, under her alias "Setsuna Yuki", and the player character, with a bit of push from the others, joins as the 10th member and club president. Subverted with her anime counterpart, who allows Yu to reform the club with no strings attached but insists on not being a part of it. Yu manages to convince her to return, however.
    • Shioriko Mifune intends to disband the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club because of a strong negative opinion of school idols, perceiving the entire thing as a fruitless endeavor. Just like every other student council president, the Club ultimately manages to win her over, although it takes much more effort on their part to do so.
  • Official Fan-Submitted Content:
    • The reason why the franchise is considered community driven is the ability of fans to submit and vote on different content of the franchise such as the group name, sub-unit names and its members, song centers, etc.
    • Many doujin artists also submitted their stories for the Anthology manga collection.
  • Once a Season: The franchise has several recurring events/tropes, including:
    • The main girl having to slowly recruit most of the main cast members except the obligatory Student Council President one by one over the course of several episodes. ALL STARS does this but at an extremely accelerated pace.
    • An Obstructive Bureaucrat Student Council President that attempts to prevent the main cast from forming a School Idol Club before eventually joining the club themselves (with Nijigasaki having two of them, no less).
    • A gimmicky character who stands out for either being weird or having some unusual trait.
    • Cast Herding via year groups.
    • A Character Focus episode for most of the main girls, sometimes before they join and sometimes after, and on the off-chance someone gets two.
    • The 10th episode of the first season of each anime is a summer-themed episode where the girls embark on a training camp venture.
    • The 11th episode of the first season of each anime featuring a huge Drama Bomb, involving the 2nd years/leading characters.
  • One Game for the Price of Two:
    • School idol paradise was one game for the price of three. The game came in Printemps, lilywhite, and BiBi versions, each with unique cover art and songs from each subunit as well as solos from their members. Beyond that the content in each version was otherwise virtually identical.
    • "Hajimari wa Kimi no Sora" comes in two different versions; the first version comes with the third song "Dreaming Energy" and two group voice dramas, while the second version comes with the third song "Watashi no Symphony" and five solo voice dramas.
  • One-Gender School: Basically every school that's featured is an all-girls' school; one episode of Sunshine!! even has an all-female class of kindergarteners. This helps in the Chromosome Casting department since it means male characters need not appear for 98% of the show.
  • The Original Series: All of the anime series actually have the subtitle School idol project in them, but to help differentiate the series with μ's in it from its sequels, it is the only one that is actually referred to as "School Idol Project".
  • P.O.V. Sequel:
    • Love Live! School idol diary retells some of the events of the Love Live! School idol project anime from the perspective of the various cast members while also fleshing out their backstories and characters.
    • Riko's chapter in Love Live! Sunshine!! School idol diary is a retelling of the manga's Uchiura Children's Beach Festival event with more of Riko's inner thoughts added. The manga adaptation even flat-out recycles some of the panels from the Sunshine!! manga.
  • Proper Tights with a Skirt: Hanayo, Hanamaru, Karin, and Kanon sport this style. In Karin's case at least, it helps bring attention to her shapely figure.
  • Punny Name: "μ's" is a pun on the word "muse", while "Aqours" combines "aqua" and "ours" (but is also pronounced "aqua"). "Liella" is a combination of the French word "lier" (meaning "connection") and "brillante" (meaning "radiance").
  • Real-Place Background: Used frequently, with most locations being accurate to their real-life counterparts and many major landmarks and buildings being based on real locales and given fictional names. This results in many fans trying to visit the real-life versions of these places, causing a red stapler effect for the city of Numazu in particular.
  • The Rival: A-RISE and Saint Snow to μ's and Aqours respectively. Both evolve into a Friendly Rivalry after they realize their competitors' potential.
  • Running Gag: The sunglasses and face mask "disguise", worn by one character at least once per anime.
  • Saving the Orphanage:
    • The plot in both Love Live! Season 1 and the entirety of Sunshine!! involves the cast attempting to win Love Live to give their high school enough exposure to save it from the brink of closure. Unlike Otonokizaka, Uranohoshi doesn't make it to the end.
    • ALL STARS averts this as since the idea is all three groups being active simultaneously, shutting down any of the schools wouldn't work in the context of the story.
    • Superstar inverts it by being set in a high school that was already shut down before being reopened.
  • School Festival: Festivals in this series tend to be associated with particularly heavy drama for some odd reason, as both School idol project and Sunshine!! have major story turning points occur during or around school festivals.
  • Self-Fanservice: All the girls qualify, but some notable examples:
    • Nozomi and You are commonly depicted in fanart as being very physically attractive despite having fairly standardized body shapes relative to the rest of the cast.
    • Downplayed with Kanan, who is considered physically attractive in-universe (by Dia, of all people) and is noted to be the most fit member in Aqours, thus giving her a shapely figure.
    • Also downplayed by Karin, who is the only character in the franchise who plays Ms. Fanservice completely straight, has her beauty and figure complemented on by various characters, and has numerous gigs as a fashion model.
  • Ship Tease: The franchise literally oozes this at the seams. You can probably find justification for nearly any character pairing possible somewhere, but some particularly notable ones:
    • Nozomi/Eli is probably the closest you can get to a "canon" ship in School Idol Project. Maki/Nico is also pushed fairly hard in Season 2 due to its fan popularity.
    • The Chika/Riko pairing in Sunshine is notable for being the basis for an entire subplot where the deepening relationship between them serves as Character Development for both girls. At least, until said ship gets promptly thrown aside in Season 2 in favor of the Riko/Yoshiko ship.
    • The Kanan/Mari pairing is the closest you can get to a "canon" ship in Sunshine.
    • In both ALL STARS and the anime, it's shown right from the get-go that the protagonist/Yu and Ayumu are incredibly close. Not only does Ayumu get a little miffed when another girl holds Yu's attention, some of the moments between them in the anime are quite intimate (especially in the first episode), and the fight between them in Chapter 15 of the game is basically framed as a break-up. It gets to the point where the show effectively kills the subtext entirely and more or less goes straight for a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship.
    • A lot of Nijigasaki material pushes very specific pairings although which pairs are pushed depends on the media with the only ship that consistently gets focused on being Ayumu and her childhood friend. Pretty much the only character who isn't distinctly paired with anyone is Setsuna, although Setsuna/Yu is a popular alternative for those who prefer it over the Ayumu pairing.
  • Skinship Grope:
    • Nozomi's trademark. Punishing the other girls by fondling their breasts becomes a Running Gag.
    • Mari does this as well, although she generally limits it to Kanan and Dia. She tries it on You once and gets judo flipped for the trouble. This aspect of her eventually gets phased out by Season 2 due to toning down her quirky side in favor of drama.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The franchise varies on the scale based on what series you're watching. School idol project has a lean towards idealistic but hovers toward the middle typically, Sunshine!! veers far towards the cynicism end, and Nijigasaki is even more idealistic than the original series. ALL STARS strikes a balance somewhere in the middle.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: A very unfortunate recurring problem with the series is that in media that requires a concrete, overarching story (mostly the anime), the writers very explicitly favor certain cast members over others for the purposes of moving the story. While Day in the Limelight episodes do help develop the characters that get less screentime, major story beats will almost never happen in the same episodes where a non-major character gets development.
    • In School idol project, the story pretty much revolves exclusively around the 2nd years (as Honoka is also The Protagonist). The third years also play a non-insignificant role in the story but later drop off as they are recruited.
    • In Sunshine!!, you can quite literally cut out four of the nine members (You and the 1st years) and the story will still function as intended. It's even worse in Season 2, where the entire plot is carried by Mari and Chika with some input from Kanan and Dia.
    • ALL STARS likes Setsuna. A lot. Ayumu as well due to having the closest connection to the main character, and Kasumi does get some level of meaningful screentime, but the rest just kinda hover in the background and speak up once or twice per cutscene. Season 2 makes an active attempt to avert this by having several of the other club members besides Setsuna and Ayumu get involved in one way or another.
    • Nijigasaki downplays this due to the lack of a real overarching plot. Setsuna and Ayumu star in some mini-arcs that go a little more in-depth compared to the other girls, but otherwise each girl gets a chance to shine in their own Character Focus.
  • Standardized Leader:
    • Honoka and Chika's schtick is their fairly generic personalities: upbeat, overly cheerful go-getters that help bring the group together.
    • The Player Character of ALL STARS fills this role; she has very little direct characterization and zero backstory, but when in her element is highly analytical and persuasive to the other members, which makes the school idols easily gravitate towards her for support.
  • Student Council President: Eli Ayase and later Honoka in Otonokizaka, Dia Kurosawa in Uranohoshi, and Nana Nakagawa (Setsuna Yuki's true identity) and later Shioriko Mifune in Nijigasaki. Despite typically having the final say in most school-related decisions, they aren't an Absurdly Powerful Student Council and are at the mercy of their school's directors (Principal Minami for Otonokizaka and Mari Ohara for Uranohoshi).
  • Stylistic Suck: For videos rendered in full 3D like the ALL STARS opening, the "Tokimeki RUNNERS" MV, and the "smile smile ship Start!" MV, the non-dancing segments of the videos will intentionally pull back the framerates of the characters themselves to emulate the appearance of 2D animation.
  • Token Minority: Common to μ's, Aqours, and Nijigasaki: Eli Ayase (part Russian from her grandmother), Mari Ohara (part Italian-American from her father), and Emma Verde (Swiss-Italian). Interestingly, Superstar!! has two minorities: Kanon Shibuya (part Spanish from her grandmother) and Keke Tang (Chinese, but part Japanese from her mother).
  • Trademark Favorite Food
    • Everyone has a favorite food, but only Chika, Hanayo and Emma have it as a major character element and is depicted as their official symbols: Chika's mikans (a type of Japanese mandarin), Hanayo's rice and Emma's bread.
    • Kasumi loves bread; one of her ALL STARS cards depicts her holding bags full of bread, she bakes bread as a hobby and uses some of them to prank the other members.
    • Subverted with Honoka. She's depicted in the anime as loving bread ("Kyou mo pan ga umai!") but her official profile states that her favorite food is strawberries.
  • Tsundere: Aside from Maki who's well-known for this trope, many other characters across the franchise display signs of this, such as Dia in Sunshine and Shioriko in Nijigasaki.
  • Verbal Tic: Rin Hoshizora and Hamamaru Kunikida: "nya" and "zura" respectively.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: While most characters have hair colors that can be considered normal in real life (like black or various shades of brown and auburn), some characters have hair in improbable shades of red, blue and purple (or in Rina's case, pink). However, it's often implied that those with blue or purple hair are really black-haired and their hair colors are just stylized to make them stand out.

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