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  • Adorkable:
    • Ayumu is somewhat shy, has low self-esteem, but is also very cute and hardworking.
    • After her character development, Shioriko evolves into this, being a mostly studious girl who struggles to learn the ways of school idols but tries her best at doing so. More obviously pronounced in Nijiyon, where she's a lot more Not So Above It All.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • While the original Love Live! School Idol Festival game featured a Player Character protagonist, her existence was only acknolwedged for the first couple of chapters in the storyline and then dropped afterwards, with none of the characters even so much as acknowledging her past that point. This led some fans to question what the point was of such a character was to begin with. This was especially since she became a virtual non-entity shortly after the story begins, preventing players from even projecting themselves onto her as a self-insert. This game, however, includes such a character as an important part of the plot and gives her significant interactions with all of the school idols throughout.
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    • Ayumu was originally very aggressive and jealous towards the other members in the early Yonkomas, an extremely bizarre instance of Early Installment Weirdness as she is a straightforward Nice Girl in current material. This was rectified in a comic where she was revealed to be the victim of Demonic Possession (It Makes Sense in Context) and was exorcised by Nozomi, thereby aligning her more with her current personality.
    • The absurd Silver Macaron grind was quickly addressed by KLab within a week of release, awarding 100 3★ Silver Macarons to all players and promising to tone down the required grind.
    • A series of patches in October 2019 rebalanced the gameplay loop based on the complaints KLab received from players.
    • Version 2.0.0 reworked a significant chunk of the story to remove a portion of the playable songs, often accused of padding; and beginning in Season 2, the song lists introduced two difficulty settings for average players to easily catch up the story. It also updated the Goals to remove the Weekly Goals that require playing the game, and updated Story Songs so that they now count towards Goals.
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    • Later DLP updates (January 2021 in JP, March in EN) started adding limited-time "easy" towers that are vastly less difficult than the regular Parades, making grinding out coins and earning DLP-specific rewards and Star Gems more accessible for casual players.
    • Later chapters of Season 2 make it clear there was an attempt at this, as the story returns to a primary Slice of Life focus. This is marked by a sharp pivot from treating the Association less like rivals into treating them more as an extension of the Club with creative differences, with basically all of its members except Lanzhu being portrayed in a sympathetic light and Lanzhu herself getting some fun interactions with the other cast members rather than just being antagonical.
    • Following the less-than-positive reception to the opening chapters of Season 2, the story has made a point of softening Lanzhu's character. Her current character is only vaguely similar to her character at the start of the season, being a boastful and egotistical rich kid school idol, but her current character is leagues nicer than before and driven by a desperation to forge real friendships, rather than being a Alpha Bitch who is callous and insensitive to others and wants to be the best for the sake of it. The plot also attempts to Hand Wave her earlier behavior and some inconsistencies caused by this change, such as revealing that she's Talented, but Trained to justify the Character Shilling and that her earlier treatment of the protagonist was borne out of jealousy of her. She even admits to everything that she did wrong to the protagonist and the Club and delivers a sincere apology to both without any pushback whatsoever.
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    • Chapter 28 tries to spin Ai and Karin's decision to join the Association in a more positive light by showing a Flashback where they explain that they didn't approve of how Lanzhu barged into the Club and tried to get them to join the Association, but they were moved by her passion for school idols and joined on as temporary members to get a feel for her methods. They make it clear that they were still dedicated to the Club but were willing to give the Association a chance due in part to both Lanzhu's passion and their personal desire to improve.
    • Fans theorize that this is what the writers are going for with Season 3, since the first three chapters are essentially Recap Episodes that discuss the events of the School idol project and Sunshine!! anime while not progressing the plot in any meaningful way in order to stave off the aftermath of the poorly-received Season 2.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • The protagonist is fairly divisive; some fans feel that her character is too defined for a self-insert character, leading to debates if she could be considered as one. Some think that she's taking too much of a role as the club president that makes the NijiGaku idols feel less independent compared to µ's or Aqours. Fans that don't like yuri are also disappointed that the self insert character is, not surprisingly, canonized as a girl.
    • Ayumu Uehara is either a refreshing and likeable take on the lead character, thanks to her kind and shy personality, and showing a fantastic character growth through the storyline; a boring, yet inoffensive character that probably doesn't deserve as much focus as she gets; or the worst lead character in Love Live, owing to how passive, possessive and co-dependent on the protagonist she appears to be. The Chapter 15-16 conflict also didn't help to endear her to some fans; some feeling she overreacted a lot, and almost ending up ruining the School Idol Festival thanks to her fight with the protagonist.
    • Setsuna Yuki/Nana Nakagawa has evolved into this over time. While she is very popular thanks to her powerful heavy rock songs and voice, the fact that she is an idol, anime, and videogame otaku, and also the school council president, that collection of attributes (along with a lack of perceived character flaws) also ends up making her feel as a massive Creator's Favorite for some hardcore Nijigasaki fansnote . It doesn't help that Setsuna is a Spotlight Stealing Character for some of the more overlooked girls, constantly winning character and concert polls, and getting a lot of attention in both the game and anime storylines.
    • Lanzhu has the dubious honor of being potentially the most divisive character in the franchise. Players who experienced her through the game's story have a large variety of viewpoints of her. There's outright hatred for her due to her actions towards the other idols, her incredibly self-centered ego, and the story's heavily preferential treatment for her. Meanwhile, fans who like her, tend to cite her narcissistic personality and Awesome Ego, her stylish performances, songs and sense of fashion, and her addition to the game's storyline shaking up the Love Live formula in unexpected ways. Curiously enough, this has led to a phenomenon where fans of ALL STARS Lanzhu seem to dislike anime Lanzhu getting "defanged" and becoming mostly a friendly rival to the Nijigasaki girls, which they blame on the poor reception of Season 2 of ALL STARS and what they call "complaining fans that couldn't handle a bit of conflict/drama".
  • Broken Base: Whether or not the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club qualifies as a "main" group is still a hotly-debated topic to this day. The main drivers of this split come from the highly-unorthodox format compared to µ's, Aqours and Liella! and debuting in a game first instead of an anime/manga, as well as its official designation as a "side project" despite receiving virtually the same treatment as all other groups (no doubt in part due to huge fan support). On one side, you have fans who will vehemently defend Nijigasaki as being equal to the other groups despite their "side project" status and will not hesitate to call out anyone who says otherwise, while on the other side you have fans who will outright dismiss their existence due to their differences despite the amount of media and attention dedicated to them and refuse to associate them with the other groups, typically referring to Liella! as the "true" third unit.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: Lanzhu and Mia joining the Club in Chapter 29 was predicted by a large majority of fans since the only other option was them becoming a rival unit, which was highly improbable since not only do they have 3D models like everyone else, they are in the same subunit as Shioriko, who is still marketed as a Club member both in-game and by official material despite breaking off from the Club to join the Association. The reveal was so obvious that the trailer for Chapter 29 spoiled it.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Due to the way subunits work, many players get better mileage out of simply cramming two powerful cards and a strong healer/shielder card into a single subunit and using the rest of the team to stack Appeal/Technique boost Passive Skills and pad extra Stamina, then never swapping subunits for the entire song. KLab is addressing the issue with songs that heavily benefit other card types while heavily penalizing the others as well as debuffs that last until you switch strategies.
    • Player profiles are demanding that others set up UR idol cards on their profiles or they'll get their friend requests denied. This makes the game lean toward paying players.
    • One easy way to snag Skill Awards in SBL is to run Fes Yoshiko, who has one of the more unique Skill rate boost effects in the game by providing a massive rate boost but only good for the next two notes, meaning she cannot affect herself. The latter usually isn't important as her effect alone hikes up the chance of proccing your other cards enough that you can easily rack up a ton of Skill activations in a short period of time.
    • Higher level players will almost exclusively run Brooches, Bracelets, and Chokers due to being much more effective at overall contribution compared to other types of Accessories. Necklaces are also fairly popular in DLP due to reducing the overall need for good healers.
    • The current top-tier meta is referred to as "SP meta", which involves running a Vo and multiple SP Skill chargers to get your Limit Break as fast and as often as possible while using Insights and Accessories to substitute any need for healers. However, it is prohibitively expensive due to effectively requiring multiple max Limit Break Fes/Party URs, limiting its effectiveness to longtime players and/or whales.
  • Continuity Lockout:
    • Season 2 features cameos from Misato Kawamoto and Mai Natsukawa and does not take any time to explain who these characters are and what relationship they have with the main cast, expecting you to have caught up on Ai and Emma's Bond Stories to understand why they're present at all.
    • Setsuna's relationship with her parents is suddenly brought up in Chapter 30, which makes a lot less sense if you only played the main story and haven't gotten to the part of her Bond Story where she invites her parents to attend a concert where she performs a song dedicated to them ("LIKE IT, LOVE IT!") and starts to open up to them about her desires and hobbies.
  • Crossover Ship:
    • Continuing on from the original School Idol Festival, Shizuku Osaka is once again shipped with Hilda from the Pokémon games in crossover fan art as well as in the crossover fanfiction universe Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee. Joining Shizuku, Rina Tennoji is also involed in a crossover ship in Fanon as well, with her being shipped with Freya Jerbarn from the Xak series of games by certain people on DeviantArt.
    • In addition, Emma Verde is also shipped with Risa in certain fanarts on Deviant Art as well as in the aforementioned PokéLive! fanfic series.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Starting from "KOKORO Magic 'A to Z'", clearing Story songs gets significantly more difficult if you lack understanding of the game's mechanics or don't have the requisite stats to make it through songs.
    • "Thrilling・One Way", "Music S.T.A.R.T!!" and the songs from NijiGaku 2nd single "Love U my friends" have a much higher S Rank voltage requirement, more difficult Appeal Chance requirements with a harsh penalty for failing them, and the Cleanse skill not working on the song gimmick.
    • In terms of actual rhythm game gameplay, earlier songs tend to stick to 1/1 or even 2/1 rhythms, and leave gaps in notes for things like switching strategies and activating SP Skills, even on Advanced, eventually progressing to more difficult rhythms. This all culminates in MIRACLE WAVE's Advanced, which has a 7-note long chain of 1/2 notes during Chika's flip (which is also an Activate Card Skills Appeal Chance, potentially screwing over players who didn't switch their strategies beforehand).
    • Dream Live Parade in general is much more difficult as an event than typical events, as instead of tiering for rank against other players you must push through a gauntlet of songs as far as possible with each card in your stock having limited uses. As songs rapidly scale up in difficulty and requirement, extremely careful planning and gauging of your teambuilding strength and skill is needed to keep going before you burn out.
    • In DLP specifically, songs that released earlier in the game's life tend to prove more challenging than the later ones. This is because while a song's stage placement in DLP determines its Voltage goal and difficulty, its Appeal Chances stay the same. ACs for earlier songs typically give far less Voltage due to the comparatively low Voltage goals in their Live Show counterparts, meaning your team has to put in much more work to hit the point target.
    • The Nijigasaki 3rd solos are notoriously much more difficult than most of the other songs in the game, with very stringent gimmicks and high Voltage requirements relative to their song length.
    • The Dream Live Parade "Nijigasaki on Stage" starts out like a normal "easy" tower, but the last five songs rapidly scale up in difficulty with a roughly 1 million jump in score target every stage. This culminates in "Zensoku Dreamer" on Expert as the Final Boss song with relatively tough Appeal Chances and a score target of 8,550,000, almost double the target of the Stage 19 song, "Happy maker!".
    • The DLP "Cool/Active on Stage" is even more ridiculous. Stage 19 "Nijiiro Passions!"? 4,525,000 Voltage. Stage 20 "Sweet Eyes"? 13,440,000. Much like "Zensoku Dreamer", it's also an Expert chart, so not having geared cards will make it that much more difficult.
  • Enjoy the Story, Skip the Game: Due to the appealing premise and gorgeous cards, there is a portion of the playerbase who couldn't care less about the gameplay and would rather watch the story and collect their favorite cards.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Sasuke, Ayumu's pet snake from the early Famitsu Yonkoma is incredibly popular thanks to pretty much encapsulating the early Nijigaku material's craziness that many people fell in love with. It has gone on to feature on multiple fanart, and inevitable comparison memes between him and his similarly-named-counterpart from Naruto, or Ekans from Pokémon. It came to a head when the "Muteki-kyuu*Believer" PV featured it as a gigantic plush owned by Ayumu, and the next day, official merchandise of it - in the form of a 70 cm plush - was released for Nijigaku's 2nd Live. Even the promotional page has fun with this, acknowledging that the fanbase asked for this... for some reason.
  • Epileptic Trees:
    • Many fans expect the story of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club to be the same as the previous two series: The announcement of the school closing down, and the school idols going their separate ways (read: disbanding) in the future. This theory was disproven with both the School Idol Festival being the main focus and the fact that Nijigasaki is so ridiculously well-funded that shutting it down has almost no chance of happening.
    • Similar to the previous series, some fans assumed that every member of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is a genuinely queer lesbian, but standing out even more due to its arc word "Niji" ("rainbow"), which fans used as evidence in comparison to the Ambiguously Gay themes in previous works.
    • With Superstar!! officially launched, some fans are expecting Liella! to be introduced to the game as playable characters at some point to fit in with the game's Massive Multiplayer Crossover premise. Liella! songs have been in the game with the unique distinction of having stills from the anime for backgrounds instead of the usual 2D stages, but the characters themselves have yet to appear in the game.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Lanzhu, especially when chapter 26 reveals her casual and summer training clothes. This also extends to her group, the School Idol Association, as she has recruited Karin and Ai.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • The player character is called "Anata-chan" since Ayumu refers to her childhood friend/the player character as "Anata". The voice actresses have adopted this nickname to differentiate the ALL STARS protagonist with her anime counterpart, Yu Takasaki.
    • Ayumu gets called "Pomu", an Alternate Character Reading of her first name.
    • Emma earns the nickname "Emmama" due to her motherly vibe.
    • "Kanan Lab" for KLab because for some reason, Kanan has one of the best card pools in the game with 2 game-breaking cards and an initial UR that is still useful despite the Power Creep with the rest being mostly useful cards (including a card with the rare Cleanse skill).
    • Fans of Lanzhu usually refer to her as their "Queen".
    • Voice actresses:
      • Aguri Onishi (Agupon)
      • Mayu Sagara (Mayuchi)
      • Kaori Maeda (Kaorin)
      • Natsumi Murakami (Nacchan)
      • Chiemi Tanaka (Chemii/Tanaka)
      • Akari Kitou (Akarin)
      • Maria Sashide (Chunrun)
      • Miyu Kubota (Miyutan)
      • Tomori Kusunoki (Tomoriru)
      • Moeka Koizumi (Moepi/Pippi)
      • Shuu Uchida (Shu-chan/Shushu)
      • Akina Homoto (Homin/Minmin)
  • Fanon: Listed here under "Love Live! School Idol Festival ALL STARS"
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • Every Love Live! series has always had a character who was significantly Denser and Wackier than the rest of the cast—the original had Nico and the sequel had Yoshiko, and the latter is significantly wackier than the former—but both of them were playing characters: Nico is explicitly The Fake Cutie, and the difference between the hyper-saccharine idol persona she puts on and her cynical, grumpy real self was played for much humor. In Yoshiko's case it was debatable how much of her Chuunibyou persona was an act, but her introduction episode, as well as several gags later on, seem to suggest she is at least somewhat playing up the stereotype. Rina Tennouji, however, is not playing a character and really is somehow able to hide her face at all times; the player is just expected to believe that she just behaves that way in her normal life, which breaks the Willing Suspension of Disbelief for many. Additionally, while Nico and Yoshiko's quirks were exaggerated versions of behaviors that can and do occur in real life, Rina's quirk is not something that is common at all and brings up a lot of Fridge Logic about how someone who is an idol is able to hide her face so well that the viewer can't see it, even when singing or dancing.note 
    • A lot of problems that fans have with Lanzhu existed back with Shioriko in Season 1, including many of her extreme personality traits and antagonistic stance towards the Club. However, many fans gave Shioriko a pass because she wasn't anywhere near as excessive as Lanzhu and still generally fit the mold of "unwilling Student Council President" common to the series. Focus on Shioriko also only intersected with the main plot when needed and she was later revealed to have redeeming qualities, ultimately forging a close friendship with Ayumu and playing a critical role in the School Idol Festival's success. Lanzhu does none of these things, essentially being a worse Shioriko and an Invincible Villain who quickly took over the story as soon as she arrived, greatly souring fans' perception of her compared to the former.
    • A few English-speaking fans noticed that the lyrics for "Toy Doll" were oddly sexual for a song that's canonically performed by a 14-year old. Other fans pointed out that this isn't a new problem (especially with BiBi and Guilty Kiss), it just flew under the radar for English-speaking fans because unlike "Toy Doll", all the other Love Live! songs with suggestive lyrics are in Japanese. However, detractors also note that the characters who sung those other songs were still older than Mia, and thus see it as slightly more acceptable for them to be singing such songs.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • "Secret Galaxy" Kanan and, to a lesser extent, "Scarlet Courage" Setsuna are the best scorers in the game due to their absolutely monstrous Appeal stat coupled with a solid Skill spread, allowing them to pull their weight even with comparatively little investment. In the former's case, she's also blessed with some of the most absurd passives in the game: a dual-boosting Passive that affects Appeal and Technique simultaneously and an Inspiration that has a 100% proc chance and boosts the Appeal of all cards by a whopping 5%! To illustrate how infamous these cards are, KLab held a "Player's Choice Festival Spotlight Scouting" event where players could vote for two cards to be featured in a then-upcoming banner. Both Fes Setsuna and Fes Kanan were voted in, despite Party Cards now competing for Setsuna's deck space with better Actives and similar stats.
    • "Happiness Cheerleader" Kanan has a very good Active abilitynote  only balanced by her poor stats due to being an SR. The Guest mechanic gives your formation center the Active and Passive skills of the Guest card. Due to this interaction, you can pass Kanan's skills to a high appeal card like the aforementioned "Scarlet Courage" Setsuna, resulting in a loop that lets you spam Limit Breaks in a short time. While it has been indirectly nerfed, many teams still use this setup to score high in voltage rankings.
    • Later Fes SP chargers and Party SP chargers, mainly "A Lovely Nurse" Riko, "Fluffy Good Night Time" Kanata, and "Harmonic Song" Shioriko, are extremely popular cards due to their overwhelming strength making SP meta more accessible to a wider range of songs and attributes.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The 3DMV fog effects which was first introduced in the songs "Queendom" and "WATER BLUE NEW WORLD" have caused significant framerate drops on moderate phones.
  • Goddamned Bats: "Mijuku DREAMER" introduced "Maintain Stamina" Appeal Chances, which are the first ACs in the game that cannot be ended prematurely since its success condition requires fulfilling the target condition at the end of the AC. This means that you cannot force early successes through specific team comps, you must eat and heal the damage as intended to get the free points, and you don't get Star Notes out of them that grant bonus points and prevent you from taking damage. Particularly annoying since all other ACs in the game are considered "free" once you pass their checks and strategies can be routed around them safely.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The School Idol Festival being cancelled because of the Olympics is likely harder to stomach after the fact, considering the Tokyo 2020 Olympics themselves were delayed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
    • Then come in 2021, the Love Live! Superstar!! anime broadcast had its third episode delayed by Sports Preemption due to being broadcast on NHK-E which also happens to be the official Japanese broadcaster of the 2020 Olympics.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Les Yay:
    • Now has its own page here.
    • Enforced on principle by the card stories, which are explicitly about the protagonist (who is canonically female) going on dates and/or otherwise having intimate scenes with the main cast members.
  • Memetic Badass: Kanan seems to consistently get extremely good or powerful cards, including both her first and second URs and her Fes card, considered to be the best scoring card in the game. Some fans joke that KLab is making up for her lack of meaningful screentime by making her overpowered.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Nozomi is consistently saddled with bad cards for no clear reason, with only her Magical Time UR being good. Fans like to poke fun every time she gets a new card and (surprise) it's not good.
    • Lanzhu became one thanks to natanakane's Twitter Yonkoma.
  • Memetic Mutation: Can be found here under "School idol festival ALL STARS".
  • Memetic Psychopath: A popular fan interpretation of Ayumu is to paint her as a Yandere, following in the footsteps of fellow Childhood Friend characters Kotori and You. This is at least due in part to her more pronounced Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies compared to the other Childhood Friend charactersnote , especially when the anime started showing and not only made said behavior noticeably more prominent but also enforced Played for Drama, in a franchise where interpersonal relationships are typically not the sole source of drama in the story.
  • Narm: Because any character can replace any other character in 3D Lives, with the right combination of characters and song, it is possible to invoke this with hilarious effect. Ever wanted to see Ruby perform a seductive dance?
  • Narm Charm: Then again, it can also be used for some interesting unit combinations and switcheroos. The fanbase is having a lot of fun playing with this.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Even going back to Season 1, Shioriko hasn't fully won the hearts of some Japanese fans due to this trope. This is mostly due to her more antagonistic and aggressive stance towards the Club even in comparison to the usual Obstructive Bureaucrat Student Council President that appears in every other series, and even having her personality toned down due to Character Development hasn't stopped her from gathering fans who aren't very onboard with her joining the Club.
    • Among Japanese fans, Karin and Ai have become saddled with the reputation of "betraying" the Club by joining the Association during the protagonist's absence and not doing anything about Lanzhu when she actively tries to harm their friends. Some particularly toxic fans have even held it against the voice actresses themselves. Some fans have also held it over Shizuku for much the same reason, even though it was clearly a temporary gig to begin with and she rejoins at the end of the same chapter that she switched sides.
    • Lanzhu's reputation has been more or less tainted by the first few Chapters of Season 2 despite the writers' best attempts to bring her characterization more in line with the other girls to make her more likeable and sympathetic. Even some fans who acknowledge that she did a good thing by owning up to her mistakes and apologizing to the Club in Chapter 29 still despise her for everything she did to try to destroy the Club.
  • The Scrappy: Lanzhu was hit hard with this while Season 2 was releasing. Owing to a streak of unpopular character and storyline choices, a conflict whose tone clashes with the rest of the franchise's own, and factors regarding the game's performance and quality, Lanzhu garnered a lot of enmity from a good part of the game's Asian fanbase. Comparatively, she's more of a Base-Breaking Character in the West.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The Stamina mechanic has been fairly controversial. As the game eats Stamina for simply playing it, unlike normal rhythm games where the Life Meter only decreases when you get bad judgments, the mechanic pretty much enforces team-raising to be able to even survive harder songs regardless of player skill. This is a massive departure from SIF (where a Low-Level Run is possible if the player is skilled enough), and some players do not like how it places much more emphasis on grinding than on the player's ability to play the game.
    • Some elements of Dream Live Parade are not particularly well liked, most notably the PP mechanic that makes up the core of the format. Cards can only be used a limited number of times per DLP, with most cards only being able to be used once and boosted cards up to twice. PP can be recharged, but only once free per event and up to three times maximum via Bottles and Star Gems. The mechanic's existence drags out both the time investment and difficulty by magnitudes, as teams must be reformed per stage and you must plan extremely carefully to maximize card usage or else suffer early burnout and be forced to wait for the next DLP. Even worse, the mechanic inherently punishes players with fewer cards or underleveled members, especially those who save for long periods of time to pull on specific banners.
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 2 of the game in general has negatively impacted fan reception to a fair degree. In addition to the aforementioned problems that fans have with the story, some questionable game design choices such as the huge Difficulty Spikes in playable songs, mostly stale event rotations, and the introduction of Party Gachas with some of the biggest Power Creep jumps in the game's history has caused many Japanese fans to drop the game. The declining sales and player participation throughout Season 2 is strongly suspected to have caused KLab cutting ties with the game and passing it off to another developer, MyNet Games, causing many players to worry about the game's future for context .
  • Spiritual Successor: ALL STARS has some visual and conceptual similarities to School idol paradise, a µ's-oriented Love Live! Rhythm Game for the PlayStation Vita that was just a little half-baked and not quite fully-realized.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: When the extended preview of Setsuna Yuki's solo "CHASE!" was released with the Tokimeki RUNNERS reveal, jokes about it being a Sword Art Online theme song started circulating. The song has general stylistic similarities to the SAO series theme songs, and Setsuna sounds somewhat like LiSA at certain points. It also helps that her voice actress' most famous role was as the protagonist of Sword Art Online: Alternative Gun Gale Online, LLENN, and performed said anime's ending song.
  • Tainted by the Preview:
    • The idea of the "Biristar corner" for the Dengeki G's Magazine, which features the girls in last place drawn in fanservice shots. The idea did not take off and the corner was stopped in favor of monthly polls to the delight of fans.
    • The intermission chapters introduce two new characters, Lanzhu Zhong and Mia Taylor, who were set up to become Nijigasaki's rival characters in Season 2. While not outright disliked for the most part, the initial reception to their characters through their introductory chapter was mostly lukewarm to cold, with a significant lack of appeal compared to the other rivals.
  • That One Attack:
    • The Appeal Chances where the player must activate Card Skills X times. This type of Appeal Chance first appears in TOKIMEKI Runners Chapter 17 Ver. and is one of the two types that are entirely luck-based (the other involving Criticals). It's entirely possible to fail the Skills' Appeal Chance if the RNG dislikes you even if you run multiple Sk-type Cards or use the correct subunit as there's a hard cap on the skill activation chances at a 70% chance. Additionally, only one skill can activate at once, meaning double notes do not actually increase the chances of activating more skills.
    • "Aozora Jumping Heart" Expert has a particularly rough section around the line "agetaiyo! Hora, issho ni ne!" right before the chorus where the game spams notes at the player in a rapid-fire chain during the "yo". What makes this tough is that the first note of the sequence is a Strategy Appeal -50% debuff, and the notes are coming at such a high frequency that switching Strategies fast enough to remove it without missing notes is very difficult. There is also an SP Skill Appeal Chance during the actual "Hora, issho ni ne!" line, so you had better make sure you've actually bothered to remove the debuff before you hit that SP button.
    • Most of the Appeal Chances in "Yume no Tobira" Challenge, which deal massive unavoidable damage a la "Ketsui no Hikari" except this time it's equivalent of protecting a glass window from a cannonball shot point-blank.
  • That One Achievement:
    • Obtaining Triple-star Titles for each idol, group and sub-unit requires playing 5,000 Live Shows without using skip tickets. Thankfully, they are fairly easy to stack (eg. playing with a full team of AZALEA also progresses the Aqours goal, as well as whichever girl is set as the center).
    • One of the SBL Goals required winning at least one of the 4 Skill Awards for 10 free Star Gems. This would mean only 9 tries a day competing against up to 9 other players in Global version or 19 players in Japanese version at once aiming to come in first place. In addition to that, this would also mean that the players who were completing this mission were the ones who already had powerful teams in the first place, and were the ones who were least likely to be in need of Star Gems.
  • That One Level:
    • "Snow Halation" Advanced is notorious for being one of the hardest initial release songs. On top of its high 3.7 million Voltage requirement, the stage has a universal 15% Appeal penalty to all cards, forcing you to run a Cleanse or have a pocket Angel Riko/Fresh Fruits Nico on Assist to gain a fighting chance at an S Rank.
    • "Nemureru Mori ni Ikitai na" Intermediate and Advanced. Befitting of the singer's main trait, despite having a soft and relaxing melody, Kanata's solo song will attempt to quickly bleed you out with so many unavoidable stamina decreasing notes and difficult Appeal chance. Expect to fail very quickly if your team doesn't have enough stamina and a way to mitigate the damage.
    • Following the end of Season 1, the game began adding songs that attempt to force players to run cards that weren't simply Appeal boosting fodder and actually pay attention to the Stamina stat.
      • "Ketsui no Hikari" on Advanced is extremely hard just to even clear and is even harder to S Rank because the song requires massive amounts of stamina due to its gimmick. Half of its Appeal Chances will inflict massive damage at the end no matter what, with the last Appeal Chance inflicting 80,000 stamina damage. You basically need lots of max limit break Guard type UR characters just to even reach that threshold. It doesn't help that 2 of its Appeal Chances are Activate Card Skills which can further screw you over. All of this is true of the easier difficulties as well (albeit with the numbers scaled far back), which can come as a shock given how early the song can be unlocked.note 
      • "Margaret" absolutely slugs the player with the highest base Stamina damage in the game, making it effectively suicidal to run anything not a triple Guard team for extended periods of time. This significantly limits where and when you can use your main damage dealers, a problem further exacerbated by the song's high Voltage target.
    • Setsuna's 3rd solo, "LIKE IT! LOVE IT!", is essentially a living DPS check. The game recommends that you run Skill and SP cards... which will usually not help you, as the song's astronomical Voltage target of over 10 million demands that you run Voltage cards and a backrow Cleanse to even have a chance at getting an S Rank. Further complicating matters is the abnormally difficult SP Skill Appeal Chances that are very difficult to One-Hit Kill unless you get lucky with an SP Voltage booster or have a very stacked team.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • The game not actually being a pure Rhythm Game like many players expected and being more of an RPG with a heavy emphasis on team-building turned off players, mainly fans of School idol festival, who desired a more traditional rhythm game that featured all of their favorite characters.
    • Fans have complained about the 2nd Anniversary gifts being very insubstantial compared to 1st Anniversary or even 1.5 Anniversary, with most of it coming in the form of 10x Tickets for a banner with a 1% UR pull rate and a UR prize pool that didn't have any meaningful rewards, as well as a raffle that barely gave anything of value unless you won one of the upper prize tiers. The 2nd Anniversary stream also did not reveal any substantial changes besides a few new songs and Chapter 31, making it essentially a slightly meatier standard update. Fans have pointed out how stingy these rewards are compared to rival games like BanG Dream! Girls Band Party! and even Love Live! School Idol Festival, leading to fans accusing KLab on doubling down on practices aimed at squeezing more money out of players when said practices directly contributed to the game's lackluster sales throughout Season 2.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Shizuku. Even among the characters who don't do much, they at least endear to fans with a gimmick or a niche. Shizuku sticks out for doing absolutely nothing meaningful or interesting in any official content and can basically be summarized as "pretty" and "good at acting". Most of her interactions outside of the main story are also very basic and lack characterization. Season 2 attempts to alleviate this by giving her a focus chapter early-on, but some fans argue that the way she is handled isn't deep enough, at least compared to other characters.
    • The Nijigasaki Chairwoman is introduced (portrait and all) in Chapter 19 and is promptly never seen again. This is despite the fact that Lanzhu clearly abuses her position as the chairwoman's daughter in ways that are harmful to other students and the Chairwoman seemingly has no input on any of this.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Some plot points in Season 2 sound good in theory, but the handling disappointed some fans:
    • Lanzhu's introduction was a chance to explore how the girls would deal with a truly antagonistic figure, something no group in the franchise had to do so far. Her personality is a perfect driver for future conflicts that the club members could face and her skill as a school idol means that the club would have to make an effort to defeat her in a fair battle. However, all those plotlines are unceremoniously abandoned halfway through the season: Nobody (save for Kasumi, who isn't treated seriously by the story) holds a grudge against her despite her terrible behavior and start treating her as just another Friendly Rival, and on the process, the idea that she has to be "defeated" is dropped. By the end of her character arc, she is treated no different than every other Obstructive Bureaucrat that showed up in a Love Live title before.
    • The first few chapters of Season 2 started a Technician vs. Performer plotline where the Club is less skilled but more passionate and the Association is highly-trained but very demanding and rigid. This seemed to indicate the Season would be about either upholding the old message of the franchise about school idols – that the essential nature of them is hard work and true emotion – or deconstructing this very message by showing how a more professional performance is more liked by the masses. Ultimately, neither happened. After the Tournament Arc, the Club starts acting like the Association is simply a fellow group with creative differences, and the conflict between them is abandoned without a proper resolution. Even Lanzhu's Heel Realization that leads to her disbanding the Association happens for completely separate reasons, which retroactively makes the set-up pointless.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • There are three types of defensive techniques: Healing, Shields, and Damage Reduction. Of these, you will rarely ever see anyone consciously run damage reduction, as it's generally the least efficient way of directly preserving Stamina, and it makes it counterproductive to run them in the same Subunit as Voltage cards due to the damage penalty that Voltage cards incur by simply existing. There are songs that enforce the use of damage reduction to not die, but these are few and far between compared to standard songs.
    • Similarly, there are three types of direct offensive techniques: Appeal Boost, Voltage Boost, and Voltage Gain. Voltage Gain is typically the worst of the lot, as unlike Appeal/Voltage Boost, which raise Appeal/Voltage directly and can be applied to the whole strategy with the right builds, Voltage Gain simply takes a percentage of the card's stat and adds it to your Voltage as a flat number without scaling, making it contribute significantly less score than usual over the course of a song. "Scarlet Courage" Setsuna and "Secret Galaxy" Kanan are exceptions since their Appeal stat is so ridiculous that it makes up for having Voltage Gain as an Active.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Lanzhu being a Broken Ace is clearly meant to garner pity for her actions and the characters do certainly see it that way in-universe; however, to some readers her backstory simply comes off as shallow and in no way making up for what she did at the start of Season 2. Her revealing how she just wants to have friends does not match up with how much of an insufferable Jerkass she'd acted to everyone, even her one childhood friend, and the idea that she was inspired to be a school idol by the Nijigasaki School Idol Club, who she supposedly always admired and respected, directly flies in the face of her earlier interactions with them and her stated intention to get the club shut down.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Some MVs have some particularly stunning visual work. "Sky Journey" and "Wake Up, Challenger!" are notable examples.
  • Woolseyism:
    • In the original Japanese, the main character's gender was significantly more ambiguous as the game enforced Gender-Neutral Writing with a lean towards a female disposition; the implication that the player was explicitly female was only revealed later in the story. In the English translation, due to the inability to use gender-neutral pronouns, the protagonist's gender is outright stated to be female from the get-go.
    • The Wandervogel Club, as mentioned by Kasumi in Chapter 1 Episode 2, gets subtitled as the more straightforward "Camping Club", in contrast to how the Nijigasaki anime would later translate this.
    • You's Youkisoba is translated as "Niceoodles" in Chapter 3 Episode 8, the same as in the English subbed version of Love Live! Sunshine!!.
    • Also similar to the dubbed anime, a portion of Mari's Gratuitous English is parsed as Gratuitous Italian instead, as it's difficult to convey the use of Gratuitous English in... well, English. This is also subverted in Mari's Bond Story, as the use of English is relevant in a certain cutscene, during which the English is parsed normally but with Translation Punctuation.
    • Unlike Mari's English, Mia's English isn't parsed at all, even at times where she switches between English and Japanese. However, her use of "Shit!" (which could be considered a Billingual/Parental Bonus in the original) is subtitled as "Dammit!" despite retaining the audio. Of course, as the term is considerably less vulgar in Japan compared to the West, rendering it as "Dammit!" more or less faithfully conveys the term's status as very minor profanity in Japan to a Western audience.
    • Similar to the English examples above, Lanzhu's use of Chinese is not evident at all in the English subtitles, replacing the words with their English equivalents for the sake of maintaining a proper translation.
    • All of Ai, Mari, and the other characters' puns are replaced with English equivalents or other puns, excluding the ones that were English in the first place (such as Mari's pun on steel/steal in the Odd Old Town event). This includes every pun which ends with someone calling Kasumi "Kasukasu".
    • One of Kasumi's Bond Episodes features her trying to come up with a name for her fan club and then shortening it. In the Japanese version, she comes up with "Magical Kasumin Castle"note , and attempts to shorten it only to get "Magikasukasu". In the international version, the grammar is instead restructured as "Kasumin's Magic Castle", which she shortens to "KMC", causing her to angrily ask if she looks like fried chicken.
    • Hanpen, the name of the stray cat that Rina looks after, is subtitled as "Fishpuff" in Rina's Bond Episodes.
    • After Lanzhu forcibly replaces the School Idol Club, she changes its name to "School Idol Club" but using the Chinese hanzi for "club", pronounced "bu", instead of the Japanese kanji that the original School Idol Club uses. This is basically impossible to translate cleanly into English, so fans interpreted Lanzhu's School Idol Club as "School Idol Clique" and the official English version settles for "School Idol Association".
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Some fans were puzzled on why A•ZU•NA ended up being the genki subunit, given the track record of its members, and the fact that none of them are actually Genki Girls, personality-wise. In Ayumu and Shizuku's case, both have emotional ballads as their solos and are reserved, calm and mature. In Setsuna's case, some fans believe the raw strength and energy of her voice clashes too hard with the other members. Other fans take a more conciliatory stance, and note that the characters are multi-faceted enough that it's believable that they can perform as a genki unit - particularly so given Shizuku's nature as an actress, Setsuna's otaku tendencies, and Ayumu's status as Nijigasaki's center.

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