DVD Review: Love Live! School Idol Project – Season 2
20/06/2016 Leave a comment
The show must go on as the Love Live competition once again returns for a second outing within the same school year; but will U’s manage to suceed this time or will they eventuall buckle under the pressure. Well you’ll have to find out for yourself in Love Live! School Idol Project – Season 2; but this aside what did we think of MVM Entertainment’s DVD release of this particular series? Well find out in our latest DVD review.
In this second season of the Japanese entertainment phenomenon Honoka Kosaka and the rest of U’s discover that a brand new Love Live competition is about to begin and as such they give it everything they have to be crowned the winner of Love Live.
Will their dreams come true or will the feelings of those involved become a burden for the group? Only time will tell but one things for sure; it’s going to be a musical-filled journey from start to finish!
I was once told that the second season of Love Live (or Love Life as it’s incorrectly spelled on these check-discs provided by MVM Entertainment) was nothing more than a bit of fun and banter with the first season providing a much more enjoyable story; however after experiencing what this second season has to offer (in both English and Japanese I might add) then I would have to disagree. The first season of Love Live provided the essential back-story and formation of the group under a stressful situation that carefully proceeded to its climax on a sour, but entertaining, high note – this second season on the other hand further develops the characters, introduces some new facts and even brings about an emotional ending that will surely bring a tear to your eye and leave you wanting more; which is exactly how I felt once the credits began to roll for a final time.
This emotional rollercoaster of fun begins shortly after the events of the first season, which saw U’s successfully save Otonokizaka Academy from being shut-down despite failing to enter the final rounds of the Love Live competition, as we once again see U’s band-together to enter another Love Live competition; and this time the rules have changed. Previous Love Live events required a ranking system that would monitor the appeal and public approval of the group, with only a limited number being able to take part, but in this particular event everyone can enter but only four from each area of Japan will move on to the preliminary rounds to which a winner will be chosen to represent that area in the final. It’s a different kind of Love Live experience for the girls as they literally have one chance at winning but it also provides a more solid progressive storyline for the viewer.
As one would expect each episode focuses on the group working together to better themselves and put on the best show possible and while selective episodes will feature training regimes, heated discussions and comical banter, alongside performances on Love Live stages, another selection of episodes will focus on the personal-side of characters; some of which are more amusing than most. For instance one particular episode will introduce Nico Yazawa’s younger siblings and the delusions she has been feeding them about her Idol career while another episode will focus on Nozomi Toujou’s life before she met everyone at school. These are just two examples, with many more awaiting your viewing pleasure; but they offer a much more compelling and dramatic storyline to what was previously told in the first season and both act as a setup for the emotional backdrop that arrives at the end.
For the most part this second season of Love Live is pretty simplistic and straight to the point with its constant banter and narrative of winning the Love Live competition but alongside this we have the deeper feelings of character personalities that get brought to life and evolve on the screen. Sure enough this show is filled with fun, charisma and charm but when the final episodes start to play out you soon realise that everything was just a build-up to give you a tear-jerking moment that sees a harsh decision being made from the founding members. In short it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride that brings happiness and sadness; but while this ending may lead you to feel like it’s over it actually acts as one massive teaser for the film. Cheeky; but true.
When it comes to bonus material then this second season of Love Live is pretty much on par with the first season as the only selection of bonus content included are textless songs and original promotional clips; all of which are presented in Japanese with English subtitles.
It’s worth noting that each variation of the textless closing song has been included and before each song starts a list of the people singing is included to give you that extra information you may need. It’s a simplistic set of bonus features; but then again this DVD release, which has been authored by Madman Entertainment I believe, just screams basic as the extra features are listed on the main menu alongside the episode listings and audio setup options rather than in their own dedicated extras area like they were on the Season 1 DVD release.
Media: DVD 9 x2
Running Time: 2:44:37 (Disc 1), 2:22:11 (Disc 2)
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 224kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (White
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps
My expectation of Love Live – Season 2 was to be a repeat of the first season but without the threat of a school coming to a close and while this threat does take away some of the reason to watch this second season it has been replaced with a more compelling and realistic storyline. It’s a story which sees nine girls attempt to turn their dream into a reality by entering and winning the Love Live competition and along the way we get to see the girls evolve and develop into their own individual person as well as learn more about them. It’s a show that doesn’t mean to be emotional; but if you enjoy the characters you’ll soon find yourself shedding a tear when their final performance comes about.
Ironically enough a tear must also be shed for the quality and presentation of this release by the various studios which have managed authored and produced this product. MVM Entertainment are the studio releasing the DVD (and Blu-ray) within the UK and I assume Madman Entertainment authored the discs while NIS America handled the English Dubbing; but whatever the case some answers are needed. To start with the English voice acting is perfectly acceptable however some voice actors do not seem to fit the characters they have been given – especially Nico and Nozomi – and are far contrast to their Japanese counterparts. I commend NIS America for producing an English Dub but Love Live is a show that must be watched in its native audio language as anything else just disrupts the overall experience; especially when it comes to the songs.
Unfortunately my nagging doesn’t stop there as the presentation and visual quality of this DVD is less than desirable. The main menu is pretty much the same as the previous season one release, except a different picture and text saying season two, but more importantly is the constant pixilation during the episodes. Majority of the episodes, albeit look fine, featured some kind of pixilation and during episode eight and twelve the pixilation became so bad it looked like I was watching a low-quality stream on YouTube rather than a legitimate DVD produced and released by MVM Entertainment. Of course non-of-this will be present on the High Definition Blu-ray release and theoretically it shouldn’t be included on this DVD release and yet it is; which is extremely disappointing.
Overall this DVD release of Love Live – Season 2 is a mixture of a product; we have a rather enjoyable series that comes to an enjoyable emotional ending but a relatively basic DVD release that doesn’t bring the best out of what this show can be. If you enjoyed the first season then it’s a series that’s worth watching; but from a quality perspective then I would suggest getting the Blu-ray.
Love Live! School Idol Project – Season 2 is now available on DVD and Blu-ray within the UK.