In 2010, Sunrise, Lantis, and Dengeki G’s Magazine launched Love Live!, a project that focuses on school idols. After two anime seasons, an anime movie, a mobile game app, and numerous songs and concerts, Love Live! became a legendary household name. After the successful run of μ’s, the first school idol group from the series, a new project was started. Continuing the legacy, we now have Aqours from the newest Love Live! Sunshine!!
Back in February 2015, a teaser image with the caption “Love Live! Sunshine!! Start” was posted on Dengeki G’s Magazine’s website (Japanese only). The text in the image says, “Tasukete (save me), Love Live!”
Finally, in January 2016, a schedule was announced for the start of the Love Live! Sunshine!! project which is the second installment of the very popular Love Live! Project. This time, an idol group called “Aqours” are the main protagonists.
In the same month, it was announced that Aqours will be joining the Love Live! School Idol Project game app. Aqours’ songs, a new story, and new cards will be added in the game. For a limited time, as a teaser for the project, some songs were already available for the players to try out. Aside from the game addition announcement, it was also announced that an anime was green-lit for a summer premiere.
In the June 2015 issue of Dengeki G’s Magazine, the cast for Love Live! Sunshine!! was announced. Get to know the characters and the seiyuus (voice actors) behind their voices!
Takami Chika is voiced by Inami Anju. Chika is a second-year high school student at Uranohoshi Girls’ High School. As a μ’s fan, she became inspired to create a school idol club at her school. She is also considered the leader of Aqours. She is the youngest of three sisters and her family runs an inn that faces the sea. Her seiyuu, Inami Anju, called “Anchan” by her fans, has notable roles in Anime-gatari as Erika, in Sonny Boy & Dewdrop Girl (Hinata no Aoshigure) as Hinata, and in Live Spectacle Naruto as Yamanaka Ino.
Second-year high school student Sakurauchi Riko is voiced by Aida Rikako. Riko originally lived in Akihabara, Tokyo and attended Otonokizaka, but she transferred to Uchiura’s Uranohoshi Girls’. She is a shy girl who is good in art. She eventually joined Aqours due to the influence of Chika. Her seiyuu Aida Rikako, with a nickname of “Rikyako”, has been cast in minor roles for anime such as Macross Delta and Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress, but her role in Love Live! Sunshine!! is her first major role.
Suwa Nanaka is lending her voice to Matsuura Kanan, a third-year high school student at Uranohoshi Girls’ High School. Kanan runs a diving store with her grandfather. She is friends with Chika, Dia, and Mari. Kanan’s seiyuu, Suwa Nanaka is called by her fans as “Suwawa” or “Suwa-chan.” Her previous roles include Otenpa in the anime movie Typhoon Noruda and Yaya in the anime World War Blue.
Komiya Arisa is the seiyuu for Kurosawa Dia, a third-year student and the student council president. Her younger sister, Ruby, is also a member of Aqours. At first, she rejected the idea of a school idol club, but she eventually accepted after losing a match against Chika and claiming that her sister Ruby was already a “hostage” of the group. Her seiyuu, Komiya Arisa or “Arisha,” worked as an actress and gravure idol before. Her most notable role is in Tokumei Sentai Go-Busters as Usami Youko or Yellow Buster.
Saito Shuka, also known as “Shukashuu” to her fans, is the seiyuu for Watanabe You. You is a second-year student who is best friends with Chika. She is also a high diver who has joined the national team. Due to Chika’s influence, You became a school idol. Saitou Shuka’s first voice acting role is in Love Live! Sunshine!!
Kobayashi Aika is Tsushima Yoshiko in Love Live! Sunshine!! Yoshiko refers to herself as “Yohane, the fallen angel” in the anime and prefers to sport the “little demon” look. It was revealed that Yoshiko and Hanamaru know each other as they attended the same kindergarten. Her seiyuu, Kobayashi Aika or “Aikyan,” previously sang the ending theme songs for the anime Freezing and Queen’s Blade: Rebellion.
Kunikida Hanamaru, a shy first-year student, is voiced by Takatsuki Kanako or “Takatsuking” to her fans. Hanamaru is friends with Ruby, who she aspires to be like. Hanamaru did not think she was suited to become a school idol, but after she got to know Hoshizora Rin, a member from μ’s who experienced the same thing, she became inspired and decided to try out being a school idol. Takatsuki Kanako debuted as a voice actress in 2015 with the role of Kunikida Hanamaru. Prior to that, she debuted as a singer in 2012 under Amuse, her current agency. She is also an utaite, a person who performs cover songs and uploads them to Niconico. Her most famous covers are “This Game” from No Game No Life and “Donna Toki mo Zutto” from Love Live!
Ohara Mari is voiced by Suzuki Aina. Mari is a third-year student with a Japanese mother and an Italian-American father. She leaves Uchiura in her first year, but returns after two years and becomes the chairwoman of the school. Suzuki Aina or “Ai-nya,” her seiyuu, has notable roles in Akame ga Kill! as Mez, in Sweetness and Lightning (Amaama to Inazuma) as Chiyo, and in Castle Town Dandelion as Shiori Sakurada.
Last but not the least is Kurosawa Ruby, Dia’s litter sister who is voiced by Furihata Ai. Ruby is a first-year student who has a huge admiration for school idols. She has a phobia of men and sometimes refers to herself in the third person. Furihata Ai, with the nicknames “Aiai” or “Furirin,” made her debut as a voice actress in 2015 with the role of Kurosawa Ruby.
During a live stream event on Niconico, it was revealed that Aqours will be having their first ever live in February 2017.
The Aqours First Love Live! ~Step! ZERO to ONE~ (Japanese only) will be held at the Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on February 25 and 26, 2017.
Fans who want to watch the concert can try their luck with the special lottery. They would have to purchase the limited edition versions of the 1st and 2nd Volumes of the Japanese Blu-ray release of Love Live! Sunshine!! For the 1st Volume, the first sale period is from September 27 to November 20, 2016, and the second sale period is from November 29 to December 15, 2016. For the 2nd Volume, the first sale period is from October 26 to November 20, 2016, and the second sale period is from November 29 to December 15, 2016. Volume 1 contains the lottery for the first day of the concert, while Volume 2 contains the lottery for the second day.
With the popularity of Love Live!, fans have high expectations from Aqours. Despite the pressure, the seiyuus have worked hard and the fruits of their labor have been very impressive. If you can, do not miss out on their first live concert! It will be very exciting to see them perform live!