We’ve seen the story before, we are introduced to a likeable, average girl. The school gives notice that it is due to be shut down due to lack of enrolment. The average girl decides that the best way to attract students to the school it to make it famous as the home of a successful school idol group and compete in the Love Live! competition. The formula for the first season of Love Live! worked very well and we take a look to see if it will work again for a school far removed from Tokyo.
The girl who guides us through this journey is Chika Takami, an admittedly normal girl with no notable talents. She is faced with many obstacles like recruiting members, writing songs, learning how to dance and sing, getting the school and their parents onboard and finding the money to compete. Chika, along with the other members of Aquors -- so named because of their seaside town -- face a lot of challenges that would make a lot of us give up, but this group of plucky heroines as different as they may be from each other each showed a lot of persistence. We now count down the Top 10 Most Persistent Love Live! Sunshine!! characters from the second season.
Kanan is an example of an islander’s laid-back attitude. She lives alone with her grandfather that runs a dive shop. She spends most of her time at school, working with him in the shop or under the water. She is one of Dia and Mari’s closest friends and will be graduating at the end of the semester. Kanan is a positive girl but isn’t excitable and can be a calming influence on the others, promoting a go-with-the-flow mentality. She wants to study overseas, become a master diver and train other divers. As a member of Aquors, she faces many difficulties but once she commits herself to their mission of competing in Love Live! and trying to save their school she puts her personal goals on hold for the chance to spend a little more time with her friends. Kanan does her persistent best along the way to be the calm port in the stormy seas of idol competitions.
You is Chika’s best friend and classmate at the beginning of the series. She is a bit of a tomboy, always working out including weight training. She is a skilled high-diver and a potential member of the national team. Her dream, on the other hand, isn’t diving gold it’s to take over her father’s job as a ferry captain. You is a very goal-oriented girl and tends to focus on the mission at hand. She works hard as a member of Aquors, pitching in to help Ruby with their costume design. She is a rock for Chika in her moments of wavering faith, providing support for the group leader. Her ability to always be there for her high-strung friend, for better or for worse, could be called persistent.
Hanamaru “Maru” Kunikida has lived a relatively sheltered life without a lot of connection to pop culture. She grew up in a temple her family has run for generations and is an avid reader tending to choose books over TV or the internet. She admits she a bit out of touch. Maru tends to speak in an older dialect adding the world “zura” to the end of her sentences and using the pronoun “ora” to refer to herself. She is Ruby’s best friend and thinks of her as an ideal girl: beautiful, cute and dazzling. Maru has a poor self-image and is only introduced to the idol club as a way to support Ruby. She eventually reads an article about Rin Hoshizora, one of the members of Muse from the original Love Live! who also didn’t think she was fit to become an idol and yet became one of the leading members of the group. Maru is persistent for two contradictory reasons, she challenges her own opinion of both her talents and her beauty and eventually changes her own mind. She also maintains her old speech patterns and love of books over electronic media despite being in the shiny world of pop music.
Riko is reserved, modest and prefers the quiet indoor pursuits. She has talent as a pianist and viola player. She moves from Tokyo, where she attended the same school as Muse from the first Love Live! series. Her love for music had faded before her move from Akihabara and she was hoping to regain it buy listening to the sound of the water. Riko has the demeanor of a cool and mature young lady but it doesn’t take much to get her to panic. Chika convinces Riko to join the idol group and serve as their composer over her initial objections. She has a fear of dogs that has her going to comedic extent to avoid Chika’s dog Shitake. We know it is a small thing but over the course of the series we find a girl that has no real connection to the town or the school becomes one of its most ardent supporters. She puts in long hours of practice and works to help her friends achieve their goal of saving the school and winning Love Live! She even works hard to get over her fear of dogs one baby step at a time to the point of owning her own dog. The ability to conquer your fear and not let it rule you forever can truly take persistence.
We have repeatedly found Dia’s cute younger sister, Ruby, is one of the fan favorites of the series. She is a first-year student at the same school as her sister and tends to be very cautious of things. At first, Ruby is afraid to speak up to anyone and either hides behind her sister, who she idolizes, or her best friend Hanamaru. She is made of sterner stuff than she appears, too, forged in a life of a rich and traditional family where she probably had to suffer through many formal gatherings she didn’t want to attend. She first shows a little back bone when she decides that despite her sister’s opinion on the matter she wanted to join the idol club. Ruby is the one that eventually convinces Dia to join by reminding her of why she wanted to be an idol as a first-year herself.
She really steps out of her sister’s shadow when she finds a kindred spirit in Ria from St. Snow. At first, Ruby is afraid to approach the standoffish girl but sees that she is hurting after being bounced out of the competition; Ruby can’t sit back and do nothing. She and Ria bond over the ties of sisterhood and how they love their sisters and want to help them succeed. The two then plan a concert, which means there are a lot of hoops to jump through to give Ria’s sister one more chance to perform. Ruby has to grow and find confidence over the course of the series tackling one goal after the other. That is what we call persistence.
5. Yoshiko Tsushima
We all need an eccentric in our lives and Yoshiko, no, Yohane, the fallen angel, is that for Aquors. The first-year at Uranohoshi Girls’ High School has a bit of a chunibyou. She sees herself as a fallen angel with dark mystical powers. She refers to her followers and friends as her little devils. She may have come down with middle school syndrome or chunibyou as a result of her constant bad luck. Yoshiko is one of those people that even given a 50/50 chance tends to end up on the losing side. She is a talented singer and dancer and has a flare for the dramatic, making her an asset to the idol group. The girl with the eccentric fashion sense also stands out in a crowd often wearing gothic lolita black even in the warm weather of the seaside community that is more accustomed to beach wear.
She most likely gets strange looks on a regular basis. Yoshiko is also probably considered weird by a lot of the other girls at the school. She does however still put herself out there having her own webcast about the occult and other nonsense. In Yoshiko, we have a girl who isn’t afraid to be an individual regardless of how people look at her. She also keeps a positive attitude as evidenced by the way she bounced back after pulling a bad number in the Love Live! lottery. She continues to support her friends, be herself and try to convince the world she’s more than just a girl, that she is a fallen angel, an attitude we call persistent.
Dia is the leader of the student council at Uranohoshi Girls’ High School. She, like a lot of anime student council presidents, is a stickler for discipline and order. Though disappointed with the news that the school will be closing, she handles it with dignity. Dia is also a realist about what can and can’t be done and how much work it will take to accomplish anything. She is against the idol group forming at the school. Dia is also very against her shy younger sister Ruby joining the group.
We eventually find out there is more to the story of her opposition to an idol club than its frivolity. She was a member of a school idol group in her freshmen year and the club fell apart because the others didn’t want to take it as seriously as she did. Dia, gradually through the course of the show, becomes a member of Aquors and functions as the adult in the room. We get to see her character evolve, never letting go of the role of realist in a group of optimists who often prove her wrong. We know it takes a lot for her to be the odd man out and always being called by her title as president and never Dia-chan. Instead of changing to fit in, she knows her role and when it comes to grounding the group’s enthusiasm in reality she’s very persistent.
3. Mari Ohara
Mari is a 17-year-old third year at Uranohoshi and member of Aquors. She is the only blonde of the group. Her family is wealthy and controls the board that runs the school. Mari often lives by herself due to her parents’ business obligations and has a real independent streak. She is also a bit rebellious – okay, a lot rebellious. We even see backstory about her often sneaking out of her bedroom window as a child to play with Kanan and Dia, an event that occurred so often that she would eventually be exiled to the top floor of their parents’ home to prevent that from happening. In true wild-child style, she loves heavy metal despite the refined ladylike image her parents want her to portray.
She had been living abroad when she received the news her childhood friends’ school was closing. Mari convinced her father, who then convinced the board, to let her transfer to the school and install her as the director. She hoped that she could use that position to find leverage to keep the school open for her friends and the community she grew to love in her childhood. She is constantly put in impossible situations with the responsibility of being the director and finding a way to keep the school open. Somewhat because of her independent streak, she can’t rely on her parents to intervene anymore and has to go it alone. She is a child working in an adult’s world, yet even when her plans go south she does her job with grace and persistence.
Chika is the girl with the vision of a Love Live! victory. She began the quest in much is the same way as Honoka from the original Love Live! School Idol Project! as a way to increase recruitment at her school. She is a second-year student at Uranohoshi Girls’ High School and the founding member of Aquors. Chika is a kind, sociable, energetic and determined. Her never-say-die attitude is infectious and really takes hold in the people around her. She has leadership skills and is willing to put herself out there and risk failure. Chika pushed and pushed to get the idol club established despite being denied several times. She didn’t give up when they had to do two concerts at almost the same time to find a way to meet all their obligations. Chika was able to draft able members into Aquors to give them the talent they needed to win Love Live! She also most memorably worked on doing a handspring for hours on the beach, crashing down again and again and again until succeeding. Chika is one of the people who continue to fight long after the fight is lost if only to prove a point. The announcement that the school was going to close and be merged with another school regardless did take the wind out of her sails. Yet she decided that leaving the name of Uranohoshi High School on the Love Live! trophy would be the best tribute. She may have led Aquors to a Love Live! win, failing at her ultimate goal but she faced every obstacle put in her way and persisted.
Ria and her sister, Seira, dreamed of winning Love Live! The two worked hard to become competitive singing and dancing school idols. The sisters grew up with modest means, going to school and working in their parents’ small restaurant in Hokkaido. The two named their duo St. Snow considering that Hokkaido is famed for its colder winter climate. The two set themselves up as the chief rivals for Aquors. St. Snow was one of the favorites to win it all, but Ria’s mistake during the competition bounced them. Seira accepted the defeat and that she’d missed her chance to win Love Live! Ria was angry and upset that they lost even though she was the one that caused it.
She wants to give her sister the sense of accomplishment in her school idol life she desired. She also wanted to show her older sister, who guided her and encouraged her for her entire life, that after Seira graduated she would be okay. Ria, with a lot of encouragement from Ruby, Hanamaru and Yoshiko lobbies her town council to let her put on a concert in the square. She also pens a new song with Ruby’s help as a thank you to their sisters. Ria was down and out, her sister’s career as an idol was over; if she were to continue to be an idol herself it would be alone. She was also the cause by falling during their performance but she picked herself up off the floor and persisted.
The girls of Love Live! Sunshine!! are an accomplished group of young women. The three oldest girls are the great examples, like Kanan working as a diver, Mari running the school, and Dia running the student council. As we who watch anime know, that’s a lot more than planning dances in Japan. The other girls also have done some amazing work themselves like Ruby and Ria organizing a concert or Chika starting an idol group and competing in the Love Live! finals. You can’t do any of that without determination and the ability to fight against setbacks. The ability to continue a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition is by definition, persistence.