Love Live! and Playing with Canon through Songs

In Love Live! Nijigasaki High School Idol Club Season 2, the character Takasaki Yu struggles to write a song for her friends in the club to perform. When she finally finishes it, the song is revealed to be “TOKIMEKI Runners,” a piece that celebrates the individuality of each member. In the context of this anime, it’s a new creation, but in terms of the actual real-world release schedule, it was actually their first. It makes me think about how Love Live! has these funny divergences between versions of the same groups, and the pliability of its story as a result.

Similar situations occur in the first Love Live! anime. For instance, the very first song they perform is “START:DASH!!,” but the actual first single was “Bokura no LIVE Kimi to no LIFE.” In the former case, the school idol club was a mere three members at the start. In the latter case, the group already has all nine members. In fact, in the anime, “Bokura no LIVE Kimi to no LIFE” is performed only when the full team has assembled. Rather than it being the introduction to Love Live! that it was conceived as, it serves as a culmination and turning point. 

While there are versions that have come first, like the singles for OG Love Live! and a mobile game for Nijigasaki, they hold no special authority over the fandom. Materials are there to be used in whatever way fits. Old songs become new. New songs become old. Character qualities that are developed over time by the voice actors/singers in one iteration might be presented as long-established in another. In essence, I’m a fan of the fact that there’s not really a specific “canon” other than the broad strokes.

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