They're an icon. The symbol of friendship, hope, love, passion, and music admired by those who have seen them. They will show you that enthusiasm and dedication do pay off. They're µ's ("Muse"), an ensemble of nine harmonious members. And they're the idol stars of School Idol Project!

I'll preface by saying that I first dived into the Love Live! franchise just looking to enjoy some catchy songs and CGDCT. Which I did get. All of those are right here in this show. But there's also something else—a special quality that draws a motivational and inspirational angle on what seems to only be a cute entertainment at first glance. It draws me in because it's not easy to find, but once it's realized, we will shoot for the stars.

It is called passion.

For the energetic Honoka, her passion is sparked when her beloved school is in risk of closing down upon a decreasing number of yearly enrollments. To form a school idol group; that is her answer. It's ambitious. It's difficult. It's almost like a fantasy. But she and eight other members will soon find that µ's is their passion. And they will head off on a journey to make people smile, to have fun, and to enjoy being together with those who share the same love as you. Embellished by a rich optimism in a world of musical superstars, this is what School Idol Project is all about.

What brings the best enjoyment out of this show definitely lies in the large cast of cute characters. The story plays it straight with no deep complexities, so it allows us to focus solely on the girls. They're the gears that unify a charming and lovable group. An additive effect. Group antics are entertaining to watch and µ's is basically an adorable embodiment of fun friendship. But not all are just happy moments.

At first, a lot of the members have their own hindering circumstances before they join µ's and the group does face large obstacles along the way. While the resolution is cheesy at times, the roots come back to the one main thing that holds this show together. Their passion. No matter how difficult the obstacles are, no matter the results—success or failure—they will continue to practice hard and dedicate themselves to their dream with smiles on their faces. Even when things seem to change for the worst, their shared passion and love put them back on the correct path. To be passionate about something will always come with reasons. For them, it's not just to save their school. It's also to go up there onto the stage and to perform the best as they can, for themselves and for others. Because in their hearts, they know that this is what they all wanted to continue doing: To be the best school idols out there.

So, when they stand up on the stage to perform a wide variety of spirited songs, you can see their hard work paying off. The mix between 2D and 3D animation might take some time to get used to, but soon enough, it'll become familiar and you can enjoy the dancing choreographs among the colorfully bright atmosphere. Gleaming eyes, enchanting smiles, adorable clothes, and energetic movements. Their emotions sync together with the gorgeous notes from their voices and altogether, all of these features turn their live performance into a stage that's truly fun to experience.

Even when they're done performing, living casually as high school girls, it doesn't stop them from sparkling up with vibrancy. Both the evocative art and the buoyant soundtracks help to give many endearing qualities to µ's. They know how to make me laugh and to make me enjoy their overall enthusiasm. It's simply wonderful. I also have to mention that I lost count on how many times I wanted to say "So kawaii~" at them. Just so you know they're not only passionate, they're also too sweet for my heart to take.

School Idol Project really went beyond what I've expected from an idol anime. My interest for the appealing songs and the girls transformed into an admiration of their passion, perseverance, and power to pursue their goal through and through. The Love Live! franchise has created µ's, the face of tuneful entertainment, so give it a chance to be their audience. Maybe you'll resonate with them as much as I did.

85 /100
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