Love Live!, the multimedia anime series about highschool idols, is welcoming nine new idols to the franchise. Originally codenamed PERFECT Dream Project, the girls of Nijigasaki High School Idol Club are Ayumu Uehara, Kasumi Nakasu, Shizuku Osaka, Karin Asaka, Ai Miyashita, Kanata Konoe, Setsuna Yuki, Emma Verde, and Rina Tennoji.
As the fall release of Love Live! School Idol Festival ALL STARS draws closer, exciting new information about the idols of Nijigasaki High School Idol Club have surfaced. Here are 10 things you should know about the Nijigasaki girls of PERFECT Dream Project.
10 They're Not An Idol Group
In stark contrast to μ's and Aqours, the girls of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club are not another nine-girl idol group. They are idols who are competing against each other for fame.
While it's currently unclear how this will play out in the new Love Live! mobile game, the Nijigasaki girls have already competed against each other in online social media polls. Every month the official Love Live! website runs a Nijigasaki character popularity poll. The winner is celebrated, while the idol who ranks last receives an embarrassing illustration in Dengeki G's Magazine.
9 Setsuna Will Headline Nijigasaki's 1st Concert
While some of the character popularity polls for Nijigasaki are done for fun, others have more weight to them. Since the Nijigasaki girls are not a traditional idol group, there's no leader to rally everyone up. (Although, Ayumu is often depicted as the poster girl for Nijigasaki in marketing).
No leader means any of the girls could potentially headline any event, such as the first Nijigasaki concert being held at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza Main Arena in Tokyo this December. A character popularity poll for the first headliner for Nijigasaki went out and in July a winner was announced: Setsuna. Or, to be more specific, Setsuna's voice actress Tomori Kusunoki. Tomori will rally her fellow idols for their first two-day concert titled "Nijigasaki High School Idol Club First Live with You!"
8 Three Nijigasaki Girls Were Voted Into The Series
Not everyone in the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club is a stranger. Emma, Shizuku, and Kanata originated as idols in the first Love Live! mobile game, Love Live! School Idol Festival. The trio was among the lower-class idols that players could scout in the game.
How did Emma, Shizuku, and Kanata join Nijigasaki? They were the top three in a popularity poll for favorite "N rarity" girl in School Idol Festival. Unbeknownst to those who participated in the poll, the vote determined who from the game got to be in the next nine-girl set of idols in the Love Live! franchise. Not only did Emma, Shizuku, and Kanata upgrade their status, they finally received voices for their characters as well.
7 Their Subunits Were Picked By Fans
One of the best things about the Love Live! franchise is its fan-driven nature. Both μ's and Aqours had their names, subunits, and lead singers for their animated music videos determined by fans.
The girls of Nijigasaki recently revealed their musical subunits as chosen by fans. While past subunit votings had idols broken into pairs of three, Nijigasaki shook things up by separating the girls in groups of twos, threes, and fours. Instead of picking from a pre-determined list of names, fans were also allowed to come up with names for the Nijigasaki subunits themselves. The names and pairs for the subunits are as follows: DiverDiva (Karin, Ai); A • ZU • NA (Ayumu, Setsuna, Shizuku), and QU4RTZ (Kasumi, Kanata, Emma, Rina).
6 You Can Listen To Their Music Right Now
While it's still early in Nijigasaki's life cycle, they already released their first album last November, with another one scheduled for October 2nd of this year. Their debut album, TOKIMEKI Runners, featured nine solo songs, one from each idol, and a self-titled collaboration song featuring all the girls.
5 Ayumu's Childhood Friend Is You?!
Ever since Love Live! School Idol Festival ALL STARS was announced in 2017, fans have craved for any news about the game. While the mobile game has suffered a delay or two, it will finally be released this fall. In the meantime, an official Twitter account for School Idol Festival ALL STARS recently opened up and began teasing fans with new tidbits about the game.
One of the latest facts about School Idol Festival ALL STARS relates to Ayumu from Nijigasaki. According to her character bio in the game, the reason why she became a school idol was because of you, the player, who just so happens to be her childhood friend. This is likely how players will be integrated into the game's narrative.
4 The Rina-chan Board
Out of all the new idols in Nijigasaki, Rina is easily the most unique character in Love Live! Why? It's because of her "Rina-chan board," which she uses to cover her actual face.
As her bio states, Rina refuses to show her real face out of shyness. She instead uses a piece of paper to illustrate simple facial expression that perfectly conveys her mood. When it comes to concerts, Rina ditches the notebook paper for an electronic emoji mask. For real-life appearances, Rina's voice actress, Chiemi Tanaka, won't have to cover her face 24/7 like her anime counterpart. However, Chiemi does have an electronic Rina-chan board ready for wearing at live concert appearances.
3 Emma's Family And Heritage
Unlike her fellow Nijigasaki idols, Emma wasn't born and raised in Japan. She's a third-year high school studying abroad from Switzerland. This makes her the third idol in the Love Live! franchise with an international background; sitting comfortably with Eli Ayase (Russian/Japanese) and Mari Ohara (Italian-American/Japanese).
Emma may actually have more in common with Mari than first glance would suggest, as Emma has a tendency to speak Italian, such as saying "Buono" which means "good." Emma's family name, Verde, also means "green" in Italian. This may mean Emma lived in the Italian region of Switzerland. Emma is also part of a large family, as she's the oldest sister to eight young siblings. The admiration of her brothers and sisters inspired her to become a school idol.
2 Ayumu Went To Mars
Ayumu was the first school idol in the history of Love Live! to travel to infinity and beyond... kinda. Among the early content featuring the girls of Nijigasaki, Ayumu, Ai, and Rina starred in a series of 4-Koma (4-panel) comics made exclusively for the Famitsu app. The 4-Koma comics were made by Choborau Nyopomi, who is best known for the surreal anime comedy Ai-Mai-Mi.
In one of the 4-Koma storylines, Ayumu was summoned by the government for the first manned mission to Mars. She didn't go alone, however, as Ai and Rina went along for the intergalactic ride. While it's easy to scoff at Ayumu's mission to Mars as just a silly and non-canonical adventure, she -- well, her voice actress Aguri Onishi, to be more specific -- actually acknowledges her space travels in her call and response at live events.
So yes, it's canon!
1 School Idol Festival
While the release of School Idol Festival ALL STARS is tentatively scheduled for the end of September in Japan (worldwide release expected, but currently unannounced), there is a way for fans to learn more about the Nijigasaki girls now.
The first Love Live! mobile game, School Idol Festival, briefly featured stories that revolved around the lives of the Nijigasaki High School Idol Club. There was even a special story about Kanata, Emma, and Shizuku. Lastly, the game has a few special SR cards that feature the Nijigasaki girls. School Idol Festival ALL STARS will also connect with School Idol Festival in the future.