When we talk about idol anime, we usually talk about the So-Called “Big Three”. And of course, we’re talking about the iDOLM@STER, Love Live, and the Wake Up, Girls! franchises. However, these franchises don’t usually go up against each other in the same season as far as TV anime are concerned. Now, as we are heading into autumn, each of these three franchises are finally going head-to-head with one another on the very same season. This is because autumn 2017 will feature The iDOLM@STER SideM, The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls Theater, Love Live Sunshine, and Wake Up Girls Shin Shou.
We’ll be taking a look at this head-to-head between the Big 3 idol anime franchises. Let’s start off with the iDOLM@STER franchise which has not one, but two anime this season. The more prominent of the two is of course, Side-M, which unlike previous im@s anime, takes a look at male idols this time around. Much like the original Cinderella Girls anime, it will follow various acts, all of whom are from the same production agency. Featuring 19 male idols, this one certainly acts as the “thorn among the roses” for the so-called “Big-3”. As for the head-to-head, let’s just say Love Livers and WUG fans shouldn’t underestimate Fujoshi Power!
As for Cinderella Girls theater, they will be a series of shorts featuring the idols of the Cinderella Project. It will focus on their daily lives, and will often feature chibi versions of them. Well, let’s just say this one acts much like what Puchim@s did for the original 765 All Stars from the original. While it won’t be getting as much prominence as SideM, it’s still something im@s fans might want to check out.
And then there’s Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2. Arguably the most popular of the idol anime coming in, there’s no denying the the series’ pull. The members of AQOURS certainly hold a familiarity advantage for fans in the head-to-head. While SideM has a familiar group like Jupiter and WUG has a huge following, more casual viewers would tend to know about AQOURS more. And let’s not forget how dedicated Love Livers are when it comes to their favorite members. Its popularity makes it the favorite coming in, and having its HAPPY PARTY TRAIN concert tour just wrapping up before the season begins certainly helps.
And finally, we have the Dark Horse of the Big 3, Wake Up, Girls!. While Love Live is a lot lighter and fluffier, and im@s is right around the middle, we could say WUG is a lot more realistic. The first season featured heavy criticisms of the idol industry itself and gained plenty of critical acclaim. While not as popular as the other two franchises, we can safely bet that WUG can pull off that upset. And to add to its campaign this season, WUG also boasts some new technological advances in idol anime. It won’t just use the latest 3DCG animation in the idol performances, but also motion capture technology. According to member Minami Tanaka, this would “allow the girls’ own individual styles to stand out.”
So, of these four anime from the “Big 3”, who do we think will win? I know it sounds a bit cliche, but we’re saying it’s the fans. While the anime haven’t started yet, we get the feeling that the anime’s respective staff will try to outdo each other next season. And as they say, competition brings out the best in people. So the best thing to do for us fans is to sit back and enjoy the show!