A Justified Tier List: Love Live!

The Love Live cast "µ's" Clockwise from the left: Nozomi, Rin, Hanayo, Kotori, Honoka, Umi, Nico, Maki, Eri

The Love Live cast “µ’s”
Clockwise from the left: Nozomi, Rin, Hanayo, Kotori, Honoka, Umi, Nico, Maki, Eri

In this series, I’ll be talking about TIER LISTS, mostly from visual novels but like right now, it can also be from anime. Really, the point of these posts is to speak my mind as to how and why I rate characters as they are. For instance, people seem to love Kotori in Love Live (the SIF poll confirmed it!), but I’m just infatuated with Maki and Nico. Anywho, we’ll start from the bottom and work our way up, though I would assume people already know who I picked for top 1.

UPDATE: Well, this song had pretty much redeemed Hanayo as a singer, and would have overtaken Rin if it wasn’t for how good THIS song is. Unfortunately, more of Nozomi’s mediocre (that’s putting it nicely) singing has been plaguing both μ’s and lily white (the UmiNozoPana group) so the most up-to-date rankings are:

  1. Maki
  2. Nico
  3. Umi
  4. Eri
  5. Kotori
  6. Honoka
  7. Rin
  8. Hanayo
  9. Nozomi

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TOP 9 (More like BOTTOM 1st): Hanayo Koizumi
Unfortunately, Hanayo a.k.a. Kayo-chin has to sit in the bottom. She had very little to contribute as a character to the story like most of the cast, and her singing is average, at best. Her supports definitely place higher in the list, but as a character, she really contributed very little aside from being that crucial part of µ’s. As a character, I really don’t like her type. I’m very particular with shy types, and even though I do like danderes, they have to be really good characters, which Hanayo isn’t.

Also, weird rant, but in School Idol Festival, her Rare Pure version is goddamn ear-rape. The auto-team creator keeps putting her back but I just replaced her with UR Pure Kotori. HA!

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TOP 8: Rin Hoshizora
Don’t get me wrong, Rin’s singing is pretty good, but it’s definitely the standard from which everyone else is set on. Incredibly average. Her role in the story does make her place higher than Hanayo since she was one of the bigger supports to ease Hanayo’s reluctancy, but that’s about it. Genki characters also tend to score low in my book, Rin included.

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TOP 7: Nozomi Tojou
Ah, Nozomi. She would have been higher in the list if it weren’t for her incredibly weak singing. She’s actually a fairly big element to the story of Season 1, being the person behind the scenes making sure that µ’s becomes an actuality. But, goddammit, that singing. Not a fan. Still, though she’s got a bit of Kansai, she just doesn’t show it that much. Then again, my comparisons are pretty big, including Tomo from KiraKira and Amane from Grisaia. When they’re in Kansai mode, you KNOW it’s Kansai. Hell, I think even Hayate from Lyrical Nanoha has more Kansai in her. Well, it is Kana Ueda, after all. Still, she’s going to sit here not bottomfeeding because she’s an integral behind-the-scenes character.

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TOP 6: Honoka Kousaka
From here on out was tough to evaluate. I would say that the difference between Top 7 and Top 6 is about 10 or so places, while the difference between Top 6 and Top 1 would be like… 2 or 3 places. I love these characters but I must choose. I can already hear everyone going “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!” but hear me out. This is probably a bit of a bias against the “main characters” but really, while Honoka is the centerpiece of the group, she actually does very little in terms of doing things. Of course, the good news is that Honoka has one of the best “versatile” singing voices. Not Maki, Umi, or Maki quality, but it’s above average, and works with any song genre. Try looking for her voice on START:DASH, then Susume Tomorrow, then Loveless World. Yep.

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TOP 5: Kotori Minami
She did play an amazing role as the µ’s support, as well as having a great arc. Her singing voice is good, sometimes just feeling too high, though. I mean, even Kugyuu had her limits. She’s also a great character overall. While Umi is like the mother keeping her children in check, Kotori is more of the older sister who takes care of everyone. Plus she works in a Maid Cafe. I mean COME ON.

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TOP 4: Eri Ayase
Alright, Kokoro-chan, you’re top 4. Anywho, Eri’s role in the group is big, and even before that. As a character, it’s her past you knew the most of, and also of her motivations. While she clashed with Honoka a lot, she did it because she felt the same responsibility in saving the school, her grandmother’s Alma Mater. Her singing voice is also superb, and pretty much made the group a better one (canonically) through her training. As a character, she’s the dependable, responsible, hard worker that is understated in many shows nowadays.

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TOP 3: Umi Sonoda
Umi is the ultimate support character, being the group’s co-leader (acting more like a leader at times than Honoka) as well as being the person who has tackled the group’s problems before anyone else did, namely Eri and Kotori’s arcs. Couple that with a great singing voice, and she’s definitely put a foothold on top 3. She also seems to be the yamato nadeshiko of the group, being proficient in archery and traditional dance.

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TOP 2: Nico Yazawa
Lots of people would think Nico Nico Nii would be an annoyance, but I think it really shows her personality. We know that Nico is a complete tsundere, but she’s got a double layer. That happy-go-lucky persona she shows to other people is that layer, and it actually gives her character depth. We know that she’s incredibly happy when the first few µ’s members agree to be with her despite of the harsh training, but she tends to hide it behind this double genki-tsundere facade. Her singing is inconsistent, however. Some songs she just blends in so well, especially After School Navigators, like she’s meant to sing to that genre. On the flip side, songs like WILD STARS definitely don’t fit her. And of course, she’s one half of the most amazing Love Live OTP, NicoMaki.

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TOP 1: Maki Nishikino
Seriously, if you don’t like Maki, you are wrong.

So let’s look at her character first. She’s a complete tsundere, we know that. She actually reminds me of Reo from SonoHana: an ojou tsundere. We all know my bias towards tsundere characters, and she’s no exception. Plus, I think she does grow throughout the entire show, opening up slowly to the group.

Secondly, her singing voice. I get goosebumps everytime I hear her sing because it’s soooooooo good! The prepro piano versions of a couple songs, namely Aishiteru Banzai! and START:DASH really highlight how heavenly she sings. I’m incredibly happy she’s the center for the newest single, Music S.T.A.R.T! and Loveless World, because it’s more Maki solos for me to enjoy.

Lastly, her role in the show is pretty major. You might just think that she’s another member, but without her, the group would have no music to sing, really. Looking at it like that, she contributes the most to the group.

Plus have you seen the COCOA BREAK/OOSHIMA Tomo doujins of NicoMaki? Holy shrimp! Granted, they’re R-18, but a good doujin stays good even if you remove the ero stuff.

I really felt like the last few posts were a bit biased, but then again, this is my tier list and my preferences, so I think it’s okay.

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